Preparations are underway for the thousands of costumed visitors who will fill Court Street on Saturday night for the annual Athens Halloween Block Party.
Although it seems Athens Halloween crowds have been getting smaller in recent years and the block party has on the lineup, special preparations still must be made by local businesses for what is known as one of the biggest block parties in the nation.
That includes some of the several bars that line Court Street and their employees, who are preparing their inventories and environments for the unusual influx of customers who will visit the establishments seeking spooky drinks and fun throughout the evening.
Tanner Stottsberry, a senior studying marketing, has worked at The J Bar, 41 N.Court St., as a bartender for less than a year, making this his first time working Halloween. Despite not experiencing it before, he feels prepared.
Because Homecoming, Halloween and Dads Weekend all fall on subsequent weekends this year, Stottsberry said The J Bar has been especially concerned with crowd control. However, he’s still looking forward to seeing the creative costumes people will wear Saturday and helping partygoers to have an enjoyable Halloween.
“(We) keep the crowd under control since a lot of people come down that don’t go (to school) here, so they don’t know how to respect the environment,” he said. “But (we’ll) still show people a good time.”
Rachel Recchia, a senior studying aviation, isn’t as worried about the larger-than-usual crowds. She’s worked as a bartender at Courtside Pizza, 85 N Court St., for two years and said the bar typically prepares for the Halloween crowd by ordering more liquor and having a few extra people on staff.
“I think it’ll be fine,” she said. “It’ll just be another night.”
Sophie Miller and Madison Simon, who are both servers at The Pigskin Bar and Grille, 38 N. Court St., said they don’t do many special preparations for Halloween. Small changes, such as having a smaller menu and setting up more tables to accommodate the crowds, are made to the bar.
“The bar knows to be ready,” Simon, a senior studying psychology, said.
An extra emphasis is also placed on security. Simon said she once saw a woman dressed as a character from Avatar be turned away by a security guard because her elaborate makeup seemed to obscure her identity.
As waitresses, Miller and Simon said their Halloween evenings aren’t typically too outrageous because their shifts end at 9 p.m. before the block party crowd reaches its peak numbers.
“Usually, serving is not that crazy in here,” Simon said. “It’s not busy really for us.”
Joe Lujan, a senior studying civil engineering, visited a few bars during the Athens Halloween Block Party last year.
“It was insane,” he said. “It was a different atmosphere.”
Unlike what some bar employees may think, Lujan said Halloween feels like the craziest weekend of the year to visit the uptown bars. This year, he and his roommates plan to dress up as characters from King of the Hill and visit one of their favorite bars, either Lucky’s Sports Tavern at 11 N. Court St. or Stephen’s on Court at 66 N. Court St.
“Athens itself is a small community, but then when you get people from out of town, it’s insane,” he said. “Normally you see familiar faces, but whenever you’re at the bar on Halloween, it’s something else.”