MISSOULA — We are in the home stretch of, perhaps, the most unusual Halloween season ever.
The threat of COVID-19 has many families sitting Halloween out, impacting businesses that rely on the holiday -- but, the news isn't all bad.
Goodwill Stores bill themselves as your Halloween headquarters -- and with good reason. It has the usual Halloween fare, plus off the rack items to enhance that special "look." But as we all know, shopping is different this year -- costume sales are down, but decorations are strong.
“So. It's certainly been different for us. Normally, Halloween is our biggest holiday and it certainly still is,” Missoula Goodwill Stores manager Warren Altounian explained. “I mean, Halloween isn’t canceled, but we have certainly seen a lower volume of traffic and interest.”
Nationally, costume sales are down about $500 million. But at least one local store owner says the enthusiasm meter is way up.
“I don’t know if I can capture all of the good ideas that everybody has, but everybody has a very creative streak,” said Spirit Halloween Missoula owner Melanie Lerum. “They’re going to a lot of trouble and a lot of effort just to pull this off this year.
Lerum whose family has owned the Halloween Spirit store for 18 years, says families are getting very creative.
“Whether it’s the Fall festivals, the pumpkins, the parties – it's always been a great time of year," she told MTN News. “We found a safe way to operate the store by social distancing and wearing masks. And people are finding a safe way to celebrate.”
Altounian says the community has really stepped up to help over the last six months, especially with donations.