'Castroween' is officially back and thriving

Seventeen years after a mass shooting injured nine people, Halloween in the Castro is officially back.

Kids of all ages were decked out in their costumes for the relaunch of the annual bash.

Margaux Poueymirou brought her daughter to the celebration.

"I think there’s no better place in America to celebrate Halloween than the Castro," Poueymirou told KTVU.

"I’m having fun!" Willa Poueymirou said.

Halloween has never completely gone away from San Francisco’s LGBTQ district, but this is the first big event in 17 years.

Nine people were injured in the mass shooting in 2006.

Drag performer Olivia Hart was there.

"I was about a block or so away. I heard it, the commotion. The streets were cleared," Hart recalled. "We lost our fun. Hopefully tonight we get it back full force."


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By 2007, the bash would become more of a bar-hopping event, along with heavy police presence.

Civic Joy Fund President Manny Yekutiel is the driving force behind the effort to bring the community back together.

"This really was a project of unity that brought together so many organizations that are interested in making the Castro the greatest place it can be," he said.

Merchants benefited from the turnout.

"People are out in full force, and we’re jumping, and it's very good," Cliff’s Variety owner Martha Asten said.

At the heart of it all was the century-old Castro Theater, showing Halloween blockbuster classics like "Hocus Pocus."

KTVU caught up with the stars of the movie, the Sanderson sisters, in the flesh.

There is no magic spell to pull off their look.

"Uh, two hours of a lot of makeup!" drag performer Christian Ashton said.

"And that’s what Halloween really is about: candy, going door to door, having that fun with your kids," drag performer Melanie Sparks said.

More than 40 Castro businesses opened their doors for this event.

Organizers said the Civic Joy Fund is planning to donate more than $100,000 back to those businesses for their time and support.