Cowboys will take to the streets in search of bad blood, so will witches and convicts.
Halloween came early last weekend for those donning costumes at the Joliet Junior Woman’s Club Witches Ball.
Festivities for the second annual ball included live entertainment, a raffle, food and a costume contest. The event was held Oct. 21 at the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate in Joliet.
Kristen Wiss, fundraising chair for the JJWC, said holding the Witches Ball holds many benefits to the community.
“What we want to do is just draw attention to our community and the organization in our community [that] many people don’t know about,” she said.
Wiss said area organizations that have benefited from Joliet Junior Woman’s Club fundraising events include CASA of Will County, the Warren-Sharpe Community Center and Guardian Angel Homes.
Wiss explained that the club wanted to draw awareness to organizations that are right here in people’s backyards. And, she said the event’s ability to draw people to Joliet is simple.
“There is no costume party in Joliet, which is just another reason why we wanted to do this event,” Wiss added. “I think people really like that idea, and it’s just a fun night.”
About 200 guests attended this year’s fundraiser, according to Wiss.
Those in attendance for the second annual event suited up in a variety of different costumes, including athletes, nerds, construction workers and correctional officers.
Nicole Watson Philp, of Joliet, said she was enjoying her time at the ball.
“I think it’s just a great to chance to come out and have a good time, and know that all the proceeds go right back into the community,” she said.
This year was Philp’s second time attending the annual event. She wore a construction worker costume, along with her husband. Philp said she couldn’t resist the idea of dressing up, and said it will be interesting to see who wins the costume contest.
“I mean there’s a lot of great costumes tonight,” she said. “Everybody came [ready to get] involved. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance of winning, but it’s fun to get dressed up and come out and have a good time.”
Tom Murphy, of Forest Park, said it’s been great seeing the community’s support shown for the efforts of the Joliet Junior Woman’s Club.
“A lot of great costumes, a lot of great friendly people, great music, great food, a lot of great raffles, so it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m glad to be here; it’s been excellent. So far, so great.”
This year was Murphy’s first time attending the ball. He came dressed as a convict, while his fiancée donned a correctional officer costume.
“It’s kind of a cute couples costume, I guess you could say,” he said.
Murphy’s fiancé, Katherine Latuszek, also of Forest Park, said she liked what the event offers.
“[I like] the music, the crowd and just all the costumes,” she said. “It’s just like anything and everything.”
Latuszek said she’s not sure if she’ll win the costume contest but could see that a lot of creative people came to the ball.
“The minions, I think that was a good one,” she said.
In 2015, the Witches Ball raised more than $11,000. Wiss said the goal for this year’s event was $15,000.
“Every dime that we raise here tonight goes back to any one of those communities,” Wiss said.
Joliet Junior Woman’s Club is a philanthropic organization that supports local women and children’s organization in Joliet and surrounding communities.