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By Patty Fantasia
Photo credit: Patty Fantasia

Starting New Halloween Traditions in the Downtown Area

The celebration of Halloween began long before dark on October 31st in the arts center district as participants began registering at the intersection of Hoover and 4th before 4pm to strut their stuff in the first ever Las Vegas Halloween Parade. Officially starting at 7pm the event was open to anyone in costume and featured dressed up animals, a variety of decked out vehicles, art work and pulsating music. From a daddy with a little girl in frog costume to Batman and Robin on a homemade bat cycle there were people of all shapes and sizes decked out walking the one mile route down 4th to Ogden Street. Among the marchers was a youngster dressed as an undead pirate, who is a native Las Vegan. Accompanied by his parents, the couple had decided not to hold their usual at home party in Green Valley, but to come join in the parade with their son instead. There was a mix of people who were new to the Las Vegas area, as well as those seeking something different to do. Along the way spectators lined up by the Fremont Street Experience snapping photos and shooting video as they watched the parade come dancing by.

The brainchild of Cory Mervis of Flying Pan Productions LLC, the recently transplanted New Yorker couldn’t believe that Las Vegas didn’t have a Halloween Parade like the ones she’s enjoyed back home in Manhattan, so she decided to change that and start one. With assistance from presenting sponsor the Las Vegas Weekly, she organized volunteers and got the community involved. Spreading word throughout the valley that the parade was based on the belief of “Radical Inclusion”, Cory made it clear that people of all ages were welcome and that they should come and have fun. Creativity was strongly encouraged and there was no charge in order to be included among the costumed marchers. Once reaching the finish line many continued on to the official after party at the Gold Spike Hotel and Casino located at the end of the parade route. There everyone had the chance to mingle while being entertained by the Black Rock Syndicate.

Another event taking place in the downtown area was the Sin City Zombie Ball held at Las Vegas Rocks Café, which was formerly Jillians. Presented by Got Films and RH McClurg’s Sikink Tattoo Studio, this celebration was strictly for the 21+ and older crowd and featured giveaways, a costume contest, live music and special guests. The doors opened at 6pm and bands playing on the Marquee and Embassy Theatre Stages included Joe Strings, Pride and the Vanities, Domestic Fury, Dead End, Sector 7-G, Drainage X, Thirty 3 Threes, The Ultimate Sin and Redeemer. Some other highlights were appearances by Tattoo Tony from Under My Skin in NJ and Live Painting done by Andres Correa of Canada. Nightmarish Special FX was provided by Mike Baker from Bad Taste Special Effects while DJ Dan Diamond acted as MC and DJ Speedy of Cinema Therapy handled spinning in the front room. Tickets were $8.00 in advance or $10.00 at the door and the organizers are hoping that it will be the first of many events like this combining tattoo artists, musicians, filmmakers and those who wish to support local artists.

Documenting the festivities from start to finish was New York filmmaker Arin Crumley, who was busily shooting a short about Halloween in Las Vegas. Aside from filming the parade from start to finish and interviewing some of the interesting costumed characters in it, Arin enjoyed stopping by the Zombie Ball and turning his camera on the Fremont Street Experience and other parts of the downtown area hoping to capture many aspects of the evening. Once the project is edited, it will be available for online viewing.

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