By CHERIL VERNON
A spooktacular time is in the works for the annual Mall-O-Ween including free candy, games, bounce houses and more on Halloween next Thursday.
“Trick or treat at the Palestine Mall has been a tradition for years and now it's bigger and better than ever. This year the City of Palestine is hosting the third annual Mall-O-Ween for kids under 12,” Palestine Public Library Event Director Rachel Menjivar said. “Sponsors will provide booths, games, and of course, lots of candy for the kids.”
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Palestine Mall. An estimated 3,000 people attended last year's event.
“It's a safe place to bring the kids where they are not in the roads having to worry about the traffic,” Menjivar said. “The library is the center of information for the community and we like to keep things fun and festive while also being informative. So during the event, you will get a chance to see some of the non-profits in the areas, such as CASA of Trinity Valley, and people from local businesses, such as sweetFrog yogurt shop. It's safe, fun and informative all wrapped into one.”
New this year will be a light show on the center stage provided by Jammin JS Productions.
The first phase of the costume contest will start about 6:30 p.m. at the mall's center stage, where all Mall-O-Ween announcements will be made throughout the evening.
“We will have trophies for first, second and third places in the different age categories: 0-4, 5-8 and 9-12,” Menjivar said. “We also will be giving out a best overall costume trophy this year.”
The latest version of the Wii game “Just Dance 2014” will be part of Mall-O-Ween with children being able to play a variety of songs to dance to.
There will be at least 29 booths where free candy and/or game will be offered in the mall's concourse.
“The library will be closed all day on Halloween to set up for Mall-O-Ween. We're extremely excited. This is our third year to have a festival of this caliber. It's neat to see it go from plans on a piece of paper to the costumes that come in through the door. We can't wait,” Menjivar said.
A free graveyard-themed cake walk will be held in one mall space, sponsored by new business Airbrush Sensations.
“Palestine Main Street is providing cakes for this event via Brookshire's. They have come up with some interesting designs for us,” Menjivar said.
The Palestine Library Friends are providing an outside free bounce zone including two obstacle courses, one toddler-sized jungle-themed bounce house and a princess and pirate bounce house. The Palestine Library Memorial Board will provide balloons.
Also outside in the Palestine Mall parking lot will be a children's carnival — however, parents will have to purchase tickets for these rides. This will be the same children's carnival that will be set up at Saturday's Hot Pepper Festival in downtown Palestine. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Mall-O-Ween 2014.
Those entering the Palestine Mall for Mall-O-Ween are reminded to get their raffle ticket (children and adults) for door prizes.
“We will have some really good door prizes and hold drawings. We have a couple of board games, soccer balls, an electric scooter for kids and a Kindle Fire,” Menjivar said. “We are giving away a Kindle Fire this year because we are trying hard to push the library's digital branch. A large portion of our budget this year has went to our digital branch. Through our home page, you can borrow e-books and audiobooks for your Kindle or iPad or other device if it can hold a Kindle app. It's a neat resource we have through Overdrive Media and it's all free.”
Domino's smart car will be available to view during Mall-O-Ween.
“It's their promotional mini electric car completely decalled with all things pizza,” Menjivar said.
Mall-O-Ween is sponsored in party by Jammin JS Productions, Palestine Library friends and Pine Country 93.5.
Also during the event, parents and children will have the opportunity to view a student work desk that has been donated to the library by Davis Furniture. The library will start selling tickets for the drawing on Nov. 1 ($1 each or six for $5) and the winner will be announced at the library's open house event in December. Proceeds will help fund Mall-O-Ween 2014.