TOMS RIVER – Halloween arrived early at the Ocean County Mall.
Families and guests walked around the mall to trick-or-treat when the annual Mall-O-Ween event was held on Oct. 25.
Erin Barbato, the director of marketing and development at the Ocean County Mall, is in her first year organizing the event.
“Mall-O-Ween is an event for children and families to come and trick-or-treat. We have mall-wide trick-or-treating for participating stores. There was a costume contest that is run by 100.1 WJRZ the radio station, we had face painting, balloon animals, and exhibiters as well. The children also participated in crafts,” Barbato said.
She said there are 50 stores that participated in the event.
“It has been going on for a few years now,” Barbato said. “We get a great response from the community. For some of the participating retailers they give out prizes that are made for the costume contest winners. A different basket for each winner.”
Barbato said she has been working on this event for last few months. The event went from 4 to 7 p.m. on that day.
Lubna Chowdhry is a mother of two, and a resident of Toms River, who attended the Mall-O-Ween with her son.
“This is our third time at Mall-O-Ween. The event is great because it keeps things safe for the kids and is also something to do. The children get to dress up and they love it. We also get to shop as well,” Chowdhry said.
She said coming down to the Ocean County Mall is truly for the children and for them to have a great time.
“We will be doing trick-or-treating today and Oct. 31. The children are always excited for this. We make sure they get the most out of it. I still love Halloween,” Chowdhry said.
Patty Rose also attended Mall-O-Ween. She enjoyed the evening with her daughter and granddaughter.
“My granddaughter Lily brought us out here tonight. This event is just a nice one. It is also safe. My granddaughter is having a great time,” Rose, a Toms River resident said.
Rose also said that she and her family enjoy seeing the kids all dressed up. She said she thinks the event is great for the community and that people look forward to participating in it.
“Retailers get excited for this event too,” she said. “We had a gentleman from Boscov’s who had four gifts for the event. He rushed to get them to us he was very excited, even during his busy work day. I love Halloween myself but I did not know how others would feel about the day.”