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Jamilah Lewis, News writer

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On Oct. 25th, Lighthouse, an LGBTQ+ resource organization in Flossmoor held a Halloween themed Cabaret which is an entertainment show, for a fundraiser to help the organization. The cabaret showed locals singing Halloween songs, karaoke, trivia and a costume contest.
Lighthouse’s mission is to “provide free support for teens & young adults who are processing their sexual & gender identity”. The fundraisers help provide Flossmoor teens with programs to help with this part of their life.
Many locals were in the cabaret, including english teacher Anne Calderon. She co-hosted with the organizer Brandon Willard and helped behind the senses of the show
“We’ve been co-hosting these together for a couple of years now,” she said.
The importance of the holiday is shown by how people express themselves through their costumes.
“Halloween is known to be a popular holiday within the LGBTQ+ community because this holiday gives license for a large portion of its members to dress in ways more appropriate to how they feel on the inside,” said Brandon.“Ways of dressing that would otherwise be awkward or unacceptable by normal gender and social norms,”.
Brandon is apart of the LGBTQ+ community himself, and is married to fine arts teacher J.R Willard Rose. They’ve lived in Homewood with their son for two and a half years.
Willard had to get in touch with Lighthouse to plan out the time, date and place. He sat down with the co-founders of Lighthouse Valerie Litchfield and Stephanie Wright to talk about music and other activities that would happen during the event.
Willard also contacted friends in the performance industry that he’s worked with in the past to participate in the show.
“Eventually I was able to pull together a cast list, ensemble, and tech support. From there we all were able to collaborate as a group to create a set list of songs and finally set up a few rehearsals,” Willard said.
The events usually get a good amount of people to come out. One of the people attending was art teacher Candi Helsel-Wilk. She went to support the cause and see her colleague.
“When we put costumes on we become a little less aware of how we normally would act; are walls come down a little bit,” said Helsel-Wilk. “I saw a lot of people have fun after a stressful week.”
The cabaret was a great success with a good amount of money being raised for Lighthouse. The next event to look forward to is a Anti-Love Valentines Day show at Grape and Grain, called “Bitter”
“We raised $1000 for Lighthouse and threw a pretty great party, so I would say yes, it was a huge success,” Brandon said.