Join the party!

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

October 20, 2013

Can’t hardly wait for Halloween to get here? Ready to show off your spooky, cute, or unique costume? Then get a jump start on the fun by participating in The Sampson Independent’s latest online contest, a virtual costume party held at where the community has the opportunity to show off its best costumes, vote for its favorites, and possibly win a sweet Halloween treat that’s better than candy.

The party officially begins today as the community can start submitting the pictures they’ve snapped of themselves, their family, and their friends in their best Halloween dress.

Submissions can be made by visiting the Independent’s website (, looking under the Local Features tab, and clicking on Contests. Just click on the Virtual Costume Party logo and follow the directions to upload and enter a photo.

The Independent and its key advertising sponsors encourage the community to join the party and unleash its creativity in this fun and festive way.

“We’ve had great participation from the community in the past and we hope to see that much and more in this year’s contest,” said Sherry Matthews, editor and community relations manager of the Independent. “It’s a wonderful, family-oriented opportunity for the community, and we hope they have a lot of fun with it.”

Not only does the contest, now in its third year, allow the community to get a head start on its Halloween fun, but the party continues even after Halloween is over.

Submissions to the contest can be made through Nov. 2, and once all submissions are in, voting will begin Nov. 3 where online visitors can cast votes — one per day — for their favorite photos in five categories, which include funniest, cutest, scariest, most original and best overall costume. Winners will be announced the following week.

As with the Independent’s Cutest Kids and Cutest Pets contests, prizes will be awarded to winners in each of the five categories. Along with bragging rights, the best overall costume winner will receive $150 from title sponsor Ford of Clinton. Winners in all other categories will receive $50 from the contest’s various other sponsors which include Clinton Grain (funniest category), Matthews Drugs (cutest category), Ellis Lewis (scariest category), and Stacy’s Florist and Gifts (most original category).

Excited about the contest themselves, these sponsors urge the entire community, both the young and young at heart, not to miss out on all the fun to be had.

“It’s really something for the children, something that they really enjoy,” title sponsor Larry McPhail of Ford of Clinton said previously. “I like supporting things and attaching my name to things that are for children. That’s the main thing.”

Fellow sponsor Stacy McNeil of Stacy’s Florist and Gifts, sponsor of the most original category, highlighted the creative aspect of the contest and how it can serve to encourage a creative spirit in children.

“It gives kids a chance to be more creative and you just never know what they’re going to do,” she previously noted. “It’s amazing some of the things they can come up with.”

Although youngesters will certainly love dressing up and participating, McPhail also pointed out on Friday that adults should join the party too.

“It’s an opportunity to be a kid again,” he noted both of the contest and of Halloween. “It’s chance to have a little relaxation and fun. Fun is what it’s all about after all. I just want to make the everyone participates and submits.”

For all of the advertisers involved, the reasons for sponsoring the Virtual Costume Contest for the community are plentiful, and Matthews praises these local businesses for recognizing the many benefits of community involvement.

“We especially thank our advertising sponsors for making this contest possible,” Matthews stressed. “We encourage our readers to support these advertisers like they are supporting the community.”

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at