DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Halloween celebration is expected to bring thousands of people to Dayton Saturday night. Businesses and police spent Friday preparing to welcome close to 20,000 people to the Oregon District.

With skeletons, spiders and ghosts galore, Salar in the Oregon District swapped out their usual decorations for something a little spookier.

General Manager Brandi Perrine said Halloween is Salar Chef Margot Blondet’s favorite holiday, so they celebrate all month long, especially during Hauntfest.

“We get all the decorations out, we clear out the front dining room, we have a DJ come, and we just do everything for Halloween,” Perrine said. “We cater to the Hauntfest people up front, and then our regular guests in the back.”

Hauntfest on Fifth is the Oregon District Business Association’s biggest fundraiser of the year, which helps cover costs for beautification, snow removal and marketing.

The annual Halloween party returned in 2021 after one year off because of COVID-19.

This year, though, organizers don’t expect the pandemic, or bad weather, to scare people away.

“They kind of anticipate a real full return to that big street party,” Lily’s Dayton owner Emily Mendenhall said. “For folks who are more wary of being indoors and prefer outside. I couldn’t be happier with the forecast for this weekend.”

With an estimated 18,000 people expected to attend, the Dayton Police Department will be there too.

They’re reminding partygoers that no weapons will be permitted, real or fake, even if it goes with your costume.

“Sticks, knives, fake knives, squirt guns, anything that appears to be a weapon will be confiscated at the gate,” Lt. Stephen Clark said.

Perrine said last year’s event was a success, and Salar is looking forward to this year’s Hauntfest.

“We had a really awesome turnout,” Perrine said. “We had a great costume contest and then we even had a lot of people walking in off of the street to come in and party with us.”

Hauntfest starts at 7 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m. Tickets are available online or at the gate Saturday night.