I've heard from many of you who had a horrible time attempting to trick or treat at area malls - particularly Triangle Town Center in Raleigh and Cary Towne Center - Monday night.
One example of an email from an angry mom:
"I just thought someone needed to know what a disappointment the trick-or-treating at Triangle Town Center was last night. If they are going to advertise this event, they need to be sure that at least most of the stores will be participating and not just handing out coupons. This was a total waste of time. My daughter sat in the car reading the business cards she received instead of candy, "Do you need to lose weight?, I buy gold and pay top dollar, 15% off a men's haircut". OK, if you want to promote your business and give out coupons that's fine. But at least give the kids a piece of candy. That is what they expect from trick-or-treating. Not every store should be committed, but honestly there were only two pieces of candy in her bag when we left. Total misrepresentation in my opinion. And the traffic getting out of there... don't get me started. I won't be making this mistake again."
I've been listing local mall trick-or-treating hours for at least four years now (here on Go Ask Mom and also at my previous job). I have never been to them, but I also have never gotten the feedback like I did this year. I was curious to see if this year was busier as families tried to escape the rainy weather.
I left messages Monday for representatives at both Cary Towne Center and Triangle Town Center, who are owned by the same company. I didn't get calls back.
But I did hear back from the Town of Cary, which co-sponsors the Safe & Sane Halloween celebration at Cary Towne Center each year. Leda Isenhour with the Town of Cary tells me that last night was not typical.
"I've been there for the last six years and it's definitely never been like that," she said. "It was not the norm."
She estimates that the crowd was at least 30 percent bigger than last year's because of Monday evening's stormy weather.
"It was slower at the beginning of the night, but once it was clear it was not going to let up, [families] rushed to the mall," she said. "We were literally bombarded."
Isenhour said that the stores that were passing out candy handed out a total of about 250 pounds. BJ's Membership Club donates the candy, which Cary distributes to the stores that choose to participate.
Though the event's website only says that trick-or-treating starts at 6 p.m., Isenhour said that trick-or-treating in the mall was only meant to occur from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Other activities were planned for the evening, including a magic show and costume contest.
"There was candy distribution from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.," she tells me. "It's not like they ran out early."
I'd love to hear from people who have gone trick-or-treating at local malls in previous years and how their experience compared this year to past years.
And if I do hear back from mall representatives, I'll let you know what they say.