COLUMBIA — Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, allowing kids in costume to enjoy a rare school night out combing Columbia for candy and holiday treats.
The Columbia Police Department has a few tips to keep citizens and trick-or-treaters safe as they haunt the town.
“We do suggest that if you don’t want trick-or-treaters, turn the porch light off,” said Sgt. John White, supervisor of the police department’s Community Services Unit.
Trick-or-treaters are advised to pass by houses where the lights are off and to carry flashlights and wear reflective tape on costumes to increase their visibility to motorists. Parents should also examine candy before letting kids dig in, checking that wrappers are sealed and throwing out any suspicious treats.
For those hoping to avoid the autumn chill, a variety of indoor, family-friendly alternatives will be available in and around Columbia next week.
- MU’s Mizzou After Dark will host “Spooktacular” at MU’s Memorial Union from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday. The family-oriented Halloween celebration is billed as a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. The event features an indoor haunted hayride, psychics and a costume contest with prizes. Snacks and punch will be provided.
- A “Tiger Night of Fun,” organized by Columbia’s Activity and Recreation Center, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse. This is the 12th annual safe alternative Halloween event offered by Columbia Parks and Recreation. The event is appropriate for elementary school children. Local businesses and organizations will host booths with more than 75 games and activities, including ghoulish golf and pumpkin bowling. Groups or individuals interested in hosting a booth should contact Janel Twehous at 874-7467.
- Capital Mall in Jefferson City will host “Trick or Treat on the Mall” Wednesday. As many as 25 stores are expected to participate in the event, said Wendy Lovelace, marketing manager for Capital Mall. Trick-or-treating for preschool and day care-aged children begins at 10 a.m. and older children can go trick-or-treating from 6 to 8 p.m. Between 200 and 300 children usually attend, Lovelace said.
- Another event, Halloween Family Fun at Nifong Park, scheduled to run 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, is sold out. Columbia families interested in a night of hayrides, craft activities, bonfires and storytelling are encouraged to sign up early for next year’s event.