Halloween’s Most Mischievous Deviant is Sandy

In the current college students’ generation, Halloween has always come with some mischief and each year authorities take precautions to keep everyone safe. This Halloween, however, mischief’s name was Sandy.

Before Governor Chris Christie’s rescheduling of Halloween from October 31 to November 5, MUPD planned for a normal holiday centered around costumes, parties and celebrations. William McElrath, Chief of Police for MUPD, stressed the main concerns for Halloween on campus. As far as Halloween activity on campus, I would say the main safety concern [was] related to the abuse of alcohol and all of the safety issues which result from it,” said McElrath. “Generally speaking, our campus has not experienced any upswing in negative activity on recent Halloweens. Students should [always] be reminded that if they are old enough to drink, and choose to do so, they should drink responsibly and utilize taxis or designated drivers to get around.”

McElrath explains that the same penalties that apply every day are in effect each Halloween.

The most common charges are underage drinking, driving while intoxicated, disorderly persons, etc. and they can also be charged under the Monmouth University Student Code of Conduct if they are in violation.

Students’ plans were deferred thanks to Hurricane Sandy taking such a devastating toll.

Michael Bateman, sophomore communication major, said, “Halloween is my birthday so I had plans to go out with my friends for a whole day and do whatever fun stuff we could think of, but after the storm hit, my birthday became a boring night of me sitting in a house with no power or internet and I couldn’t leave my house, thanks to a state of emergency preventing me from still visiting any friends.”

Eryn Siddall sophomore, said, “I went out and bought a 50 dollar costume and never got to wear it because the weekend before Halloween everyone was leaving campus, and the weekend after there was no power anywhere.”

Because of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey just before Halloween, the main concerns of student safety and legal trouble were washed away with most of the shore. McElrath said that the only people who were on campus around the time of the rescheduled holiday were relief workers, key employees, student athletes and evacuees who were being held at the Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC). The new concern was to keep everyone safe and try to make the best of Halloween for children of evacuated families.

“A main concern of the University Police on Halloween this year was to assist Americorps relief volunteers with putting on a Halloween parade and party which was being hosted at the MAC for the children of the evacuees who were forced to seek shelter during the hurricane,” said McElrath.

“MUPD personnel also transported National Guard personnel to some of the few locations that were open to purchase candy for the kids. The candy was purchased with money donated from the National Guard and other volunteers,” McElrath continues.

“This candy was distributed during the day to the kids. MUPD and County law enforcement also donated Police Emergency tape to set up a walkway on the second floor of the MAC to simulate a roadway so that kids went from one stop to another doing their ‘trick or treating’ and picking up candy which was donated by relief agencies.”

McElrath adds that the Halloween festivities were enjoyed by the kids, parents, relief workers and volunteers. Usually on Halloween, MUPD officers patrol on and off campus to ensure safety of students celebrating the holiday. “In addition to patrolling the campus itself, we participate in joint patrols in the surrounding communities to monitor our students’ activities,” said McElrath. “We do this in an effort to remind our students that they are a part of the surrounding community and to be good neighbors if choosing to live off campus.”

This year, however, MUPD has been patrolling, but not for mischievous students in costumes. Hurricane Sandy has MUPD as well as other workers keeping evacuees and the few students remaining on campus safe.

McElrath also said that MUPD had sufficient manpower to manage Halloween on the rescheduled date of November 5, though it was not a major concern as many areas were still focused on hurricane damage control and restoring power.

Although it was not celebrated normally this year, Halloween was not forgotten in New Jersey. With the rescheduled date and help from workers and volunteers, kids were still able to dress up in costumes and collect candy. MUPD as well as other authorities still had their work cut out for them, even if it didn’t involve much underage drinking or criminal mischief.

Whether it be a holiday or a hurricane, MUPD’s goals were clear. “We are always interested in our students enjoying themselves but encourage that they do so in a safe manner,” said McElrath. “As President Gaffney always encourages, watch out for one another.”