IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JAPAN
IWAKUNI, Japan - With female voices in the background singing creepy lullabies, the repeated screams of, “Get out,” and the combined echoes of chainsaws and hair-raising giggles and howls bouncing off the walls, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, residents and Japanese guests crept their way through the Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 haunted house, Oct. 31, 2013.
During their Halloween night tour, 30 MWSS-171 Marines and one spouse volunteered their night to put the traditional “boo” back into the spooky holiday.
Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Brooks, logistics chief for MWSS-171, coordinated and helped provide the volunteers with equipment and supplies to assist them in building their haunted house.
“The biggest thing is when we had the Japanese come on base,” said Brooks. “That’s one of the most important things we wanted to do, was build that rapport with the Japanese here. We want to keep that mutual respect between us since we are in their country.”
Brooks said this event gives Japanese residents a chance to come aboard station and experience a little bit of American culture, in exchange for hosting and allowing Americans to experience theirs.
Pfc. Christopher P. Moler, a maintenance management specialist clerk with MWSS-171, dressed up as an innocent victim, was the first startling sight of the haunted journey. Given the first opportunity to prepare the visitors for what was in store for them, Moler said he made sure to give them a good first scream.
“In the first group that went in, a lady and her husband just stopped and dropped at the same time,” said Moler. “We had another, she was wearing a hood with ears on it, and the guides called her out so everybody knew who she was. She was in tears before she even got to me. I’m the first one and she was already crying.”
Lance Cpl. Kristen K. Kahalewai, comptroller with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, was one of many visitors who walked through the haunted house Halloween night.
“Actually, the scariest part was the female voices in the background,” said Kahalewai. “I couldn’t deal with it because the scream of a woman is just frightening. Afterward, I’m pretty sure I had to use the bathroom, but I’m glad I got to experience the haunted house.”
Apart from being scared, Kahalewai appreciated what the MWSS-171 Marines did to help the residents aboard station enjoy their Halloween away from home.
“My favorite part was how much effort was put into it,” said Kahalewai. “It was very artistic and well thought out. You could tell they spent hours putting it together, and nothing was left blank. They had a staff who was working constantly for half the day. They had great energy, they didn’t act tired or bored, and every tour that went in were equally as scared.”
Recognizing the meaning behind the haunted house and not seeing it only as a scary attraction made Kahalewai appreciate her Marine family aboard station that much more.
“It just reinforces how strong our community is,” said Kahalewai. “We are all dealing with being homesick, missing the states and how we used to feel back there, and it’s nice to know that even though they still felt like that, they put forth the effort to help everyone else. I felt a lot of love; extremely scared, but a lot of love.”
The MWSS-171 haunted house made approximately $2,700 in three nights, $400 of which went to supplies used to build the attraction, and the rest going toward the MWSS-171 Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
If residents aboard station, or Japanese residents, missed the 2013 MWSS-171 haunted house, they should be on the lookout for next year when the Marines spook back with an all new haunted adventure.
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This work, MWSS-171 puts the 'boo' back in Halloween, by Cpl David Walters, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.