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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, January 21, 2022

From tear gas to Third Eye Blind, State Street's changing Halloween landscape

UW-Madison students and visitors have come to love Halloween today. In the 1970s Halloween was an informal gathering of costumed students and visitors along with a lack of gated fences and ticket sales. However, after being made an official event in 1979, Halloween on State Street gained not only national attention, but crowds reached 100,000 by the early '80s. Halloween on State Street got out of hand in 2002 as the Madison Police Department had to deploy tear gas for the first time in over 30 years in an attempt to control an estimated riot of 65,000 attendees. After these events, the City of Madison's government took control of the event along with a name change, officially calling the event Freakfest. Today Freakfest has calmed down since the days of the riots with a maximum admission to the event of 35,000, after purchasing a ticket, and limited entrance to State Street.

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