RUSSELL For one spooky evening, Russell will be transformed into Halloweentown.

Not the movie, but Halloweentown nonetheless.

Halloweentown, a collection of free, seasonal activities, will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday.

This is the first time the town is offering such an event, Kristie Patterson, organizer with Revitalize Russell, said. It's already a hit.

"Originally, we thought having Halloweentown accessible on Ferry Street," Patterson said. "We talked with the city and got Ferry Street shut down, but we had an overwhelming response from businesses who wanted to participate, so we ended up having Houston Street shut down.”

She said 72 businesses in town will participate by setting up booths and choosing activities, whether it's giving our candy or some other item or offering an activity or game.

"One is giving out dog treats and another will have Halloween henna tattoos and some will give out glow necklaces and bracelets. It will be a variety of things," Patterson said.

A haunted tunnel will be set up at the Russell Volunteer Fire Station. "It's not super scary because we want the small kids to be a part, too," she said.

Businesses will compete for best booth and best costume and Halloween music (think "Monster Mash") will be pumped throughout the local airwaves.

Halloweentown will be just a part of the day in Russell, Patterson said.

"Trick-or-treating will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and Halloweentown will be 5:30 to 9 p.m.," she said. "We don't want to take anything away from neighborhood trick-or-treating. We want you to enjoy this in addition to trick-or-treat."

Patterson said it was important to draw people into town because of the revitalization process Russell is experiencing, especially because new businesses have opened. It's a chance to learn what is available in the downtown.

"It's a safe place with businesses involved," she said. "We'll have police patrolling and working with the city of Russell, and the city council will have a booth as well."

Because this is the first Halloweentown, Patterson said she doesn't know what to expect in terms of attendance, but thinks there could be as many as 700 children.

"It's going to be a fun time," she said.

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