Thousands of people lined up around the block an hour early Saturday to wait for their chance to enjoy tricks and treats at Fort Campbell’s annual Spooktacular.

The Halloween event, hosted by Fort Campbell Morale, Welfare and Recreation at the Town Center Park in front of the Main Exchange, began with Families enjoying candy from more than a dozen vehicles in the event’s “trunk or treat.”

“We had to [hand out candy] in shifts,” said Capt. Monique Eddins, commander of 1st Lt. J. Robert Kalsu Replacement Company. “It’s a great team effort.”

Kalsu won the decorating competition for scariest vehicle.

“The haunted box truck was decorated by cadre and incoming Soldiers,” Eddins said. “This is a great way to get them out in the community as they wait to get to their assigned unit.”

Other categories in the vehicle decorating competition were “Pumpkin Pimped Ride” and “Cartoon.”

The “Pumpkin Pimped Ride” award went to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Rosenthal, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group and his wife, Christiana.

The Rosenthals’ vehicle was decorated in the theme of the animated television special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” complete with Christiana dressed as Lucy the witch.

The “Cartoon” award went to Maj. Keith De Silva, Group Support Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group and his wife, Sherri.

The De Silvas’ vehicle was decorated in the theme of Alice in Wonderland and featured Maj. De Silva as the White Rabbit and Sherri as the Queen of Hearts.

Other decorated vehicles included MWR Aquatics with their lifeguard themed truck, Fort Campbell Fire Department Station 1 with their fire engine, and Fort Campbell’s Qualified Recycling Program with a table of swag made from recycled materials.

Spook N’ Splash

MWR Aquatics staff distributed fliers for the upcoming Spook N’ Splash event that will take place Friday along with the candy.

“It will be a free, Family-fun event taking place at Gardner Indoor Pool,” said Ryan Noble, MWR Aquatics and Fitness manager. “We’ll have a photo booth, pumpkin painting, an underwater pumpkin patch and a dive-in movie for a fun-filled, action-packed October/Halloween evening.”

Noble said the dive-in movie will be a Halloween-themed, Family-friendly film projected onto a 30-foot inflatable screen that will float in the pool.

Spook N’ Splash will be 5-8 p.m. Friday at Gardner Indoor Pool, 2191 Kentucky Ave.

Earth Man

In addition to candy and swag, the Qualified Recycling Program staff shared information about how recycling helps the local community.

“Everyone has been told about how recycling helps the environment by keeping things out of landfills,” said Rob Anderson, program manager of the Qualified Recycling Program. “What many people aren’t aware of is that how much recycling helps Fort Campbell.”

Anderson, who was dressed as his alter ego “Earth Man,” said Fort Campbell is charged money for every ton of garbage it sends to a landfill, but is paid money for selling recyclable materials to waste management companies. “The money that is saved and made [from selling recyclable materials] gets put directly back into Fort Campbell,” Anderson said. “We bought three CYS buses, helped pay for the nature trail [at Destiny Boulevard] and put money into the [Smokehaus Restaurant] to help make that a better dining experience.”

In addition to the convenience center located at 6802 A Shau Valley Road, Anderson said there will soon be recycling drop off locations at the Main Exchange, Dreyer Field House and inside Gate One, he said.

Ghosts, pumpkins, music

Once Families had their fill of free treats, they moved on to the “spooky” leg of Spooktacular. Members of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program provided a haunted bus.

The bus, which in actuality was two buses backed up to one another and connected via the rear escape doors, was filled with fog, animatronic ghosts and volunteers dressed as ghouls.

“[That was] scary,” said 3-year-old Lorenzo Wilkerson, son of Pfc. Dvario Wilkerson, 194th Military Police Company. “[Let’s go] again.”

Near the exit of the haunted bus was a pumpkin patch.

“We have over 800 pumpkins to give away,” said Sharra Rivera Munoz, special events coordinator for MWR. “Once the Family has a pumpkin, they can decorate it at our decorating stations.”

The pumpkin decorating stations had a variety of Halloween-themed stickers to adorn the fresh pumpkins.

Next to the pumpkin decorating stations were a selection of Halloween-themed carnival games. Children could win prizes by throwing bean bags into the mouth of an oversized wooden jack-o-lantern or tossing rings onto a pumpkin stem.

For those who tired of candy and wanted something more substantial, the MWR mobile snack shack had food and beverages available for purchase.

The evening’s festivities came to an end as Families relaxed to enjoy live music.

Before Crystal Day took the stage to sing her original and personal salute to the troops, “Brave,” Travis Rice entertained with songs including his No. 1 single, “Always Have Mexico.”

“Fort Campbell has a really good Family atmosphere, which I like,” Rice said. “A Soldier is not just one person, it’s a whole Family. They all go through sacrifices, so it’s nice to give back to all of them.”