SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Families all over the Ozarks had a busy night of trick or treating, watching for cars and sorting goodies. But the simple act of collecting candy in costume -- for some -- is much darker than that.
Halloween is still a pretty divisive holiday; in fact ,there are churches all over the world and here in the Ozarks that ask their congregations not to celebrate it. That's certainly not what was happening at James River Assembly of God, but the church is doing things a bit differently.
It's a massive party outside and inside the Ozark mega-church.
"We usually get around 10,000 people," Todd Yearack said.
There are costumes and candy, but no Halloween -- at least not in the title.
"[It's called] the October 31st party," and Yearack says that's not so intentional.
"It is an alternative to trick or treating; it's a safe place for people to come."
Safety. Pat Allgeier isn't sure if that's why the flow of trick-or-treaters to her north side home has slowed to a sprinkling of just a few here and there.
"I miss having herds of kids come by," she reminisces.
She thinks their absence is more likely due to what she calls the misbelief of something darker.
"There's no devil involved," Allgeier said.