MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Despite cold and dreary weather, Tarawa Terrace Community Centers’ second Family Pumpkin Bash succeeded in bringing in more than 1,000 guests, far more than last year’s event.
“It’s an amazing turnout,” said Lorraine Fuller, a recreational specialist with Marine Corps Community Services. “It’s exceeded our wildest dreams.”
The Family Pumpkin Bash, an event that stemmed from the Pumpkin Patch in the Haunted Forest event that took place aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in years past, has become a popular event in its own right.
Conveniently located in Tarawa Terrace Community Center aboard the MCB Camp Lejeune housing area, and boasted a long list of fun activities, Oct. 29.
“We wanted it to be a little closer to the community,” said Fuller. “Having an event like this close to home makes it easy to walk down the street, have an hour of fun, and head back home. It’s not an all-day affair, so it’s convenient.”
With events like pony rides, festival attractions and activities, like mummy wrapping and arts and crafts, there were plenty of things for the children. The event had freebies like popcorn and pumpkins and materials were provided by other MCCS services.
“It’s pretty good for the kids,” said Sgt. Roman Miller with 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “I know my two sons enjoyed themselves a lot.”
Family Pumpkin Bash seeks to improve itself year to year, bringing in new ideas and expanding on events that worked well. For instance, face painting, an event that proved wildly popular in last year’s event was increased by several volunteers.
If families needed a reprieve from the event, there was a quiet room where a librarian read stories. Story time continued throughout the event, cycling through a series of Halloween-themed books. At the conclusion of each cycle, books were given away by Blue Star Families’ “Books on Bases Smiles on Bases” program.
Thirty-five volunteers hailed from Operation Noble Heart, where Marines, family members and other parts of the military community can be linked with volunteering opportunities.
“They’re motivated and dedicated,” said Fuller. “Honestly we couldn’t do the program without them. With a small staff and so many people, it can be difficult but with the volunteers it was manageable.”
The volunteers enjoyed the opportunity too. Lance Cpl. Russ Hanson with 2nd Marine Division said if he had not had been there he would have been in the barracks. He urged other Marines to volunteer.
Organizers also took the opportunity to teach children about trick-or-treat safety tips through some of the games.
The event was part of a series of MCCS Halloween events. With events like Mom’s and Tots and Mystery Dinner Theater, MCCS is holding events for every member of the military community.
“Hopefully, everybody finds a program that they’re interested in,” said Fuller.
She added that they are creating events that include all age groups to have families out as a unit.
“We’d love to have them all out,” Fuller said. “We enjoy spending time with the community.”