A year after a large group of teenagers was caught on camera wreaking Halloween havoc in Hyde Park, residents in the neighborhood are being proactive and trying to turn this year’s festivities into a positive event.
Last fall, a group of hundreds of teenagers were captured on video throwing rocks through windshields, jumping on top of cars, and getting into fights in the Chicago neighborhood, but this year, residents are launching a new initiative to avoid a repeat.
The effort, dubbed “Colla-Boo-Ration,” will focus on giving teens positive activities to participate in during the Halloween festivities. Residents will keep porch lights on, watch movies together, walk dogs and visit neighbors on Halloween, and a Halloween event specifically designed for teens will also be held, featuring a movie, a basketball tournament, and music along the 53rd Street business corridor.
“I’m tired of seeing Chicago broken and torn apart, especially Hyde Park,” Youth 360’s Taliyah Cannon said.
Bennie Currie is one of the volunteers leading an effort to mobilize residents of the neighborhood. Volunteers from 27 different blocks, from Drexel to Hyde Park Boulevard and 47th to 56th Street will join together in a neighborhood watch effort.
“We want to have eyes watching, but at the same time to also be welcoming,” Currie said.
Currie hopes that by taking a proactive and positive stance that teens will aim to make Halloween more about treats rather than mischief.
“It’s kids being kids, maybe taking it to a level we’d rather not have,” he said. “I think one of the ways to do that is to expose them to the very good people we have in this community.”
Marshall Callery, who has started a youth leadership program in Hyde Park, agrees.
“There needs to be things for teens to do. That’s why they cause havoc,” he said.
The teen zone of “Colla-Boo-Ration” will run from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. In addition to basketball, movies, and music, there will also be food trucks and other activities planned.