Old Fort Bliss shares its spooky side
Sgt. Jonathan W. Thomas,
More than 300 Soldiers and their Families ventured to the annual Haunted Pumpkin Patch event hosted by the Old Fort Bliss Replica Museum staff here Oct. 20.
History and a variety of Halloween entertainment awaited each family, including pumpkins, fun activities and spooky stories.
“This is my favorite event, it’s the holiday event before Halloween where we give away pumpkins, and we have hundreds and hundreds of various sized pumpkins,” said Wanda Kienzle, education program director at the Old Fort Bliss Replica Museum.
For a small donation, each child was given the opportunity to select their ideal pumpkin to decorate.
“We’re here to get a pumpkin,” said 8-year-old Cereniti Wallacedeleon. “I’m going to make something; I’m going to put a lantern in it.”
Pumpkin picking was not the only activity on the menu for children. In addition to the pumpkins and stories, the Old Fort Bliss Replica Museum offered lessons on lassoing, panning for gold, and leather working said Kienzle.
“We have fun activities that are tied to what children long, long ago would have done, and we’re also going to have our ghost stories, where we sit around the bonfire and talk about some spooky things that are part of our history,” said Kienzle. “It’s a great time for children to explore the area.”
“We came out here to enjoy the pumpkin patch and the ghost stories,” said Rosa Cutcher, mother of two. “I think it’s wonderful.”
Although the annual Haunted Pumpkin Patch raises money for activities held at the Old Fort Replica, most children would agree that its success is not based on the number of donations, but on how much fun they had.
“You get to dress up and get candy,” said Wallacedeleon. “I got to do a lot of fun stuff today.”
That enjoyment is one of the reasons the volunteers and staff at the Old Fort Bliss Replica spend days transforming the museum into a Halloween wonderland, said Kienzle.
“Seeing their smiles at the end of the day or having someone come up and shake my hand and say we had the best time, that’s really why I’m here,” said Kienzle. “It keeps me going and keeps me trying to do different things for them.”
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