Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By C.M. Swanson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Witches brew up donations to food shelf


November 1, 2018

C.M. Swanson

Pictured above, Simone, Holly, Jackie, Kim, Alycia, Sheryl, Vanessa, Raven, Joanne, Kelly, Meadow, Liz, Keri, Verlena, Gale, Teresa, Teresa, Trinity. First names only as witches are under a spell to protect their last names.

Unless you've been on a Hollywood movie set, you've probably not seen a party like the ones thrown by Verlena Jones and Gale Lance. Sisters Jones and Lance are area residents with a flair for costume design and creation, prop fabrication, and purposeful guest itinerary management at elaborate theme parties of their own making.

In keeping with their desire to feed the hungry and create world peace, Jones and Lance chose to use witch power for their most recent gathering. Classy, handmade invitations were sent in advance to 19 guests who arrived at the Jones rural residence the evening of October 27 to partake in an evening of creative festivities.

In an interview prior to the event, the sisters shared a preview of the evening's theme and activities.

"The theme is about the Phases of the Three Moons, which only occurs every 300 years," said Jones. "This is the season witches from around the world come together to set aside their differences and try to make peace with one another.

"The witches will be selecting items that will tell them either they have been cursed with a spell or they have been spared and have no spell, or, perhaps they have been gifted as a Spell Breaker.

"We also have colored aura stones they will choose to tell them the color of their aura and what special gift comes with that color.

"They will have a riddle to solve where the world has become divided and at the end of the riddle the world will be united again for world peace and they will be sent off to spread the good news."

Ceremonies included the Spiral of Sisterhood around a bonfire, an "unexpected flash mob dance" between raindrops, and sharing a meal of chili and specialty bread at an elegantly set table.

The country setting was replete with decorations and props, indoors and out. The horse and human skeletons, candlelight lanterns, and warning signs in the forest at the edge of the gravel driveway set the mood for guests upon entering the grounds.

Though it sounds very much like sisters Lance and Jones have a professional party planning business, all their gatherings thus far have been for family, friends and fun. How did it all begin?

"They started because I wanted to have tea parties with my granddaughters," said Jones. "After the first or second year of having tea parties with them, somehow it turned into having a themed tea party.

"We have also had themed family parties, like a Grinch Party between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We've had snowball parties, and indoor camping parties in February. We just like to party."

Costume design and creation is a skill Lance has developed by experience.

"I used to own my own custom costume shop in California," said Lance. "I did a lot of fantasy characters and period costumes, that sort of thing. When I had the shop, you couldn't just go to the store and buy a pattern. You had to design and make them."

Customers would often come in and ask if Lance could create a unique, involved, specialty costume they had in mind.

"I would say absolutely, not a problem," said Lance. "Then I'd go home and say, now, how the h... can I do that? But it always worked out. I never had to turn anybody away or tell anybody I just couldn't do it.

Lance reached the level of designing and creating an Easter Bunny costume used in the Pinole, California branch of Macy's Department Store. She also designed and created costumes for two professional dance troupes. The same mall in which Macy's was housed asked her to help with a headdress competition.

"I had three different headdresses in this headdress competition," said Lance. "My headdresses took first, second, and third."

As far as last Saturday's witches party, guests were encouraged to make their own costumes rather than purchase one.

"We tell them, why buy anything?" said Jones. "Just go to the thrift store or find something you have at home and put it together. Some people are elaborate. Some are serious. Some are downright silly. Everybody comes up with a very unique look."

C.M. Swanson

Gale Lance and Verlena Jones, at left, were out in front of Market Place Foods to raise funds for the local food shelf.

The entrance fee to the well-coordinated affair was an item of food or monetary gift to be donated to the area Food Shelf. The sisters also collected donations at the Marketplace in Moose Lake prior to the event. When all was said and done, the Food Shelf received nearly $120 and 200 food items.

Sisters Verlena Jones and Gale Lance hold parties for fun. However, they have been encouraged to think about going into business, offering professional party planning to customers who have the desire but not the skill to put a creative event together.

"We'd love to do this as a business," said Lance.

A comment to which Jones simply gave her sister the evil eye, which produced laughter from them both.

Inquiries about potential party planning may be emailed to Depending on the color of your color aura stone, perhaps you may receive a favorable answer.


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