Thousands find treats but no tricks at Biggs Park Mall
by Jaymie Baxley Staff writer
LUMBERTON — A Halloween festival brought droves of bite-sized monsters, superheroes and ballerinas to Biggs Park Mall on Thursday night.
As many as 2,000 trick-or-treaters turned out for the annual event at the Lumberton shopping center, according to mall manager Chelsea Biggs.
“It just grows and grows each year,” she said. “We had it indoors before, but now it’s so big we have to hold it outside.”
The festival was a collaborative effort between the mall, the Lumberton Recreation Department and Vertical Church.
From 6 to 8 p.m., a group of roughly 70 volunteers handed out nearly $900 worth of candy to costumed tots and teens.
In recent years, many locals have found the festival to be a safer alternative to traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating.
“It’s just safer; this is our second year coming here,” said Niesha Smith, who brought her niece and nephew to the event.
James Ladson, who was there with his son, agreed.
“This is a bit safer and I’m able to do a ‘one-stop shop,’ so to speak,” Ladson said.
In addition to the free candy, the festival featured several carnival-style games and attractions.
A chunk of the mall’s parking lot was dedicated to a row of inflatable slides, including one made to resemble a giant Velociraptor, one of the most famous meat-eating dinosaurs.
A collapsible stage was set up nearby for a series of costume contests and for children to dance to appropriately spooky songs such as “Monster Mash” and “Werewolves of London.”
Inside the mall, kids crowded around a mock cemetery, replete with fake gravestones and animatronic skeletons.
While the festival generated a significant amount of foot traffic, Biggs made it clear that the event was not designed to drive business to the mall.
“We weren’t thinking about selling things, we were thinking about having fun. This is something that we wanted to provide to the community for free,” she said. “My favorite thing about this festival is seeing the community come out and dress up.”
Five-year-old Liassette Morales — who won a costume contest earlier in the night for her Superwoman outfit — was quick to point out her favorite feature of the festival.
“Getting candy,” she said.
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