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The original item was published from 10/10/2023 2:48:39 PM to 10/10/2023 2:58:01 PM.

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Columbus News

Posted on: October 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] ‘Pumpkin’ for everyone: City gears up for free community Trunk-or-Treat and more this Halloween


It’s almost scary how much fun is on tap for downtown Columbus this month.

The first-ever City of Columbus + Friends Trunk-or-Treat extravaganza is set to take place from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, outside the Columbus Community Building, and there promises to be plenty of treats and excitement for all attendees.

“We are excited to have people come out on Oct. 26. This will be a great way for people to come together in a fun environment that also engages the community all around,” City Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Eckhardt said, noting the block in front of the building, 2500 14th St., will be closed to traffic for the event. “We’re also excited about all the outside organizations and individuals who wanted to participate by having a trunk. There are a lot of fun themes, so we can’t wait to see everyone.”

It’s sandwiched in between a plethora of other Halloween-inspired activities set to take place that week, including a pumpkin-carving contest, a lighting contest, a kids’ night out and the third-annual Pumpkin Run.

The Trunk-or-Treat itself will feature City Hall staff members handing out candy in costumes, the Columbus Fire Department showing off its fire trucks, the Columbus Police Department interacting with attendees and a whole lot more. The Library team will also have a trunk handing out candy and putting on an activity in the lobby on the building.

In an effort to make the event spooktacular for all, the City is inviting area businesses and nonprofit organizations to participate. So far, the list of outside organizations slated to have trunks at the event include Columbus Family YMCA, Columbus Area United Way, East Central District Health Department, the Columbus Creative Arts District, Columbus Bank and Trust Company, Artzy Haven, Erica Zywiec and Don Geu of eXp Realty, the Columbus Arts Council, Columbus Area Children’s Museum, The Broken Mug, UNL Extension/4-H/After School and P1 Properties.

“We appreciate the City of Columbus and its employees, and we look forward to helping promote the great things happening in Columbus,” eXp Realtor Erica Zywiec said.

Kellie Ceder, relationship manager and wealth management specialist for Columbus Bank and Trust Company, said the financial institution is also looking forward to participating and showing off its “Mario Kart” trunk theme.

“Columbus Bank and Trust is always eager and enthusiastic to lend support to the community, especially when we can create an enjoyable Halloween experience for families. Bringing people together to support our community is what truly brings us joy!” Ceder said. “Attendees can anticipate a multitude of bank representatives, each dressed as their favorite ‘Mario Kart’ character. Additionally, an abundance of candy will be available for everyone to enjoy!”

 If you or your business would like to participate, send an email to Eckhardt at or City Public Communications Manager Matt Lindberg at All businesses and nonprofits are invited to participate.


The City Parks and Recreation Department’s week of Halloween activities will actually commence at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, with a pumpkin-carving contest. People of all ages are invited to participate in the free event that will take place in downtown’s Frankfort Square and will also feature music playing and food trucks on-site. Judging will begin at 4 p.m. that day.

Those who don’t have the best carving skills or just don’t think two hours is enough time to finish their pumpkin carving or decorating don’t need to fret. Participants also have the option to paint their pumpkins and can bring their already-finished work to Frankfort Square for the contest.

All that’s necessary is to pre-register on the City’s website by clicking here so that officials have an accurate headcount of participants beforehand. Those who choose to carve or decorate their pumpkin during the event will be provided one when they arrive at Frankfort Square that day.

“We want to get families together and out,” Eckhardt said. “And this is something for everyone of all ages.”


Parents may freak out with excitement, as Parks and Rec is offering you a chance for a date night by hosting Kids’ Night In from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, in the Community Room of the Columbus Community Building, 2500 14th St.

Parents with kids age 6 and up can drop off their children for a night of fun for only $5 per kid, which will include making a Halloween-inspired snack and craft, then watching the 2015 film “Goosebumps,” inspired by R.L. Stine children’s horror book series. Starring Jack Black and rated PG, the plot follows a fictionalized version of Stine (Black) who teams up with his teenage daughter and their neighbor to save their hometown after all the monsters from the “Goosebumps” franchise escape from their books, wreaking havoc in the real world.

Those under age 6 can also attend for the $5 fee but must be accompanied by an adult.

“There is just a lot of opportunity for recreation even when the months get cold, so this is a way for us to get kids out of the house and a good way for them to meet new friends, develop some more skills, be creative and enjoy a movie,” Eckhardt said. “Plus, they can experience the Community Building. We want people to know that the building is more than a council chamber, a library and city hall. It’s truly a place for everyone.”

You can register your child or children on the City’s website by clicking here.


If you want to show of your spooky spirit, the City Parks and Rec team is launching its first-ever Halloween lights contest. If you want to enter your house in the contest, you will be responsible for emailing in a picture or video to by Oct. 24. City staff members will then post them to the City Parks and Rec social media pages and release a poll. People will be able to vote until Oct. 31 and a winner will be announced on Nov. 1. The winner will be awarded $50 in Columbus Bucks.


The grand finale for City Halloween festivities kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 in Pawnee Park with the third annual Pumpkin Fun Run. Participants of all ages will be challenged to run or walk the approximately 2-mile trail around Pawnee Park starting at the tennis courts on the east side. Everyone will get a T-shirt and a medal. The fee per participant is $30; register on the City’s website by clicking here. Everyone is encouraged to sport their Halloween costume during the race, though it isn't required.

“It’s a fun run. Nothing too fancy,” Eckhardt said.

Be sure to look for updates about the City Parks and Recreation Department’s various Halloween activities by following its social media channels.

Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus


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