Beth Blair, author of The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America, shares with us an overview of the holidays at MOA throughout the year.
New Year’s Eve
Mall of America’s New Year’s Eve party deliberately appeals to families. While Nickelodeon Universe stays open late for festivities, there are two New Year countdowns—one family countdown at 10 p.m. and the official countdown at midnight. The night features music, dancing, and character meet-and-greets.
The Easter Bunny, presented by Peeps, makes a special spring appearance every year. Kids can meet the Easter Bunny at designated times leading up to Easter, and parents can order memento photos.
Minnesota trick-or-treaters do their best to incorporate layers of warmth into their Halloween costumes. But that’s not the case for the ghosts and goblins scouring the Mall of America (MOA) for sweets on Halloween, when MOA welcomes thousands of treat-seekers. The comfortable temp comes in handy year after year during the annual Howl-O-Ween event hosted by MOA and participating retailers.
Nickelodeon Universe gets in on the fun during the annual Blackout: Glow Crazy! The theme park turns spooky with unlit rides, black lighting, and fog effects, while a live DJ turns up the creepy factor with a variety of tunes. Traditionally, free treat bags are distributed and wristbands are discounted.
What’s the scoop on trick-or-treating at MOA? Some parents have griped about long lines and “only one piece of candy,” but others have had a better experience. Check out the pros and cons list for trick-or-treating at Mall of America.
Santa Claus arrives in early November at Mall of America and is greeted with a special arrival ceremony. MOA’s website and social media pages announce the special date a few weeks before. The event typically includes music, performers, and treats. Before you make plans to visit the jolly man in red, there is something you should know. MOA is especially magical because Santa is found in two locations. And while both Santas are sure to never, ever be in the same place at the same time, an employee told us that locations vary from year to year. The most recent locations have been in opposite mall corners: the Sears and Macy’s Courts.
Besides the fact that both beards are white and real, their appearances, clothes, demeanor, and styles are rather different. Plus, one takes reservations and books up well in advance. The “Sears” Santa is promoted on KOOL 108—the Twin Cities Christmas Station—and no appointment is necessary. This Santa has a long, white beard and dresses in the traditional red-and-white suit and hat. Photo packages and holiday merchandise are available for purchase.
The “Macy’s” Santa takes reservations and is hosted by MOA’s year-round Professor Bellows Specialty Photography (N374, 952-853-9804), which specializes in old-fashioned and event photography. This Santa has been with MOA for more than 20 years. When he’s not working at the mall, he’s meandering throughout the Twin Cities and is known as SID (Santa in Disguise). Local children recognize him year-round, and his home is said to have a special Christmas room filled with letters, ornaments, and gifts offered to him from his young fans.
The “Macy’s” Santa is wonderful with children, especially great for first-timers. The staff has all kinds of tricks up their sleeves, from working a baby into a photo to calming an apprehensive toddler. This Santa opts for a flannel shirt and suspenders in place of a suit. In fact, he never wears the same shirt twice during the season, so if you visit more than once, you will have variety. DVDs of the visit are available for purchase, and portraits are printed on-site.