With the COVID-19 pandemic putting Halloween at risk this year, TSA at Alaska’s Yakutat Airport (YAK) decided to think outside the box. Team YAK wanted to make sure kids in Yakutat were still able to enjoy a Halloween while remaining COVID-safe.
TSA YAK partnered with Alaska Airlines to hold a Halloween drive-thru. Families from the small community were invited to drive to the airport, where TSA and airline employees delivered prepackaged bags of candy to their cars while maintaining social distancing. Supervisory TSA Officer Kristin Campanella, who organized the event, said most people stayed inside their vehicles, but some cuties couldn’t resist showing off their costumes.
“Trick-or-treating in Yakutat was a hot topic,” said Campanella. “The community has about 550 residents, and people were talking about how to be safe while enjoying the holiday. Supervisory Officer Tequila Carter and I wanted to make sure families were still able to enjoy Halloween without worrying about COVID.”
Campanella and Carter provided the candy and Halloween stickers. The stickers were TSA badges officers pass out to children on the checkpoint. “Tequila and I are always trying to come up with activities to boost morale and stakeholder and community relationships,” Campanella said.
TSA Officer Chantil Bremner-Firestack donated the bags, and the team worked together to prepackage the goodies while wearing masks and gloves. They also wore masks and gloves while passing out the candy.
“The event was heartwarming,” said Bremner-Firestack, who along with Lead Officer Brad DiCarlo participated on their day off. “It was nice to give back to the community during COVID.”
Campanella said the team packaged 80 bags of candy and went through almost all of it. “For a small town, that’s pretty good,” she said. “We advertised at the Post Office, grocery stores, restaurants and through social media. The kids were excited to dress up and still have a Halloween. The parents and children thanked TSA. One of the officers heard from a parent who was excited they could take their kids somewhere safe.”
They even accommodated the dogs who accompanied their families, giving the canines special treats during the event.
It was a great opportunity for TSA YAK to partner with the community. “A local church asked to participate with us, and we passed out their candy as well,” noted Campanella.
Not everyone on TSA YAK was able to participate on the day of the Halloween drive-thru, but Campanella said everyone on the team provided input during the planning process.
“It was nice seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces,” she said. “We were excited to make a safe and exciting Halloween for the community.”