A horror film festival, short-form horror story contest, campfire stories, and creepy storytelling for adults are featured in Tampa Theatre’s 2019 Halloween season event.
The historic and haunted Tampa Theater will be presenting 14 evenings of petrifying programming on select nights from October 18 to 31 with the return of its A Nightmare on Franklin Street Halloween celebration. This year’s event includes a horror film festival, a short-form horror story contest, ghost tours, family-friendly campfire stories, and an evening of creepy storytelling for mature audiences featuring scarelebrity Scott Swenson reading from his latest book.
The Horror Film Festival Returns
This year’s A Nightmare on Franklin Street features Tampa Theater’s annual horror-film festival, which begins on October 23 and takes place on select nights through October 30. This year’s movies range from Young Frankenstein to Us to Goosebumps.
Trick or Tweet Short-Form Horror Story Contest
“Trick or Tweet” is the first, short-form horror story contest to be sponsored by the landmark movie palace. In its, “Scare us in 280 characters” challenge, Tampa Theatre is inviting horror fans and followers to submit short-form horror tales. Finalists will be invited to share their stories in the October 30 storytelling event, Awake in the Dark, which will be hosted by Scott Swenson.
A short-form horror story goes something like this: “My friend felt he had a hair caught between his eye and his glasses. He couldn’t get rid of it, so he looked in the mirror. A tick was crawling on his eyeball. Nighty-night, sleep well.” This little gem was recently tweeted by Stephen King.
Entries are limited to 280 characters, and there’s a $5 entry fee per submission. The Tampa Theatre team will choose its 10 favorites. The top story—as decided by audience applause—will win $500. Prizes will also be awarded for second and third place. To enter the contest, visit https://mkt.com/tampatheatre/item/short-story-entry-nightmare.
Ghost Tours of Historic Tampa Theater
Also part of A Nightmare on Franklin Street are ghost tours including the “balcony to backstage” tour, which focuses on the historic movie palace’s ‘ghostly guests, preternatural patrons, and eternal employees.’ New this year is the Paranormal Investigation Experience add-on, which allows guests to explore these stories of the theater’s spiritual residents for themselves.
Campfire Stories—Spooky Family Fun Under the Starry Sky
At 7 pm on Halloween Eve, guests of all ages are invited to gather ‘round the campfire under the movie theater’s starry sky to listen to harrowing Halloween tales. Author and Tampa scarelebrity, Scott Swenson, will host this family-friendly evening of PG-13 tales featuring the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay. Tickets are $10 ($7 for Tampa Theatre members) and are on sale now. Doors open at 6:00 pm.
Awake in the Dark—Creepy Tales for a Mature Audience
At 9:30 pm on Halloween Eve, guests are invited to help Scott celebrate the release of his fifth book, Awake in the Dark, which features chilling short stories and poetry. Scott will be joined onstage by members of the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay and the winners of the Trick or Tweet short-form horror-story contest for an R-rated evening of spoken-word horror intended for a mature audience. Tickets are $10 ($7 for Tampa Theatre members) and are available now.
Besides taking home $500, the winner of the short-form horror-story contest will be invited to appear on Swenson’s popular horror-industry podcast, A Scott in the Dark.
Scott will be signing copies of his books in the lobby before and after both storytelling events.
Tickets for all A Nightmare on Franklin Street events and programs may also be purchased at the Tampa Theatre Box Office, located at 711 N. Franklin Street in downtown Tampa.