It was late September of 2022, and someone asked Lori Smale whether she was, once again, hosting a party to celebrate Halloween. “We had a small party in 2021, and apparently it was memorable enough that they wanted us to do it again!”
When Lori began “recruiting” family and friends to help put together a Halloween party, they all recognized that this was an opportunity to celebrate Halloween, but… maybe it could be even more…
…And that is when the idea came to them, to turn this party into a fundraiser for Hospice!
Lori’s family had recently become part of our Hospice Family when their mother, Nancy, was cared for at the Windsor Residence. “I didn’t know anything about Hospice until Mom was admitted, and it was just an incredible experience for all of us. We were all so excited to have a chance to give back to the place that helped make Mom so comfortable and happy.”
So, with less than a month to plan, and lots of big Halloween ideas, the whole family jumped into the project. “We got a huge tent, pulled together everyone’s Halloween décor, and started turning what was supposed to be a small party… into a full-blown Haunted House!”
The family planned a two-day event, October 30-31, and everything was set up in their driveway, with lots of scary surprises inside. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. “The day before we were planning to open, there was a crazy windstorm, which tore down the tent and destroyed so much of the work we had done. Now, we had just one day to re-create everything! So, we bought another tent, and descended on the store at Spirit Halloween. Once Rob and Lidia Karagovski from Spirit Halloween heard what we were doing, and what had happened, they were all in to help. They were amazing partners for us, I think we were probably their biggest customers that year!” says Lori.
After a lot of hard work, the family had the Haunted House back up and running, and ready for visitors. “I’m just so proud of my whole family; it was ‘all hands on deck’ and they all stepped up! I especially appreciate my brothers Keith and Rick, who between them raised more than $1,300.00 and donated so many raffle prizes! And it was fun to watch my husband Denis, son DJ and his girlfriend Ireland who put all the animatronics and decorations out each day, and then spent the rest of the day being ‘scary’ in the House!”
“We didn’t charge admission,” explains Lori, “but we had signs out front that asked for donations to support Hospice. Once people knew the fundraiser was for Hospice, they donated right away and shared their support and stories with us before going into the Haunted House. Once they were in, you could hear people laughing and screaming all over the place,” said Lori.
The family estimates they entertained approximately 400 people over the two days.
“We were able to raise more than $3,000.00, and we had the whole family come together to hand in the donation. We were so blown away when the Hospice Team told us that our donation would allow a patient to stay in Hospice Residence for 20 days, at no cost to them! I can’t tell you how much that means to us…to know that someone gets to live their last days exactly the way they should…the way our Mom did.”
Lori and her family continue to enjoy the memories and moments they made with their Mom at our Hospice, and now they will always be part of our ever-growing Hospice Family. “We did this to thank the entire Hospice team for giving our Mom the best of her last days, she was so happy every day she was at Hospice.”
The Second Annual Haunted House for Hospice will be held on Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, October 31 at 1840 Westminster Blvd from 5pm – 9pm each day. All proceeds from the event will be donated in support of Hospice patients and families in our community. We can’t wait to see more fun, mores “scares” and more memories for all of us – because that’s The Hospice Way.