Editor’s Note: This story was written by students from Patch Middle School and is republished in the Citizen with permission. Last names have been removed for student privacy.
By Giselle and London
Patch Middle School Journalism Students
After a year away, Halloween events and celebrations have returned to U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. The festivities kick off Sunday with the Trunk-or-Treat event at Stuttgart High School along with garrison housing areas reopening for trick or treating.
Robinson Barracks, Kelley Barracks, Patch Barracks, and housing areas on Panzer will be open for trick or treaters from 5 to 8 p.m., according to Col. Matthew Ziglar, the USAG Stuttgart commander. Col. Ziglar said that high vaccination rates on post, coupled with low infection rates, have afforded the USAG Stuttgart community the ability to safely carry out events like trick or treating.
To further ensure the community’s safety, Col. Ziglar said trick or treating events will only be open to DOD ID cardholders as part of the garrison’s COVID preventative measures. Further, all participants who are unvaccinated will be required, by garrison policy, to wear a mask.
Col. Ziglar said he understands that the mask-wearing requirement can be frustrating for unvaccinated participants but it’s steps such as those that have helped to keep infection rates low within the garrison community.
“For the most part it will be cold and people will have masks on and so we ask for individuals that are not vaccinated — which includes everybody that is under 12 years old because as I’m sure you know, if you are under 12 you can’t be vaccinated currently,” he said.
“So we’re asking unvaccinated individuals to still wear that mask and it would be helpful if parents and everybody else helps us comply with those requirements.”
Trunk or Treat
The annual fundraiser organized by the Stuttgart High National Honor Society returns at 5 p.m. on Sunday in the school parking lot. Members of the SHS community, including school staff and students, have been invited to decorate their vehicles and distribute candy to kids attending the event in costume. There will be several activities including candy collections, music by Mr. Fletcher, the deejay, and carnival foods for purchase all to help support SHS clubs and sports. Among the tasty foods to eat are popcorn, pizza, cotton candy, hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, and, of course, lots of candy.
Like with the trick or treating events, Trunk or Treat is only open to I.D. cardholders and their dependents, said Ms. Stephanie Payne, a biology teacher at Stuttgart High School and one of the event coordinators. Otherwise, anyone and everyone will be welcome, although the target audience will still be kids who want to trick or treat.
Many Patch Middle School students expressed excitement over Sunday’s events, especially since we lost last year’s Halloween celebrations to COVID-19.
“I’m going to go (to Trunk or Treat) with my mother and my brother’s going to be there with us and a few of his friends,” said eighth-grader Noora.
Sixth-grader Lydia said her family is setting their car up for display at Trunk or Treat and she’ll be there in costume. Sixth-grader Anthony said he believes that “if we can just follow some policies” then we can continue to do events like Trunk or Treat.
Adds eighth-grader Aaron, “I wouldn’t mind wearing a mask because I’ve been wearing one for like two years, so I’m used to it.”
Anna, also an eighth-grader, believes that all unvaccinated people should wear a mask.
“It’s probably a good idea if you’re not vaccinated, but if you’re vaccinated, I feel like you don’t really need to,” she said.
Some rules have changed, but the fact that the USAG Stuttgart community will once again be celebrating Halloween is a positive sign that life, however slowly, might just be getting back to normal.