Hundreds of children, dressed as X-Men, Pokemon and Minnie Mouse, among other costumes, filled the University Mall, anxiously searching for candy.
The costumed children go to the mall to participate in its annual Halloween trick-or-treating.
The University Mall sponsors activities in the mall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. where children can trick-or-treat at the different shops within the mall.
"There was an estimate of 500 kids, not including parents, from last year," said Allen Foster, representative of University Mall marketing department. "We had over 200 kids in the costume contest (last year)."
Several activities are provided for the children's entertainment, including a costume contest and a DJ.
Many children participate in the costume contest, which is divided into 11 categories.
For each category, a first-place prize of $25 is awarded.
"There are different categories and it varies by age group," Foster said. Children as young as newborns and as old as 13 participate in such categories as Cutest, Scariest and Most Original costume.
Lia Blue, a 12-day-old infant, won first runner-up for cutest costume in the newborn-to-10 month category with an orange pumpkin costume.
"The pumpkin I thought would be good for a baby," Lia's mother said.
Many parents attend the University Mall's trick-or-treat because of the safe and friendly environment.
"Even if he were to get lost, he's inside," said Michelle Berry, who was there with her 3-year-old son, Marcel Berry.
"Because store owners are giving out candy, you don't worry about whether they can get the candy," she said.
About 25 merchants participated in the event.
"It's something many malls do as a community service," Foster said. "If you want a nice, safe environment, if you don't want your kids to walk through roads, it's a safe alternative."
Many store owners, such as Martha Jenkins, who owns Kitchenworks, said they are happy to participate in the event.
"I'm just glad to give back to the people who have been so kind to make me have a successful store," Jenkins said.
The children enjoy the activities and the treats provided by the merchants.
Five-year-old Kendall Atwater, wearing a blue-checkered dress like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, said that she enjoys the festivities.
Joanna Carter, also a 5-year-old, dressed as Ariel from the Little Mermaid and enjoyed the different clothes worn.
"I like the costumes," Carter said.
Jason Gray, a parent of four costumed children, said he is glad to have a fun and safe environment for his children to trick-or-treat in.
"For the past few years, we've gone to University Mall," Gray said. "To me it seems to be a safe environment. It has lots of lights. We've never had any problems. Safety is the biggest issue."
Jenkins said she enjoys the annual University Mall activities.
"For me, I don't care that I don't have many sales," Jenkins said.
"It's just a wonderful, good feeling for this town."
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