Halloweentown madness in Russell

Oct. 29—RUSSELL — Thousands of trick-or-treaters donned in costumes descended upon downtown Russell on Saturday evening.

For those familiar with the 1998 Disney classic "Halloweentown," Russell paid tribute to the seasonal favorite by erecting giant Jack-O-Lantern at the entrance of the city and local businesses and elected officials transformed for the festive gathering.

Countless trick-or-treaters rotated throughout the main stretches of downtown, stopping at every business or residence for a quick candy-exchange.

Tap dancers kept attendees entertained on a wooden dance floor set up in the center of the street, a traditional haunted house welcomed a steady rotation of visitors, an Alice in Wonderland-inspired experience welcomed more and the UK vs. Tennessee football game projected in a business window entertained even more.

Juan Diego-Ortiz and Mesalina Ortiz, owners of Taco Brothers and El Colonial, set up with their own Dia de Muertos-themed candy destination.

"It's a great turnout and more than we expected," Juan said.

Directly across the street, Kim Harbison, however, had grown accustomed to the large showing.

Taking part in passing out candy in downtown Russell since 1982, Harbison knew to come prepared by buying the amount of candy she thought she'd need and stored even more.

"We ran out the first year," Harbison said, while handing a sucker to a young Spider-Man. "We're seeing more littles than past years, but they have all been very well-mannered."

Several firefighters posted outside the city's fire station, including Fire Chief Billy Selvage. He said thousands had visited their station for a glance at a fire truck, a fist-bump and a candy exchange.

Although a massive crowd, the event was well-organized with clear walking routes, entrance and exit points.

Ashland City Commissioner Josh Blanton gave kudos to the city of Russell on social media Saturday evening: "This is how you do it. City officials participating, every business open and participating, walkable and pedestrian-friendly event, (with) thousands of people."