There was a real-life witch-hunt going on in Old Town Bay St. Louis on Saturday, but the witches were the ones doing the hunting -- and they were hunting for a good time.
The fifth annual "Witches Walk" was bigger and better than ever, organizers said Saturday, drawing more than 374 registered "witches" who were looking to brew up some fun and raise thousands of dollars for a good cause.
Participants lined up in front of the Daiquiri Shak on Court Street Saturday morning to register, dressed in their best witchy-wear. Prizes were awarded for Best Hat, Best Shoes and Best Broom. Many of the participants spent hours, days and even weeks on their costumes.
Later in the day, all the witches made their way to the Cedar Rest Cemetery for a group photo, and paraded down Main Street.
"We appreciate everybody coming out," Yuki Northington said. "I think everybody had a great time."
Northington -- who organized the Walk along with Kay Kell and event-founder Karen West -- said it drew people from several different states, but it brought in a whole "coven" from New Orleans.
"They heard how good our event was and they wanted to see how we do it, which I think is a good thing," Northington said. "I think next year we're going to go for the world record, because the record is 483, and we didn't even really advertise it this year."
West said the first Witches Walk just included herself and a few of her friends.
"My friends from Jackson all came down and we celebrated one of their birthdays -- it's on (October) 30th," she said. "We all dressed up like witches and we had so much fun, so we did it again the next year.
"Then Mickey Evans and Barb Fillingame got involved and we added hopping onto the trolley, and that was a lot of fun, but all those things changed and I kind of took over. This year, I got Yuki (Northington) and Ning Wiebmar involved, and they kind of brought in the Old Town Merchants Association."
Once that happened, the event grew huge, she said.
"Everybody was clamoring to do it again next year," West said. "Next year's going to be bigger and better."
This year's event raised more than $7,000, Northington said, and the crew will donate funds to The Kings' Kitchen, Brenda's House, the Bay Ratz Marching Battery and the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center.