Filled with witches, princesses, gladiators, trolls, vampires, cowboys, and Björk—yes, Björk—the Hilton Americas ballroom was a sight to behold last Saturday night. More than 700 costumed characters descended on downtown for this year's Hocus Pocus-themed Boo Ball on October 27, raising $970,000 for Ronald McDonald House Houston.

The House has helped seriously ill children and their families for more than 30 years, providing a "home away from home" while children undergo medical treatment in the area.The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974; today, there are more than 300 around the world. RMH Houston's 50-bedroom Holcombe House offers low-cost lodging at a fraction of the price of Med Center-area hotels, plus transportation, healthy food, and the opportunity to connect with other families facing similar crises. In recent years, more RMH houses have opened inside area hospitals.

RMH relies heavily on donations, and the $970,000 raised at this year's Boo Ball will go far: $25 covers the nightly fee for one family staying at the Holcombe House; $50 stocks the pantry with snack items for families between hospital visits; $125 funds weekly pizza delivery to families at MDA and CMHH; and $1,000 can provide a new hospital-grade mattress for overnight rooms inside the hospital.

Longtime RMH Houston supporters Stephanie and Anthony Milam chaired this year's gala, and KHOU Channel 11's Chita Craft served as emcee. Festive decor and a decadent meal played to the evening's theme, and The Society Band provided the live soundtrack to post-dinner dancing. Cowboy hat-clad auctioneer Rusty Mertink led an enchanting live auction on such items as VIP luxury suite tickets to a Rockets game; rare wines; and a handmade, Texas-themed quilt specially made for the event.

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