On one night in October, women in Joliet get dressed up in their finest - pointy hats, pointy shoes, cloaks, brooms, magic wands. They are headed to the Witches' Night Out.
"We encourage everyone to dress," said Judy Erwin, co-chair/vendor chair of the Oct. 25 event.
Usually, first-time attendees put on black pants and shirt and maybe wear a hat.
"The next time they come in costume," she said.
Witches Night Out is a fundraiser and the brainchild of co-chairs Erwin and Kathleen Mihelich.
"Kathy Mihelich and I were college friends," Erwin said. "We took a road trip and went through a little town called Lebanon, which is a good four or five hours away."
While there, the pair attended the Lebanon Witches Night Out event.
"We had such fun, we said we can’t travel five hours, we need to bring that into Joliet," Erwin said.
"The whole year later, I just kept thinking of how much fun it was," she said.
She had a limitation, though, the event in Lebanon was outdoors and the Illinois weather did not allow an October event to be outdoors. But they found a large venue in the Joliet Junior College Renaissance Center.
The two also decided that the event had to be affordable and had to help others in the community.
"She said let’s do it for charity instead of just another ladies night out," Erwin said of Mihelich. "We thought it was a great way of women helping other women."
This year, the event is $15 to get in, and an additional $5 gets you valet parking. There are 45 vendors this year, including a new, expanded section of psychic readers. The charities benefiting from the 2012 event are: Lamb's Fold Center for Women and Children, Stepping Stones Treatment and Recovery Center and Will County Children's Advocacy.
Doors open at the event at 4:30 p.m., with a Witches Bazaar and a buffet dinner for an additional $12.95. At 8 p.m., winners of the door prize as well as costume contest winners - best over-all witch wear, best hat, best broom and best shoes will be announced. The event is in its third year and is again being held at the Renaissance Center, 214 N. Ottawa St., Joliet. The event also has special package pricing. Details on that are available here.