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Halloween Comes to One Buc

Posted Oct 31, 2013

The Buccaneers opened the doors to their headquarters on Tuesday to hundreds of visiting trick-or-treaters who enjoyed a Halloween experience they wouldn't have had anywhere else

Watch: Trick-or-treaters invade One Buc

More than 200 children from the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay were treated to a special Halloween Celebration this week at The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' headquarters.

On Tuesday, a costume-clad contingent of Buccaneers players and cheerleaders, as well as team mascot Captain Fear, spent more than two hours entertaining the visiting trick-or-treaters at One Buccaneer Place.  A unique cast of characters roamed the hallways of the team facility and the practice fields out back, with superheroes like Batman (safety Keith Tandy) and Captain America (defensive end Da’Quan Bowers) joined by a larger-than-life Roman Gladiator (six-foot-nine tackle Demar Dotson).  There was also popular Family Guy character Peter Griffin (defensive tackle Gerald McCoy), an NFL referee (defensive end William Gholston) and an especially outgoing and humorous semi-pro basketball player from the 1970s (linebacker Dekoda Watson).

Though Halloween is the spookiest of holidays, the warm, family-friendly environment at One Buc Place was the perfect setting for the children in attendance, many of whom may not have had an opportunity to enjoy Halloween otherwise.

-- Visiting trick-or-treaters ran into a variety of interesting characters at One Buc Place

“A lot of the kids don’t have a chance [to celebrate],” said Tara Thompson, counselor at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay. “Many of them are not even dressed for Halloween. Many of them can’t afford outfits to wear, so this right here gives them a chance to interact with other kids from other clubs and interact with the Buccaneers players which is always a great thing to have for the kids. It’s just wonderful, it’s amazing.”

Children enjoyed a trick-or-treating station manned by Bowers and McCoy, who made sure that each child received an abundant supply of their favorite candy. Meanwhile, Dotson and Gholston fine-tuned their arts-and-crafts skills at the pumpkin-decorating table, while cheerleaders and a crew of volunteer pirates painted Halloween-themed images on each child’s cheek.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said McCoy. “Being around kids is a joy, just to see their smiles and all the fun they’re having. The trick-or-treating – of course they love the candy – so it’s fun to be out here.  I’m having a blast.”

After stocking up on treats, many children also took advantage of the opportunity to score touchdowns on the football fields alongside a certain caped crusader.

“I just remember when I was little, Halloween was probably my favorite holiday – even more than Christmas and my birthday,” recalled Tandy. “Any time I get the chance to come out here and help the kids, I’m always going to be willing to do that because I know how it was when I was young. You never know what these kids are going through and this might inspire them to do something great.”