Halloween in the Castro is more about the gay community than about the Castro.
Years back while the Castro was just beginning to become a gay ghetto, Cliff's variety store would sponsor a Halloween party for the neighborhood kids outside the store on Halloween night, it was a big event for the neighborhood that went back many years. At the same time the gay community was celebrating Halloween on Polk Street and it was usually televised on the local news and all the straight people would go to Polk Street to watch all the gay costumes and drag queens.
As the Castro evolved into a gay neighborhood, it was only natural that Halloween would migrate to the new gay neighborhood. Cliff's variety is still there and prosperous today, but they don't have the kid's Halloween party anymore, but they still construct the animated window displays every year, the spirit of Halloween continued.
This year was no exception, the variety store's windows featured a giant foot in a black pump that had just crashed through the ceiling of the store. In the window on the other side of the store entrance, was just the spike heel protruding through the ceiling. One had no trouble visualizing the giant drag queen's foot that had crashed through the ceiling at Cliff's.
Over the last 20 or so years, Halloween in the Castro has grown larger each year until now it has become a dangerous place to be for some on Halloween night. Punks and gangs roam the area, bringing weapons and there is a lot of trouble. There have been fag bashings in the past, and several people have been arrested. It still has the festive element of Halloween, but all the drugs and alcohol and trouble seekers take all the fun out of it. It has turned into a freak show for the heterosexual curious people from other parts of the city as well. During Halloween night the Castro has more "straights" than gays.
The fun Halloween, can be seen the week-end before, when the "Muscle-sissies" have their annual costume and cocktail party at one of the local bars. They rent limos and spend thousands on drag and costumes -- the event is really something to see! For hours all the limos pull up and out step some of the best dressed drags and tuxedos in town. Very buffed muscle guys in drag is a real sight, and that is the purpose, just to have fun and show the world their feminine side.
This year (1995) there was an admission charge for the Castro. Maybe this will get things back to a more manageable event. One that can be enjoyed by all. An event where people can express themselves and not be in fear of violence and intimidation from the negative influences outside our community.