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Spirit of Halloween lives in Jim's Big Burger

By chirst
Oct. 31, 2012 at 5:31 a.m.

Jim's Big Burger employee Micah Baylor, 18, takes the order of Tatum Johnson, 6, dressed as a convict, on Halloween night as Tatum's brother, Logan Johnson, 10, waits to order a bacon burger.

Spiderman and a pirate tended the counter. Tutu the Clown and an aspiration of death flipped burgers in the back.

A walking broomstick cackled around the room and goblins and ghosts glared from every corner.

An escaped convict and a nerd sauntered up to the counter to order.

"They have good burgers," said the 6-year-old convict, Tatum Johnson, worn out after a night of trick-or-treating.

"Every year, they are really good at decorating for Halloween. I like it, it is homey and friendly. It is why I like coming here," said Holly Johnson, Logan's mom.

It was just another Halloween at Jim's Big Burger - one of 33.

"We just like to decorate for everything. Halloween and Christmas are probably the most fun, but Halloween is by far the most fun of those - for kids to come in here, and they are like 'Oh my gosh!' and they are scared," said co-owner Peggy Broome. She worked all day in a clown outfit and a pink puffy nose.

She said it took three adults and her 7-year-old grandson three hours to decorate the restaurant.

"My grandson, he even helped us decorate, wouldn't even go to the bathroom when he knew everything that was back there," Broome said, laughing.

He is too frightened of the black light and motion-sensitive ghost, she said.

Amy Wuest, co-owner and Broome's sister, said she loves getting into the spirit of Halloween, as she spent more than 20 minutes trying to get her red contact lenses in to complete her scary outfit.

"We celebrate life. Which means we celebrate the seasons and the holidays," Wuest said. "We celebrate life together and we try to just spread that to people because people forget, I think, how exciting it is."

She said she likes to pass out candy at home, but this year was her turn to work and her sister's turn to trick-or-treat.

"Last year, I had all these scarecrows everywhere. Well, I had on a ghillie suit that looked like hay and I had bales of hay everywhere. This one man was carrying his kid and was pointing and saying, 'This isn't real.' Well he leaned over to touch me and say, 'This isn't real.' So I reached out and grabbed his leg," Wuest said, laughing. "I scared the bajeebers out of him."

Gary Smitherman said he has brought his family to Jim's Big Burger for more than 16 years. He came on Wednesday with his two sons before a Halloween party.

"You always get a smile, they are always nice," Smitherman said. "And they do decorate. Every year, they decorate for Halloween."

He and his two sons, ages 13 and 16, left with a handful of candy.

"Everybody likes a little piece of candy, it's not just kids. We give a piece to everybody. I think there is a kid in all of us," Wuest said.

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