Community meeting aims to address Hyde Park Halloween vandalism

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Hyde Park community came together Wednesday night on Chicago's South Side to address the mayhem of Halloween night, when groups of teens set off fireworks and vandalized homes and cars.

The meeting was hosted by organizers of a teen Halloween festival that some neighbors blame for the chaos. Some have said the event should not be held again next year.

"We are all here tonight because we know that something has gone terribly wrong," said Dr. Rachel Cane, volunteer for Teen Halloween.

The throngs of teens had raced through the neighborhood. Some climbed on cars, others lit fireworks. The mayhem left behind a slew of shattered vehicles and even fire damage.

"I heard the explosion, and I wondered - my wife thought the same thing - that maybe there was a gas explosion at an apartment building across the street," said Van Bistrow, Hyde Park resident.

Bistrow's vehicle was also among those that was damaged.

The chaos lasted about half an hour after a teen Halloween festival ended nearby, sending hundreds of kids onto residential blocks.

"What happened outside is tragic. I'm not trying to make any excuses for it. I think that those who do things in the wrong should be punished for it," said Brian McCoy, Teen Halloween volunteer.

Organizers of Teen Halloween said Wednesday night the vast majority of kids who attended were not part of the chaos and shouldn't be demonized. They hope to hold the event again next year.

"What happened on Halloween night is a symptom of a larger systemic issue," Cane said.

Last week, the alderman said police were looking at social media to try to identify some of the teens responsible for the damage, but so far there's been no word of any arrests.
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