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More than 35,000 turn out for Halloween weekend in Madison

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McKenna Oxenden

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The 35,000- person crowd at this year’s Freakfest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was “well-behaved,” compared to previous years said Joel DeSpain, a Madison Police Department spokesperson.

Breanna Subotich, a junior in the College of Business Administration, was one of the Marquette students who made the trek to Madison. She said every house was jam-packed with people.

Major reported incidents from the festival include a possible heroin overdose and face injuries suffered from “falling stars” that were thrown into the crowd. Madison had crimes similar to Marquette, including citations for alcohol in the open, disposing of waste in a public place and disorderly conduct.

There were 14 crimes reported to Marquette’s Department of Public Safety on Halloween weekend. The majority of those crimes were underage alcohol consumption, with four offenses. Robbery, battery, vandalism and drug offenses make up the rest.

Austen Ezzel, a junior in the College of Business Administration and Freakfest attendee, said he felt “very safe” due to the temporary security that wass stationed outside many apartment buildings surrounding Madison’s campus.

Subotich said she thought there was a large presence of cops on the scene.

“(Cops) were always stopping to talk to kids on the street if they didn’t look like they were doing well,” Subotich said.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enrollment of graduate and undergraduate students totals around 39,000 people, while Marquette’s student population is around 12,000 people. Both Ezzel and Subotich said they think much of the buzz around Freakfest comes from the large number of attendees it receives.

“Madison is just Marquette on a bigger stage, but that’s more due to the fact that it’s a public school,” Ezzel said. “I know my friends (at Marquette) had a very similar weekend than I did.”

Alex Hale, a junior in the College of Nursing and Freakfest attendee, said she thinks Marquette does not have a general area to congregate. She said “it was nice to see an event that everyone could go to.”

The majority of Freakfest attendees dressed up in costumes, which ranged from the seven dwarves, “Holes” characters and Hale’s favorite: the sinking of the Titanic.

Subotich summed up Madison’s Freakfest as “quite the experience.” Hale echoed by saying the festival “was a little overwhelming but definitely fun to do at least once.”

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