Survive to Thrive Halloween Costume Contest winners were announced during the community update Nov. 4. Contest participants posted a photo to the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Facebook page, then votes were determined by how many likes each photo received. Jennifer Watts placed first for her family's Sharknado-themed costumes, followed by Sebrina Shelton in second, and Theresa Nguyen and Belinda Williams tying for third. FMWR graphic

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Jennifer Watts said her family had been preparing for Halloween since August.


“This year, we chose ‘Sharknado’ (based on the film series). My son, Lincoln, was the inspiration for it. It started as a joke, but since he loved the movies, I figured why not,” Watts said. “In August, I started making the tornado and bought the inflatable shark costumes and bam! ‘Sharknado is coming’ was created.

Jennifer Watts, her 11-year-old daughter Samantha Ho-Olinger, and Sgt. Maj. Allen Watts pose in their “Sharknado” Halloween scene for their online Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Survive to Thrive Halloween Costume Contest entry. While the family’s children chose to watch movies instead of trick or treat this year, the parents said they wanted to share the fun of their “Sharknado” creation, so they strolled the neighborhood and threw dozens of rubber sharks at trick-or-treaters. Submitted photo


“Since I was a couple months early on having our costumes, I had plenty of time to have my kids and pets get involved in it somehow, so I could show family and friends on Facebook,” she said. “I would post pictures every so often to keep the laughs going.”


One of those photos was a submission in the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreations’ latest Survive to Thrive at Home activity, an online Halloween costume contest Oct. 25-31.
Survive to Thrive at Home was a concept created in the spring when COVID-19 first hit and FMWR wanted to find ways to keep families active.


“The Survive to Thrive costume contest was a great way to get people involved in the spirit of Halloween,” Watts said. “Personally, Halloween is my second favorite holiday besides Christmas where I enjoy getting into the spirit of having fun and making neighbors, friends and family smile and laugh.


“That’s all I want, to make people laugh and to just let people know that we shouldn’t be so serious all the time; that laughing is the best medicine even through the pandemic,” she said. “I feel it is important to be positive and still get into the holiday spirit whatever holiday it is. I love to laugh and to see others laugh. Laughing is contagious and if I can make someone giggle a little, I’m happy.”

Lt. Col. Keith Purvis dressed as a dead cavalry trooper to celebrate Halloween with his family Oct. 31 on post. Purvis was one of the participants in Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Survive to Thrive Halloween Costume Contest, conducted via the FMWR Facebook page. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


The contest received several submissions, including from Lt. Col. Keith Purvis, Department of Education, Command and General Staff College, and his family.


The Purvis family dressed up in a variety of costumes including a veterinarian, a skeleton in a hockey mask, a prison panda, and a skeleton cavalry trooper.


“We enjoy doing things as a family and having these focused events has given us a good opportunity to participate as a family,” Purvis said. “We don’t depend on these activities and find our own, but having others sponsor events is helpful. The spring (Survive to Thrive) events gave us great family memories.


“We like those events focused on post and with our unique populations of permanent party faculty, staff and such, (U.S. Disciplinary Barracks), and our students gives us the chance to get to know others outside our usual circles,” he said. “With so many other groups doing events this fall, we’ve enjoyed learning more just like we did in the spring with the FMWR events, which were some of the only opportunities at that time.”

The Purvis family — 13-year-old Jeremiah as a hockey-mask clad and cape-draped ghoul, 8-year-old Julia as a veterinarian, mom Jennifer as herself staying home to deliver candy to trick-or-treaters via a decorated tube, golden doodle Cocoa as a spider, 16-year-old Jesse as a burly man, 14-year-old Jonathan as a prisoner panda, and dad Lt. Col. Keith Purvis as a dead cavalry trooper — assemble on their porch before heading out to celebrate Halloween Oct. 31 in Main Post. The Purvis family participated in Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Survive to Thrive Halloween Costume Contest, which was conducted via the FMWR Facebook page. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


The winners of the costume contest were announced during the weekly Fort Leavenworth community update Nov. 4 on the Fort Leavenworth Facebook page.


First place went to the Watts family.


Second place went to Sebrina Shelton.


Third place was a tie between Theresa Nguyen and Belinda Williams.

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