If I have one, it's Halloween.
I can't fully explain why I've come to love Halloween as much as I do, but part of me wishes I had this much Halloween enthusiasm 20 years ago.
Nonetheless, Halloween 2017 was my fifth Halloween in Vegas during the past seven years. I won't recount each of them since my first in 2011. The main reason I haven't been to Vegas on Halloween for seven years in a row: When it falls on a weekend, I am working at my haunted attraction here in Minnesota.
I started my morning with a 9 a.m. road trip. As noted from day 2, we didn't have any sort of non-stick coating for the frying pan, and I also needed one thing I forgot to bring with me from Minnesota. So it was off to Target. Having a rental car makes such trips possible.
It was a short, easy drive to Target, according to my phone map. I didn't have to fight with heavy traffic or hit the freeway to get to a Target store. The location of the nearby Target store turned out to be quite fortunate, as I would soon learn.
My friend Joe gave me cash to make a couple of sports bets for him while I was in Vegas. I warned him that I was staying at a time share property and wouldn't have automatic access to a sports book whenever he decided to make a bet. It turned out that he wanted to bet on two Monday games, but I wasn't leaving Tahiti Village until after 5 p.m., so there was little chance I would be able to make a bet for him. (Had I been able to, he would have won one bet and lost the other.) I asked at the concierge desk where the nearest sports book might be, and the woman said South Point, which she suggested was a quarter-mile south of Tahiti Village, I swear.
That sounded great, but I would learn two important things on Halloween morning: South Point was three-and-a-half miles away, and Silverton Casino was closer. Perhaps I simply misheard the woman the previous day.
So following my brief visit to Target on Halloween morning I was off to Silverton Casino, as Joe had already texted a Tuesday evening sports bet he wanted to place. There was only one problem, I assumed there was a turn to access the property after Dean Martin Drive. I was wrong. Next thing I know, I'm heading toward a variety of freeway options, and I'm not sure what I should do. Fortunately I chose to go southbound, which turned out to be a happy accident.
I drove a few miles down the freeway to the next exit, which happened to the exit for South Point. At that point it was clear that Silverton was my more convenient casino option. I asked my phone to map me back to Silverton and it basically suggested driving through a neighborhood south of the casino, parallel to the freeway. Fine with me!
It's funny how fascinating neighborhoods are in an area of the country where you don't live. I drove along neighborhoods full of modest homes, many of which seemed to be warehousing a boat, RV or some other mode of transportation in the driveway or elsewhere on the property. As I've come to expect, there's not a yard to speak of outside many of the houses, and it didn't seem like many of the houses had a lot of personal space around them. I'm sure there were plenty of patios with chairs for people to sit outside their homes when it wasn't scorching hot, but not that I could tell. I don't spend a ton of time sitting in my back yard, but I'm glad I have the space when I want it.
I was surprised to pass a roadside produce market of some sort during this five-minute drive. I didn't stop, but I couldn't help but wonder what they sold at this parcel of property between my car and the freeway. I do know they sold pumpkins, that was clear.
As I neared Silverton I saw a gated neighborhood that looked a little fancier. I was curious to know how big and fancy the homes were in that neighborhood.
Destination reached, I headed inside and quickly found my way to the sports book. Silverton has a large, pleasant casino floor, and it's rather quiet around there on a Tuesday morning in late October. People were few and far between. I bet $50 for Joe on an NBA game between two bad teams, and I felt like I was inconveniencing the guys at the sports book by showing up to place a wager. I also added $20 of my own money to the wager. I figured I wanted in on Joe's action.
It took me a minute to place the wager, because Joe wanted to bet on the Nets. I kept looking at the board and couldn't find a Tuesday night NBA game featuring New Jersey. It was only after looking at the printed odds sheet for the day's NBA action that I realized he was betting on the Brooklyn Nets. That shows you how much I follow the NBA these days.
I then returned to Tahiti Village with cheap sticks of margarine from Target to make omelets for our breakfast. From there it was out to the pool. I chose to wear pieces of last year's Halloween costume to the pool.
|It's the Halloween costume that keeps on giving. A woman I passed in the lobby of our building was inspired to sing a Village People song. My ears are still bleeding.|
We spent additional time at the pool before getting ready for Halloween. We didn't take a picture of us together, although we planned to. My girlfriend put together a hat and necklace she ordered with a few black items to be a witch. I, inspired prior to Halloween 2016, went as writer/director/actor Kevin Smith.
Halloween was the night we decided to leave the car behind. I don't typically drink so much that I can't drive, but we decided that if there was going to be such a night, Halloween was it. Fortunately Tahiti Village has free shuttles, including a couple that run downtown during the evenings. We knew enough to sign up in advance, and did so on Monday. Our return trip, had we wanted it, was 2-3 hours after we arrived outside Golden Nugget, but we knew we'd stay downtown late, so we opted to take Lyft back to the resort.
Joe had texted me that afternoon, asking me to put $50 on the Houston Astros in the World Series. Same problem as Monday, I wouldn't get to a sports book in time on Halloween. (Houston would lose that game.) He later asked me to put $50 on the Detroit Pistons, who were playing that night in Los Angeles. That I was able to do at Golden Nugget.
We ate dinner at the Main Street Station buffet on Halloween night. Folks who dress up for Halloween don't tend to dine at the MSS buffet, I learned. We had a two-for-one coupon from Las Vegas Advisor, so we paid about $16 for our two meals. It was BBQ night, unfortunately, and none of their meats were going to be as good as what we had the previous night at Ellis Island, but we found enough to get by for the evening. I certainly didn't overeat. Our cheap, mediocre dinner reminded me why I stick to breakfast when I visit a Vegas buffet.
Halloween night on Fremont Street is a busy, crowded party. It was far more crowded up and down the street on Halloween 2017 than it was on Halloween 2011. I don't recall, but perhaps there weren't bars outside every casino in 2011. The lines for those bars certainly doesn't help the human flow. Between the lines at the bars and the crowds gathered at the music stages, it's a slow, chaotic mess for most of the evening. I wouldn't be able to put up with that on a nightly basis, but for Halloween, my tolerance is rather high.
|If this is Halloween, I don't want to be there on New Year's Eve.|
My costume wasn't one that is easily identifiable to most people, but I received an occasional comment from somebody who knew what I was going for. A guy came up to me on Fremont and his girlfriend wanted a picture of him and me together. I didn't immediately realize he was going as Kevin Smith, too. He said he slapped his costume together that afternoon. You can's see it in the picture below, but he was wearing more traditional denim shorts. I was wearing the longer "jorts" that Kevin Smith prefers.
PHOTO TO COME SOON
Late in the evening I was walking through Golden Nugget to meet up with my girlfriend, and a guy sitting at a machine saw me. He was a big Kevin Smith fan, evidently, and jumped out of his seat to greet me. He asked if I'd take a picture with him, which I did. He asked his buddy sitting nearby to take the pic, and his buddy seemed slightly inconvenienced by it all.
Years ago they had a parade on Halloween night that ended near the Fremont Street Experience, and a small street party, of sorts. That doesn't quite happen any more, but perhaps they had a portion of Fremont East closed for Halloween. We never ventured past Neonopolis.
There were a few vendors on the side street toward Downtown Grand. I think one was selling temporary tattoos, or something like that, and another might have had Halloween movie memorabilia, or something of the sort. I didn't look too close, but the whole thing seemed kind of lame, including the small "haunted house" they had set up there. It was definitely small, so perhaps it was a more involved experience than simply walking through tarp hallways inside a giant tent structure set up on the street, but it looked pathetic, and not many people appeared to be lining up for the $10 experience, even on Halloween. I'd love to hear one person's report of how good or bad it was.
I don't recall what the hearse (or was it an ambulance) parked at this Halloween market represented, but it was as good of a place as any to get one decent picture of me on Halloween.
|A few friends think I look a lot like Kevin Smith.|
|White Castle, in Vegas or anywhere else, becomes far more appealing after a night of drinking.|
Halloween on a cold night in Minnesota, especially when it falls on a weeknight, is far from exciting. I can promise you I have 100 times more fun on Halloween in Vegas, and if the stars align in 2018, I'll be back in Sin City to do it all over again.
Oh yeah, regarding Joe's $50 bets on Brooklyn and Detroit, they were both the favorites, and they both lost. The only gambling I did downtown on Halloween night was at Golden Nugget. I wasted $10 on a machine and lost a $10 match play on roulette. With my $20 loss on Joe's Brooklyn Nets bet and dropping $20 at the Nugget, I was down $40 for the day.
MORE PHOTOS TO COME, SOON.