Chloe Demerritt, 3, smiles after having chosen a pumpkin to carve from the Gaeta, Italy, MWR Pumpkin Patch on Wednesday.

Chloe Demerritt, 3, smiles after having chosen a pumpkin to carve from the Gaeta, Italy, MWR Pumpkin Patch on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Lisa Julian)

(See list of Halloween events on bases in Europe at end of story.) AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — It might take just a few minutes to pass through. For those who survive, of course.

But volunteers spent a lot more time putting together haunted houses at military bases around Europe. A lot more time.

“A couple hundred hours,” said Mark Baldwin, organizing Aviano’s effort for the fourth straight year. “Easily.”

Not all the volunteers at Aviano have spent as much time lately in Hangar 6 as Baldwin. But he expects about 70 people will have contributed to the effort by the time the doors finally close — perhaps with some “victims” still inside — for good on Saturday night.

“It’s worth it,” he said. “When you see them come through laughing or just having a good time.”

Baldwin, 46, is a civilian communications consultant for the 603rd Air Control Squadron. He said Halloween doesn’t particularly hold a special place in his heart.

“I’m kind of a tool guy and I like to use my skills and challenge myself,” he said.

Ken Godden, another civilian who works in the 31st Services Squadron, has worked on 18 pieces of artwork for the project — most of them paintings on the walls of the structure.

“You get a lot of freedom to do what you want, which is nice as an artist,” he said.

He, too, said all the effort is worth it. Even though the house will only be open about seven or eight hours, “it’s very intense,” he said. “By the time they’re through it, they don’t remember everything. But they do have a feeling.”

“There’s a few rooms that, if we get them right, I think it’ll scare people,” said Airman 1st Class Ayecee Szkrybalo, another volunteer. The haunted house will be open Friday and Saturday, from 6:30-8 p.m., with a less-scary hour from 5-6 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Events around basesBELGIUM

Chièvres: Trick or Treat 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. There is also an “Unmasked Heroes” party, an alternative to Halloween, sponsored by Benelux chaplains 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Activity Center.


Ansbach: “Trunk or Treat” starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Illesheim fitness center and Katterbach Youth Service parking lots. There is a Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers’ Halloween party starting at 7 p.m. at the BOSS Center, Building 5843E, Bismarck Kaserne.Bamberg: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Warner Barracks. There is a Haunted Hotel 6-11 p.m. Saturday, Building 7001 at 16th and Zollner streets.Baumholder: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday. There also will be a Children and Youth Services party for ninth- through 12th-graders at the Teen Café on Smith Barracks. A Fall Fest/Halloween carnival for ages 2-12 will be 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Rheinlander Convention Center, Smith Barracks. AAFES will hold a costume contest 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the main post exchange.Darmstadt: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in Lincoln Village. There will be an adult costume party 10 p.m. Saturday at the Escape Club.Dexheim: Trick or Treat 4-7 p.m. Tuesday.Garmisch: Trick or Treat 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Breitenau housing.Giessen: Trick or Treat 5-7 p.m. Tuesday. There will be a pre-teen Youth Services Halloween Fright Night lock-in Saturday at the Butzbach Youth Center. A costume party will be held Saturday at Giessen Youth Services.Grafenwöhr: Trick or Treat 5-7 p.m. Off-post residents are invited to “Trunk or Treat” near the Grafenwöhr library starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The event is open to children of U.S. ID card holders children only.Hanau: Trick or Treat 4-8 p.m. Tuesday. The Büdingen Haunted House will be open 5-7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Building 2222 on Armstrong Kaserne. There will be a Halloween Terror Night in the back woods of Old Argonner Kaserne and the Warrant Officers’ Hut, Building 459, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. It will also feature a kids’ tent, open 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday.Heidelberg: Trick or Treat from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in Mark Twain and Patrick Henry villages. There will be a Fall Festival, sponsored by Heidelberg Children and Youth Services, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Village Pavilion. The event is open for children 12 and under, and children must be accompanied by parent.Hohenfels: Trick or Treat 5-7 p.m. A Halloween party will be held from 4 p.m. Saturday at the Life Center, Building 743. A Harvest Fest will be 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Building 40.Kaiserslautern: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday. An adult Halloween party will be held from 8 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday at Kazabra Club.Mannheim: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Benjamin Franklin Village.Ramstein: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Ramstein housing areas. There will be a Haunted Tent City from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday through Tuesday at 38th Construction and Training Squadron Compound. The tent city is open to anyone 12 or older. The Rod and Gun Club will hold a Friendly Forest and Haunted Hayride, Saturday at Pulaski Barracks.Schweinfurt: Harvest Fest 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Ledward Barracks.Stuttgart: Trick or Treat 5:30-8:30 p.m. at all USAG Stuttgart facilities.Wiesbaden: Trick or Treat 4-7 p.m. Tuesday. There will be a German-American Halloween Fall Fest 2-5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dexheim old sports hall. A guided Halloween tour of Oppenheim’s tunnels will take place 4-6 p.m. Sunday, with the tour starting below the mayor’s office. A Haunted House will be open 6-11 p.m. Saturday at Building 28 at the airfield, and a Halloween party will be 6-11 p.m. Tuesday at the Kastel Klub.Würzburg: “Trunk or Treat” 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the AAFES post exchange parking lot. The “Rocky Horror Picture Show" will be shown staring at 8 p.m. at Würzburg Community Activity Center, Building 5, at Leighton Barracks.


Aviano: “Trunk or Treat” will feature decorated vehicles dispensing treats, booths and entertainment in the road behind the exchange/commissary complex on Saturday, 6-8 p.m., free (pay for food and drinks). There will be a free haunted house in Hangar 6, Friday and Saturday, 6:30-8 p.m., with a less-scary hour from 5-6 p.m. A Halloween bash will feature a “Fear Factor”-style party at La Bella Visa Club, from 8 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday — free for airmen. A Hallelujah Harvest Fall Festival will offer an alternative Halloween celebration at the base chapel on Sunday, from 4-6 p.m. Dress in nonscary costumes.Gaeta: Trick or Treat 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A Fall Fest will be held 4-9 p.m. in Omi park.La Maddalena: Trick or Treat 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday.Sigonella: The Autumn Fest, which starts at noon Saturday, will include a “Fright Factor” competition and live music.Naples: Trick or Treat 5-8 p.m. at the support site and parco family housing areas.Vicenza: Trick or Treat in Villaggio, open to U.S. ID card holders only 6-7 p.m., then open to all 7-8:30 p.m. A Halloween carnival and pumpkin patch will be held 3:30-5 p.m. at Villaggio Youth Service. A Haunted Path will be held 7-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday.Livorno: Trick or Treat Tuesday starting at 3 p.m. at the library.


Camp Bondsteel: There will be pumpkin-carving and pie-eating contests Saturday, starting at 7 p.m., at the South Town Fitness Center. A haunted house costume and makeup contest, also on Saturday, start at 8 p.m. at South Town Fitness Center.


Rota: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday. A Haunted House will be 7-11 p.m. at Camp Mitchell, Building 392. There will be a country hay ride at 7 p.m. Saturday.


Incirlik: A free Halloween party will offer a costume contest on Saturday, at 9 p.m., at the club complex, with cash prizes for the top three club members. A free movie night will feature “Halloween 4” at the community center on Saturday, at 6 p.m. A nighttime golf 4-person scramble at the golf course will take place Saturday at dusk. There is a $10 entry fee.


RAF Alconbury: Trick or Treat 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday.RAF Lakenheath: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.RAF Mildenhall: Trick or Treat 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.

author picture
Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.

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