Trick-or-Treat with the Greeks brought in families from across the Midlands to roam through USC’s Greek Village, stopping at the fraternity and sorority houses for candy. (Photo courtesy of Cannon McEldowney/Carolina News and Reporter)

The Midlands is gearing up for Tuesday’s holiday, whether it’s putting spider webs in the store window or turning the local church into a pumpkin patch.

Halloween events started long before Oct. 31. Northeast United Methodist Church set up a pumpkin patch starting all the way back to Sept. 29. 

It is known as the “pumpkin church,” and it’s the event’s 25th anniversary year. 

The profits go to the church’s youth program as well as a scholarship for Northeast Methodist students.

The patch is not just about pumpkins.

“We even have a place where children can come and listen to stories,” said Laraine Owen, a volunteer at the patch. “We do different things, like movie night, too.”

The University of South Carolina also is hosting many spooky events, such as Thursday After Dark and Trick-or-Treat with the Greeks.  

Thursday After Dark is put on by the Russell House University Union at the nearby Longstreet Theater on Oct. 26. It provides late-night entertainment and this time around, and it’s scary-themed.

Thursday After Dark consists of an “eerie-sistable night of spooks and scares!,”according to the school’s website.

Trick-or-Treat with the Greeks was hosted by the Fraternity and Sorority Life office on Oct. 24.

It’s a night where the community gets to come together, said Greek member and participant Sophie McPherson.

 Five Points will host many events Oct. 28, the Saturday before Halloween. The Big “Kid” Lucky Lantern Scavenger Hunt involves several Five Points businesses.

A Little Happy is a gift shop owned by Columbia local Ashley Lindler, who’s participating in the scavenger hunt.

“For A Little Happy, we have Halloween decorations out and are participating in Five Points Trick or Treat,” said employee Mary Bradham Minor. “We interact with all ages and it’s a fun, interactive way to get involved with everyone.”

The scavenger hunt is for college students, Minor said. Twenty Jack O’ Lanterns are hidden for people to find. The winner gets general admissions tickets to the St. Patrick’s Day festival, March 16 in Five Points.

DJ and Producer VooDoo Child, who has also performed at the Palmetto Peanut Boil, will provide the music.

Social media has been a strong marketing tool to spread the word about Halloween events, with graphics posted on Instagram and through Snapchat stories.

Jake’s on Devine, always welcoming to dogs, is advertising its “Yappy Hour Halloween Costume Contest” Oct. 26 on Instagram and through Snapchat stories. Dogs are encouraged to come in costumes.

The 6th Annual Columbia Bar Crawl is scheduled for Oct. 28, starting at Liberty Tap Room.

Neighborhoods have their own plans.

The Nextdoor neighborhood app has a “Treat Map” used for Halloween safety. It allows members to pin their home to the map so neighbors can see how they plan to celebrate Halloween.

It also offers safety tips such as carrying a flashlight, wearing reflective tape and clothing and staying in a group while walking through neighborhoods.

As for businesses, Halloween prep also gives them a chance to produce new and holiday items to sell.

BellaWillow Designs, located on Hampton Street, carries magnets, shirts, canvas bags and more.

For the first time, owner Ashley Hamm is making personalized, glow-in-the-dark Halloween treat bags. 

Now, everybody, get ready for the trick-or-treaters!

Businesses are marketing different Halloween events, including one in Five Points, another at Jake’s on Devine and the Columbia Bar Crawl. (Photo illustration by Grayson McClendon/Carolina News and Reporter)

Northeast United Methodist Church in Northeast Richland County, is celebrating its 25th year of hosting a pumpkin patch, giving community members a place to enjoy the fall. (Photo by Grayson McClendon/Carolina News and Reporter)