Take a stroll down one of Manhattan Beach's "walk streets" on Halloween night and you may believe you have just stepped onto a Hollywood set. Elaborate decorations, haunted houses, spooky lighting and the costumes to match draw thousands to the sidewalks between Third and Eleventh streets every year for the annual Halloween ritual of trick-or-treating.
While almost all neighborhoods across the country celebrate Halloween, the traffic-free walk streets help take trick-or-treating to a new level.
"Over the years, all the people on the street have decided to up the game," said Fifth Street resident Mark Howorth. "It is just something we have not talked about, but we all go large."
And perhaps no one should know about going large better than Howorth himself.
In front of his house stood a life-sized guillotine, among the many other bigger than life decorations adorning the front yard. Under the blade rested styrofoam heads attached to dummy bodies dressed like clowns.
Dressed as a clown himself and speaking to gathering audiences, Howorth would start his routine.
"He was once a good boy," said Howorth of the dummy clown up for execution. "But... One day his mother made him a nice dinner and he said to her 'I don't like vegetables'," he continued.
"This is a crime punishable by death," he cried. "Should he live or should he die?" Howorth screamed to the audience standing around his fence.
"Die!" screamed the crowd in unison and down went the wooden blade, cutting off the dummy's head.
"Eat your vegetables kids," Howorth said to the mostly delighted trick-or-treaters.
"I really liked it," said a ninja-costumed J.J. Chaikovsky, 7, of Manhattan Beach. "It was cool," he said before continuing down the street with his parents and twin brother A.J..
From a large tub big enough to chill a keg of beer, Howorth's wife Amy handed out candy to a steady line of children that sometimes reached 20 kids deep. She estimated that she'd bought more than 1,000 pieces of candy and was expecting an equal amount of children to pass through.
"We really do have the best street. Everyone comes here expecting this," she said.
The crowds certainly weren't limited to the Howorth's front yard. Because the walk streets are only open to pedestrians, many say they are naturally friendly for trick-or-treating. With no traffic to worry about, the streets attract trick-or-treaters from all over the surrounding area and force walk street residents to stock up on candy.
"My doorbell literally rang at 5:20," said fellow Fifth Street resident Steve Auth, who, despite purchasing 15 large bags of candy, was starting to run low around 8 p.m.
Auth said buying so much candy drew some attention. "The lady at Target wanted to know where I lived so she could come over trick-or-treating," he said with a laugh.