BILOXI -- The severe weather affecting South Mississippi did its best to lighten trick-or-treaters' baskets Halloween night. But costumed children foiled the spirit-dampening rain by filling Edgewater Mall, soaking in the holiday fun and scooping up all the candy they could.
As soon as kids walked through the mall doors, they were given an orange bag to collect their treats and urged to fill it up, which no one had a problem doing.
"Trick or Treat at the Edge" gave trick-or-treaters a chance to escape the weather and trick or treat indoors. At almost every store, a representative handed out candy to superheroes, zombies, princesses and pirates.
"This is our first Halloween as a family," Carlos Leenen said. "This seems to be the place to be tonight."
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Leenen's son, James, 1, a swashbuckling pirate, strutted through the mall giggling and happily reaching for candy.
"His mother decided his outfit this year," Leenen said. "It matches his birthday theme so it took care of two holidays."
Trick-or-treaters swarmed the mall corridors beginning at 5:30 p.m. as lines wrapped around every corner.
"There's too many kids to count," mall official Michelle Rodgers said. "Thousands of people were here within the first hour alone."
The hardest job Saturday night was handing out the candy. Eager baskets had to be quickly filled so children could scurry to the next candy haven.
"My arm is getting tired," Shawna Mayes said as she handed out candy at an island kiosk. "I've refilled my basket four or five times already and we still have another hour and a half to go."
Mayes participated in the event last year, but said the turnout this year was much stronger.
"The weather definitely played a factor," she said. "Families took the safe route and went where the weather didn't matter."