Hotdogs roamed the aisles of Strack and Van Til’s, followed by dragons in search of treats on Saturday evening.
Strack and Van Til’s 3rd Annual Haunting for Heroes brought games, raffle prizes, food, bounce houses and tons of candy to the Schererville grocery store, benefitting the creation of the Northwest Indiana Veteran’s Museum that will be at the Tri Town Safety Village in Schererville.
There were 25 candy stations in the building each manned by businesses and non-profit organizations according to Gina Giorgi, owner of Colibri Consulting along with her brother Paul Giorgi. Green skeleton footprints led the way for more than a thousand trick-or-treaters enjoying a warm, safe candy hunt.
“It’s a wonderful way for people to familiarize themselves with Strack’s, and for other businesses and groups to showcase themselves,” Gina Giorgi said. “Strack’s does it right, they always go the extra mile for the community.”
A flamingo in the seafood section handed out Swedish Fish, while the next stop was a toilet bowl of candy, courtesy of Reichelt Plumbing.
Employees put on their most creative costumes, ranging from Hulk Hogan to Scooby Doo. Randy Gootee, Schererville store manager, dressed head-to-toe as the Cat in the Hat.
“It’s great, the kids love it,” Gootee said. “[The employees] love it, too. It’s a chance to step out of the norm and be a fun character, no uniform, all dressed up.”
Among the booths was a lion handing out candy for the Schererville Central Lions Club.
“Strack’s helps us when we need donations, so we wanted to do something to give back,” Barbara Toosley, Club Secretary, said. “Also as an organization, it does expose us to the community, which is good.”
For Noel Alvarado, Director of Youth Services at Project Prevention, it was the perfect event to spread awareness about his organization.
“Anything for the youth,” Alvarado said. “Plus the funds are going toward veterans, so for us, it’s right up our alley. We love to work with kids, and with the number of families who have come through it’s meant more networking.”
Maya Sutek, of Schererville, brought 8-year-old Brenleigh and 6-year-old Rogan, who were both in quite the rush to get to their favorite grocery store.
“We’re always excited to come,” Sutek said. “It’s our grocery store, and it’s indoors which is great because of the weather. The kids look forward to it every year. Plus, it’s a safe alternative to neighborhood trick-or-treating.”
Tri-Town Safety Village Executive Secretary Jodi Kolbak said the event has been a great part in reaching their fundraising goal of $50,000 for the installation of the Northwest Indiana Veteran’s Museum.
“We haven’t given enough recognition to our area’s veterans and their families,” Kolbak said. “[The museum] will be a place for them to come and have comradery, and to be thanked for their service.”
William Jarvis, Executive Director of the Tri-Town Safety Village, said Strack and Van Til’s has been a great community partner, and every dollar from the day has helped their cause.
“It’s incredible, we are so pleased that so many people have come out to help us,” Kolbak said. “Strack’s has been very supportive, and we are so thankful for them.”