As the first anniversary of the Seoul Halloween crowd crush approaches, discussions on how to celebrate the upcoming celebration on October 31st are widespread online among South Koreans.
There is hardly any mention of spending Halloween in Itaewon, where the tragedy happened, Instead, most people point to the streets of Hongik University or Hongdae, as the preferred party location.
Last year, the streets of Hongdae saw an influx of young people eager to embrace the Halloween spirit on October 30th, just a day after the Itaewon disaster. However, there are concerns that this year could witness a ‘balloon effect,’ with crowds gathering in Hongdae.
Authorities are conducting preliminary inspections in anticipation of any potential emergencies. The Mapo-gu Office, responsible for Hongdae, has initiated a 10-day inspection in crowded areas near Hongdae from the October 10 to identify potential risk factors. During the period from the 27th to the 31st, when large crowds are expected, the district office, Mapo Police Station, Mapo Fire Department, and Hongdae Merchants Association have planned daily joint operations from 7 to 11 p.m. to prevent safety incidents.
Yongsan-gu, where Itaewon is situated, is also taking proactive measures in collaboration with public and private entities and the police to prevent recurrence of any accident. From the 27th to the 1st of the following month, an on-site situation room will be established at the Noksapyeong Station plaza on Seoul Subway Line 6 to manage crowd dispersal and traffic on roads and sidewalks directly.
South Korea’s famous theme parks such as Everland and Lotte World, known for their traditional ‘Halloween specials,’ are opting to step back from Halloween celebrations.