Stores combat an ugly Halloween tradition

Two years ago on Howard Street, along the Chicago- Evanston border, so many homes, businesses and vehicles were egged that some residents still refer to it as the “Egg War of 2006.”

It was a disaster,” Evanston Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said. “Given the world situation, calling throwing eggs a disaster might sound like a stretch, but some people had to spend $1,000 to clean up the mess.”

Starting last year, two community groups, Brummel Park Neighbors and Network 2424, backed by Rainey and Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th), decided to try to crack the problem at the source by asking stores to stop selling eggs to youths around Halloween. Moore’s office sent letters to grocers, and Rainey tracked down a renegade store that supplied eggs used in a smaller number of eggings last year.

The egg blockade seems to have worked, residents say, though it will be tested Friday.

This year we don’t expect any,” she said. “There’s just no way.”

While informal egg bans are common in the UK, in Illinois it’s a bit more scrambled, said Laimutis Nargelenas of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

He was unaware of other departments encouraging the halt of egg sales. “What do you do if the kids come in to buy eggs for mom and dad?” he said. “On the other hand, if they do see a group of kids come in, maybe it’s a good idea to call the parents.”

Bernard Garbo, head of the 2424 Network, said a “great side benefit” of the egg crackdown, which is accompanied by volunteers patrolling streets with two-way radios, is it puts drug dealers on alert.

Store owners such as Yourash Matti, whose shop still bears a stain from an egging last Halloween, are supportive.

They were like the devil,” said Matti, owner of Leon’s Liquor and Grocery. “I don’t sell at Halloween now to kids any age. This is not a joke, really. From tomorrow, no eggs in my store.”

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