Features of WNO include a Witches Bazaar (vendors, crafters), food and adult beverages for purchases, psychics , raffles, door prizes and a "very popular" costume contest - with costumes each year becoming "more creative and more elaborate," Erwin said.
"To first timers, I will say, 'Come dressed in black. You won't be out of it,'" Erwin said. "And they'll walk in the gates and exclaim, 'Oh my, God! I've got an idea for my costume next year!'
People are already planning their costumes as well as knowing this is a party with a purpose. It not just going out partying. They know, 'I can give back.'"
In the early days of Witches Night Out, the planning committee met weekly beginning in August. Now WNO has an executive committee that meets in March to "lay the groundwork" for the first planning session in June.
That group then meets every other week until the big day. Like the event, the planning committee has grown, from six to 34, Erwin said. Half are women who've served at least five years; some are members of recipient agencies; and some are attendees who've said, "I want to be part of this group."
"People who did not know each other when they first started are now the closest of friends," Erwin said.
Erwin recalled how, at the conclusion of the inaugural WNO, she and Mihelich looked at each other and said, "Well, we did it." The results surprised them. That first year, WNO raised $14,000. Last year, it was $55,000.
"When I think about the impact we've had, I get goose bumps," Erwin said.
Pictured are some of the committee members: (front row, from left) Theresa Berkey (co-chair), Mary Lou Gast, Pat Ketelaar, Kimberly Adam, (back row) Tanya Rand, Jenna Crago, Maria Comolli, Katheryn Weidman, Judy Erwin (co-chair), Tiffany Behrens, Denise Maffeo, Mary Barrett and Laurie Keigher.