On Saturday, October 26, 2002, after months of planning by the Bench and Bar Committee, the BCBA held its “First Annual Halloween Costume Party!” Spearheaded by Bench-Bar Chair Christopher M. “Chris” Neilson, with the blessing and assistance of BCBA President Nancy Gregoire, Executive Director Art Goldberg, the Board of Directors, the Bench and Bar Committee, and Sports and Social Committee Vice Chair Michael Winer, this “first-ever” was a howling success!
The event didn’t just happen, and almost didn’t! Planning was hectic, what with The Florida Bar President’s Reception the week before, and the Retiring Judges Dinner, attended by over 540 people, the Thursday before! The Halloween Party was designed to bring the Bench and Bar together in a fun atmosphere!
The BCBA has a basement, which makes the building fairly unique in this area, but the basement has been cluttered, filthy, and unusable for years. One day, Art and Chris were chatting, and came up with the idea of hosting a Halloween Party and creating a “Haunted House” in the basement. The idea was presented to the Bench &Bar Committee, and the Board of Directors, both of which agreed with it. President Nancy Gregoire, with the assistance of her ever willing and helpful husband Mark Gregoire, Mike Carbo, Steve Moody, Peter Brandt, John Aurelius, Bruce Weihe, John Jordan, Julie Klahr , Chris Neilson, and YLS Board member Jason
Slatkin cleaned out the basement on Saturday, October 11th. Nancy saved and preserved artifacts from the BCBA of years past! Everyone pitched in, sweeping, cleaning, and emptying out the basement! Steve Moody, with the assistance of Bruce Weihe, actually hauled two full trailers of debris to the dump!
So much goes into planning an event like this! Sponsors were lined up (Mellon United National Bank, Neurology Associates, and Christopher Mark Neilson, P.A.) Two months in advance, colorful – orange stock – Halloween theme invitations were specially designed, and mailed to our 2500 members! Similar numbered-perforated tickets with door prize stubs were also custom designed, and distributed to Board and Committee members for sale. A beautiful event sign (you guessed it orange and black Halloween theme!) was designed to provide notice of the Halloween Party at other events. A tent was arranged for the outside patio. A DJ was located, with special music, lighting and fog! A valet service was hired. An off duty Fort Lauderdale police officer was hired for security. Special thanks to Tod Stephens of Stephens Distributing Company for donating ten cases of beer.
Numerous door prizes were obtained, including:
A BLAZER FROM HART,
TWO BEAUTIFUL BASKETS CONTAINING MEN’S AND WOMEN’S
COLOGNES AND PERFUMES (VALUED AT APPROX. $300 EACH!) FROM DILLARD’S
DEPARTMENT STORE AT GALLERIA!;
DINNER FOR TWO AT MANGOS! (UP TO $50);
LUNCH FOR TWO AT BRAVO! (UP TO $25);
TWO LUNCHES FOR TWO AT LITTLE RED’S! (UP TO $15 EACH);
TWO FREE STEAK / CHICKEN DINNERS AT JAPANESE VILLAGE
STEAKHOUSE ON LAS OLAS! (EACH FOR 1 IN PARTY OF 4);
FREE HAIRCUT AND
MANICURE FROM MEN’S WORLD IN HOLLYWOOD!; MONT BLANC PEN REPLICA FROM CHINA! (NANCY GREGOIRE);
JADE TYPE MASSAGE ROLLERS FROM CHINA IN BEAUTIFUL RED SILK CUSTOM BOXES! (5 DRAWINGS FOR 1 EACH) (NANCY GREGOIRE);
A BOTTLE OF RED AND A BOTTLE OF WHITE (WINE)! (SOUTHERN SPIRIT DISTRIBUTORS);
TWO B.C.B.A. COFFEE MUGS!;
TWO FREE MOVIE TICKETS!; TWO B.C.B.A. COFFEE MUGS and TWO FREE MOVIE TICKETS!;
A ONE HOUR MASSAGE FROM JOANNE WILLIAMS, MASSAGE THERAPIST!;
THE RIGHT TO PLAN AND ORGANIZE THIS PARTY NEXT YEAR! (WON BY BARBARA SUNSHINE!)
Everyone pitched in at a “Decorate the Bar” Pizza Party on Friday, Oct. 25, and returned hours before the party on Saturday to “transmute” the basement into a “Haunted House,” complete with “scary” sound effects, an “electrified” Frankenstein, a bar, Ffg, “crime scenes,” and numerous professional quality “special effects.” TVs played classic original 1930’s “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” videos, inside and outside. Art, armed with a meat cleaver and “Jason” mask, jumped out at unsuspecting visitors, scaring them into the inner chambers, where Mark appeared to morph from the crypt! A cemetery was created inside the basement, where “Freddy” lay in repose, reminding all of those who died in experiments performed on the “Criminally Insane”! On the way out, a “tactile experience station,” manned by Nancy Gregoire, contained brains, eyes, worms, etc.! Beverages were served in the makeshift basement garage, and “Goody Bags” were given out to all who attended, courtesy of Neurology Associates Group.
Outside, a skeleton hung over a second tombstone cemetery, under the huge ancient oak tree! A “giant 8′ inflatable lighted pumpkin” adorned the property! The Norma Howard Center was transformed into a Halloween Party house, with spider webs, a fireplace and mantle with “Blue Boy” hung above it; music, lights, fog, food and beverage tables, a full assortment of coffee thanks to Standard Coffee and Barneys Coffee Break, orange and black balloons, decorations, even lighted “gargoyles!” Everyone ate, drank, and danced to the great party themed music in the fog covered, specially lit “Great Hall.”
Many deserve credit, including Nancy Gregoire and her husband Mark (“Mr. and Mrs.Ghoul”) ,Art Goldberg (“Mad Meat Cleaver Art”) and his wife Jane Goldberg (“The Submariner”), Steve Moody (“Beetlejuice – don’t say it again”), Christopher M. “Chris” Neilson (“The Pirate/Captain Chris “) and his wife Connie Neilson (“The Pirate/Connie the Cutter”), Mike Winer (“Mikey The Judge”), his friend Pat (“The Monster Maker”), and his lovely daughter “Nicky” (“The Little Cheerleader”), Joanne Williams (“The Coffin Maker”), David Ventura (“The Screaming Photographer”), Bar Staff Yolanda (“The Cheerleader”) and Jamie (“The Countess of Darkness”), Rolland Rossuli (“The Drinkmiester”), Felix the DJ (“Radar the Sound Mixer”), John Auerlius (“Big John the Tentmaker”), Peter Brandt (“The Mad Photographer”), all of the Sponsors, all the great door prize donors, John Stephens (“Wine Supplier”), Todd Stevens (“The Bud-Man”), friends, family, etc., just to mention a few! Of course, several members stayed until almost midnight, breaking down the Haunted House, and cleaning up and around the property! For those who helped out, thanks so very, very much!
If you weren’t one of the approximately 100 costumed judges and lawyers who were there, you missed one heck of a good party! We hope to see you next year!