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Sea Trail women trick-or-treat for seniors

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

 SUNSET BEACH—Credit Halloween boredom for spurring four Sea Trail women to charitable action.

Three Halloweens ago, Linda Blanchette realized her neighborhood had few children or trick-or-treaters, so on a lark she decided to go door-to-door and collect candy from her neighbors in Planter’s Ridge.

Soon, she joined forces with best female neighbor-friends Jean Kelleher, Jaye Hardman and Barbara Narath, who have made it a tradition to dress up in costumes and collect treats—not for themselves, but to donate to area retirement homes and senior centers.

The tradition continues this Friday, Halloween night, when they’ll once again don original getups and go house-to-house collecting full bags of candy, cookies, crackers and other treats in pillowcases to take to seniors on Saturday.

The neighbors, they said, have come to expect their door-to-door snack solicitation.

In fact, they’ve sent out a circular alerting everyone that they’re ba-ack: “Your neighborhood ladies will be back on Halloween night to trick or treat for nursing homes, senior centers and senior living quarters in North and South Carolina.”

They plan to start at 5:30 p.m. and finish around 8 p.m.

“But please don’t hold us to that finish time,” the flier continues. “We aren’t that young anymore and we start to get tired.”

Neighbors have become accustomed to asking the women if they’re coming ’round for another Halloween.

“They look forward to it,” Blanchette said.

So far, they’ve already received several large bags of goodies neighbors have begun dropping off at Blanchette’s house on Bermuda Walk.

“It’s not like dropping a little candy bar in a bag,” Kelleher said. “It’s whole bags [of candy].”

The four are not sure about their costumes this year, either, although Blanchette said she planned to trick-or-treat as Alfalfa.

Two years ago, Narath was Madonna, Hardman was a cowgirl, Kelleher was a gypsy and Blanchette was the Great Pumpkin.

“Jaye as a cowgirl was trying to corral all the men,” Narath joked.

Another year, they dressed like teenyboppers and played 1950s music while riding in the back of a “hayride” pickup truck.

They collect and carry as much candy as they can, then deposit it into one of their husbands’ waiting vehicles.

“Obviously we can’t do all of Sea Trail—it’s too big,” Blanchette said. “We get so much candy.”

So far, they’ve already collected “well over 100 pounds,” she said.

“To the point that we can’t carry it,” Hardman said.

This year, the quartet will split into duos who will go in different directions collecting treats in the Planter’s Ridge section and a portion of Crooked Gulley Circle.

Saturday, they’ll deliver the goodies to Autumn Care Nursing Home in Shallotte and other senior facilities where the treats are always welcome and appreciated.

“They’re just thrilled when we walk in with garbage bags full,” Blanchette said.

Both givers and recipients can rest assured 100 percent of the treats will go to the senior sites. That’s because Blanchette won’t allow any of the “collectors” to have even one piece of candy, the other women said.