Frightful chain of stores finally brings the SPIRIT back in Halloween!


During the Halloween season, I’ve always been partial to the mom and pop costume shops. For one thing, I like to support the little guy but, for another, they also tend to carry less of the mass produced products bigger chains do. Unfortunately those stores are becoming a rarity thanks, in large part, to chains such as Spirit Halloween and Halloween Town.

I learned long ago that when it comes to buying masks and props, I want to see what I’m getting before shelling out hard-earned cash. More often than not, when I bought something online, what I received looked a lot different from what was pictured on the Internet. The reason for this is simple; many of the major Halloween mask and prop makers out there create a prototype that is used to advertise the product. They make them look amazing, helping to increase sales. Then, what the customer actually receives is a paper thin copy made in Mexico or China and painted by people who make them look like they’re worthy of grade schoolers. How the Better Business Bureau has not caught onto this form of false advertising I’ll never know, especially considering how many millions of dollars Halloween brings in for retailers year after year.

The first year that Spirit store arrived in Rhode Island I was actually kind of excited, knowing that there’d be a Halloween superstore that I could go to; especially since all of the mom and pop stores had pretty much been rendered extinct. As each year went by I began to get more and more bored with Spirit as their variety changed very little from year to year and I was noticing that when something looked good one year, it was sure to look horrible the following. Halloween Town then came into the area and from the start they were just awful! What was a local haunter to do?

This year I entered Spirit with no expectations, figuring I was going to see the same things I had seen the previous year. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was actually impressed, not only with the variety of new products but also by the quality.

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This year there is a whole variety of new full-size props, most of which are reasonably priced and very effective. Creepy babies are very popular again, one of my favorite Spirit offerings.

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This year features new creepy designs and the quality has actually improved, after it dropped off these past two years. The mask selection, as always, was lacking. There were not many to choose from but for the most part, what was available was of decent quality and there were some new exciting designs.

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I hope this is a trend that will continue into the coming Halloween seasons. I would love to see them increase their mask selection and perhaps start carry masks by companies such as Trick Or Treat Studios or Distortions Unlimited. They seem to be going in the right direction. I hope it continues!

David Albaugh


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