Trick-or-treating is optional

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | 9:32 p.m. CDT; updated 10:31 a.m. CST, Tuesday, December 9, 2008

COLUMBIA — Families strolled babies wrapped in fuzzy animal suits through the florescent hallways of the Columbia Mall, pink princesses and green monsters galloped the sidewalks of Broadway, and college students covered in tinfoil crammed into Chipotle.

It had to be Halloween night.

Finding someone not tangled in the festivities in some way was a difficult task Wednesday night. But some Columbians opted out of one time-honored tradition: the annual door-to-door pilgrimage of trick-or-treating.

Goodrich Forum 8 manager Amber Kinney said movie attendance always gets a boost on Halloween night, and not just the horror flicks. “Regular movies get more people too on Halloween — maybe they’re getting away from the trick-or-treaters,” Kinney said.

Although MU senior Jamie Smith lives in a residential area in south Columbia, she and her roommates didn’t buy candy for trick-or-treaters this year. They figured parents would take their children to events like Tiger Night of Fun at the Hearnes Center instead to get their annual tricks and treats, she said.

MU senior Kourtney Mitchell has actually never been trick-or-treating. When he tells his friends, he always gets the same reaction: “I always get a ‘that sucks,’ or a ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’” Mitchell said.

Mitchell grew up in Springfield, Ill., where he and his family practiced nondenominational Christianity. His parents believed Halloween was “not Christ-like” and preferred that their children celebrate by going to their church’s annual Hallelujah Party instead of dressing up in gory costumes and trick-or-treating.

“We’d play basketball and roast marshmallows and dress up as biblical characters,” Mitchell said, “It was a huge deal. I was friends with a lot of kids from my church who celebrated Halloween the same way I did. So I guess I never missed the joy of trick-or-treating because I never knew it in the first place.”

Since entering college, Mitchell has celebrated Halloween “traditionally” — last year he donned karate clothing — and says he’ll let his own children trick-or-treat if they want.

“But really,” Mitchell said, “I’m not going to die if I don’t dress up and go to a party on Halloween night. I’m more of a Christmas person.”

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