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NEWS | Sept. 30, 2021

Exceptional Family Member Program hosts Halloween Howl Down Oct. 22

By David DeKunder 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Joint Base San Antonio Exceptional Family Member Program hosts its annual Halloween event for children and families, which includes treats, entertainment, a resource fair and a drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat, at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Oct. 22.

The Halloween Howl Down will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the parking lot across from the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center, located at 3060 Stanley Road, building 2797. The free event is open to all JBSA members and their families.

Sally Gonzalez, EFMP manager at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC, said the event will provide a fun and safe time for JBSA children and families while providing information on community resources for families.

“The purpose is to celebrate the holiday (Halloween) and offer a creative recreational event for the community, with the primary intent of educating the EFMP community on resources and service providers on JBSA and in the San Antonio area,” Gonzalez said.

Volunteers from JBSA units, volunteer organizations and San Antonio community partners will distribute candy to children and families in the drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat, with vehicles entering the parking lot across from the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC at Worth Road.

For the safety of children and families, Gonzalez said the event will be conducted following COVID-19 protocols.

“We’re asking all of the volunteers to wear masks and they will be passing out the candy with gloves at a safe distance,” Gonzalez said. “We’ll also ask the families to wear masks since we will be having people distributing the candy to them.”

Each JBSA unit and community partner participating in the Trunk-or-Treat will have their elaborately decorated trunks on display where they will give out their treats.  The 802nd Force Support Squadron command team will be present to judge and award a trophy to the unit or community partner with the best-decorated trunk.

In addition, an invitation-only resource fair, which will also take place in the parking lot across from the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC, will be held for the benefit of EFMP, Hearts Apart program and Gold Star families.

During the fair, hundreds of resource bags with information on service providers within the JBSA and San Antonio communities will be handed out to the families invited. EFMP, Hearts Apart and Gold Star families can register to receive an invitation at usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.502-fss-efmp@mail.mil.

Providing entertainment will be the Cole High School drumline and dance team and the Patch/Chafee Youth Center DJ Club at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Gonzalez said the Halloween Howl Down has become a longtime JBSA tradition as EFMP has hosted the event since 2014. Even last year’s event, in which activities had to be scaled down to a Trunk-or-Treat because of COVID-19 restrictions, was well attended by JBSA members and families.

“From the Military & Family Readiness perspective, it’s the largest and most popular event we host every year,” Gonzalez said. “We get anywhere from 800 to 1,000 people. Last year, because of COVID-19 and safety precautions, we hosted it as a drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat but we still had great participation with more than 300 cars with about 750 people driving through.”

JBSA units and community partners who want to volunteer and host a Trunk-or-Treat display can send their request to usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.502-fss-efmp@mail.mil.

Donations in-kind of treats and candy for Halloween Howl Down can be brought to the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC. JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC hours are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month.