Contests get readers involved

October 05, 2003|by JAKE WORMER

Halloween is the time of year when people can dress however they want and not be judged.

We at The Herald-Mail are going to change that. We will judge you.

On Page E1 of today's paper are the guidelines for our costume contest. Anyone who gives it a shot will have a chance to win the $50 top prize. The best four will have their photos published in the Oct. 31 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

We're looking for creativity - original representations of historic figures, of-the-moment characters or groovy ghosts worthy of an investigation by Scooby-Doo and pals. Anything, really. The trick is not to use store-bought costumes. Innovation is the treat we're looking for.

A panel of folks in the newsroom will select the winners.

A well-done homemade costume is likely to score more points than one with store-packaged props, such as a witch's hat. Of course, if long hair is required, even the most intrepid costumer may need to buy a wig, or convince a friend or relative with long locks that this is a good time for a trim.


This is part of a renewed effort to welcome reader participation in the newspaper. After receiving a record 252 entries and enthusiastic responses for the annual landmarks photo contest in August, we decided to come up with a few more ways for readers to enjoy the newspaper.

Contests will be cropping up in these pages during the next 12 months. Some will revolve around holidays or the time of year. Others may be off the wall, as long as we think they're fun.

In November, we'll kick off The Herald-Mail's 12th annual Cookie Exchange. This is a contest in which the judges are winners, too. The baker of the cookie that best tickles their taste buds will win a prize, and the 10 best recipes will be printed. (For the record, I do not like nuts in cookies.)

These contests are subjective, but others will be challenges in the spirit of the landmarks contest, in which we published 10 photographic clues of buildings and structures in downtown Hagerstown and asked readers to identify them. A drawing will determine the winner if more than one person comes up with the correct answers.

If we get strapped for ideas, the next contest may be to come up with the best contest.

Of course, there are other ways for readers to become more involved with the newspaper. A biweekly Sunday feature sends staff writer Kate Coleman into the kitchen of Tri-State area residents. All we ask is for someone to share a recipe and tell the story behind it. If you make an interesting dish or know someone who does, call Coleman at 301-733-5131, extension 2341.

The next In the Kitchen article will run one week from today on the Food page.

We also welcome story ideas throughout the newsroom; simply call 301-733-5131 or send an e-mail to

Jake Womer is Lifestyle editor at The Herald-Mail. He can be contacted at 301-733-5131, extension 2340, or by e-mail at

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