Ghouls, goblins and ghosts descended on Uptown Westerville last weekend, along with cute creatures from the sea -- Ariel and Flounder -- and a host of superheroes, witches and wizards.

Ghouls, goblins and ghosts descended on Uptown Westerville last weekend, along with cute creatures from the sea -- Ariel and Flounder -- and a host of superheroes, witches and wizards.

Midnight Madness featured decorated shops open from 6 p.m. to midnight Oct. 28 and treats for children in costume.

An annual event sponsored by the Westerville Uptown Merchants Association, promotions promised "scary good deals" and a fun opportunity for people to visit Uptown Westerville.

The Generations Performing Arts Center featured student dance performances on West College Avenue and guests could take free horse-drawn wagon trips through town.

At Shirley's Gourmet Popcorn, owner Anna Mae Blankemeyer was handing out a most appropriate treat -- popcorn balls.

"I love seeing the kids come in with their costumes," she said.

Four of those children, dressed as a witch, warlock and two cats, were Cara and Chase Crawford and Payton and Emerson McQuown, waiting patiently at the counter.

The shop opened in Uptown Westerville last November.

Blankemeyer said she will hold a "customer appreciation" event Friday, Nov. 4, through Sunday, Nov. 6, with more free goodies, to thank her customers for a great first year.

"It's such a nice, homey atmosphere in Uptown," she said. "We're all like a family."

The night also featured a family costume contest at City Hall, a "Haunted Brickwalk" experience at Java Central and the Westerville Central Theatre Department's "Harry and Oz Together at Last" performance at the Amish Originals shop.

Two students from the Otterbein College Chemistry Club, Liz Isaac and Lance Taylor, conducted "spooky science experiments" with fire and flames.

"We're burning metal salts, such as table salt and strontium," Taylor said.

He and Isaac also put ethanol into a large glass jug and set it on fire. The resulting "whoosh" of flame in the jug caused a number of surprised gasps from spectators.

Wendy Emery, owner of Ohio Art Market, said this was her fourth Midnight Madness event.

"We love seeing all the kids and their families," she said.

"I think we get a lot of people who have never been in the store before. If they see something they like, they come back in tomorrow."

Westerville Automotive presented Halloween movies, including, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "Ghostbusters."

For older kids, the movie "Christine" began at 9:45 p.m.

Alison and Paedrick Davis ventured out with baby Kaelee, dressed in a lion costume that fell over her cheeks as she sat on her dad's shoulders.

"I love people watching and it was a good excuse to get the baby outside," Mrs. Davis said.

"We came for the food, fun and treats," Mr. Davis said.

@PamelaThisWeek