New Year’s Eve plans curtailed, for some

Despite traces of fear, some vow to party on Dec. 31, while others stay close to home and family.

By Brittany L. Turek/Special to The Malibu Times

Some people make their plans for New Year’s Eve months in advance, while others wait until Christmas is over to even begin to think about what they might do on Dec. 31.

“I usually just ask around a couple days before New Year’s Eve to find out where the parties are,” said John Mourning, a sophomore at Viewpoint. “I like to keep my options open.”

This year, though, will be different for some. In addition to the usual hazards this holiday is known for, such as drunk driving and rioting, there is now the question of terrorist acts. Sept. 11 made the fears of some a reality for all. While many people will still be attending parties and going out on the town, others will be spending a quiet evening in the safety of their homes.

“You couldn’t pay me to go to a party this New Year’s Eve,” said Lacey Moore, a 35-year-old sculptor. “I’ve lived in Malibu for almost five years, and every year I’ve gone to a huge party. But after everything that’s happened these past couple months, I just wouldn’t feel safe going out. It’s been a bad year. It really has. And I’m perfectly fine with staying home with my husband and our dog, waiting until midnight, and then going to sleep.”

Moore is not the only one who will be celebrating from home. Gary Brunson, a commercial actor and Malibu resident for 10 years, will be watching movies with his three children until midnight.

“I go somewhere for New Year’s [Eve] every year,” he said. “Last year, I went to New York City with a girlfriend to watch the ball drop in Times Square. It was great. We had a lot of fun. But I hate flying to begin with. September 11 only confirmed what I’d feared all along. I would much rather be with my kids, munching on popcorn, drinking sparkling cider and watching some movies, than deal with the hassles at the airport or go to some huge party with a bunch of people I don’t even know. I really have my priorities straight right now, and that means being with the people that I love.”

Still, many people are more determined than ever to go out this year and have a good time, like Laura Heinonen, a sophomore at University of Oregon and graduate of Malibu High School. Although Heinonen has yet to make plans for New Year’s Eve, she knows she won’t be sitting at home when the clock strikes midnight.

“I’m not going let the fear of the possibility of being in danger affect how I’m going live my life,” she said. “If anything, [the terrorist acts have] made me want to live my life even fuller, have even more fun. I don’t want to hole up. Nine-eleven made me realize that life is so precious. It’s given me more reason to live everyday to the fullest.”

Jared Stair, a Malibu construction worker, echoed Heinonen’s sentiments.

He and his family will leave for Hawaii the day after Christmas and will return Jan. 3. “My wife’s a little nervous about flying,” he admitted. “She wasn’t sure she even wanted to go anywhere. But I told her that if we stay home, they win. The terrorists will have succeeded in making us prisoners in our own home. So, no, we’re going to Hawaii, and we’re going to enjoy being together as a family. And she couldn’t argue with that.”

“Being with family is probably the theme for the New Year,” agreed Brunson. “I mean, fly to Europe, go to the biggest party in town, whatever. But wherever you go, make sure you’re surrounded by the people who matter most to you. Then, if anything should happen, at least you’re with the ones you love.”

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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