With Halloween fast approaching, people of all ages are trying to decide what to be on Oct. 31. The Spirit Halloween seasonal stores located in Avon and Westfarms Center in Farmington (former Borders store), along with West Hartford’s iParty, offer the area’s most complete selection of Halloween costumes, accessories and decorations.
Costumes for every age are available at Spirit and fashionable choices for the season are in stock. The most popular costumes at Spirit this year include super-heroes for boys and Monster High outfits, based on the popular toy line, for girls. Ninjas and Star Wars costumes are also very popular for boys at the Avon Spirit location. People of all ages are buying costumes from the Avengers movie released this summer.
Adult men have flocked to the Ted outfits, from the recent film about a grown-up and uncouth teddy bear. Adult women are focusing on the Hunger Games film and book franchise for their costumes, according to Lisa Barr, senior director of marketing and creative at Spirit.
“When we see something is really hot, we gear up,” Barr said of the company’s stocking strategy.
Zombie outfits are another in-demand choice this year, Barr said. Spirit has zombie costumes for kids, teens and adults.
“The whole family can go out as a family of zombies,” she said.
Masks of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are also selling fast in the election year. Barr said Spirit has correctly predicted the past four presidential elections based on mask sales. Currently, Obama leads Romney 65 percent to 35 percent of total sales in the decidedly unscientific poll.
“It’s an indicator but it’s all in fun,” Barr said.
Katherin Bonilla, an assistant manager at the Avon Spirit location, said one of the store’s main draws is its interactivity. There are about 10 different ghouls, ghosts and other creepy creatures that light up, move and make plenty of noise when patrons step on floor triggers.
Spirit’s jumping spider is especially effective. Bonilla said she often hears parents and other adults scream from across the store when the animatronic arachnid jumps from its mount. The spider consistently spooks Barr as well, even though she works with Halloween merchandise all year.
“Every time I walk by it, it jumps out at me and I scream,” Barr said.
Besides all sorts of costumes, from cute ones for kids to more risqué outfits for adults, in all sorts of sizes (Spirit stocks plus-sized men’s and women’s costumes), Spirit has gory decorations and set pieces as well as more child-friendly décor.
Spirit also has an associated nonprofit, Spirit of Children, which pays for and hosts Halloween parties for children in hospitals and makes cash donations. Customers at Spirit stores are asked to donate at the register. Barr said money donated locally stays in the area and 100 percent of all donations go to hospitals.
“We collect money locally and we give it back locally,” Barr said.
The money donated at the Avon and Farmington Spirit locations goes to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
You can find Spirit locations in Avon at 385 Albany Turnpike (Route 44) and Farmington at 1595 Southeast Road (in Westfarms Center). You can also check out West Hartford’s iParty at 6 Sims Road.