Halloween Alternatives in Coulmbia

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COLUMBIA - Multiple groups in Columbia hosted alternatives to trick-or-treating and traditional festivities this Halloween.

The Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center held its first annual Trick or Treat at the Creek event Monday. The event was created as a safe, indoor alternative to trick or treating according to General Manager Brandon Kaufman.

"We wanted to do the trick or treating and all of the festivities that Halloween provides indoors so we don’t have to worry about the elements, the dangers or anything like that," Kaufman said. 

Free activities included candy corn bowling, gourd racing, caramel apple dipping, crafts, raffles, trick or treating and more.

"When they leave out of here, their bags are just as it would be if they were going to their neighborhood or somebody else’s community," Kaufman said.

Kaufman said he would like the hotel to be recognized as more than a hotel, but a community based business. The event drew in hundreds of people.

"I wanted to do more with my kids than just go door to door,” Columbia resident Sam Davenport said. "Mixing it up year to year with events like this keeps it fun." 

Kaufman said 14 businesses sponsored the event. Shakespeare's Pizza, Smoothie King, Sigma Chi and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Mid-Missouri were among some of the volunteers at the event. Next year, Kaufman hopes the event will draw in 40 to 50 businesses. 

"Right now, we have two floors blocked off in our conference center," Kaufman said. "I’d like to see it to where we just block off a whole wing of the hotel, all three floors, all four floors and just have trick or treaters."

The hotel was not the only outlet for those seeking trick or treat alternatives.

The Heimberger family also held its third annual charity food drive and haunted walk. Last year, the family collected 200 pounds of non-perishable foods. All of the donated items go to Central Missouri Food Bank. 

Event volunteer Andrew Emfield said the family has always had a passion for Halloween festivities. 

"This family truly believes in helping out the community," Emfield said. "They are dedicated to giving back, not to mention setting up one amazing haunted experience at the same time."

Emfield expects about 200 people to attend to the event this year.