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October 30, 2014

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Vegas offers a Halloween spectacle for all ages

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Steve Marcus

Jaden Brittell, 2, dressed as Pinocchio, prepares to walk in the third annual Halloween Parade in downtown Las Vegas Wednesday, October 31, 2012.

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 | 11:58 p.m.

Halloween in Vegas 2012

Zombies menace guests going through the Haunted Alley during Halloween in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Launch slideshow »
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Vernon and Heidi Ferguson, dressed as a nun and the pope, push their little devil, Jean, 1, at the District's Halloween event at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012.

A male nun, a female pope and a little devil in a stroller walk around the District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson.

Nearby, Spiderman and Batman stand in line with prisoners, witches and werewolves for fun-size Dots, Dum Dums and Jolly Ranchers. Farther down the foggy walkway populated with cobwebbed trees and a giant ghost, Pocahontas dances to techno music next to Sonic the Hedgehog.

It can only mean one thing — it’s Halloween.

Costumed children and parents crowded the District for a trick-or-treat event. Many shuffled along in a line collecting candy at each of the stores, while others danced along to the music played by the DJ. The event offered families an opportunity to let their kids trick-or-treat without the danger of a neighborhood's roadways.

“My favorite part is just the environment,” said Vannessa Hernandez, who took her 6-year-old daughter Alexis (Minnie Mouse) and 7-year-old son Julian (Mortal Combat fighter). “It’s a safe area. You don’t have to worry about cars or them running around.”

Heidi and Vernon Ferguson, who brought their 1-year-old son Jean, were also drawn to the safe environment. They dressed up as the pope, a nun and a devil for their son’s first Halloween.

“We just wanted something that matched, and something really accurate that would crack people up,” Vernon Ferguson said laughing.

The walkway was also filled with families just enjoying the opportunity to dress up. Irina Ruse and her family all dressed up as characters from "The Wizard of Oz." She spent about two weeks stitching the outfit together.

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A trick-or-treating princess is shown at the District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012.

Gregg Nicholson spent a year putting together his costume as Jason from the "Friday the 13th" movies, and garnered his share of looks. Nicholson said he did it all for his four kids.

“My kids are having fun, so I get to have fun too,” Nicholson said.

Still, the true goal of the night was not lost on 7-year-old Zac Dixon, who dressed up as a Ghast (a boxy, pixilated ghost from the video game Minecraft). When asked about his favorite part of the night, he needed one word: “Candy!”

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Janice Wallman, from left, Bruce Wall, Karen Libonati and Mike Libonati, of Vancouver, British Columbia, said they’ve been planning their costumes for their Vegas Halloween visit since July. Oct. 31, 2012.

Meanwhile, people on the Strip packed bars and casinos as if it were a weekend night. There were large crowds outside Bally’s and the Bellagio Fountains, and bars were dotted with costumed people just starting their night. Even some street performers got into the spirit, dressing in Halloween-themed costumes like Freddy Krueger.

Many visitors dressed in elaborate costumes, with the most popular being superheroes and pop culture characters such as the Flash, "Reno 911" characters and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Strangers approached each other on the sidewalk to guess costumes and take photos, while others stopped to gawk at the traffic where many drivers and passengers were decked out in scary gear.

Some visitors spent weeks or months planning their costumes and came to Las Vegas specifically for Halloween. Janice Wallman and her friends Bruce Wall, and Mike and Karen Libonati traveled from Vancouver, British Columbia, to celebrate Halloween.

“Bruce didn’t shave for like a week to get his costume right,” Janice Wallman said about her friend Wall’s Dog the Bounty Hunter costume.

The group plans to spend the night roaming the bars and enjoying the spectacle on the Strip.

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Adam Benson, of Leeds, England, wears a leather bondage suit and passes out handbiller cards on the Strip as part of a Halloween dare for his bachelor party, Oct. 31, 2012.

“We like it because it’s even more entertainment than normal,” said Mike Libonati, who along with Karen, are spending their third Halloween in Las Vegas.

Adam Benson of Leeds, England, came to the city for his bachelor party. He was on the Strip participating in a series of Halloween-related dares that included standing in front of Planet Hollywood dressed in a full-body leather bondage suit and mask and passing out handbiller cards.

Other visitors chose not to dress up and were just out to admire the costumes. While there were plenty of costumes to marvel at, some visitors were disappointed by the Strip’s low-key, midweek vibe.

“It’s more mellow than we expected,” said Renato Medrano, who was in town with friends from Monterey, Calif. “People told us Halloween weekend was when to come, but we thought Halloween day would be better. When people don’t dress up, it kind of kills the spirit. But it’s still early.”

While people partied and children trick-or-treated, Metro Police officers spent the night making sure the roadways were safe. Police set up a DUI checkpoint at 755 E. Flamingo Road to catch drunken drivers.

Metro Police Traffic Enforcement Lt. Leonard Marshall said that since they started at 7 p.m. about 2,000 cars had passed through the checkpoint as of 11:45 p.m., and six people had been arrested. They had conducted more than 24 field sobriety checks. Marshall said it has been a quiet night, but they expect a rush around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., once the house parties end.

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