My Interview With WLIO-TV

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Happy Halloween! Not sure if you guys would consider this a trick or a treat, but here’s my live television interview with WLIO out of Lima, Ohio.

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 2.29.06 PM

I’ll see about getting this imbedded into the site, but for now, click here to watch.

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Valuable Coupon For My October 31st Book Signing

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To coincide with my Halloween book signing at The Book Loft in German Village, they have decided to offer a spooky coupon, which will take a whopping 31% off your total in-store purchase. So if you were looking for an excuse to start stocking up on your holiday gifts, may I remind you that autographed books make great presents!

The coupon is only good on October 31st, so feel free to share this post/coupon with all your friends and neighbors and I’ll see you on Halloween night at The Book Loft!

Oh yeah, and my signing is scheduled to run from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. More information on my signing can be found here.

Click on the coupon below to view it (and print it) at full size. You can also just print this page and bring it in for your discount, too. Basically, as long as they can read the coupon, you can use it.

coupon-halloween2013

ONW Update: Halloween Returns To Bexley Elementary School

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Those of you who wrote in to express your sadness (and in some cases, outrage) over the decision of the Principal at Maryland Elementary School in Bexley, Ohio to cancel their annual Halloween festivities can now rejoice: Halloween is back!

Late Friday evening, October 11th, parents of Maryland Elementary School students began receiving an e-mail from Principal Hood, stating that the annual Halloween festivities would indeed take place this year. Plans for the square dancing Fall Festival were being put on hold. Hood’s e-mail read, in part: “it has been determined to offer a traditional Halloween celebration for this year.”

The Columbus Dispatch was unable to reach Hood for comment regarding what exactly led him to overturn his initial decision, although his e-mail does mention that he had significant discussion with all constituents in the Maryland learning community.” My guess is they all told him that a party featuring square dancing was far more frightening and disturbing than any Halloween party could ever be.

So there you have it: Halloween has returning once again to Bexley, Ohio!

Read the full Columbus Dispatch article by clicking here.

The original blog post about the cancellation of the festivities can be found here.

ONW: Judge Informs Ohio Man That He Is Legally Dead

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When I first stumbled across this “breaking news”, I got all excited, thinking I was going to be hearing about a landmark case involving a real-life zombie. Unfortunately, it was not to be, although this is still pretty bizarre.

Seems that back around 1986, Ohioan Donald Miller, Jr. disappeared. Despite the fact that police and Miller’s ex-wife, who was looking to collect on some long-overdue child support, searched high and low for him, no trace of Donald Miller, Jr. was ever found. So finally, in 1994, the state declared Donald Miller, Jr. officially “dead” and cut a substantial check to his ex, Robin Miller, for Social Security due to her and her children.

Pretty boring story so far, right? Well, something weird happened about a decade after Donald Miller, Jr. was declared dead: people started seeing him walking the streets of Fostoria, Ohio.

Just your average Fostoria, Ohio morning commute--via Emirates 24/7

Just your average Fostoria, Ohio morning commute–via Emirates 24/7

Now, it would have been totally cool if Miller was wandering the streets by the light of a full moon, crying out for brains. That wasn’t the case, though. Turns out that Miller, who is now 61, had just moved back to Ohio after spending the past few decades living in Georgia and Florida. When asked about his disappearance, Miller claimed he did it simply because he owed his ex a lot of back child support…and he’s apparently a bit of an alcoholic, too. But now, Miller was ready to put all that in the past and went to court to have that whole “legally dead” thing overturned so he could get his Social Security number reinstated,  apply for a driver’s license,  and do all sorts of other cool things the living do.

There was a problem, though. The time limit for overturning a ruling that declares someone dead is three years. So even though Hancock County Probate Court Judge Allan Davis admitted that the man standing in court “appears to be in good health”, he had to deny Miller’s claim, thereby upholding the court’s original ruling that Donald Miller, Jr. was dead. And while the judge’s ruling was a disappointment to Miller, his ex-wife was extremely happy as she claimed she was unable to pay back all of the money she had received from Social Security in 1994.

"Sure, this man looks dead. But is he legally dead? This I ask you."  --via ScreenJunkies

“Sure, this man looks dead. But is he legally dead? This I ask you.” –via ScreenJunkies

So there you have it, folks; a legally “dead” man walking the streets of an Ohio town. Although in this case, I think he’s more “deadbeat” than “dead”.

Poster for October 25th Tales From The Tombstones

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There are only a limited number of tickets available for this event, so jump on them if you want to go! Details on how to grab your tickets are at the bottom of the poster.

13-20 Tombstones Poster-page-001

Poster for October 19th Delaware Ghost Walk

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Tickets for this sell out fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait until the last minute!

Ordering information is at the bottom of the poster.

Ghost Walk flyer, 2013-page-001

ONW: Ohio Elementary School Cancels Halloween

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To be honest, this article ended up in Ohio News of the Weird simply because I don’t have a page for Ohio News of the Sad.

Jon Hood, Principal of Bexley’s Maryland Elementary School, has taken it upon himself to cancel the annual Halloween celebration at his school. The other two Elementary Schools in Bexley are still planning to continue their planned Halloween festivities. Hood, however, plans to replace his with a November “Fall Fest”, which would include square-dancing and a service project. Now how scary is that?

Hood cites several reasons for the proposed switch, including the fact that each year, about 10% of families keep their children home from school on Halloween due to:

  • religious reasons
  • they did not have the money to buy their children a costume
  • their children have “suffered nightmares” after seeing “too-realistic spooky outfits”

Let’s be honest; those reasons are pretty lame. Over the years, I have given presentations and even helped coordinate school Halloween parties. The best way to address the idea of children not being able to afford a costume or “spooky outfits” is to simply have a non-scary theme. Schools have often based their theme on popular books and/or movies that were not scary at all (Dr. Seuss, for example…although some of his stuff is kinda creepy). As for the children who can’t afford costumes, they can have a “starring role” as a narrator and have them read stories to the kids. Or they could put on a skit and the child could help with the scenery or do something else behind the scenes. Or how about this; have an old-fashioned Halloween party where ALL the kids have to draw and make their own costumes?

--via Zazzle

–via Zazzle

As for the “religious reasons”, while I don’t want to turn this blog into a religious debate, I have to admit that I find that the silliest reason of all. I grew up in the Hudson Valley, in the heart of Sleepy Hollow country and I dressed up in all sorts of spooky costumes as a kid. I was also blessed to live in a time when Trick Or Treating was ALWAYS on Halloween and, get this, lasted as long as kids wanted it to! That’s right, there was no 2-hour window with which to gather our treats. If Halloween happened to fall on a Saturday, it was an all-day affair that lasted well into the night. Know those obligatory scenes in every Hallloween-themed movie and TV show that has a group of masked kids walking down a dark, leaf-covered sidewalk screaming out “trick or treat”? That was me.

And you know what? Through it all, Halloween was always about one thing and one thing only; having fun. Usually, that fun came in the form of pillowcases full of candy, but sometimes it was from hiding in the bushes and jumping out to scare the heck out of a friend. Or maybe watching a scary movie at home with my family. And at no point, did I ever think “hey, this Halloween stuff is fun and all, but it really isn’t complete unless I do a bit of conjuring or perform a satanic ritual or two.”

You might be saying “times have changed” and that I’m out of touch with what children’s Halloween parties. But I do have a daughter. And even though Courtney is only 3 years old, I am already well-acquainted with what goes on at these Halloween parties. It’s usually a quick march around the school so the kids can show off their costumes and then a whole mess o’ cookies and other treats. Admittedly, these festivities are kind of silly, but I’ve only missed one of them. It was when Courtney was only 4 months old, so I didn’t think there would be any sort of party for her. When I found out later that they had dressed Courtney in her costume and put her in a stroller at the front of the parade, I cried because I’d missed it. And since that moment, I have kept my promise to never miss a single one of my daughter’s Halloween parties. It’s become a tradition. A tradition that I’m sure Principal Jon Hood would call spooky. To which I would counter “but it’s not as spooky as square-dancing.”

Uh oh, hot dog!--Courtney's very first Halloween costume

Uh oh, hot dog!–Courtney’s very first Halloween costume

As of this writing, parents of Maryland Elementary School have started a petition to try to save Halloween. You can view it here.

Read The Columbus Dispatch’s article on the proposed ban here.

 

*****UPDATE*****

Late Friday evening, October 11th, parents of Maryland Elementary School students began receiving an e-mail from Principal Hood, stating that the annual Halloween festivities would indeed take place this year. Plans for the square dancing Fall Festival were being put on hold. Hood’s e-mail read, in part: “it has been determined to offer a traditional Halloween celebration for this year.”

The Columbus Dispatch was unable to reach Hood for comment regarding what exactly led him to overturn his initial decision, although his e-mail does mention that he had significant discussion with all constituents in the Maryland learning community.” My guess is they all told him that a party featuring square dancing was far more frightening and disturbing than any Halloween party could ever be.

So there you have it: Halloween has returning once again to Bexley, Ohio!

Read the full Columbus Dispatch article by clicking here.