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Astoria prepares for Halloween

ASTORIA, Ore. — For years, kids in Astoria have known you get the really big candy bars at Coast Guard housing.

The South Slope neighborhood attracts a truly astonishing crowd of trick-or-treaters to a relatively small area on Halloween: an actual sea of people surging together up and down the sidewalks.

Often many families in the neighborhood go all out on decorations and there’s a game day vibe as friends gather in garages to celebrate and share the responsibility of passing out candy. The fire department showed up last year and handed out glow sticks — in part to make sure costumed kids were more visible in the darkness, according to Astoria Deputy Police Chief Eric Halverson.

Traditionally, Astoria police will be out in extra force on Halloween to check in at spots like Coast Guard housing that attract a crowd. In the past, they also needed to keep an eye on certain city parks.

This year, there’s a new spot.

“We’re amping up for the Goonies House since they’re advertising that they’re doing an event this year,” said Police Chief Stacy Kelly.

Behman Zakeri, an entrepreneur from Kansas, bought the house that appeared in the 1985 cult classic “The Goonies” in 2022 for $1.65 million.

This year, he’s advertised on social media that the house will be welcoming trick-or-treaters in the late afternoon through evening, something he is doing with the Astoria Uppertown Business Association. There is also a raffle for a chance to win a private tour of the house. All the funds will be donated to the association and winners will be drawn on Halloween.

“So,” said Kelly, “we expect that to be — hopefully not the equivalent of the Coast Guard housing, but it could be. You just never know when the Goonies are involved.”

Kelly says it could be a tricky area for police to patrol on Halloween and it’s a place where there’s already a lot of neighborhood conflict.

The house’s popularity has long been a source of consternation for neighbors, who have had to deal with legions of devoted fans, some who are less than respectful.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out,” Kelly said.

For Astoria police, it will be a busy day regardless. They will also have a presence downtown during a community trick-or-treating event where businesses hand out candy.

And in Astoria, Halloween is mostly about the candy.

Whether there will be any tricks is hard to say. It can depend on which day of the week Halloween falls.

“Different days of the week tend to come with different problems,” Halverson said.

When Halloween falls on a weekend, police except to deal more with adults and adult-type problems.

For a school night Halloween like the one being celebrated this year, Halverson says the biggest concern is making sure kids stay safe as they dart across streets to trick-or-treat.