Thousands of students joined the "Move Halloween to Langdon 2006" Facebook online networking group to have a say in Madison's Halloween.
Now, the Facebook group has evolved into a registered student organization called Halloween Action Committee, to help plan for the event.
"We'll have a large blitz of information in about two weeks," says group founder Tom Wangard, who hopes this year's celebration will be fun and safe.
Wangard and other Facebook group members are working with promoter John Kunz to line up entertainment for the event. Ad2Madison, a group of young communications professionals, is partnering for promotions.
As a result of student input, says Wangard, the city made several changes to its Halloween plans. It raised the limit on the number of people allowed in the State Street area; decided to staff entrances with private security rather than police; and made sure food carts and entertainment would be available.
Another main focus for the Halloween Action Committee and Ad2Madison is to "rebrand" Halloween as Freakfest.
"We want to make it an entertainment event," says Katie Shepherd, government director for Ad2Madison. "Not just an unstructured gathering as in the past." Her group has helped design the event's logo, tickets, posters and ads.
Wangard says "upwards of 100 individuals" have been involved in suggesting performers. The Halloween Action Committee has come up with a list of possible bands, with the actual bands to be determined based on available funds.
With just three weeks to go, the committee and promoter are scrambling to line up acts. "It's a time crunch and we'll do our best," says Wangard. "We'll have a lot more time to prepare next year.
Meanwhile, in a break from prior years, the UW is going to make alternatives to Freakfest available at Union South. A number of registered student groups through the Associate Students of Madison have asked for space, says Dawn Crim, assistant director of community relations in the Office of the Chancellor.
Associated Students of Madison and the Wisconsin Union Directorate have been working to make reservations for groups, and Crim says they have agreed use UW Madison staff and faculty as "chaperons."
Also available, as in the past, is the Union South Game Room. The Daily Cardinal student newspaper reported game room coordinator Bob Wright unveiling a slogan to attract students to an alternative: "Why pay $5 to get pepper sprayed on State Street?" Instead, students can spend the same amount and enjoy unlimited access to pool, bowling and popcorn.
Such a deal.