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Teen Turnout In Hyde Park Saturday Before Halloween Lower Than Expected

By Sam Cholke | October 30, 2017 5:58am
 Volunteers show the teens who did show up on 53rd Street Saturday night tricks with dry ice and other activities.
Volunteers show the teens who did show up on 53rd Street Saturday night tricks with dry ice and other activities.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — Hyde Park residents were ready for large groups of teens to descend on 53rd Street Saturday in a rerun of last year ... but they never arrived.

Fifty-third Street was mostly quiet Saturday, with volunteers outnumbering teens for much of the night and none of the reports of fights, paintball guns or other issues that so startled Hyde Park residents last year.

Dr. Rachael Cane said she came out hoping to do Halloween activities with teens from across the South Side who never came.

“The community intervention is going strong,“ Cane said. “The kid intervention we’re working on.”

There were still some teens out for discounted movies at Harper Theater and a games truck brought in by volunteers.

Kenan Davis, a senior at Urban Prep in Bronzeville, said he came out last year, but a lot of his friends stayed home this year because of the cold weather.

Volunteers said the crowds were dramatically smaller, but no less diverse than last year, with kids from as far away as Crane High School on the Near West Side, Curie Metropolitan High School in Archer Heights and Perspectives High School in Auburn Gresham coming to Hyde Park Saturday night.

Organizers said they thought the weather, which was in the high 60s last year and the mid-40s this year, accounted for the lower teen turnout.

“The weather was a factor, but it’s a fickle group,” said Wallace Goode, executive director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s a great sign for Tuesday.”

Last year, teens came back in similar numbers for Halloween, and police presence ramped up, but there wasn’t time to organize volunteers.

The more than 60 volunteers out Saturday planned to be back Tuesday in similar numbers, and there is also an organized event for teens at 59th Street and Woodlawn Avenue on the Midway Plaisance.

Organizer Maggie Brown said Hyde Park remains one of the safest neighborhoods on the South Side for kids on Halloween, and the neighborhood should continue to plan something safe for teens to do.

“Let’s do something on purpose for teens,” Brown said. “Let them come from Englewood and Woodlawn, and we will show them how to act.”

Volunteers may get another year to plan something for teens on Halloween, with temperatures expected to be an unseasonably low 34 degrees Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.