BILOXI -- The Donal Snyder Community Center in Biloxi will be filled with ghouls and goblins Friday when it plays host to the 15th annual Seniors Halloween Bash. The free event starts at noon and lasts until 2 p.m.
"We will have good old-fashioned chili as our meal," event coordinator Gwen Johnson said. "We will have a costume contest and a local DJ. We just want the seniors to come out and have a good time.
"All we are asking is for them to bring a dessert to share."
Johnson said the Halloween party has been one of the more popular events at the center.
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"We have a lot of people that dress up in costumes," she said. "It's always been something that people look forward to every year. We try to get the seniors of Biloxi together once a month and this is one of their favorite events. They look forward to socializing with one another and wearing costumes."
Encore Rehab Services of Biloxi also will be on hand during Friday's event to offer free balance screenings for the participants.
According to nihseniorhealth.com, more than 30 million senior Americans have some type of balance issues caused by health problems or medication.
"Most seniors do face problems with balance as they age," physical therapist Douglas Vanheel said. "This can be caused by problems with eyesight. As people age, their feeling also goes. So there's a problem with balance because of loss of eyesight and loss of feeling."
Vanheel said he hopes those attending the Halloween Bash will participate in the screening.
"We do a few tests where we see if the person can stand independently with their eyes open and eyes closed," he said. "We also see how they can do with different balance tasks such as reaching and walking in place."
Mary Elizabeth Stevens of Biloxi, who was born Oct. 30, 1922, said she will be attending the Halloween Bash as a way to celebrate her 93rd birthday.
"Although I was born on Oct. 30, I consider myself a Halloween baby," Stevens said. "I'm going to be there for the Halloween event and for my birthday.
"I plan on dancing with everyone there."
Halloween in Long Beach
The Senior Center in Long Beach also will host special activities on Friday.
Center director Cabrini Cadrecha said seniors are encouraged to wear their costumes for the festivities.
"We hope everyone will dress up in costumes," Cadrecha said. "We're going to play games and have music and give out candy. We're also going to have fun foods on that day instead of the usual roast beef and peas and carrots.
"We are having hamburgers and baked beans."
The activities will begin at 9:30 a.m.