It's October, so let's talk about the topic that so many of you are probably already talking about.
Halloween is back on Front Street for the first time in four years.
Whether you are for it or against it, everybody has been talking about it. In that case, let's go over the reasons why Front Street is closing down again after all this time:
Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa
Safety: Police have told us that the sidewalks of Front Street are not large enough for the crowds of people to walk though safely. Officers end up placing traffic cones along the sidewalk for the overflow of costumed pedestrians who end up walking on the road anyway. This is not an acceptable situation.
Economy: Hotels and businesses have told us that they've lost millions of dollars in visitor money because Lahaina's Halloween celebration is not what it used to be. In this time of economic hardship, Maui County cannot afford to turn tourist dollars away.
Community: I have listened to all sides of the Halloween issue, and it is clear to me that the majority of people in the county would very much like to see festivities return to Front Street. This does not mean that we are not listening to those opposed to the issue. Because of their concerns, we've addressed issues about safety, traffic, police presence and lighting, and believe we are poised to have a very safe, fun and family-friendly Halloween.
Also, I'd like to thank all the people who have voiced their support for bringing Halloween back to Front Street. They include Maui County Council members, the Maui Police Department, Lahaina Town Action Committee, Maui Hotel and Lodging Association, Maui Chamber of Commerce and Waiola Church (for allowing us to use its property), and of course, all the hard-working folks down at the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.
Please do keep in mind a couple of things if you decide to join the revelry on Oct. 31. While Maui police officers are not going to act as the "costume" police, there are ordinances they must enforce that might affect the type of costume you choose to wear.
In other words, leave the lewd costumes at home. We're not going to write a book of regulations about this-just use common sense. If you can't wear it out in public the other 364 days of the year, you're not going to get away with it just because it's Halloween.
Also, try to carpool, use the bus or take a hotel shuttle to get down to Front Street. The fewer vehicles we have flowing into Lahaina Town that day, the better.
If you do carpool, make sure someone is a designated driver. The county is working with restaurants and bars to have them serve non-alcoholic beverages free of charge to designated drivers.
Finally, respect Lahaina Town and the people who live there. Do not park in their driveways, scream and yell as you walk through their neighborhoods or disrespect their person or property in any way. Remember that Halloween falls on a Monday, so people have to get up and go to work and drop their kids off at school in the morning.
If we all behave using the principles of common sense and mutual respect, then this might be the best Halloween Maui has ever had.
Mayor Alan Araka