Downtown Baton Rouge transformed into a spooky, Mardi Gras-like scene Saturday afternoon.
Zombies roamed, superheroes flew and bunnies hopped during the inaugural Baton Rouge Halloween Parade, which wound its way around Fourth and Laurel streets.
The parade was sponsored by 10/31 Consortium, an area non-profit organization for Halloween enthusiasts that works to promote safe trick-or-treating, according to the group’s website.
The event benefited the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and the Baton Rouge Big Buddy Program.
Riders aboard the 20-plus units in the parade threw beads and trinkets to the crowds lining the streets, most of them dressed up in holiday spirit.
Amelia Wayne, who attended the parade with her husband, Charles, and son, Antonio, caught a bag full of beads and candy while watching the floats go by. The Waynes were dressed in attire far from their ordinary clothing, though.
Antonio masqueraded as Wolverine from the “X-Men” franchise. Charles tried to look like Spider-Man — he sported the red and blue costume from the waist up, but wore jeans for comfort.
Amelia wore a white silk dress to look like Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
She said the costume idea came from her son, Antonio.
“He told me it made me look like a princess,” Amelia Wayne said.
Amelia Wayne said she and her family enjoyed the costumes that went along with the floats.
“It’s not as loud as a Mardi Gras parade, but it’s more friendly,” Amelia Wayne said.
Marcus Gould, sponsorship chairman for the 10/31 Consortium, transformed himself into the Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland,” complete with a colorful costume and white make-up.
Gould walked up to various floats and people, asking them if they were enjoying themselves.
“Did you have fun?” he asked one woman. “Yes!” she exclaimed.
Gould said the 10/31 Consortium created the parade as a way to make trick-or-treating safer by taking it out of neighborhoods and bringing it downtown during the day.
Oh, and there’s the idea that parades are usually pretty good in the Pelican State and in Baton Rouge.
“We do parade like no one else in Louisiana,” Gould said.
Gould said he was thoroughly pleased with the turnout Saturday.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better crowd,” he said.
Halloween wasn’t the only prominent theme, though. Plenty of people with LSU and Saints gear found their way downtown.
A purple hearse adorned with flame decals rolled in the parade with the words, “Death Valley,” on its side.
One float featured a tribute to the LSU football team’s enormous approaching Nov. 5 matchup against Alabama.
The side of the vessel read, “Hey Bama, honey badger this way comes; thanks for the treat, stupid!”
The saying refers to LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu’s “honey badger” nickname.
One person, though, took the LSU football/Halloween theme to the next level — an undead level.
Rion Wilson, 34, walked around as “Zombie Les Miles,” a horrifying version of the LSU football coach.
Wilson donned a zombie mask to go with his purple LSU shirt, white LSU hat and headset.
Wilson was not so sure about Zombie Les Miles’ capability on the sidelines.
“He would be really good at eating elephant brains,” Wilson replied when asked about Zombie Les’ coaching ability.
Wilson’s wife, Claire Dixon, said she got a kick out of her husband’s costume.
“He was just sitting around the house (earlier Saturday), and I was just laughing at him,” Dixon said.