SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Twenty years ago, Laurie Chichester moved to Coles Avenue.  She had no idea what Halloween was like on the block, nor what path her health would take. Laurie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Today she is cancer free.

An active member in every community she belongs to, Laurie decided to use her story of healing and hope, as well as, the fact that hundreds of families trick or treat in her neighborhood, to raise money for breast cancer research.  In 2015, she coordinated the first Coles Avenue Chili Cook Off.  Four or five chefs cook more than 50 pounds of chili each year. Trick or treaters taste all the chili and drop their cup into the receptacle closest to the one they like the most. Some drop donations into the pink boxes to be sent to MSK for their breast cancer research fund.

"This is a great event that gives us a chance to work as a community to fight breast cancer and have fun at the same time," explains Chichester, "I'm so grateful for everyone's support and love that people come back year after year."

Sign Up for Scotch Plains/Fanwood Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Each year the amount donated has increase with this year's contribution hitting $2,650. Over the five-year history more than $9,000 has been donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering through the generosity of the SPF community.

"The annual chili competition was once again a big hit --so much so that the 7th grade boys were marching up and down Coles, chanting 'We want chili! W want chili!' And they it," said Coles Ave. resident Chris Bates. 

The countdown is now on to Halloween 2020! is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.