Saturday, November 28, 2015         

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Halloween in Lahaina has its foes

One man files a court motion, and "risqué" costumes are banned

By Gary T. Kubota


Tens of thousands of people are expected to frolick Wednesday at Halloween in Lahaina, called the Mardi Gras of the Pacific.

But Native Hawaiian Richard Dancil has filed a motion in state appeals court to halt Halloween in the Lahaina Historic District.

Dancil, who lost his court case in Maui Circuit Court to halt the celebration, is alleging Halloween activities in Lahaina are insensitive and cause harm to the Hawaiian culture. No hearing has been scheduled for the motion.

From 2008 through 2010 the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission denied the town merchants a permit to hold their annual costume contest after some people complained that certain costumes in past Halloweens were lewd and went against the goals of a historic district.

The county also did not close Front Street for those three years, as on several prior Halloweens.

But the lack of the merchants' costume contest and the closing of Front Street did not stop thousands of people from celebrating Halloween in Lahaina, although fewer people were in attendance, observers said.

Maui Mayor Alan Ara­kawa, who assumed office in 2011, found a way to hold the town merchants' costume contest last year, without requiring the commission's approval. Front Street was also closed that Halloween night.

Lynn Donovan, executive director of the LahainaTown Action Committee, the merchants group, said the organization is promoting Halloween in the town as a family event in 2012 as it did in 2011, and that authorities won't allow public display of lewd costumes.

"We're going to do what we did last year," Dono­van said. "If anything is too risqué, they're not allowed."

The county is operating Lahaina bus shuttles from Kalama Park in Kihei and the War Memorial complex in Wai­luku.

Donovan said police have stressed that possession of alcohol in public areas is prohibited, including streets, sidewalks and parks.

Parking will be prohibited from 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to 2 a.m. Thursday on Front Street, from Prison to Baker streets; Dickenson Street, from Front Street to the Baldwin House parking lot; Lahainaluna Road, from Front to Wai­nee streets; and Papa­laua Street, from Front Street to the Lahaina Center entrance.

An annual children's costume parade starts at 4:30 p.m.

The winner of the merchants' costume contest that night will receive $1,000, followed by second prize of a one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort, two rounds of golf and a gift certificate to Kimo's Maui restaurant. Third prize includes six one-way tickets on go! Airlines.

The 29th annual Ghoulish Gala Kara­oke Costume Contest is also held at the Wharf Cinema Center, and fishermen at Lahaina Harbor are planning to hold a Halloween Shootout tournament.

Donovan estimated about 20,000 people attended Halloween in Lahaina in 2011.

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