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Elks throw Halloween bash for Challenge Center

Mingle with "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" during the Superior Elks Lodge 403 Halloween party Saturday, Oct. 20. The event, a fundraiser for the Challenge Center, will include food, live '60s, '70s and '80s music by Flipside, a silent auction, drink specials and an appearance by fortune teller Lady Ocalat.

"We all went to her to make sure she was good," said Sandra Wojtoff, a member of the Elks Celebration Committee.

"We've been there twice," committee member Marion Cronin said.

It's the second year for the Elks Halloween bash, and they're hoping to make a bigger splash.

"We want people to have a good time so they want to come back, so they know it's for the community," committee chairperson Cristine Crum said. "They can have fun, too, and win great prizes."

Those include a signed Green Bay Packers football, a one-week timeshare worth over $2,000, a necklace valued at $300, hotel stays and local gift certificates.

Costumes are admired, but not required.

Part of the mission of the Elks, a fraternal order with a 141-year history, is to cultivate good fellowship and serve the community through benevolent programs that demonstrate Elks care and Elks share.

"It's the community, being invested in the community," said Kelly Peterson, residential director for the Challenge Center.

Over the last year, the Superior lodge has secured $27,000 in grants that have been poured back into the community, in addition to funds raised by the organization. Donations supported Harbor House Crisis Shelters, the Boys and Girls Club, the Superior School District Angel Fund and backpack program. The Elks started their own veterans back pack program, providing 40 backpacks full of socks, snacks, hygiene items and more to local veterans through Solid Rock Mission, Harbor House and the VA Clinic.

"I just applied for two grants that we're going to use for a drug awareness event in November," Crum said. "We're the biggest fraternal organization that is into getting out drug awareness information."

Last year's Halloween event raised $1,100 for Harbor House.

"We wanted to help and get involved," Cronin said. "We try to get out there, you know, help people."

"We'd like this to be an event that people remember and come back to every year," Crum said.

Challenge Center staff expressed their appreciation for the support.

"It's our desire to have the people we serve be as fully involved in the community as they can, so just getting the word out about the people we serve is a big part for us," said Teresa Clayton, service coordinator for the Challenge Center.

The nonprofit agency provides residential housing for 61 people with special needs and employs 150 people of varying abilities through its on-site work programs, which include greenhouses that grow Bay Produce tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs.

In addition, the Challenge Center offers supportive services to more than 20 individuals in the community at their homes.

There are a limited number of tickets available for the Oct. 20 event, which runs from 6:30-11 p.m. at the lodge, 1503 Belknap St. Tickets, $15 for individuals and $25 per couple, can be purchased at the lodge, Challenge Center, Campbell Lumber, A Dozen Excuses and Apple House CBD. Tickets will also be available at the Elks Lodge 403 drug awareness booth at North End Days on Saturday, Oct. 13.

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