CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The halls were bright before the haunting started.
Wisps of smoke and the evil glow of demon eyes filled the offices at Combat Logistics Regiment 27’s headquarters building here as weary visitors braved the dark entrance and wandered into the spooky hallways, Oct. 21.
The dark transformation took a week and completely altered an entire section of the building.
The eerie calls of actors mixed with the cries of visitors as they passed through the gauntlet of horrors: an operating table with a screaming patient, a bodiless head upon a table, a witch brewing potions and a path through a smoke-filled graveyard with zombies.
“It was a lot of work,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Cole Worst, a religious program specialist whose office was part of the haunted house. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even think about it when I walked through today. It’s been a great time.”
Worst dressed in a Beetlejuice costume for the event – a favorite with the youngest visitors. He and other volunteers roamed the grounds and interacted with the children.
They took special care not to scare away their littlest guests by giving them glowing wristbands to ward off the scariest monsters.
“I saw one kid hold out his bracelet, and the zombies would fall over,” chuckled Laurie Valencia, a spouse who volunteered at the event. “It’s always good to see the kids laughing. You know they are enjoying it.”
The unit also had a bouncy castle, games and barbeque for participants. At the end of the festivities, several of the volunteers held a costume contest for the youngsters.
“I think it brings a lot of the military personnel closer together,” said Valencia. “It creates a familiarity with everybody. The kids come and play together and know that Halloween isn’t just scary. There is fun, too.”
Some of the children laughed and others clung to their parents in fear as they shuffled their way through the building.
Many immediately lined up for a second trip.
“We turned this into an actual haunted house,” said volunteer Michelle Smoak with a laugh. “We knew we were all going to have to pitch in to put this together, and that is what we did.”
Tours through the building lasted until the evening, when the volunteers set to work returning the regiment to a more business-like state.