Mall needs groups to hand out candy on Halloween

SALISBURY — The 500-plus trick or treaters who come to the Salisbury Mall on Halloween will have long stretches to walk between candy bars this year.

More stores have closed or pulled out of the shopping center on Statesville Boulevard, including J.C. Penney and Belk. The mall is for sale, and Rowan County commissioners are negotiating with the owner to purchase the property after a $4.3 million bid during an online auction fell through.

In the meantime, the mall remains open for business, and the mall marketing manager is asking community groups and children’s organizations to help fill in the gaps between storefronts by handing out treats from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

“I hate to have so many empty spots in between the stores,” Carol Ames said. “... We are very concerned about disappointing our loyal youngsters.”

Ames said she can accommodate as many community groups as are willing to come out. She suggested that groups bring between 1,000 and 2,000 pieces of candy, as most stores hand out two pieces to each child.

On a normal Halloween night, the mall draws about 500 trick or treaters. But if it’s raining or cold, that number can double, Ames said.

After the ghosts and goblins make one lap around the mall, they compete in a costume contest in different age groups with trophies for the top three finishers in each category.

Ames said community groups can set up a table with an elaborate display or just send one person to sit on a chair and hand out candy. Most mall merchants have an employee in a costume who does the honors, she said.

Ames said she needs to hear from community groups by Oct. 28 if they want to participate. Call 704-637-7467 or email

The mall will host trick or treating again this year, regardless of how many groups sign up to hand out candy, Ames said.

“We’ve already started decorating,” she said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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