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Go Ask Mom

Trick-or-treaters slammed local malls Monday

Posted November 1, 2011

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."

You can read our Go Ask Mom Facebook page and this post to read more comments from moms, who headed to the mall.

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.



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  • pulstar40 Nov 3, 2011

    It's amazing that when folks answer Sarah's call for comment on the mall trick or treating experience, they are called "whiners" and complainers. Seems to me that they were simply sharing their opinion and experience as Sarah had asked everyone to do.

  • parkerwendy07 Nov 3, 2011

    First of all, I must say that taking jabs at the families who chose the mall option for trick-or-treating is uncalled for. There are options for a reason, and every choice should be respected. Second of all, my husband and I took our little girl to Cary Town for trick-or-treating for the first time -- and it will likely be our last. In the mall's defense, they had no way of knowing how crowded their facility would become Monday night. However, we were disappointed in the seemingly large number of stores that chose not to participate (especially if it's true that the candy was provided by BJs at no cost to the stores!)and by the huge number of stores that ran out of candy early. The crowds were overwhelming and emotions ran high among those who had their expectations crushed. To each his own; we chose the mall this year and lesson learned. Next year we'll go a different route. As Oprah says, "thank you for the experience!"

  • wkm Nov 3, 2011

    Bunch of whiners. Why don't these people just trick or treat in their own neighborhood to begin with, or if they're looking for a crowd experience, find one of the family-friendly fall festivals offered by a local church?

  • SouthernBornSouthernBred Nov 3, 2011

    Carolinagirl28 - I'm with you, people will complain about anything. Come on folks be real parents and take your kids door to door in your own neighborhood. What! You don't know your neighbors so you don't feel safe doing that, so sad. We folks here in the South take the time to get to know our neighbors therefore our kids feel safe trick or treating the way it was meant to be.

  • heatherbruno87 Nov 3, 2011

    That was the first time we ever been to the cary mall for halloween and I have to say that I was disappointed by the time we got to the other side of the store at 7 everyone was out of candy. It lasts til 8, and giving out coupons? What a jip! Who cares about coupons, cheap people.

  • carolinagirl28 Nov 2, 2011

    It amazes me that people will complain about an event that involved stores giving away things for FREE. If they were out of candy by the time you got there, then go home and trick or treat in your neighborhood. Who cares if it's raining?? Life isn't always fair, and if a rainy Halloween and a crowded mall running out of free candy are the biggest complaints you have, consider yourself lucky! I know of some kids who trick or treated in a hospital this year, and I bet their parents would have loved to be at a crowded mall instead.

  • april7 Nov 2, 2011

    And let me clarify my "absolute bologna" comment made below: My irritation is not with the author of this post. And I do even feel some sympathy for the mall and I get that they can't control the weather. I'm just annoyed that the stores started handing candy out two hours before the posted time - it was just really unfair to the kids who came when the event was advertised. And the mall really needs to enforce the 6 pm time next year.

  • april7 Nov 2, 2011

    It is absolute bologna to say that trick or treating at Cary Towne Center was "from 6:00 to 6:30." We arrived at the mall at 5:50 pm and most stores already had signs up saying "Out of Candy." I talked to a friend who went by the mall on an errand at the mall at 4:00 and said there were trick or treaters getting candy then! If the posted time is 6:00, stores should not give out candy before that time. The kids who came at the posted time got almost nothing. We left by 6:10; my son got just three pieces of candy, and I'm sure kids who arrived after him got no candy at all. I wasn't planning on him getting a ton of candy, but it's disappointing for the kids to think they're going trick or treating and end up with three pieces (or in many cases, nothing). Lesson learned: we will not be doing mall trick or treating again!

  • busyb97 Nov 2, 2011

    It wouldn't surprise me if malls didn't do this again in the future!

    In our neighborhood, we saw several brave families out- they had their kids riding in their vehicles. One family I saw had the kids hopping in and out of the back of their SUV back- with the hatch staying open. Not sure THAT was a smart idea though.

  • MyKidRox Nov 2, 2011

    My husband and I refer to Cary Towne Center as SCARY TOWNE CENTER for a reason! My son had a fall festival at his school that rivaled the state fair. He didn't get to participate in the standard trick or treating because of the rain and that was fine with us. We told him that we could make it up to him by letting him choose a fun and candy free activity. He opted for a movie at the drive in near Henderson! Beats wall to wall people and shoplifters anytime!