Enthusiastic Halloween fans and bar hoppers flocked to Pearl Street Mall on Saturday night to celebrate the Boulder Mall Crawl, a holiday tradition with a reputation for getting out of hand.
The Mall Crawl has been around for decades, though not consistently. In the 1980s, tens of thousands of participants would gather for a night of bar crawling on Pearl Street each Halloween. The energy for the crawl remained high in the years going forward, but COVID-19 concerns in 2020 put a definitive stop to any momentum that grew during the 2010s.
Last year, some Boulderites made a concentrated effort to “revive” the Mall Crawl with social media posts urging people to come out to Pearl Street for an epic night of partying. The crowd grew to over 1,000 and resulted in several instances of property damage and vandalism.
This year, many of the Pearl Street Mall pedestrians seemed less focused on getting rowdy and more intent on enjoying a night of wearing fun costumes and getting into the Halloween spirit.
Boulder resident Susan Corbett went all out for the Mall Crawl with her friends, who all dressed up as characters from “The Wizard of Oz”. Corbett said her group won a costume contest connected to the Mall Crawl last year.
“We add new folks, but I’m always the Wicked Witch,” she said.
Corbett, whose Wicked Witch costume was complete with green face paint, said the crawl encapsulates the uniqueness of Boulder.
“It’s really fun to bar hop and say ‘Hi’ to people,” she said.
Members of Boulder Samba School’s percussion ensemble, Bateria Alegria, filled the mall with the sound of drums as they marched up and down Pearl Street. Raoul Rossiter, assistant director of the ensemble, said percussion performances like the one given by Bateria Alegria are a common sight in Brazil around Halloween.
“Some people weren’t sure what to make of it, but some people dug it and followed us along,” Rossiter said. “Our goal was to make some noise, then be done.”
A flash mob broke out in the middle of the mall about 8:15 p.m., coordinated by Boulder dance company Ayre Dance. Instructor Juliet Seskind said this is the group’s 15th iteration of the mob, pausing the tradition only in 2020 due to pandemic shutdowns.
The mob was packed with dozens of dancers in eccentric costumes who grooved in unison to Halloween classics like “Thriller” and “Monster Mash.”
“It’s an amazing tradition,” said Lisa Metrick, one of the flash mob dancers. “It’s so fun to see people come together over dance.”