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Take A Walk in the Dark

JBLM's live-theater Halloween event thrills participants at Shoreline Park

JBLM’s A Walk in the Dark live-theater Halloween event draws over 3,000 visitors to Shoreline Park each year. Photo courtesy JBLM's MWR and BOSS program

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Celebrating Halloween is all about the thrills, isn't it? We're drawn to the heart-pumping rush, the gleeful feeling we get from scaring the pants off each other as we amble through the dark once a year. Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Better Opportunities for Single Servicemembers (BOSS) and Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) are teaming up this Halloween to tap into that thriller need with its annual, live-theater Halloween event, A Walk in the Dark.

"A Walk in the Dark is a haunted experience for adults in Shoreline Park," said Gloria Tomczewski, the MWR special events coordinator at JBLM. "This event is not for the faint of heart. You'll take a walk in a creepy park at night ... with more than 60 costumed characters ranging from zombies and voodoo-inspired (characters) to creepy hillbillies and, of course, clowns."

Although it sounds like a haunted house, A Walk in the Dark is more than that: it's an interactive-theater experience in which guests play a part in the show. The event is held on 10 acres of dimly lit paths, abandoned motels, graveyards, fishing piers and clown-filled playgrounds on the shoreline of JBLM North's American Lake. Each year, over 3,000 people attend the Halloween-inspired event.  

"My favorite part of this event is the screams, and (watching) terrified people running out. Those are the signs of content customers," Tomczewski said.

While A Walk in the Dark is primarily for adults, a special, less-scary interactive-event will be held for younger audiences Oct. 28. The not-so-scary iteration will be held from 3-5 p.m. in conjunction with an on-post Trunk or Treat event.

In keeping with tradition, income generated from A Walk in the Dark ticket prices will be used to fund future BOSS activities at JBLM.

"Every penny goes back to servicemembers," Tomczewski said.

Every year, BOSS volunteers come together to organize and staff A Walk in the Dark. The BOSS program, which is carried out across military bases in the U.S., works to increase the overall quality of life of single servicemembers by identifying well-being issues and recommending solutions to respective chains-of-command.

"This event would not be possible without volunteers," Tomczewski said. "BOSS' ability to carry out events would be greatly reduced without them.

BOSS will also have "guides" leading guests through their haunted-theater experience. To ensure maximum safety of all participants, personnel trained in First Aid will be on-hand throughout the event. All Department of Defense (DoD) card holders, their families and guests are welcome to attend.

A Walk in the Dark, 7-10 p.m., Thursday; 7-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, thru Oct. 28, special younger audience event, 3-5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, Shoreline Park, Shoreline Beach Rd., JBLM, $2-10, 253.967.5636, theatricalnightmare.com

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