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Team Kadena, local community members trick-or-treat

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James Hecker, 18th Wing commander, greets the local national trick-or-treaters through translator Takako Fukuhara, 18th Wing Public Affairs community relations chief, during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena hosted more than 180 local trick-or-treaters for these Halloween festivities. Kadena transported local community children on base to experience this holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James Hecker, 18th Wing commander, greets the local national trick-or-treaters through translator Takako Fukuhara, 18th Wing Public Affairs community relations chief, during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena hosted more than 180 local trick-or-treaters for these Halloween festivities. Kadena transported local community children on base to experience this holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Price, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist and Pumpkin Patrol volunteer, holds an umbrella for local national trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena Air Base hosted more than 180 local community members for the Halloween festivities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Price, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist and Pumpkin Patrol volunteer, holds an umbrella for local national trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena Air Base hosted more than 180 local community members for the Halloween festivities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Staff Sgt. Jacques Cabrol, 18th Communications Squadron client systems technician and Pumpkin Patrol volunteer, watches and guides local national trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. The Pumpkin Patrol comprised volunteer Airmen from around the base and watched for safety issues and hazards children may encounter as they gather candy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Staff Sgt. Jacques Cabrol, 18th Communications Squadron client systems technician and Pumpkin Patrol volunteer, watches and guides local national trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. The Pumpkin Patrol comprised volunteer Airmen from around the base and watched for safety issues and hazards children may encounter as they gather candy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Kathleen Roesti hands out candy to local national trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Trick-or-treaters collected candy from families in the base housing areas. Some candy was donated through donation bins to be handed out in the base housing areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Kathleen Roesti hands out candy to local national trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Trick-or-treaters collected candy from families in the base housing areas. Some candy was donated through donation bins to be handed out in the base housing areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Airman 1st Class Colby Kingery, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member and escort, greets local nations as they enter buses to begin trick-or-treating on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena Air Base bused local families to three base housing areas where they collected candy. The escorts assisted with security and the safety of the trick-or-treaters while they visited the base housing areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Airman 1st Class Colby Kingery, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member and escort, greets local nations as they enter buses to begin trick-or-treating on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena Air Base bused local families to three base housing areas where they collected candy. The escorts assisted with security and the safety of the trick-or-treaters while they visited the base housing areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, 18th Wing command chief (middle), and Brig. Gen. James Hecker, 18th Wing commander, pose for a group photo with local national trick-or-treaters before the Halloween festivities hosted on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena hosted more than 180 local trick-or-treaters for these Halloween festivities. Kadena transported local community children on base to experience this holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, 18th Wing command chief (middle), and Brig. Gen. James Hecker, 18th Wing commander, pose for a group photo with local national trick-or-treaters before the Halloween festivities hosted on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2013. Kadena hosted more than 180 local trick-or-treaters for these Halloween festivities. Kadena transported local community children on base to experience this holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- More than 180 local community members joined military families on their quest for Halloween candy here Oct. 31.

Sponsored by the 18th Wing, Okinawan people from communities surrounding Kadena Air Base were specially invited to join in celebrating the holiday trick-or-treating.

"Halloween is becoming a widely recognized event in Japan and Okinawa," said Sayaka Kawatake, 18th Wing Public Affairs community relations specialist. "We have Halloween costume contests in local shopping areas. I see Halloween decorations everywhere like local shops, restaurants and customer service sections, taking an opportunity to enjoy American festivity."

Local community members gathered at the Chibana Golf Course and were greeted by Gen. James B. Hecker, 18th Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Raymon Colon-Lopez, 18th WG command chief.

After introductions were made, five buses filled with parents and children rode to base housing to begin the trick-or-treating festivities. Pumpkin Patrol volunteers escorted small groups throughout housing.

"I think it's good to let the children of Okinawa come on base and see how American culture is," Staff Sgt. Christopher Price, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist and Pumpkin Patrol volunteer. "It's fun to see the kids' faces when they get candy."

For Miwa Machida and her son, Yoshimasa, 4, it was their first time to walk around on base.

"It was a great experience for us," said Machida. "Even adults were in costume and enjoying like the kids; you don't see that off base.

"We definitely plan on coming back, and I appreciate the staff and volunteers who escorted and helped us very much," she added.

Although Halloween has been celebrated in the U.S. since the mid-19th century, the holiday celebrations have grown significantly in Japan in the past decade.