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Police tell South Florida woman she needs permit to wear Halloween costume

Cat Uden wanted to dress up as a condo building she opposes. Police told her it was considered a protest.
Credit: AP
Cat Uden shows her Halloween costume that protests a 30-story condo proposed on Hollywood beach, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Hollywood, Fla. Uden said she was warned by a local police officer not to wear the Halloween costume since it would be considered a protest for which she needs a permit. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A South Florida woman wanted to make a statement with her Halloween costume by dressing up as a condo building project she opposes. 

She says a local police officer warned her not to, but according to Facebook posts, she did it anyway.

Cat Uden has been an outspoken critic of a developer's plan to build a 30-story condo on taxpayer-owned beachfront land in Hollywood, Florida.

Ahead of the city's Hollyweird Halloween block party, Uden posted in a Facebook group encouraging others to dress up like the condo building or hold “No Condo” signs to raise awareness for their cause, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

But Uden ran into an issue when she says a local officer told her the costume coordination plan would be considered a planned protest march, for which she needs a permit.

According to posts by Uden in the "Hollywood Residents-Speak Up" Facebook group, she had previously applied for permits for protests she has held against the condo developer in the past but did not consider this plan a protest.

The Sun Sentinel reports that Uden and six of her friends followed through on the plan and wore their condo building costumes to the block party without issue. The newspaper adds that one woman toting a “No Condo” sign says she even got a hug from a police sergeant. 

It appears Uden isn't backing down from her cause any time soon. She posted pictures and videos of people smiling and dancing in their condo costumes at the party with the caption, "Thanks to the Hollywood PD at Hollyweird Block Party for keeping us safe and respecting our freedom of speech. Fun was had by all. It was great event."

She told the Sun Sentinel she plans to hold on to her costume and wear it in case they have a demonstration in the future.

There has been debate over similar issues in the Tampa Bay area after Sarasota City commissioners approved a developer's plan to build a high-rise hotel on Siesta Key.

The plan was a point of contention between people who want to further develop Siesta Key to keep up with the area's rapid growth and those living in the area who don't want to see their home overrun by high-rise hotels.