A spooktacular bash

St. Anne’s Senior Community Center hosts annual Halloween party.

Boo, guess who? A member conceals her identity at the Halloween party with a pumpkin head. PHOTO SUPPLIED

By Melissa Komar

St. Anne’s Senior Community Center showed the spirit of Halloween can provide delights and frights to all ages.

Each year, the center, which is a ministry of Catholic Housing and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hosts a Halloween party for dozens of older adults from the River Wards and other Philadelphia neighborhoods.

This year had some added spooky elements.

“This year, we had a Halloween costume contest, we did a door-decorating contest, and we also did a table-decorating contest,” said Jennifer Scornaienchi, senior center manager. “We had quite a good turnout. We had six tables and six doors that were decorated. And, we had about 60 members participate.”

Witches were by far the most popular costumes of the day.

First place was awarded to Port Richmond Susan Ongirski.

Ongirski attended the party with her mother and was in full costume.

“Well, when I went to the Spirit of Halloween shop, I spotted the baby, which I thought was pretty scary. So, I looked around to see what type of costume would go with it,” she said. “I came up with the idea of being an evil stepmother from hell. So, I came across the mask and spooky hands. I already had the black full-length dress and I wore black clothes underneath and, voila, the perfect scary costume was created.”

Second place went to a male member dressed as the devil, and third place was a member dressed as a witch.

Door decorations ranged from skeletons to Dracula to witches to a scary pumpkin man.

Enter if you care: St. Anne’s Senior Center members show off their Dracula-decorated door. PHOTO SUPPLIED

One member decorated a door for Thanksgiving.

“She did a fall theme, and that’s in our entryway, so that’s perfect,” Scornaienchi said. “So, we’re leaving that up even after the holiday.”

In addition to decorating, members played corn hole, skulls into a bucket, a tic-tac-toe bean bag toss, slam can and spiders into a web.

“So, we had a cobweb all spread out on one of the windows and you had to see how many spiders you could get to stick in the web,” said Scornaienchi, laughing. “So, we were playing games, we had music, and we had a festive meal.”

The menu featured a pumpkin soup to celebrate the season.

And, what would Halloween be without candy?

“We had some candies on the table, and some people brought in bags of candy to trick or treat at their tables,” Scornaienchi said, “so, if you went to their table, you got candy.”

Games and sweet treats made for a spooktacular time, but St. Anne’s is always striving to provide a meaningful experience to its members.

“The overall goal is socialization. Many of the seniors aren’t going to have that Halloween celebration. It’s probably been years since they’ve had a Halloween party, get to dress up, be silly, and be with their friends,” Scornaienchi said. “And, the meal around here is the most important thing. It’s a nutritionally balanced meal.”

Longtime member Dolores Butterline, 82, dressed up “as myself,” and beyond appreciated the party and the experience St. Anne’s Senior Center provides daily.

“Everybody had a good time. With all the witches, I said we should have had a covenant. And, it was so funny because we had all these witches and no devil and then Charles walked in wearing his devil costume. I always tell everybody a laugh a day keeps the doctor away, and we were laughing as people walked in trying to guess who they were,” she said, laughing. “I’ve never had a lousy day here. Everything is fabulous. The food is good, and the people are wonderful.”

St. Anne’s Senior Center, 2607 E. Cumberland St., will host a Christmas party on Friday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon.