A Halloween Tradition
Ensures Toys for Christmas
Eighteen years ago, Sidney Faust and Cora Sue Mach learned the Texas Children’s Cancer Center didn’t have enough toys for their Christmas party. The two friends decided to do something about it. They came up with the unique idea of throwing a Halloween party with the only requisite being that everyone who attended must bring a toy. Invitations went out to all their friends, and, though the hostesses were the only two in attendance to dress up, the party was a huge success. The Texas Children’s Cancer Center had enough toys to make their Christmas party an event the children at the center would never forget.
Now in its nineteenth year, the most recent party having been held on October 24, 2018 at Sidney Faust’s home, the ghoulish gathering is more of a successthan ever and still collects toys to make the annual Texas Children’s Cancer Center Christmas party a success, too. Each year there is a theme, and now everyone dresses up. This year’s was the Roaring Twenties with Faust’s home being transformed into the Del Monte Spooky Speakeasy with incredible decorations and special effects both inside and out.
It is obvious that Faust and Mach love dressing up and hosting their Halloween spectaculars. They enjoy watching the faces of their guests being transformed into those of delighted children the moment they cross the spooky threshold and join the fun. What is most uplifting for them, however, is seeing the faces of the young patients at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center two months later lighting up at the magnificent sight of the toys meant just for them at the annual Christmas party.
Not only do Faust and Mach, along with a host of their friends, bring presents to the party, they supply the entertainment. Transformed with jugglers, penguins, a magician, a kid-friendly catered lunch, and musical entertainment, the center becomes every child’s dream of the perfect holiday party. There is even face painting. And, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus make an appearance giving out Christmas stockings filled with candy and other treats. Most importantly, every child gets their picture taken with the portly pair.
During the party, which lasts two to three hours, the abundance of toys is displayed on tables so children can actually shop for the present they want the most. Exchanges are even possible, if anyone decides they would prefer something else.
After the festivities, Faust, Mach, and their friends, pack the remaining toys on carts, and, along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and all the entertainment, go to the ninth floor where the children who are too sick to attend the party reside. Both women report having seen miracles occur as children respond to the music, fun, and happy activity the caring guests bring with them. Faust and Mach say this party is their favorite thing to do and declare it to be a joyful experience.
Sidney Faust and her husband, Don, are generous philanthropists. Their aid to children with cancer knows no bounds and has extended to retreats for patients and their families at their Squirrel Creek Ranch. In 2013, the couple was honored with the Ben Taub Humanitarian Award, which celebrates those individuals who have made significant contributions to Houston. Cora Sue Mach and her husband, Harry, are noted philanthropists who give generously to many causes, including cancer research and the Holocaust Museum Houston. In 2012, the Mach family was honored with the Holocaust Museum Houston’s Guardian of the Human Spirit Award, which celebrates those individuals who have given richly to the community to enhance the lives of others and to better mankind.