Halbritter Wickens Funeral Services to host fundraiser

NILES — With a desire to help children in need have access to winter coats, business owners Sabrina and Steve Wickens wanted to do something “rad” to raise money for the cause.

The couple is organizing a 1980s-themed murder mystery fundraiser. Those interested can bust out their neon colors and tease their hair big to take part in a 1980s Murder Mystery: Like, Oh My Gosh … Murder. The event is hosted by Halbritter Wickens Funeral Services and will take place 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 615 E. Main St. in Niles.

People are encouraged to dress in costume and enjoy a variety of snacks popular in the ‘80s, such as pizza rolls. Each participant will be assigned a character, loosely based on a real-life ‘80s star.

The game is set at a “totally tubular” album and fragrance release party for international pop idol Debbie Gribson. As the celebrities mingle, they will be challenged to put their detective skills to the test and find out who the murder among them is.

Sabrina Wickens, co-owner of the business, said she felt it would be a fun way to promote a good cause.

“We as a family enjoy doing these murder mysteries,” Sabrina said. “We had always talked about how we wanted to host one.”

With a need to raise money for more coats, Sabrina said she felt this was an opportunity.

Late last year, Wickens and her husband Steve started Coats of Caring, a year-round effort to collect winter attire for residents in need. The coats were donated to the Ferry Street Resource Center, Evy’s Closet and the Niles Salvation Army. For their part, the charity organizations give the coats away to those in need.

While many coats for adults were donated, Wickens said there is a great need for more children’s coats.

“I think in total we have had less than 20 coats delivered,” Wickens said. “As soon as I give them to Salvation Army or Ferry Street Resource Center, they are snatched right up.”

Wickens said proceeds from the murder mystery would be used to purchase coats for children.

In addition to the murder mystery, a silent auction featuring ‘80s music, movies and candy will take place to raise additional funds. Those interested in donating items to the auction can contact Wickens at the business, (269) 683-3000.

Tickets cost $20 each and can be purchased online at Event Brite, and a link is available on Halbritter Wickens’ Facebook page. Cash or check for tickets can be dropped off at the funeral home during regular business hours. Tickets can be purchased through Jan. 25.   

Wickens encouraged people to take part.

“Number one, it is going to be a really fun and inexpensive evening of entertainment,” she said. “Number two, it’s a way they can go have fun and support a good cause.”

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