By Alex Hochstrasser
This year’s spook-tacular Halloween festivities have already begun and while it is important to have fun, it is more important to be safe and have fun. In an email last week, Operation Sergeant Phillip Karampatsos of Fitchburg State University’s Campus Police explained that safety is their number 1 priority for Halloween.
“We want everyone to be safe,” says Karampatsos, “We understand the perception of college life and the activity and mindset of college students. We are here to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the night safely. We do ask that students carry their One Card or license on them as well as their cell phone. We also like seeing the students have a good time, just in a safe manner.”
Many students have heard of gang initiations occurring in Fitchburg around the time of Halloween and Sergeant Karampatsos sheds light on the situation, “This has been a long running misconception,” explains the Sergeant, “not only here in Fitchburg but nationwide. As with all cities there are gangs and undesirable elements, however Halloween does raise safety concerns and the element of fear due to the nature of the holiday.
During the Halloween season, individuals feel freer to engage in activity due to the anonymity that their costumes provide. There are some precautions to bear in mind during Halloween that will help FSU students avoid dangerous situations. “For the safety of yourself and others, do not wear a costume that includes anything that could be confused with a real weapon,” says Karampatsos.
“If of legal drinking age, don’t leave your drink unattended, and never accept a drink from someone you don’t know. Don’t walk alone at night; travel in a group at all times and never travel with someone you don’t know. Don’t walk alone on campus or off campus. If you find yourself at a party where you don’t know a lot of people or the crowd seems sketchy, grab your friends and get out. Call it a night or go to a party with more of your friends and people you know. Be cautious when approaching strangers in costume. And don’t let someone in a police costume fool you. Your provocative Halloween costume may put you in a dangerous situation, or draw unwanted attention from others. Don’t drink to excess. The point is to have fun, not be the drunkest one at the party. Plus your friends want to have fun too, not be your babysitter.”
For the campus police, creating a sense of safety and community in Fitchburg is also very important, “This year we have decided to take a more active role by hosting a coloring contest for the children ages 4-12,” says the Sergeant, “Every year the Greek Council hosts an event where children of faculty/staff and students, as well as children of the neighborhood and McKay Campus School are invited to trick or treat and experience a haunted house.”
This event was held on Sunday, Oct 26th and was a big success. “Last year the other clubs got involved and had a “Rock the Block” type of event to draw in new members,” explains Karampatsos, “they were also invited to go through the haunted house or the “Thompson Tunnel of Terror”.
The campus police are present to ensure the safety of the FSU campus. Sergeant Karampatsos reminds us, “As cliché as it may sound, have fun in a responsible manner, be respectful of others, and know when enough is enough. As fun as Halloween can be, we would like to see everyone around to celebrate Thanksgiving.”
Campus Police will be around on Halloween night for everyone’s safety. Their number is 978-665-3111. Please don’t hesitate to call because their job is to protect students and ensure their well-being.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!