ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Walk down almost any street in America on Halloween and you will see kids with costumes and smiling faces, grabbing handfuls of candy from buckets, teenagers who think they are “too cool” to dress up and parents carrying little ones who have just had too much fun. The 97th Air Mobility Wing built upon the usual Halloween traditions to create one of their own. The 10th annual Fall Festival is a time for families to trick-or-treat, play games, grab a bite to eat and carve pumpkins on base before heading out to the neighborhoods to fill their buckets with more candy.
The 97th Air Mobility Wing Chapel held Fall Fest, Oct. 31, 2018, at Altus AFB, Okla.
The event functioned as a morale incentive for families, allowing them to play games together and enjoy the holiday in a safe environment.
“Every year the chapel sets this event up and it is by far one of the best events the base has for the kids to ensure they are having a good time and enjoying themselves,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Paul Francis Tejano, NCO in charge of fleet management for the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “My family and I have been here for four years and this is our third year going to Fall Fest. To know that the base is offering something like this to our friends and family members means a lot.”
Fall Fest may not be as old as Altus AFB, but it’s an important piece of Altus’ culture.
“We always look forward to having this event. Fall Fest has been going on for years now; it’s grown to be one of the biggest events at Altus,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Story, NCO in charge of chapel readiness and resources at the 97th Air Mobility Wing. “This was my first year doing this event and I’d heard that it’s great. Families and kids look forward to it and the games are a lot of fun so I was really excited for it.”
Fall Fest not only works as a way to bring families together, but it also plays into safety as well.
“I would definitely say that this is by far the safest way for your children to go trick-or-treating,” said Story. “First, the event is here at the chapel on base so it’s a safe environment. Second, we have barriers setup and there won’t be any traffic. Third, Security Forces and the Fire Department will both be at the event should anything else go wrong.”
Fall Fest had several attractions for families’ enjoyment: free food, face painting, horse rides, games and the trunk-or-treat competition where units throughout the base compete by decorating rooms and handing out candy to families.
Due to the weather this year, the trunk-or-treat portion of the event was moved inside the chapel, allowing families to appreciate a new take on what has become a tradition at the 97th AMW.
“For me, the best part of this event is the enjoyment that my kids have from what the base has been offering us,” said Tejano. “It’s great that the base has this. I hope more people will come out and support events like this. The more people who come, the better these events are going to be.”
The 97th Air Mobility Wing supports events like Fall Fest which keep Airmen and their families safe, involved and enjoying activities and fellowship during this fall season.