Halloween merchandising is in full swing in Atlanta, with temporary stores popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain.
Right now dozens of pop-ups selling Halloween-themed items have appeared around the metro area, taking up residence in empty storefronts and unrented space.
The “800-pound-gorilla” among pop-up Halloween shops is the Spirit Halloween chain, which has 25 pop-up stores in the metro Atlanta area. “We are the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country” said spokeswoman Erin Springer.
Bought by Spencer’s Gifts in 1999, the chain grew from 63 stores that year to 1,300 today.
At the other end of the spectrum is Halloween HQ, a single, locally-owned pop-up. Halloween HQ has set up shop in Midtown’s Atlantic Station during September and October each of the last four years. “We have customers that prefer to shop at a locally-owned small business,” said manager David Park. The 8,000-square-foot store is currently in the location once occupied by Z Gallerie.
Pop-ups add to the existing permanent costume stores in Atlanta such as Norcostco and Party City. The Junkman’s Daughter, a favorite, is located along the path of the Little Five Points Halloween parade, for one-stop shopping and parade-watching.
“Halloween is bigger than ever,” said Bob Wordes, chief operating officer of the Shopping Center Group, which creates real estate strategies for retailers. “People decorate their yards more, have parties more.”
Pop-ups allow retailers to try out new concepts and help landlords rent out unused space, Wordes said. “It’s a good thing for everybody.”
What will be the hot costumes be this year? The 1993 Bette Midler film “Hocus Pocus” (which is being rebooted by Disney) is inspiring tween and teen costumers. The Adult Swim cartoon “Rick and Morty” has spawned some unlikely mad scientists. And the scary clown in the remake of Stephen King’s “It” guarantees us that some kids will be wearing greasepaint and wandering door-to-door on Halloween.
“It’s fair to say,” said Park, “that clowns will be big again this year.”
Where to find your Halloween pop-up stores and other stores:
- Spirit Halloween, 25 stores in the metro area; see the store locator.
- Halloween HQ, 231 18th St., Atlantic Station, Atlanta, 404-401-0095, atlhalloweenhq.com/
- Halloween Express, with locations in Snellville (2059 Scenic Highway North, 678-765-1405) and near Loganville (916 Loganville Highway Suite 500, Bethlehem, Ga., 470-307-1005), halloweenexpress.com/
- Party City, with stores in Atlanta, Marietta, Duluth, Alpharetta, Conyers and more. See the store locater
- Norcostco, 2089 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta; 404-874-7511, norcostco.com/Norcostco-Atlanta-Costume