HALLOWEENIE IS BACK 10/25

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COLUMBIA - A downtown tradition has come back to its roots with its original name: Halloweenie. 

"We're all here to welcome the families in and let them have a fun experience so they don't have to worry about whatever they possibly would in different neighborhoods." Executive Director of The District Nickie Davis said, "They know these people, they know these business owners and it's just a fun family event." 

This event is labeled as Columbia's "largest and safest" trick-or-treat event for children. In addition to giving out candy, downtown businesses and restaurants have an opportunity to engage with the community.

"I mean, you would not believe the things the business owners do to prepare for this," Davis said. "Sometimes they have 'haunted' mazes and they spend tons of money on these treats. It is just the funniest, most vibrant, energetic events that we have down here."

The owner of Speckled Frog Toy and Book shop, Shelly Cassiday-Riesenmy, said candy just wasn't enough this time. 

"In addition to lollipops, we will also have a 'Frozen-themed' photo booth to allow everyone to capture their memories in," Cassiday-Riesenmy said. 

Davis said about 70 to 80 local businesses participate in this annual event and they don't hold back.

"This used to be Halloweenie, for probably eight-ish years, if not more than that, then we changed it maybe three years ago to 'Not So Frightening Friday.'" Davis said. "There were so many people that just loved the name Halloweenie and people still called it Halloweenie so we changed it back this year."

City hall will have a pumpkin maze on the main floor, in addition to candy and different events on each floor. Davis said city hall asked for a 7-month notice to ensure it could provide the best experience possible for the trick-or-treaters. 

While Fringe Boutique may not have a maze, co-owner Riley Arends said they have special guests.

"The local girl scouts will be helping us pass out candy this year," Arends said. 

To know what stores are participating, look for an orange ghost sign hanging in store windows. This sign with the words "Halloweenie participant" near the bottom is the primary indicator that they will have a treat. 

"We will have a big bag of assorted candy to meet everyone's needs," Arends said.

The free event will take place in downtown Columbia Friday, Oct. 24 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. or until the candy runs out.  

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