Ghosts, goblins and quite a few goths got to bask in warm, sunny Halloweekend weather on Sunday in San Francisco's Castro District.
At the intersection of Market and Noe streets, costumed families and pets became part of the spectacle at a Halloween block party thrown by the Castro Merchants Association.
With classic dance hits and uptempo beats by DJ Tweaka Turner, the blocked-off street became a jostling and joyful runway for year-round cosplayers letting the real world catch up to them, as well as kids in outfits showing off their inner angel, astronaut, dinosaur or video-game character.
Block party organizer Lauro Gonzalez said the day's full itinerary included a story hour with Per Sia and an "awesome magic show," along with music breaks, drag shows, art installations by a local Noe Street artist and "a lot of candy, too."
Gonzalez said the best costume he saw was a kid dressed up like a robot, "which was really amazing."
"He made it himself with his parents, and it was like, super, super cute," said Gonzalez, who noted the boy won the kids' costume contest. "And for adults, I've seen Chewbaccas. I think they're going to show up here later on."
Off to the shade-covered side of Noe Street, resident Susan Porter Beckstead was readying small bags of popcorn for block partiers.
"I'm actually trying out to work in the theater; that's why I'm doing this," Porter Beckstead joked. "It's been very, very busy. ... I didn't know how to make popcorn. It's a rather trying task."
In the run-up to the party, she said she hung 150 small blue bats on strings over Noe Street, as well as other decorations.
"I've lived in the neighborhood for about 40 years. This is a real neighborhood-neighborhood," she added. "I mean, it's the suburbia of San Francisco. We know our neighbors; we like our neighbors; we party with our neighbors. What else can you ask for?"
Drag queens Olivia Hart, Kelly Rose and Christina Ashton greeted costumed block partiers, posing for pictures and giving out candy. It was their second gathering of the weekend, following a party on 19th Avenue in the Sunset District.
Asked if Halloween was a holiday, a normal day or a day to look forward to, Hart said: "Busy. It's kind of like Christmas, but better. Spookier!" The trio, who perform as Three Queens Are We, carry out fundraising work on behalf of the Grand Ducal Council nonprofit.
But the afternoon's stars were the pets on display in costume. One canine came dressed up as a Target employee, another was Waldo of the Where's Waldo books and others showed up as Elvis (with the jumpsuit to match) and Prince.
The pet contest winner, crowned by the crowd's acclaim, was a corgi named Pumpkin, who wore a delightfully detailed San Francisco cable car costume.
For the occasion, Mission Bay resident Phillip Jia, Pumpkin's human companion, wore an old-school burgundy SF Municipal Railway T-shirt and ball cap, while his fiancee, Jessie Margolis, wore a classic Muni "wiggle" logo on a ball cap, along with a T-shirt bearing the conductor slogan, “Information gladly given, but safety requires avoiding unnecessary conversation.”
Jia said the costume concept came to the couple a few weeks ago, and they worked on it over a few weekends.
"Pumpkin has accepted his lot in life," Jia said, when asked how the pooch was handling the costume and its requirements.
"I will say his birthday is Halloween, so he's quite used to wearing lots and lots of ridiculous costumes. Actually, he's dealing pretty well, because it's staying on his back."
George Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org