10.18.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Ah, Halloween. That time of year when you get to dress up, pretend to be someone else for a night and beg strangers for candy if you’re a kid, or for a drink if you’re an adult.

I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. I’m one of those people who most others complain about because while everyone is deciding what nine costumes they are going to wear to each party they are attending, I’m the guy walking up and down the Christmas aisle figuring out what colors and pattern my tree will be this year.That’s right, Walmart, Target and CVS all put their decorations out in September for me and I don’t feel sorry about it. I even have my holiday playlists all set up, and if we’re being honest I started to listen to them six weeks ago.

I haven’t always been meh about Halloween. It seems it went in cycles. As a kid, I loved to get dressed up, pull one of Mama’s extra pillowcases out of the linen closet and go door-to-door yelling “TRICK OR TREAT” at the neighbors until they gave me candy. All of us kids dressed up as Batman, Freddy Krueger and Madonna wandering the streets at night was an exciting time.

As I got a bit older, the idea of putting together a costume and walking around the neighborhood for hours seemed exhausting. Plus when I hit puberty I got pretty fat and walking anywhere in the Florida heat when I’m fat is a big no thank you. I would stay in, watch horror movies and hand out candy to the thin children. Enjoy that sugar now kid, eventually it’s going to catch up to you!

In high school, I got a job at the local movie theater and cinema never takes a day off, so I just started working on Halloween. After my shift, I would slip into one of the theaters, sit in the back and watch a scary movie on the big screen to celebrate the holiday.

Eventually I lost the weight and, thanks to the Air Force, moved to a colder climate where friends started wanting to go to parties for Halloween. Most years my costume consisted of wrapping my bed sheet around myself and going as a ghost. I’d head to the party and go keg-to-keg yelling “TRICK OR TREAT” at the barkeep until he gave me a beer.

That carried on through my 20s and into my 30s until I got fat again (I’m starting to see a trend here) and I went back to planning out horror-film marathons in my living room while I hand out candy to all the thin children dressed up as Kim Kardashian, Jake Paul and PewDiePie. Full disclosure, I had to Google who is popular with the kids these days and those names all came up. What happened, you guys?

This year, I plan on doing much of the same. I have a Netflix list of spooky tales already made up and I am prepared for the trick-or-treaters with bags and bags of Ramen noodle packs. Hey kids, to help you balance all that sugar in your bodies here is an overdose of sodium. Enjoy! Who knows what next year will bring. I reached peak “What are you doing to yourself, Jeremy?” when I saw myself in a picture and have started on a path back to a thin and healthy me a full four months before all of the other New Year resolutionaries. I feel a new cycle coming on next year.

For those who don’t want to wait until next year, we have got you covered with our annual Halloween issue. We have gathered spooky tales, chilling costumes and scary events together in one place to keep you up-to-date on all things Halloween in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

In A&E, we chat with the delightful Scott Swenson about is haunting podcast and we check in with Wade Dooley who plays songwriter Bob Crewe in the national tour of “Jersey Boys.”

In Central Florida, we look at the new Pulse children’s book that is teaching children about trauma and the One Orlando Alliance has a new executive director.

In Tampa Bay, we see what is planned for Sarasota Pride and Metro shows off its new LGBTQ Welcome Center.

Enjoy the latest issue, and you may want to read this one with the lights on. Happy Halloween!

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