Halloween Feature Colorado

Children in costumes line up for the costume contest during the City of Greeley Museum’s Howl-o-ween Trick or Treat at Centennial Village Museum in Greeley, Colorado, on Oct. 19.

Every year, around the beginning of August, Halloween pop-up stores rise from the dead and begin appearing all over the country. And it’s no wonder, since the October holiday is big business in the United States.

This year, Halloween spending is predicted to reach $8.8 billion, with individual shoppers saying they plan to spend an average of $86.27 each, according to the National Retail Federation.

Halloween City and Spirit Halloween are two such stores that make their way to Idaho Falls every year. Taking advantage of the demise of brick-and-mortar retail stores, these pop-up shops have an abundance of locations from which to choose as their two-month base and often move around from year to year. Last year, Spirit Halloween was in the former Hancock Fabric store. This year, Spirit Halloween is based out of a former Toys R Us, with the company’s mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, still prominently displayed on the building.

Halloween stores do well because they can reuse much of their merchandise the next year if they don’t sell out and, with more buildings going empty, landlords often prefer a short-term lease to no lease at all, according to Halloween Spirit Director Senior Director Ann Sullivan in an interview with Specialty Retail.

Magan Bott, assistant manager at the Idaho Falls’ Spirit Halloween, said employees of pop-up shops enjoy the opportunity to have a second job without a long-term commitment.

“A lot of employees return year after year,” Bott said, “It’s a great place to work for a few months.”

Even pets aren’t exempt from Halloween spending. This year, Americans are expected to spend $490 million on costumes for their pets, according to the National Retail Federation. Idaho Falls’ own 17th Street PetSmart is stocked with mutt-sized Marvel and Star Wars costumes, though a wide variety of other pet costumes, from tacos to alligators, can be found. PetSmart groomer Amanda Laing said the costumes are for the humans, not the pets.

“At a time when life is so full of anxiety and stress, it’s something small that can make us happy,” Laing said. “Seeing my 100-pound dog in a pumpkin sweater just makes me smile.”

In the age of superhero movies, it is no surprise that some sort of superhero costume was a top choice among all ages and species. This year’s top children’s costumes are superhero, princess and witch. Top adult costumes include witch, vampire and superhero. Top pet costumes this year are a pumpkin, hot dog and superhero.

Halloween lovers should stock up soon, though. By the first week of November, the pop-up shops and Halloween aisles will have vanished once again until next year.