SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - On Halloween eve, merchants in the Castro are gearing up for a very busy weekend. Halloween is big business in the Castro, second only to pride weekend.
On Friday at nightfall, people came out to celebrate early.
The marquee at the Castro theater is showcasing the thrills and chills of Halloween.
One couple dressed as Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird to watch a horror movie.
"It's just getting into the spirit early. They know how to put on a show and we figured why not," said Lila Butler of San Francisco.
Wes Horn , dressed as Oscar, tells KTVU why he travelled from Davis to get to the Castro, " It's got a big Halloween tradition even without the gatherings. It seems like the place to be."
Inside Cliff's Variety, some Halloween items have sold out. But there's still plenty left for the imaginative procrastinator. Prices are half off starting Friday.
"I'm getting some last minute festivities together. Going to have some drinks with friends and hitting the bars after," said Kameron Bain of San Francisco.
Castroween is synonymous with costumes and make- believe.
"It's a chance to express yourself and be another person for a couple of days. I think that's really fun," said Jess Vanderbilt who plans to attend a party Friday night and go bar hopping in the Castro Saturday.
Inside QBar, the drinks are flowing.
"It's a party all the time ..not only halloween ...all the time," said David Hoyos of Los Angeles
But for Halloween, business is expected to double or triple.
The bar's general manager says extra stock, extra help including security all set for this weekend.
"You have the Castro, you have New York City. Those are the big party towns. We are in the heart of Castro Street. This is really going to be a huge one for us," said Cip Cipriano with QBar.
" If it's one thing we know how to do is throw a party."
There is an increased police presence in the Castro this weekend, but no street closures.
On Halloween, merchants are expecting large crowds with people arriving early and staying late.