FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - At Spirit Halloween, the early bird gets the sandworm.
At least that's what one customer was looking for at the newly opened seasonal store's Boynton Beach, Fla., location inside a former Toys "R" Us. He proudly clutched a candle holder featuring the black-and-white-striped serpent from the 1988 Tim Burton movie "Beetlejuice" while scouring the shelves for another to make a pair.
No luck. He would have to check one of Spirit Halloween's many other locations popping up in empty storefronts throughout South Florida - and around the country.
With less than 40 days left until the holiday that celebrates all things spooky, scary and full of sugar, Halloween enthusiasts are making their way to the specialty stores to scoop up decorations, costumes, props and masks. (Think Jason's hockey mask or a werewolf, not the N95 kind. Although Halloween-themed face masks are available by the registers.)
Even with many unknowns surrounding what trick-or-treating will look like this year because of COVID-19, an employee at the new South Florida Spirit location said it hasn't deterred customers from snapping up some of the new scream-inducing, larger-than-life animatronics such as the 7-foot Crouchy (a terrifying clown with a blood-spattered smile, $299.99) and the over 6-foot Harvester of Souls (a demon that sucks the foggy soul out of his young victim, $299.99).
Here's what else we found at Spirit Halloween this year:
In addition to requiring face masks and providing hand santizer at the front door, fitting rooms are closed. Returns are allowed until Oct. 22 in store. And while taking a selfie in that scary clown mask is a customer favorite, trying on masks is also not allowed this year. Sorry, kids (and adults).
Classic horror: "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" - iconic horror movies that gave us the characters of Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason - are front and center at Spirit this year. Shoppers will find costumes, accessories and home decor related to this trifecta of terrifying movies that have made their mark on the genre for decades.
Current events: There's a wall of flapper dresses, feather boas, sequined suits and fedoras as a modern nod to the Roaring Twenties. Astronaut helmets and NASA jackets celebrate this summer's successful SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch with crew aboard. Plague doctor and gas masks make a statement about COVID-19. Presidential candidates Donald Trump (along with first lady Melania Trump) and Joe Biden are represented with masks - some that use actual photos and other caricatures.
CLEARANCE AND COUPONS
If you're on a budget, many of the stores have a clearance section filled with discounted costumes, accessories and limited decor left over from last season. Items are marked with yellow price tags.
Visit SpiritHalloween.com to find a location near you. Click on the "more info" link under the location for a 20% off any item coupon in store or online. Also check Spirit Halloween's Facebook and Instagram accounts for additional coupons.
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