By Katie Andress
For many, Halloween is a thing of the past. Gone are the days where children can roam freely through neighborhoods in search of candy and wait for things that go bump in the night. All Hallows’ Eve is no longer a time to celebrate the dead with outlandish costumes and decorations, but merely a precursor to bigger holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
10/31 Consortium has set out to bring All Hallows’ Eve back to life in the city of Baton Rouge. Since its inception in 2010, this non-profit organization has not only created a new Halloween buzz for the city, but also holds true to its motto, “Community Courage Creativity” by doing charitable works while preserving the traditions and folklore of Halloween. Some of these events include the annual Big Buddy Costume Drive, the Ghostly Gala and of course, the Halloween Parade.
This 5th Annual Ghostly Gala was held at De La Ronde Hall in downtown Baton Rouge. All the ghouls and goblins were out Saturday night to recognize this year’s king and queen, Corey Tullier and Lauren Collins, and Grand Marshal, Gary Stewart. Tullier and Collins are veteran members of the Krewe, earning their titles by doing community service projects. Points are given for participation in Krewe projects and events throughout the year. The man and woman who have the most points at the end of the year are crowned Halloween Parade King and Queen.
“I think the community service that’s done with the Baton Rouge Food Bank, Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, and the Big Buddy Program makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the children our organization serves,” said Tullier. “It’s all about giving back to the community.”
Stewart, this year’s Halloween Parade Grand Marshall, is Baton Rouge’s only New York Times Bestselling author with his book, “The Most Dangerous Animal of All,” a biographical memoir about searching for his biological father and finding a serial killer. When asked how he became Grand Marshal, Stewart said, “About the time they were looking for a Grand Marshal, I released my book. I think the serial killer fascination sealed it for me.”
Stewart also commented on his favorite memories of Halloween. He talked about trick-or-treating as a child and how much things have changed since then.
“Back when we were kids, it was always safe. You knew all the neighbors and the parents didn’t have to worry. It was okay to run down the street with your friends.”
This year’s gala, which is the Krewe’s preceding event to their parade, included a silent auction, goodie bags, and costume contests. Each table was adorned with spooky décor to match the theme for the evening. Costume contests included, “scariest, funniest and most creative costume,” and of course, a Halloween ball would not be complete without playing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Party-goers were dressed in their best costumes, mostly witches, to coincide with this year’s theme. Scooby Doo and the gang were there as well.
The Halloween Parade is set to roll on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. Parade-goers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the parade, as the Baton Rouge Food Bank will be collecting donations along the parade route.
“This parade definitely has something for everyone,” said Kelley Stein, founder of 10/31 Consortium and the Baton Rouge Halloween Parade. Spectators with young children can enjoy the parade in the family friendly, or no alcohol zone and the no scare zone. There are also two party zones on 3rd Street, and the official after-party will be at The Roux House.
For those wanting to join 10/31 Consortium, please visit the website at 1031consortium.com, to fill out an application. Annual dues are $31, which gets eligibility to have a Krewe in the parade and to purchase tables at the ghostly gala.
“We describe ourselves as Halloween with a heart and a parade with a purpose and want people to join us,” said Stein.