I ended up in the mall today while on an outing to buy Halloween candy. Once inside I realized that there were many costumed children there today because they can trick or treat at the stores. I felt a little like fleeing because it made me sad that my son and I don't do that anymore. I bought a nice coffee though (it cures so much) and worked through my thoughts. Then I started to enjoy seeing the many cute little people and their cute little costumes.
Having been away from this activity for a number of years now, and perhaps because it has evolved in that time, I wasn't aware of the ins and outs of mall trick or treating procedures. I learned quickly, though, that many stores post signs indicating whether or not they welcome trick-or-treaters. Once I knew that, I decided to take a lot at which stores fell into which category. And to judge harshly those that were not being generous.
I won't provide the full breakdown here (please contact me if you'd like - I did take notes) but here are some highlights from what I observed:
1. Birks was giving out candy. I wouldn't expect a formal store like Birks to want children trotting in and out all day and I applaud them for this generosity. Also, an art store was in a giving mood. Or they were when I was there. If children have since smeared candy on or fallen into pieces of art, things may have changed.
2. Most stores had standard signs, probably given out by the mall, indicating their candy status. Swimco had a more elaborate sign saying they were not giving out candy. If they could go to the trouble of making a fancy sign, couldn't they just buy some candy and give it out?
3. Telecom companies were pretty reliable. Bell, Telus and Rogers were being kind to kids even if mobile service in Canada is somewhat overpriced.
4. The poor little hair salon, Glamour Secrets, that's hidden away, almost under an escalator, welcomed trick-or-treaters. I'm sure kids seeking candy would manage to find them even though their location is challenging. Making people aware of its existence can only help that salon.
5. I'm still not sure why the Flip Flop Shop has opened in Calgary. Yes, they opened during the summer and flip flops are a popular footwear choice in that season. They are significantly less popular, though, in all the other seasons. It was nice of them to give out candy today regardless of their business strategy. Because of this, I will seek them out for all my flip flop needs, limited though they are at this time.
6. Shopper Drug Mart participated. I like Shoppers Drug Mart so I'm mentioning them for no reason more exciting than that.
The people that I saw who were giving out candy looked like they were really enjoying the experience. And why not? The kids were cute, the costumes were adorable and it's a fun thing to do. I don't know if every place has to participate in this event but I think it's so nice of the ones that did.
I'm glad that I stumbled into the mall today and experienced this event. While its occurrence may help to explain why very few trick-or-treaters are coming to our door it's good to know that a lot of kids had a fun Halloween in a warm place. And it was interesting to learn which stores were willing to help to make that happen.
I won't make all my future buying decisions based on what I saw today (and all I really buy is coffee anyways and Starbucks gave out candy) but the participating stores built up some goodwill for themselves. Aside from all the fun of this event, that seems like a smart business thing to do. I suppose this is especially true for businesses that try to sell things like flip flops, in Calgary, year round. Happy Halloween!