AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Boulevard Mall is publicly apologizing for a Halloween fundraiser that got out of hand Tuesday afternoon.
Thousands of families with their children waited in line only to be told that the first 1,500 tickets had already been sold. The $1 tickets benefited Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. Children who got in were able to go trick or treating inside the mall, where candy was distributed. No one was barred from entering the mall, but many children could not participate in the event.
“My little guy was very disappointed,” said April Hapka of the Town of Tonawanada. Two of her sons had dressed in Superman and skeleton costumes. She said her five year old had his trick or treat bucket ready to be filled up but was unable to join the event.
She told News 4, “Somebody came out and said ‘don’t shoot the messenger. There’s no more tickets. We’re all done.”
“The kids were crying,” she said. “Some parents were upset. Some parents took the bus.”
Boulevard Mall managers tell News 4 only 200 of 1,500 tickets had been sold a few days before the event. They believe parents, learning that the Halloween forecast for Friday would be chilly, made a last-minute decision to show up. They also believe Boulevard was the only major mall in the area to hold a Halloween event on Tuesday.
The mall made a public apology on its Facebook page. It read in part, “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience due to the large attendance. We plan to improve upon our event for next year.”
Two hours before the 5 p.m. fundraiser, it had posted the sell out, but many people did not get the message.
“They wasted the trip,” said April. “There’s people that spent the money on buses and walked, to get all the way there to disappoint their kids.”