Costa Ricans — except in some expat enclaves — have been slow to adopt the U.S. tradition of seeking candy house-to-house on Halloween. But the trick part of trick-or-treat is well established.
Law enforcement expects a busy Noche de Brujas tonight, Thursday night and perhaps into the weekend.
For some youngsters and young adults the night is a time to behave badly, set fires, extort money and perhaps even stickup the local store.
Consequently, the Fuerza Pública has had plenty of practice cracking down on street violence and arson. They are planning to have more practice this week.
The agency noted Tuesday that some crooks use the Halloween mask as a cover for stickups. The agency and the security ministry urged merchants to prohibit the entrance of persons wearing masks.
They also urged parents to keep a close eye on their children.
Police know where the trouble will be: Pavas, some sections of Heredia and maybe in a low-income barrio or two in San José and Alajuela. They also said that they are giving priority to entertainment spots, commercial centers, parking lots, banks, automatic teller booths, bus stops, churches and even cemeteries.
Expats might run into trouble accidentally if they drive into marginal neighborhoods or if they are afoot.
The downtown expats bars have high security, but the security usually ends at the doorway. The Casino Colonial has a Halloween event scheduled for Thursday night. The Hotel Del Rey scheduled a repeat of its successful Saturday event the same night. Sportsmen’s Lodge has its event Saturday.
These are traditional parties, but the aware expat will opt for a taxi when the party is over.
Police also will be on the lookout for drunk drivers which is another reason in favor of taxis.
For younger targets, police are concerned with adults infiltrating groups of young people and perhaps offering candy that might be some kind of drug. The police said they are concerned by efforts at sexual molestation to which the night of the witches lends itself.