Costume shops taking over empty storefronts again ahead of Halloween


CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — The ghost of Spirit Halloween is back. Every year around Halloween, the chain costume pop-up fills stores in local malls and shopping centers.

“It’s another option that consumers have,” President of the Better Business Bureau Tom Bartholomy said.

The resurrection of the stores happens every 10 months. There are 29 locations within 100 miles of Charlotte, replacing former box stores like Sears, Toys R Us and dozens of others that either went out of business or closed the location.

“They are actually brining benefit from sales tax revenue, they are bringing rent to the landlord that has been sitting on an empty building for 10 other months out of the year, bringing employment even though it is temporary and part-time. It is still employment,” Bartholomy said.

These are the top Halloween costumes of 2021, according to one survey

The month of October is the biggest time for costume and prop stores, and this year is bringing in record sales.

“Every day is an adventure,” long-time Morris Costume employee Greg James said.

He describes the weeks leading up to Halloween as a cash cow.

The locally-owned store has a lot of history, opening up in the 1960’s as a costume repair shop and now a year-round retailer.

“Halloween is theater and that is really the over-arching theme of everything that we do,” James said.

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He said it is a niche that is not threatened by pop-up chains like Spirit Halloween.

“You know the thing is, there is really room for everybody,” James said. “We don’t really have competition because there really isn’t another store like us.”

Bartholomy said the seasonal stores are a win-win for the economy, but not a permanent fix to the nation-wide exodus of big box stores.

“This type of seasonal retailer isn’t really the answer, not the long-term answer, but hey it’s not a bad band aid either,” Bartholomy said.

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