"Halloweenie" brings trick-or-treating downtown

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COLUMBIA - Dozens of businesses in downtown Columbia are offering tricks and treats to kids in costume Friday.

Ruth LaHue owns The Secret Garden, a floral shop on east Broadway. She and her employees decorate the "secret garden" behind the store to create a spooky garden tour. Lahue said she plays the part of the evil garden witch every year.

"I kind of usher them on out into the garden where there are a couple other kind of spooky, fun little stop points," Lahue said. "Then at the end when they go out the garden gate, they get a piece of Halloween candy."

The District has put on this event for at least 20 years. Last year, around 100 children and 200 adults enjoyed the festivities, despite the rainy weather. Orange signs posted in windows reading "Halloweenie Participant" let trick-or-treaters know which downtown business will pass out candy for kids.

LaHue said she thinks Halloweenie is a nice option for parents wanting to trick-or-treat before dark.

"It is kind of scary to be out, cars driving around and no stop lights out in a neighborhood, sending your kids off to a house that you don't know who those people are," LaHue said. "So this is definitely a safe alternative."

Halloweenie lasts 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.