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Finland Community Costume Party and Potluck: Friends, Feast, and Festivities

My best friend is more into Halloween than anyone I know. Her décor spreads across her yard. Her investment in inflatables is impres­sive. I love the dog with the glowing red eyes that snap his head back and forth. It is a bit intimidating! More decorations dangle from her trees and cover her windows. The Halloween spirit is everywhere… including her stove. She loves making spooky treats and she’s good at grossing everyone out! Her “foot loaf”, a meatloaf shaped like a foot with gory ketchup and onion toenails, doesn’t look appealing. She once made “sausage link in­testines.” Any of her creations, like her sig­nature “earthworm spaghetti”, would be welcome at the Costume Party and Potluck on Sunday, October 29th at the Clair Nelson Center in Finland.

It’s not a requirement to make your potluck contribution Halloween-themed. Nor is it re­quired to wear a costume, but, if you do, you could win a prize! (To me, wearing a costume and getting to eat at a potluck IS a prize.)

The Friends of Finland (FoF) organization has had a long-standing tradition of a Com­munity Potluck, hosted the last Sunday of every month, with social hour beginning at 5 PM and the meal at 6 PM. “It’s one of our trademark programs,” said Honor Schauland, Director and Program Lead for FoF. “And we really couldn’t do it without volunteers.” Volunteers are asked to host the community potluck each month, which includes setting up, opening the building, cleaning up after the feast, etc. October’s volunteers are Pat­ti, Nexus & Friends and, according to Honor, they are “really excited” to be hosting a Cos­tume Party and Potluck. “I have a feeling the one this month will be pretty popular because of the Halloween theme,” she said.

The attendance of the gathering has varied since the pandemic. Whereas the room used to be filled with about 60 attendees, more recently it has been around 30. Sometimes less. “It’s taking a while to get back up to pre-covid numbers,” said Honor. For the same reasons, the Community Potluck is always looking for volunteers to be the host for one of the months. “There are lots of opportunities,” Honor said, mentioning that the hosts can choose to have a theme if they wish.

The FoF offers a lot of opportunities, as well. Funded by the county, township, grants, and other donations, they provide programming for the community. “We try to serve who­ever walks in the door with a need,” Honor said. They have resources such as technology assistance, Wi-Fi access, access to a com­puter for Telehealth visits, and can scan and email documents. Amongst many other activities held at the Clair Nelson Center, you can attend yoga classes, a craft group, a senior caregiver support group, and kids can attend the Thursday night Youth Group.

“There’s a lot of different, fun things that happen,” Honor told me. “People come in and get what they need, or we help people make a connection.”

The connection at the Community Potlucks has been fun for Honor to see. “The kids play on the playground or in the gym. The old guys tease them. It’s sweet to watch every­body interact in that way,”

When I told my best friend about this arti­cle, she texted me more names of her Hallow­een themed food. “Bloody Finger Hotdogs” doesn’t look too hard if anyone is looking for an easy one to bring to the Costume and Potluck Party. Just be sure not to overeat too much, as there is a dance party following the potluck. A dance party may be an opportunity for the kids to tease the “old guys.”

If you are interested in volunteering or in services provided by the FoF, contact 218- 353-0300 or visit www.friendsoffinland.org.  

Feel free to contact me at sarahwritesnsj@yahoo.com  with any news we should news about!

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