This beauty pageant—the first ever from Lantern Light Tours of Galveston—is a little different from what you might expect. Instead of strutting downstage in gowns or bikinis, contestants of all genders will be outfitted in their most ghoulish and gothic attire for the first annual Galveston Vampire Pageant.
Co-owner Alicia Forsythe came up with the idea while sick at home, recovering from bronchitis. She was inspired by the original 1970 Miss American Vampire Contest in New Jersey, itself inspired by the gothic TV soap Dark Shadows that ran from 1966 to 1971.
“I thought it was really, really cool looking ... I [told other co-owner Gin’.a Keel], 'hey, when are we going to do the pageant? We need to do the pageant, we need to bring it back,'” Forsythe says. “And so we did.”
It just made sense to do it in October, the spookiest month of the year, and when Lantern Light Tours sees a spike in activity.
The pageant is open to anyone of any gender over age 21. The only requirements? "No nudity and no wet, dripping blood which could get messy and slippery on the stage and floor," the event page says. Contestants will be up for three prizes: Crowd Favorite, Most Creative, and the highly coveted Best Vampire. All winners will receive a sash and crown to complement their fangs.
The pageant is a charity event—all proceeds, everything from the $20 contestant entry fee to anything raised from raffle boxes—will benefit the Resource Crisis Center of Galveston County that offers services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, including protective housing, counseling, legal help, and more. Galveston Lantern Tours wants to not only help the RCC but raise awareness for all they do.
“We’re really excited to be able to partner with them and get them the money to do the things they do best. It’s a charity that’s very dear to us,” Forsythe says.
Lantern Light Tours opened this past April, but its schedule is already jam-packed with history and haunted tours, pub crawls, and, now, the pageant. Both Forsythe and Keel combine their love of island history and long-held desire to tell unique stories as they hold tours throughout Galveston.
“The community has embraced our company,” Forsythe says.
The Galveston Vampire Pageant will be held at Galveston's karaoke spot, Sound Bar, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on October 20 and is free to spectators.