All across America, once great shopping malls have been deserted and left to decompose. You don’t need to look too far back in time to see how shopping malls were once one of the most prominent staples of US culture. Families would take trips to shop and eat at the food court, children would be overjoyed by a visit to the toy store, teenagers hung out at the arcade, and proud business owners had a home for their shops. That was the case for several decades, making shopping malls a focal point of suburban neighborhoods all across the country.

But the scene has changed rapidly over the past decade. A shift in shopping trends has pulled people away from the malls. As a result, big anchor stores that once sold shoppers all the essentials have shut down and smaller mall shops have been forced to do the same. And while the stores have left the mall, many of the buildings still remain. These abandoned malls are no largely unattended and unkempt, left to decompose over time. In some cases, graffiti covers the walls while broken windows let the outdoors in. In other cases, the inside is so pristine you'd have a hard time believing they'd been abandoned for years. Either way, these empty buildings often make for some haunting scenes.

Take a look at these 25 photos of forgotten shopping malls that are sure to have you hiding under the table.

25 1. The Darkness Below

What lurks in the darkness on the lower levels of this abandoned shopping mall? Does anyone dare to find out? Abandoned mall scenes like this one are getting more and more common in America, but this photo is particularly ominous.

The shattered glass and eerie lighting make this a place most people would get out of as quickly as possible. But it wasn't so long ago that shoppers filled these halls and stores were bustling with business. If anything is still thriving in the darkness, it probably isn't anything you'd want to encounter on your next shopping trip.

24 2. Nature Takes Over

This mall has been vacant for so long that nature has started to reclaim it. It's unsettling to see bushes and plants growing in what was once a bustling mall atrium. The fact that the structure has been totally stripped of most features like its railings and seats creates an even more haunting appearance.

According to Business Insider, 6,400 stores closed in 2017 alone, and that trend is expected to continue in future yevvzars. Experts predict that 20%-25% of US malls will close over the next five years, leading to even more scenes like this one.

23 3. A Reminder of What Was

As the light pours in from the skylight onto this tree, you can easily imagine what this corridor used to look like. According to Business Insider, the Metro North Shopping Center opened its doors in 1976 and was a thriving shopping center until the last few years of its life. The mall eventually closed its doors in 2014.

Now, the 1.2 million square foot space that was once the home of 150 stores is now home to nothing more than unsettling scenes such as this. This tree was once a beautiful part of the mall, but now serves as a reminder of what once was.

22 4. Time for a Swim

The pool attached to this shopping center was once a unique attraction, bringing people together and serving as a town gathering point in a thriving shopping center. Now it's anything but thriving. The structure has rapidly begun to decay as the years have passed. People have other places to find their entertainment and centers like this have been left in the past.

Now, it's little more than an empty room for street artists to leave their mark. And no one wants to know what might be living in that water.

21 5. Someone Left the Lights On

While there aren't any shops left in this abandoned mall, there is still power. As big anchor stores like Sears and Macy's close up shop, smaller stores are forced out of malls, leaving behind eerie scenes like this one.

According to Business Insider, some empty malls like this one are occasionally rented out by religious organizations who hold gatherings in the shutdown stores. This might explain why the seemingly deserted mall still has a few lights left on, but that doesn't make this picture any less unsettling.

20 6. A Winter Wonderland

There are some things that just don't belong in a mall and a fresh blanket of snow is definitely one of them. Broken skylights brought the outside in over the winter months. And if broken windows let the snow in, who knows what else might be waiting around the corner?

Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio was once home to more than 140 stores and a movie theater, but today the darkened hallways are exposed to the elements, seen only by those brave enough to venture inside.

19 7. Rest Easy

Resting is about the only thing this mall will be doing anymore. Once a message for people to relax, rest easy sounds more ominous than comforting in this deserted space. In it's prime, this space would be full of shoppers looking for their next great buy or teenagers hanging out with friends.

According to Business Insider, once anchor stores like JCPenney or Macy's close, smaller stores such as this have a difficult time generating enough in rent to cover the cost of repairs or improvements, which discourages new stores from setting up shop in the mall.

18 8. Cheerful Desolation

The bright colors and cheerful paintings on the walls and ceiling are a stark contrast to the dark and decaying interior of the mall. The juxtaposition of the cheery decor and dilapidated structure create one of the creepiest scenes in this abandoned mall.

What was once an inviting and exciting space now looks more like the set of a horror movie than a place to spend the afternoon. The fact that this place used to be filled with so much joy and energy makes this particular hallway especially unnerving.

17 9. Big Open Spaces

This big open mall atrium was once full of life. But now it's hard to imagine that shoppers and friends ever filled this void. The halls that branch off the heart of the building are now full of nothing more than debris and an ominous darkness.

It's strange to think that something that was a staple of many communities across America could see such a quick decline leading to scenes such as this. But with declining foot traffic in traditional malls, stores have little choice.

16 10. A Shopping Cart Meets Its End

According to The Register, over 300 malls have closed across America since the start of the retail apocalypse. This broken shopping cart and dilapidated building are a stark reminder of what was once a staple of many suburban US neighborhoods.

Who knows how this shopping cart met its end at the bottom of the staircase, or who might have eaten a pizza and left the box behind in the mall's final hours. But it's certainly enough to stop most people from venturing further into that dark hallway.

15 11. A Ghost Town in LA

It's hard to picture to imagine a massive abandoned space so close to the heart of one of America's busiest cities. But the Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center has been closed down since 1999. The huge space sits on 40 acres of land and was once home to many stores and restaurants.

Now, this mall is so intimidating that it's been used as a film set for many horror or apocalyptic movies and TV shows. Look for it scenes from Minority Report, Teen Wolf, Gone Girl, and Westworld. Just be careful that the corridors don't give you nightmares of your own.

14 12. Discounts No More

It seems unlikely that the discount prices advertised at Winston's are still available today, given the state of this abandoned mall in Allen, Texas. The tall ceilings, collapsing walls, and ominously dark corners make the structure less than inviting today.

The Belz Factory Outlet Mall was once a favorite amongst shoppers for discounted prices and bargain finds. But once shoppers started to favor the internet, stores started closing their doors and the mall was abandoned. The decaying structure may not be inviting to shoppers anymore, but this photo makes it appear as if more undesirable creatures may be calling it home

13 13. An Empty Labyrinth

Ramps, stairs, escalators, and balconies create a dizzying labyrinth that leads to nowhere. But it wasn't always that way. Photographer Steph Lawless still has many fond memories of a time not so long ago telling Gizmodo that, "I remember visiting Santa Claus as a kid at these malls during Christmas and eventually getting my first job at the mall. The mall had character and the architecture was beautiful."

But time has taken its toll on the space and it seems unlikely that such fond memories will ever be made there again.

12 14. There's Nothing Left

There's no telling who - or what might be lurking down the empty corridors, but it's hard to imagine that anyone will be tossing coins into that empty fountain any time soon. This huge abandoned mall is over 1 million square feet, which means there are plenty of creepy abandoned stores and shops of all sizes.

The mall was also home to a two-story-tall carousel according to Reddit user michaelbrn, who took the photo. The fact that it's still fairly well-cared for despite being empty for several years makes this location even eerier.

11 15. Left Behind

When this mall closed its doors to customers, it seems as though someone forgot to take their baby stroller with them. The crumbling walls, decaying trees, and scattered trash add to the eerie feeling that comes over you as you question why a baby stroller might be left out in the open in a place that hasn't been occupied in years.

According to consumer researcher Richard A. Feinberg, malls such as this one quickly became, "the new American Main Street." So it isn't hard to imagine that many mothers likely took their little ones for strolls through the mall while chatting with friends.

10 16. Going Up

This escalator in the abandoned Metro North Mall in Kansas City was once full of people rushing from one shop to another. Now that the building has been abandoned for several years, the railings have collapsed and it's full of broken glass.

The deterioration of the building makes for a haunting sight, as does the darkness that looms around the corner. What was once a thriving center of business and a place for socialization has been left behind as people find more convenient ways to make their purchases.

9 17. Nearly Abandoned, Completely Unnerving

This mall in Cincinnati goes to show that a building doesn't necessarily need to be condemned to be unnerving. The mall is nearly abandoned - there are no shops inside, but there are two anchor stores still connected to the building. Because of this, the mall itself is still open for anyone to walk through during business hours.

But Reddit users say that most people choose not to take a stroll through the inside, and in this picture, it's easy to see why. Long deserted hallways that used to be full of life are pretty unsettling, even if they are still kept clean.

8 18. The Darkest Corners

The thing about most abandoned malls is that they don't have power and they don't typically have many windows. Because of this, they have a lot of dark corners and shadowy areas where anything could be hiding.

This scene from the Metro North Mall in Kansas City is a perfect illustration of that. It's only the skeleton of what it was when it opened its doors to shoppers in 1976. Now it's been stripped down to the bare structure and left to deteriorate with time.

7 19. Someone Left a Mess

The Jamestown mall was once full of stores and shoppers, but now that it's been shut down the interior is quickly decaying. Ceiling panels are falling down, windows are broken and the floor is coming apart. And while all of that might be normal for an abandoned building, there's something particularly unsettling about this corridor.

Shelves and display tables have been left strewn across the hall haphazardly as if someone forgot what they were supposed to be doing, or was forced to leave the project behind in a rush. The disorganization ups the spook-factor considerably.

6 20. The Directory to Nowhere

According to Business Insider, photographer Steph Lawless has said that being in abandoned malls like these makes him feel, "like I was the last person on the planet and it was creepy but peaceful." And it's easy to see what he means when looking at this photo from the abandoned Lincoln Mall.

The empty directory is a haunting representation of the nothingness that the mall now contains. Though it wasn't long ago that shoppers filled the mall, it already looks as though it's been abandoned for decades.