Volunteers organize safe, supervised Halloween events for teens in Hyde Park

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Neighborhood volunteers are working to ensure that Halloween celebrations remain safe and fun in Hyde Park this year after last year's festivities got out of control.

The volunteers were inspired to take action after police, students and teenagers clashed on 53rd Street last year.

"I was troubled because it was only police officers and students," volunteer LaKeisha Hamilton said.

Pete Grieve, news editor for the University of Chicago's student newspaper, covered the story last year. He said he remembers feeling unsure if it was safe to stay in the area.

"Obviously, I want to cover this story," Grieve said. "But then at the same time, police officers were saying - everyone needs to go home, everyone needs to get out of the area."

As a response, local adults formed Hyde Park Teen Halloween.

Hamilton said the organization hopes to provide activities to teens who come into the neighborhood.

"Let's provide activities...so when the young people come, it's just not complaining neighbors saying, "Get out of the neighborhood," Hamilton said.

On Saturday and the evening of Halloween, volunteers in orange shirts will welcome teens to 53rd Street. The Harper Theater will offer discounted movie tickets Saturday, and a party with a DJ will be held on Halloween at the Midway Plaisance.

Aldermen for the 4th and 5th wards have also announced a free Peace Fest to be held at the Promontory on Friday night.

"They are welcomed, valued and embraced in Hyde Park and our community," said Dr. Rachel Miriam Cane. "We love them. And we expect them to behave in a certain way...and we want to model that for them."
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