State College

93-year-old Thelma Andrews always dressed for occasion on Halloween

Ninety-three-year-old Thelma Andrews always greets her State College neighborhood trick-or-treaters in costume.
Ninety-three-year-old Thelma Andrews always greets her State College neighborhood trick-or-treaters in costume. psheehan@centredaily.com

At 93 years old, Thelma Andrews has been many things.

A princess, a witch, a gingerbread person — all of them solid resume builders for sure — but really, it’s mostly about the kids.

Whatever the occasion, I just feel like I should participate.

Thelma Andrews

Every Halloween, Andrews greets trick-or-treaters at the door of her College Township home wearing an elaborate costume.

“Whatever the occasion, I just feel like I should participate,” Andrews said.

The tradition dates back almost a decade now, ever since she up and left a wintery life in Maine to come live with her daughter’s family in State College, shortly after her husband died in 2008.

Before that, the couple walked 4 miles a day together, and Andrews has continued to keep busy ever since. She goes swimming at the local YMCA three times a week, sends greeting cards to elderly shut-ins and only recently retired as a volunteer with Juniper Village at Brookline.

“I miss it and they miss me,” Andrews said.

She estimates that nearly a dozen trick-or-treaters visit the house each year. Always prepared, she puts together 30 goodie bags filled with candy and pretzels just in case.

You see them a head taller each year.

Thelma Andrews

Andrews enjoys watching the kids in the neighborhood grow up.

“You see them a head taller each year,” Andrews said.

Trick-or-treating is also a good way to get to know the neighbors, relationships that can sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of careers and family obligations.

“People don’t socialize in the neighborhood like they used to,” Andrews said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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