LUMBERTON — For a tall person, walking into Cristal Graham’s office is a nightmare.
Graham, the IT manager at The Robesonian, began her Halloween decorating the week after Labor Day, and the creepy centerpiece — a netted drape complete with skulls and snakes — dangles above her doorway.
Wearing pumpkin earrings, Graham talks excitedly about her passion for the haunted holiday.
“It’s my favorite holiday,” Graham said. “There’s something about the spirit and the colors and it’s the prequel to the holidays.”
Graham’s mother made all of her costumes, a tradition Cristal continued with her daughter Tierra. This year she hasn’t decided if she will dress up as a CSI investigator or a vampire.
Whether you are planning an elaborate costume or simply wearing a sheet with two eyeholes this Halloween, we want to see it.
The Robesonian’s Virtual Costume Party, sponsored by Bargain House of Lumberton, kicks off Monday. Photo submissions and votes are free — just one click away on the newspaper’s website.
This contest is no trick — winners will be treated to hundreds of dollars in prizes.
“It’s a one place access for local people to have fun and show off their costumes and win prizes,” Graham said. “Plus, it’s free.”
Here’s how to enter: Choose a photo of your child, yourself, your friends — anyone you want, as all ages are eligible for prizes in certain categories.
Visit Robesonian.com/contests/ and fill out the online registration form with contact information that we will need should you win. If you have entered any past The Robesonian contests, your username and password are still valid. Then attach the photo to the appropriate category.
They include: infant/toddler, sponsored by Cottonwood/Riverwood Elementary; kids ages 5 to 12, sponsored by Fair Bluff Ford; teenagers, sponsored by Excellent Choice Home Health Care & Uniforms; adults, sponsored by Matthews Boutique & Gifts in Pembroke; and group theme, sponsored by Oasis Sweepstakes.
Submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 4.
There will be an overall winner, who will receive a $300 store shopping spree from Bargain House, as well as a winner in each category. The overall winner will be ineligible to win a category, with that prize going to the costume with the second-highest number of votes in that category.
Prizes include a $145 infant toy basket in the infant/toddler division; a $150 Gift Certificate for Fair Bluff Ford’s service department in the kids ages 5 to 12 division; a $145 store shopping spree at Excellent Choice Home Health Care & Uniforms in the teens division; a $145 shopping spree at Matthews Boutique & Gifts in the adult category; and $100 cash and $50 in match play at Oasis Sweepstakes in the group theme category.
Once you have submitted the photo, show it off to your friends and family. Voting begins Nov. 5 and continues until Nov. 18. The contest website enables you to use social network sites to solicit votes.
On Nov. 21, the winners will be announced in The Robesonian.
Joe Craig, the publisher of The Robesonian, remembers his favorite Halloween. In college, he dressed as a voodoo man, an outfit with feathers that garnered him and his costumed friends attention from the local newspaper.
“It was a costume that made me look crazy,” Craig said. “It was very, very colorful. I wished I had been the gorilla but the guy in the gorilla suit was bigger than me and filled it out much better.”
Craig hopes the community sends in photos to add to the funny, clever, scary or just plain outrageous collection of costumes on the website.
“I think it’s a good time for people to let their creative selves go,” Craig said. ” … People get a kick out of — I can’t believe that person is dressed like that. And it’s only once a year.”
— Features Editor Amanda Munger can be reached at (910) 272-6144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.