As the “Ghostbusters” theme song mingles with the laughter of an overstuffed pumpkin, a red, life-sized M&M rummages through her bag. Nearby, Spider-Man waits in line with his mother.
On Sunday night, the ninth annual Tiger Night of Fun at Hearnes Center Fieldhouse was under way. The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department sponsors the event each year.
Crowds lined up early anticipating the event which lasted from 5 to 7 p.m. Events included pumpkin bowling, face painting, an obstacle course, and plenty of opportunities to play games to win candy.
Tifani Eisentrager and her husband, Scott, just moved to Columbia with their four children, Mckade, 3, Mckalee, 6, Mason, 9, and Mckenzie, 11. This was their first visit to Tiger Night of Fun.
“It’s great,” Tifani Eisentrager said. “Since we’re new here we don’t know many people or the neighborhoods (to trick-or-treat in).”
Janel Twehous of the Parks and Recreation Department has helped put on the event each of the last nine years.
“It is a safe alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating,” she said.
Many parents agree.
Lydia Sarnecka attended the event for the first time with her son Alex, 4.
“There’s no fear about the candy,” she said.
Other parents were glad to get a break from the rain.
Lynn Klotz and her son Devin, 7, were happy to have Tiger Night of Fun as an alternative to the traditional door-to-door approach.
“I like it especially tonight,” she said. “I
didn’t realize it was supposed to rain.”
Other trick-or-treaters come to the Hearnes Center first, then go door-to-door afterward.
Coline Duncan and Courtney Nichols, both 10, plan on going out after the event.
“It’s fun to get candy,” Nichols said.
“You get to see your friends here,” Duncan said.
Many different organizations had booths and games to hand out candy to the eager trick-or-treaters.
The Hickman High School wrestling team sponsored a washer toss game for the costumed kids. Head coach J.D. Coffman had been to Tiger Night of Fun before with his children and thought it would be a good community service project for his team.
“I like to get out and show the wrestlers doing a good deed for the community,” Coffman said.
In addition to bringing her son Tyler to the event, Melanie Cusick has also been a volunteer.
“It’s a great opportunity for a service organization to give back to the community,” she said.