STAR-BULLETIN / 2005
Halloween in Lahaina, which has inspired interesting costumes like this Age of Aquariums outfit, will feature fewer officially sanctioned events this year.
Lahaina trims Halloween activities
A panel rejects permits for several events, citing lewd behavior
WAILUKU » Maui's big Halloween blast in Lahaina might shrink this year now that authorities have voted to ban many of its activities.
The Maui County Cultural Resources Commission denied permits this week for a costume contest, outdoor entertainment stages and craft, food and activity booths.
The commission concluded that the annual party does nothing to promote the town's rich Hawaiian cultural history. It voted 6-0 against authorizing party permits in Lahaina, which is designated as a state and national historic district.
The festivities, sometimes referred to as the "Mardi Gras of the Pacific," drew crowds of 20,000 people in previous years. Some residents complained that public drunkenness, lewd behavior and risque costumes insult the legacy of the town as the former capital of the islands.
Despite the county's action, the party will go on without the officially sanctioned events.
Members of LahainaTown Action Committee, a marketing group of hotel, shop, activity and restaurant owners, say bars will continue to book entertainment and set up their own costume contests.
The commission did approve a permit for an afternoon children's costume parade, and police have indicated they likely will continue to block traffic on Front Street, the main road through town, on Halloween night to protect the crowd.
With less advertising for the event, fewer people will come and the historic district will be better preserved, its opponents said.
"What do you want Lahaina to be remembered for: the host culture's importance as far as the home of the alii or royalty, or for the Halloween party?" asked commission member Kalei Moikeha. "It just seemed like it was very disrespectful for the host culture to allow these stages to be set up in the district."
"Last Halloween, police arrested 24 people for 32 offenses, mostly involving disorderly conduct, underage drinking and drunken driving.
Because Halloween falls on a Friday this year, there's a chance the crowd could be larger than last year, said police Capt. Charles Hirata.
"Our response is going to be the same, no change," Hirata said. "We know there still are going to be a lot of people coming into town, despite not having an organized event. It's not like Halloween is being canceled."