The crowd was large, and then it grew as hundreds of families lined up at the entrance of Fayette Mall late Thursday afternoon, anxiously awaiting the start of Mall-O-Ween Trick or Treat Night.
At about 5:55 p.m., all eyes focused on candy as mall staffers brought out dozens of boxes filled with Airheads, Tootsie Rolls and Blow Pops.
For Coy Conner, a father of two boys, going to the mall on Halloween is a favorite event.
"I remember when my parents used to take me to the Lexington Mall," Conner said. "I'm just trying to keep the family tradition going for the kids."
Others used the occasion to express their creativity while stocking up on sugar.
"Trick-or-treat is tomorrow, but why not double up?" asked Allison Sweeney, whose entire family dressed as the cast of The Wizard of Oz.
Sweeney was referring to the city of Lexington's announcement on Thursday morning that the city's official trick-or-treat time would be moved to 6 to 8 p.m. Friday because of wind and rain in Thursday's forecast.
Sweeney, as Dorothy, said her family always tries to be different. She comes up with an idea, and her husband makes it happen. "We just try to come up with anything that will be cool and not what everybody else is going to be," she said.
Mall officials estimated that 10,000 people would attend Thursday's event, in which 80 stores participated.
"We are a major community player," said Sandra Heymann, regional marketing director for Fayette Mall. "Our customers are extremely important us."
Heymann said the mall considered changing the event because of the forecast, but decided to stick with initial plans to offer an alternative for children up to age 12. The event was held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The line of trick-or-treaters, including children from a few months old and parents dressed as zombies, stretched from the entrance around the entire inside of the mall.
"The mall is fun," said Jovvanna Martinez, mother of two. "It's a lot of people — a lot of stores, and they're really nice." Martinez spent most of her night carrying her 5-month-old daughter on her hip.
Some toddlers cried, some ran and some even threw socks.
Mall employee Emoni Bolton was a sweet tooth's favorite. She works at King of Sweets, a candy store; once her free candy was gone, families did not seem to mind buying it.
Bolton dressed as her zodiac sign, Gemini. The candy store offered a deal: customers who spent $5 or more got a raffle ticket for a chance to win a pound of candy. Bolton also offered advice to trick-or-treaters: "Just have fun," she said. "Even I still dress up with my little brother."
Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety