KILLEEN, Texas — Hundreds came out to enjoy the United Service Organizations at Fort Cavazos Trunk or Treat with H-E-B Operation Appreciation event Oct. 27 at the Killeen Special Events Center here.
Originally slated to be held on Fort Cavazos, the event was moved to the indoor venue because of inclement weather.
But a few intermittent showers didn’t stop hundreds of attendees who waited outside in long lines, while hundreds more enjoyed the festivities inside.
Benjamin Griffin explained that the USO at Fort Cavazos partnered with H-E-B for their Operation Appreciation 10-year anniversary, making the annual Halloween event one of the biggest ever.
“Events like this is something that’s super exclusive to our active-duty service members and their families. That’s what it’s about,” he said. “We see all these kids out here dressed up and we have provided a safe environment for them to come enjoy some candy, enjoy a bouncy house, some ice cream, some music and it’s once a year that we’re able to do something like this.”
With the smell of barbecue in the air and the upbeat sounds of the 1st Cavalry Division Band entertaining onlookers, the wide-open space bustled with interactive activities, circus performers, face painting stations, games, six large bouncy houses and a huge inflatable slide.
Because no Trunk or Treat event would be complete without an array of sweet treats, the USO at Fort Cavazos staff and volunteers, along with volunteers from the Directorate of Public Works, 1st Medical Brigade and Cavalry Family Housing, handed out candy.
The H-E-B mobile kitchen provided barbecue sandwiches, drinks, popcorn and cotton candy. Guests also delighted in using the 360-activation station.
Military spouse Sandy Kerfoot and her five children made quite a creative and tasty impression dressed as a variety of iconic characters representing their favorite cereals.
“It’s the highlight of our Halloween season, picking out costumes,” she said.
Kerfoot shared that dressing up is a 12-year tradition for her children and the event was a great opportunity to bond with other military families.
“It’s just great to see the whole community out together, making those connections, seeing those same people over and over again.”
But it wasn’t just the youngsters that showed off their creativity when it came to their Halloween get-ups.
Dressed as superheroes, the Go Team Therapy/Crisis Dogs Central Texas joined in the fun and delighted guests with their inventive outfits and friendly dispositions.
Spc. Brittney Caraway and Spc. Sahria Blanks, 13th Armored Corps Sustainment Command, said the event was a great way for Soldiers to get out and have a good time.
“It’s important for the unit as a whole to boost morale and get to know each other,” Caraway said.
“You have people that come, dress up, without it being so serious. We can actually have fun together,” Blanks added.
Griffin estimated that more than 4,500 Soldiers, military families and Halloween enthusiasts attended the event, adding that it’s about serving the military community.
“At the USO, it’s all about hospitality,” Griffin said. “Touching those folks in ways where they can relax, have a good time and just enjoy themselves. We’re talking just an exceptional amount of things that were put into this, and again, with the weather changing, we could not be happier with the turnout.
“This was a once in a lifetime thing to partner with H-E-B to be able to put on this amazing gift for the 10-year anniversary of Operation Appreciation,” he added. “All the stars aligned, and we are just so happy and thrilled to be able to do that to support our community in the best way possible.”