Richland's Life Care Center holds Halloween bash

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldOctober 31, 2013 

Beverly Thomas held court in a hallway of Life Care Center of Richland, with a tall orange witch's hat on her head and a bag of treats on her lap.

"Hello, honey, do you want some candy?" she said to a tiny princess clutching a Halloween sack.

A mini-Spider Man and a little Iron Man got some goodies too.

So did a brother-and-sister duo in devil costumes, even though Thomas teased that they scared her.

Thomas, 79, has been at Life Care Center since April. She was one of several residents who got into the Halloween spirit Thursday by handing out candy to trick-or-treaters roaming the halls.

The Halloween party, which also included activities such as a cake walk, is a tradition at the skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility on Goethals Drive.

The facility is home to about 75 residents. Some are transitioning home from hospital stints and others will stay long-term.

For Thomas, it was easy to pick her favorite part of the party.

"Oh, the kids," she said in between trick-or-treaters. "They get a kick out of getting the candy. And then talking to the people too."

A couple of dozen children, with their grown-ups in tow, made their way through the hallways as the party kicked off.

The event was open to the community. Karisa Ciolli, admissions coordinator, noted it provided a safe indoor venue for trick-or-treating.

And also fun for the residents, who love seeing the little ones decked out in costumes. "They love kids. It brings them joy. They look forward to it," Ciolli told the Herald.

The children's costumes ran the gamut, from a Call of Duty character to a mummy to plenty of princesses and super heroes.

Rylee and Madison Smith came as Starbucks baristas. The sisters -- Rylee is 3 and Madison is 5 -- were there with their mother and grandmother, visiting their grandfather.

They weren't the only ones drawn by a family member.

Nathan Thompson, 11, and his little sister Trinnety, 8 -- the duo decked out as devils -- also got in some trick-or-treating while visiting their grandpa, who's been at Life Care Center since around Labor Day. The siblings came with their older brother and sister, Josh, 15, and Tiffany, 20, and their parents Shane and Tina.

The party and the place brought back memories for the Richland family. Shane and Tina met years ago while working at the Life Care Center, and they spent many Halloweens helping out with the annual bash. "They used to bring us down here to help set up decorations," Tiffany recalled with a smile.

Shane Thompson said he likes that the event draws people from beyond the facility's walls.

"It brings people in here so they can see what it is," Tina added. "...I hope they keep doing it. Because this is fun."

w Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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