- I visited a Spirit Halloween popup store outside of Rochester, NY.
- The store was surprisingly the biggest sign of life in the mostly empty strip mall.
- Spirit has 1,400 popup stores around the US.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Spirit Halloween stores pop up for the season every year, coronavirus or not. I visited one of the chain’s more than 1,000 locations near Rochester, NY to see what a Halloween store is like in the midst of a pandemic.
An estimated 58% of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation, and they plan to spend just over $US90 per person. This amounts to over $US8 billion in planned spending, a high point in the “second wave of the retail apocalypse.”
Spirit CEO Steven Silverstein said that when the company announced it would still open stores this year, he knew Halloween was an”outlet for escape.” He also noted that retail performance over Halloween could be a predictor of the rest of the holiday season.
Spirit Halloween, full of skeletons and undead monster costumes, was oddly enough the only sign of life in an otherwise empty strip mall. Despite changes in how Halloween can safely be celebrated this year, customers in the store mostly told me that they planned to dress up.
I visited the store on a Tuesday afternoon, unsure how busy it would be because it was still normal working hours.
I was surprised to find that the popup store was nearly the only sign of life in the otherwise empty strip mall.
From the outside, banners and lack of more permanent signs give Spirit a popup, temporary feeling.
Inside, though, it didn’t look very different from any other year.
Markings on the floor told people where to stand to maintain social distancing, but the big warehouse style store means it’s easy to keep your distance.
It’s hard to tell because everyone is standing so far apart, but the checkout line was actually long.
The other main reminder that we’re living in a pandemic were signs all over asking customers not to try on masks.
Fitting rooms were also closed because of the virus.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the mask you purchase hasn’t been touched by others.
As usual, much of the store was dedicated to timely pop culture costumes and decor, although movie releases have mostly been postponed or moved to streaming this year.
Costumes from Netflix series Stranger Things got their own display.
Costumes from Tiger King, a Netflix series popular early on in the pandemic, were an obvious choice, too.
Karen costumes continue to sell, based on the meme about problematic white women.
Source: Business Insider
Not all the pop culture costumes were especially new, like these jackets from 2019 “The Joker.”
“Ricky and Morty” and the iconic Pickle Rick made an appearance.
Customers could check out an entire wall of decor inspired by the Halloween classic “Hocus Pocus.”
Because it’s 2020, of course there are Biden and Trump masks for sale.
An emoji mask is another fitting representation for this year.
After visiting Spirit, I’m convinced holiday specialty stores will survive the pandemic better than anyone.
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