It's going to be one of the spookier and most stressful Halloweens any of us have ever known this weekend — what with ongoing pandemic fears, the total absence of normal costume frivolity, and being just a few days shy of an election that feels like a Black Mirror episode. And the San Francisco Police Department would like everyone to know that they will be on the hunt for public-health rule-breakers, and you will get in trouble if you get caught throwing an actual Halloween party.
The city, like others around the state, has already put out a message strongly discouraging trick-or-treating this year — though some parents are probably going to give in and allow some type of candy collecting to happen rather than face screaming jags and tantrums about the pandemic ruining everything.
But late last week, as Eater first reported, the SFPD put out its own guidance around Halloween geared more toward adults who may be itching to throw a real party, masks and all. The department is adding extra patrols on Saturday, October 31, and says that officers will be on the hunt for scofflaws having indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than 12 people — and it's encouraging you to narc on your neighbors if they're throwing a Halloween rager where COVID could be getting passed around with the punch.
The SFPD says it "will have sufficient staffing to all of its ten Police Districts," and warns that it's taking this party-busting beat seriously. Also, just in case you were planning anything more elaborate, the cops remind us that haunted houses and Halloween carnivals are prohibited as well.
It sounds as though there will be the usual amount of official discouragement of any street-gatherings in the Castro — with the long-ago Halloween block parties in the Castro now a distant memory anyway for a variety of reasons besides pandemic health orders.
If you see an illegal party happening and you want it shut down, you are told to called the department's non-emergency line at 415-553-0123. Do not call 911.
It's unclear if tickets or fines will be issued, or if party-throwers will just get a stern talking-to. (So far in the pandemic, we haven't heard about the SFPD actually fining anyone for, like, getting too friendly in Dolores Park without a mask, etc.)
So, put on your wigs, have your 12-person parties, and make all the spooky Instagram Stories TikToks you want. But stay vigilant!
The last thing we need is another spike in cases and stricter lockdown orders...