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Police may close Front Street on Fright Night

By Staff | Oct 29, 2009

Professional underwater photographer David Fleetham will present a half-hour underwater photography slide show on Sunday, Nov. 1, following the 9 a.m. service at Lahaina Hongwanji Mission. The public is invited and admission is free. Fleetham’s “Hawaii: A State of Isolation” serves as an introduction to Hawaii’s underwater world, and explains why it is such a unique environment filled with fascinating creatures.

LAHAINA — Lahaina Police will see how many people show up to celebrate Halloween on Front Street, then make a decision  on regulating traffic that evening, said Officer Lawrence Kauhaahaa.

If crowds are small, both lanes of Front Street may be opened to motorists following the Keiki Halloween Parade around 5:30 p.m.

If 20,000 people arrive, one lane or both lanes may be closed, along with side streets connected to Front Street in the heart of town, until the crowds decrease, Kauhaahaa explained at a town meeting on Halloween held Friday morning at Maui Community College-Lahaina.

This year, the 31st annual Keiki Halloween Parade sponsored by Soroptimist International of West Maui, Lahaina Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise will start at 3:30 p.m.

Pint-sized ghosts, goblins, witches and other costumed keiki will gather at the corner of Papalaua and Front streets to kick off the popular event.

Parents may accompany small children, but the parade is for keiki.

This year, these West Side service organizations welcomed the Wharf Cinema Center/MJT Corporation and Expedia as additional sponsors. 

“We greatly appreciate all the support we’ve received from the community to help us put on the parade again this year,” said Ruth McKay, Soroptimist International of West Maui member and longtime parade committee chair. 

“A special mahalo goes to The Westin Maui for loaning their portable stage for the event.”

The keiki marchers by grade level will be led down the parade route by the ROTC Drill Team from Baldwin High School carrying the flags of the U.S. and State of Hawaii, followed by the Lahainaluna High School Marching Band and Cheerleaders. 

Following the keiki will be bagpiper Rev. Paul Tangonan and cars carrying parade Grand Marshals Pat and Richard Endsley, Soroptimist President Molly Elmo, Rotary Club of Lahaina President Rick Nava, Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise President Charles Keoho and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Maui Fire Department’s truck will signal the end of the parade.

The parade will end at Banyan Tree Park, where keiki will be invited to walk across the stage to show off their costumes and take pictures. 

Each keiki will receive a ribbon of participation and a trick-or-treat bag of candy. 

Rotarian Joe Pluta, who has been involved with the parade throughout its history with McKay, will emcee activities at the park. 

He called the parade “fun interaction between parents and children and the community of residents and visitors in gathering together for fellowship and good times.

“It seems to be a win-win situation that always brings smiles and prosperity to Lahaina Town.”

Granted a county permit for the parade, the organizers thank the police and county for their assistance and advise motorists that Front Street will be closed beginning at 2:30 p.m. 

All cars parked on Front Street should be moved prior to the 2:30 p.m. shutdown.

McKay asked merchants not to throw candy to children in the parade, as it’s unsafe and interrupts the children moving.

Lahaina Cannery Mall will provide a fun and safe place for families to enjoy Halloween magic, photos with Frankenstein by Imaging Plus Hawaii, trick-or-treating, crafts, face painting and a keiki costume contest on Oct. 31.

Trick-or-treating kicks off at 5 p.m. from store to store, followed by magic combined with traditional hula by Kupanaha performers at 5:30 p.m.

The keiki costume contest follows at 6:30 p.m. More than a dozen prizes will be given away in three age groups (0-4, 5-8, and 9-12), plus scariest costume, cutest costume and most-creative costume. Halloween Cannery Kid’s Night is free for the whole family. Call 661-5304 for information.

The Wharf Cinema Center’s 26th annual Ghoulish Gala Karaoke Costume Contest and fifth annual Keiki Karaoke Costume Contest will be held on Halloween. 

Registration begins at 5 p.m., up to 6 p.m. for the keiki and to 7 p.m. for the Ghoulish Gala, to be hosted by Lahaina’s own “Queen of Karaoke,” Toddy Lilikoi. 

Contestants must be in costume to win. The event is free and open to the public. 

Winners will be awarded prizes worth over $1,000 in Wharf Bucks, activities, travel, meals and gifts from The Wharf Shops & Restaurants. 

After being dormant for a couple of years, The Wharf’s Haunted House is back and filled with thrills and surprises. The keiki show is open from 1 to 6 p.m., and the scary adult show from 6 to 10 p.m., daily up to Halloween day. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for kids up to 12 years of age. On Halloween, Oct. 31, the Haunted House will stay open late.

Following the Karaoke Costume Contest, the entertainment will continue with Marty Dread at Cool Cat Cafe from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Mulligan’s At The Wharf will feature live entertainment by the Sounds of Addiction from 9:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.  

The Wharf is located at 658 Front St. across from Banyan Tree Park. The Wharf’s souvenir Halloween T-shirts and tank tops are available for purchase all week at the Haunted House and on event night. For more information, call 661-8748.

Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center will kick off its “Gateway to Fall Savings” Shopping Season with “Keiki Trick-or-Treat Night” on Friday, Oct. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. Bring your keiki in costume and pick up “treats” at stores and restaurants throughout the center. This event is for small kids — age 12 and under only.

Creatively decorated pumpkins from King Kamehameha III Elementary School are on display at the stores, and many participating merchants will have featured specials.  

Back to Front Street, the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission (CRC) denied LahainaTown Action Committee (LAC) a permit to coordinate a Halloween celebration in 2008, so the organization did not apply this year.

LAC closed Front Street to motorists for the Fright Night celebration, offered entertainment on stages throughout town, coordinated a costume contest and food booths in Banyan Tree Park and brought in Port-O-Potties for the thousands of revelers, among other facets.

Now there is no event insurance or permit, and police must run Halloween as a busy regular day, said Kauhaahaa.

“We’re going to play the hand we’re dealt,” he commented.

When asked if the event was handled better under LAC’s management, Kauhaahaa said some organized Halloween events saw large numbers of arrests and ambulance calls.

He explained that lots of variables come into play, and it’s tough “anytime there are that many people on a small road” and crowds, drinking and drugs are involved.

Police and rescue authorities breathe “a huge collective sigh at night’s end,” Kauhaahaa said.

At Friday’s meeting, Bill Pacheco of the county Department of Liquor Control said inspectors will watch for serving to minors or over-serving customers, noting “last year wasn’t too bad.”

Paul Haake of Maui Fire Department urged bars and restaurants to watch occupancy — count people coming in and leaving — and keep entrances and exits clear.

Lahaina merchants don’t know how many people are coming to Lahaina for Halloween, but one store owner said residents and visitors are disappointed the world-known event is fizzling without the features LAC provided.

Meeting attendees said Oahu is “bright enough” to invite people to celebrate Halloween and close Waikiki’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, for the event.

Why isn’t Maui County promoting Halloween in Lahaina?

County Public Information Officer Mahina Martin said the celebration is held in a historic district, and the CRC — a citizens’ panel — is trying to manage a major event and balance cultural and commerce concerns.

If the mayor throws out the commission’s decision, the process is compromised, Martin said.

“It’s a difficult situation. It’s not easy at all,” she said.

Martin encouraged LAC, which experienced management transition this year, to apply for the 2010 Halloween permit several months early, so the community can air the pros and cons of the event.

It won’t be an embattled issue if all sides can discuss it thoroughly, she said.

Kauhaahaa and town merchants plan to meet to recap the 2009 Halloween event.