Finalists Will Be Invited to Participate in Evening of Storytelling on Oct. 30 to Compete for $500 First Prize

TAMPA, Fla. (Friday the 13th, Sept. 2019) – “My friend felt he had a hair caught between his eye and his glasses. He couldn’t get rid of it, so he looked in the mirror. A tick was crawling on his eyeball. Nighty-night, sleep well.”

Earlier this year, master of horror Stephen King tweeted out that little nugget, promptly skeeving out some 5.4 million followers. Now, it’s your turn.

Starting today – Friday the 13th – Tampa Theatre fans and followers are invited to submit their own terrifying tweets in the landmark movie palace’s first “Trick or Tweet” short-form horror story contest. Entries are limited to 280 characters, and there is a $5 entry fee per submission. The Theatre team will choose its top 10 favorites, and those finalists will be invited to share their stories during “Awake in the Dark,” an evening of live storytelling (details below) at 9:30pm Wednesday, Oct. 30. The top story – as chosen by audience applause – will win $500; prizes will also be awarded for second and third place.


7:00pm Wednesday, Oct. 30

Since the beginning of time, humans have gathered around the fire to share stories and tell tales. If you’re not careful, your eyes start to play tricks on you, and your imagination starts to wonder what might be lurking in the shadows just beyond the trees.

Join Tampa Theatre on Halloween Eve for scary stories around the campfire under the historic movie palace’s iconic stary sky! Author and local scare-lebrity Scott Swenson will host a family-friendly evening of PG-13 tales, featuring the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay.

Tickets are $10 / $7 for Tampa Theatre Members and are on sale now. Doors open at 6:00pm, and Swenson will be signing copies of his books in the lobby before and after the show.

AWAKE IN THE DARK: An Evening of Unsettling Stories
9:30pm Wednesday, Oct. 30

“Personally, I don’t know which was more humane; incineration or being buried in a box, awake in
the dark for all eternity.” It’s a question author and local scare-lebrity Scott Swenson examines in his short story “Deadder Box,” and the inspiration behind the title of his newest volume of chilling short stories and poetry.

 Tampa Theatre invites brave and curious souls to gather in the city’s most haunted movie palace to count down the hours to Halloween and celebrate the release of Swenson’s fifth book, Awake in the Dark at 9:30pm Wednesday, Oct. 30. Swenson will share passages from the new tome, and will be joined onstage by members of the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay for an R-rated evening of spoken-word horror intended for mature audiences.

Among the stories shared will be the Top 10 finalists in the A Nightmare on Franklin Street “Trick or Tweet” contest. Based on audience applause, the winning story (limited to a Tweet-length 280 characters) will win $500 and an invitation to appear on Swenson’s popular horror-industry podcast A Scott in the Dark.

Tickets are $10 / $7 for Tampa Theatre Members and are on sale now. Doors open at 8:30pm, and Swenson will be signing copies of his books in the lobby before and after the show.

And lest you think we forgot about all of the amazing (and, sometimes, amazingly awful) horror movies that make up the raw, bloody meat of A Nightmare on Franklin Street, we are adding all of those dates and titles to the website as quickly as the film confirmations roll in. You can check out the growing list
on our website at

Film tickets are $10 / $7 for Tampa Theatre Members and are available now at the historic
Tampa Theatre Box Office, located at 711 N. Franklin Street in the heart of downtown, or online
(service fees apply).

A Nightmare on Franklin Street 2019 is presented by Voodoo Ranger and J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. Promotional consideration is provided by Spooky Empire.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Witecki at or (813) 274-8287

Built in 1926, Tampa Theatre is a passionately protected landmark and one of America’s best-preserved movie palaces. The majestic building is owned by the City of Tampa and operated as a dynamic film and cultural center by the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation. Programming is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Tampa Theatre is a proud member of the League of Historic American Theatres and the Art House Convergence.

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