CHICAGO (CBS) — The Hyde Park neighborhood is known for being a magnet for young people from outside the community on Halloween as well as the weekend before. Now, the community wants to welcome the teens, but without the trouble that’s followed in previous years.
Last Halloween and the Saturday before it, hundreds of teens converged on the South Side neighborhood. Most of them were believed to have been from other neighborhoods, coming to an area in the city that’s deemed safe.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. There was trouble, including vandalism and fights, to the point where police made arrests.
Now, residents have organized what they’re calling “Hyde Park Teen Halloween.”
Dr. Rachel Cane, one of the organizers, says residents want to provide a positive experience for the teens and deter any negative actions.
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“We still expect hundreds of young people to congregate on 53rd Street on both Halloween night and the preceding Saturday,” the pediatrician said. “We are committed to meeting them as a community with a positive and welcoming adult presence.
So far, she says, at least 70 adult volunteers have signed up to help out.
Dr. Cane said, “Our volunteers will be out in orange shirts welcoming people, handing out candy, interfacing with businesses.” She added that the volunteers will be “setting positive expectations for how we behave.”
Cane says volunteers will be able to stay connected for those two nights using the GroupMe texting app.
Among the organized activities, there will be $5 horror movies at the Harper Theater and a couple of video game trucks on Lake Park Avenue near 53rd Street.
For those who’d like to volunteer to be present as chaperones, you can find more information here.