On Thursday evening, Rittenhouse Village at Valparaiso held its annual Halloween Party and trick-or-treat, inviting community members inside its doors to collect candy from the residents there. Those participating in the event opened their doors and lined the hallway, eager for children and their families to file through.
The event has taken place each Halloween season since 2009 when their doors opened, and has been a big event for both the community and residents of the facility. For many, it’s a chance to keep an age old tradition alive and interact with community members.
“There are probably 60 residents participating in the trick-or-treat tonight,” explained Natalie Reisen, who works as the Senior Lifestyle Counselor. “The thing we try to drive home is that this is the residents home. For years, they had a tradition of handing out candy at their home, so we thought it’d be a good idea to bring it to them.”
The event certainly brought the spirit of Halloween to the community as residents set up shop at their doors, holding bowls of candy. Some even took the time to dress up to enjoy the festivities. For some residents, taking part wasn’t to partake in an old tradition, but to try something new. Letty Chorna, who is originally from South America, found the costumes and concept amazing, and made sure to have a full bowl of candy waiting as the children came through.
“It’s exciting because in my country we don’t have this. It’s very nice, it’s fun, and I love it,” said Chorna.
The residents may have had just as much fun as the children and families who filtered through the hallways of the community. For Cari Tudor and her nephews, the event was a chance to have a great amount of fun and conquer some curiosity about the buildings in their community.
“This is a great idea,” said Tudor. “It’s good for the residents to see the community, especially the younger kids, and the kids go by on the bus and see this big building and are curious what’s inside. This is a good way for them to explore their community.”
Residents, staff, and community members moved through the hallways in droves, stopping at the doors of each participating resident. To ensure only those who were participating had visitors, each participants door was labelled with a pumpkin, making the event something of a scavenger hunt for the kids as well.
A variety of goblins, princesses, and creative costumes could be seen wandering through the hallways, collecting some of the sweet and highly desired candies that awaited them. For Executive Director Debbie Atsas, who came dressed as a giraffe, the event is an exciting one for the entire community.
“This is one of our biggest events. It’s important because it gives the residents a chance to do something they’ve always done,” explained Atsas. “It’s exciting; the kids are cute and we get such a great turn out.”
Rittenhouse village at Valparaiso certainly aided in some wonderful memories for both residents and kids, and helped some parents find a warm, safe place for trick-or-treating this year. The event promises to be a fulfilling and exciting time in years to come as the tradition continues.
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