Photo Caption: The Halloween crowd goes wild as DJ Dave Rave takes the stage Saturday at the corner of Court and State streets.
This weekend marked one of Athens' most famous happenings (or depending on your perspective, infamous). As students, locals, visitors and vendors flooded Court Street dressed in everything from slinkies to rock stars, from athletes to Amish, here's what happened at the 2012 Athens Halloween Block Party.
(See a full pictorial depiction of the party at our Halloween 2012 photo gallery.)
Ohio University freshman Adam Buyer of Perry, Ohio, said he had never seen the likes of it. Sporting a doctor's outfit while hugging his girlfriend for warmth as they stood on a balcony during a house party on Mill Street, Buyer said if he had to describe the long-lived Athens' tradition in one word, that word would be "crazy."
"I really had no idea what to expect but wow, this is great," he said. "It's definitely living up to its reputation."
Jesse Gustafson said he has been to five Halloweens while attending OU, and agreed that Athens is mainly known for its hocus-pocus celebration.
"It's the best party in the state. I don't think there is a Halloween party like it anywhere else," he said while stroking his ersatz Amish beard.
It's no secret that the event has received mixed reviews over the years, but according to Cody Lawson, a 20-year-old OU student, the weekend was pretty tame.
"It keeps getting better and better. Nothing too out of control has happened, and everyone is just having a great time. Not to mention I love all the sexy costumes," he said with a laugh.
Oh, yes the costumes. Hundreds of scantly clad women hit the bricks despite the cold, damp weather. Though plenty of costumes focused on sex-appeal, a number of creative costumes surfaced Saturday night including an elaborate home-made peacock costume, a play on party "animal," and a large clump of cotton candy. A couple Forrest Gumps and one Lt. Dan, wheel-chair and all, also roamed the Court Street strip.
There was plenty of people-watching to do, but the number of killer musical acts demanding the attention of block party attendees interrupted some of that. Popular local DJ Dave Rave attracted a large crowd with a costume contest, and Bright at Night had everyone on their feet.
"I'm so glad I was here instead of in Cincinnati. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else tonight," said Emerson "B" Bartlett of Bright at Night.
Halloween headliner Hellnaw stole the show, however, and so many people were packed in front of Court Street's North Stage at midnight to catch the group's live performance that it looked like a scene from Athens' Halloween's past. Onlookers danced, screamed, grooved and moved to the beats while the band rocked its mix of jazz, funk, psychedelic tunes.
"We had a really great show tonight, and I'm glad we had such an incredible turnout," said Ian LeSage, who was sitting in with the Hellnaw duo.
Hellnaw bassist Josh Wicker introduced himself as "Snoop Dog the Bounty Hunter," wearing a blonde wig and a leopard-print ensemble. They kicked off their set by shouting, "Let's get weird!" to the rambunctious crowd, stirring them into a frenzy. Later that night, Wicker said someone stole his wig so he had to just be Snoop Dog.
At one point in the evening someone dressed as Apollo Creed got into a fight with Rocky.
Ben Debemedictis was visiting from West Virginia and said that overall, he was impressed by the small-town event.
"I used to live in New Orleans, and there, people would dress up five nights in a row. I think it's cool that here it's just one night of a good time," he said.
One night of Halloween is probably all that Athens can handle.