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From vampires to Lady Gaga: Federal Way Halloween stores scare up serious cash

Spirit Halloween will operate two Federal Way stores full of props, costumes and accessories this year.  - Jacinda Howard, The Mirror
Spirit Halloween will operate two Federal Way stores full of props, costumes and accessories this year.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard, The Mirror

Vampires, pirates and Lady Gaga have arrived in Federal Way.

Halloween stores opened for business in September and are preparing for a barrage of customers as the spooky holiday nears. Consumers are expected to spend more this year than last. Spirit Halloween and Halloween City are both seasonal stores that open for business annually in Federal Way during the early fall. They each offer a wide selection of most anything a person could want for Halloween. With Halloween still weeks away, early shoppers don't have to fight the crowds.

This year, Americans will spend an average of $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations. That's up from a $56.31 average in 2009, and not far behind 2008's $66.54 average, according to a Sept. 23 National Retail Federation news release. Halloween 2010 is expected to bring retailers more revenues than last year's holiday. Approximately 148 million Americans participate in celebrating Halloween, according to the federation. In all, Americans ages 18 and over are expected to spend $5.8 billion on Halloween paraphernalia. The information comes from NRF’s 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

It's good news for Halloween retailers in the costume business. Four out of 10 Americans surveyed will dress up. Of young adults (ages 18- 24), 69.4 percent said they will don a costume in celebration. To boot, 11.5 percent of Americans surveyed will put a costume on their pet, according to the survey.

"In recent years, Halloween has provided a welcome break from reality, allowing many Americans a chance to escape from the stress the economy has put on their family and incomes," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in the release. "This year, people are expected to embrace Halloween with even more enthusiasm, and will have an entire weekend to celebrate since the holiday falls on a Sunday."

Spirit Halloween

Spirit Halloween stores are taking full advantage of consumers' willingness to spend. They opened Sept. 9 in Federal Way. This is the first year the retailer has two local locations, said Bridget Bartlett, Central Seattle area district manager. One store is located in the old Linens-N-Things building, 1718 S. 320th St. Another store is located in the old Circuit City building, 34920 Enchanted Parkway South. The Halloween emporium has had a presence in the city for at least the past 14 years, with the exception of one year, Bartlett said.

Last year, the Federal Way store near South 320th Street was among the top 100 stores nationwide in terms of sales, Bartlett said. The retailer offers a little bit of everything Halloween. Wigs, makeup, costumes and decor are around every corner.

"We consider ourselves the number one Halloween retailer in the nation," Bartlett said.

Spirit Halloween tries to keep up with popular culture. Big selling costumes this year are expected to include products made by Leg Avenue — think sexy police woman or prison inmate — as well as anything following MTV's Jersey Shore, Lady Gaga, Star Wars, the 1980s, Alice In Wonderland and vampire themes, Bartlett said. Super Mario Brothers and Toy Story 3 costumes are expected to be popular with kids, she said.

Federal Way resident Alex Seigo came to the store Wednesday to find a particular mask. He wanted to pay his respects to bassist Paul Gray, formerly of the band Slipknot, who passed away in May. Seigo planned to purchase the heavily decorated mask fashioned after the mask Gray traditionally wore on stage. He came to Spirit Halloween to find the item because a roommate works there, and he knew he could find what he was looking for at the store.

Animatronics help set Spirit Halloween apart from its competitors. The mechanized puppets use electronics and robotics to operate. Party throwers, big-time Halloween enthusiasts and area haunted houses have been known to purchase the items from Spirit Halloween, Bartlett said.

"The home decorators just love coming to get the creepy props," she said.

Halloween City

Halloween City opened Sept. 16 at 31417 Pacific Highway S. It also offers a variety of Halloween attire, accessories, decor and more. The store has a wide selection of wigs, hats, make-up, masks and jewelry. Traditional costumes, such as vampires, zombies, witches and pirates, are plentiful. Other costumes include a bull rider and get-ups for small dogs.

More costumes

A wide selection of Halloween attire and accessories can also be found at Party City, 32021 Pacific Highway S.

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