“Chocolate for you, chocolate for you,” says Willy Wonka as the judges pass through colorful streamers and enter a hallway filled with huge paper candies and flowers. “Welcome to the Chocolate Factory, where the strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.”
The judges, Bett, Rita, and Roxanne, are board members of local nonprofit Community Connections, an organization that provides services to individuals who need supports to live independently. Staff members divided into teams this Halloween for a competition – who could create the best theme, including costumes, decorations, treats, and entertainment for the judges.
“I got a golden ticket!” exclaims one of the judges.
They arrived Halloween morning for their journey into several fantasy lands, starting with the Land of the Golden Ticket, created by the Senior and Disability Services team. Team members were dressed as Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, and other characters from the iconic movie. The program director even had an oompa loompa costume.
“Come visit our Fizzy Room!” Lela, as Violet, ushered the judges into a blue-lighted room filled with bubbles.
Downstairs in the Children’s Mental Health department, the judges waded through yellow and red balloons, exclaiming at the emojis pinned up on walls and dangling from the ceiling.
Program director Bill narrowed his eyes as they approached – he was an angry emoji, dressed as a pirate.
After making a few notes on their clipboards, the team of judges visited the Early Learning Program, with staff members dressed in track suits and black paper taped on the walls to simulate a running track.
One last stop at the front desk, where the admin team had created Troll Town, based on the recent animated movie Trolls. One staff member, dressed as Branch, gathered everyone in a circle and told the great story of Trollstice.
Board member Bett laughed at the colorful and rather ridiculous costumes the team had come up with. “They’re supposed to be invisible in the community, but if you could see them, you’d be amazed,” she said.
Part of Community Connections’ mission is to be invisible with regards to the services they provide in the community, but they are certainly not invisible when it comes to celebrating Halloween in style.
A Trollstice feast, with heaps of rainbow-colored sweets, was available for any hungry trolls passing by. Staff even made troll-hair headbands for any kids visiting the office.
The judges gathered everyone in front of the Trollstice feast table for the trophy ceremony. Rita began to speak.
“We want everyone to get a trophy, but that will not be possible. Our winner is… Willy Wonka!” She bestowed the trophy on Shawn, newly appointed program director of Senior and Disability Services. The team cheered and raised the trophy above their heads – they now have bragging rights for the coming year.
For more photos, including Gene dressed as a cloud, check out our Facebook page.
This story was also featured in SitNews on October 31, 2017.