COMMACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some Long Islanders are blaming a church for creating chaos by hosting a family Halloween party last year.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the group now wants to prevent the same church from doing it again. Some Commack residents have turned in a petition asking if it is too late to pull the plug on the popular event.
People are in the Halloween spirit on Shirley Court in Commack – with real-life fears. Residents said throngs of revelers made last Halloween truly frightful.
“It was bedlam,” one man said. “We had cars lining the streets. There were some people that were not being very Christian about parking.”
Neighbors said Church Unleashed, which sits on the residential block, caused chaos. The Candy Lane-themed family Halloween party last year was free and open to the public, and neighbors said it was anything but fun and games for them.
An expected crowd of 600 mushroomed to 1,500. Now with this year’s party in the works, neighbors have filed a petition asking if it can be cancelled:
They city an overload of cars and people, driveways being blocked, arguments erupting, dirty diapers thrown on streets, and “utter disregard for our community.”
“There was a lot more people that came than we ever hoped for,” said the Rev. Todd Bishop, pastor of the church.
Church pastors said they will move the event indoors, are working with police to manage crowds, and apologize for last year.
“I think we are trying to do all the right things to help our community; to be courteous of our neighbors, but also be able to what we feel God has called us to do, which is to help kids have a good safe environment,’ Bishop said.
“This is actually the first time we are hearing about it, and I’m wondering why it took a year for us to even know,” said the Rev. Mary Bishop, also a church pastor. “Just come and let us know.”
Last year’s attendees hope the show will go on
“This is a family friendly event — safe for the kids — and it’s just disheartening that you find people are up in arms about this with all that’s going on in the world,” said Melissa Caleca of Commack.
The Town of Smithtown will vote on the permit on Oct. 27 — two days before the event. Church leaders said if they keep the event entire indoors, they don’t need a permit. But they would like the town and community’s blessing.