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Halloween season scares its way into Crossroads shops

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 12, 2013 at 5:12 a.m.

Halloween decorations adorn the walls of the Spirit Halloween store in Victoria.

How will people spend Halloween?

A National Retail Federation survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics polled 5,290 consumers regarding this year's Halloween spending, according to a retail federation news release. Here's how respondents said they plan to celebrate:

Hand out candy: 72%

Decorate the home and/or yard:47.5%

Carve a pumpkin:44.2%

Take a child trick-or-treating:31.7%

Attend or host a party: 30.9%

Visit a haunted house:20.3%

Did you know?

A number of Crossroads stores offer Halloween merchandise, but a few specialize in the holiday. Those include:

Elvira's Closet

305 E. Rio Grande St.

361-676-4208 or 361-652-9750

Spirit Halloween

4102 N. Navarro St.

361-579-0755

Wally's Party Factory

5221 N. Navarro St.

361-580-1480

Wicked Wally's Halloween Costumes

5211 N. Navarro St.

361-579-0640

Amid the zombies, the peals of ghostly laughter and the animatronic elements designed to shoot chills down the spine, Karly Streety was in her element.

The 19-year-old Cuero resident who wandered Spirit Halloween is a glutton for all things spooky.

"I'm the Halloween girl in the family," she said with a smile beside a display of face paint and rubber scars. "I've always loved it."

And the Victoria College student isn't alone.

Halloween is a big business throughout the U.S., with people planning to spend an average $75.03 on costumes, candy, decorations and more this year, according to a National Retail Federation news release. While that's down from last year's $79.82, overall spending will reach an estimated $6.9 billion.

Fall's arrival after a long summer will put millions in the spirit for seasonal activities, Matthew Shay, the retail federation's president and CEO, said in the release.

"Retailers recognize that when it comes to Halloween, consumers' creativity abounds," he said. "We expect retailers to stock their shelves with unique costume ideas for adults, children and pets, a variety of candy options and never-seen-before home and yard decor."

For the second year running, Wally's Party Factory opened a second, temporary store within its same shopping center. Wicked Wally's, the store's alter ego, offers the costumes, party supplies, decor and other items people need to scare up a bit of seasonal celebration.

Store manager Elsa Perez said Halloween is always a good time at the shop.

"It's getting bigger every year," she said. "We always have a really good turnout."

No one item sells best, she said. Instead, it's a bit of everything, as shoppers buy a little of this and a little of that to personalize their look.

Traffic picked up early at Spirit Halloween, which opened for business Sept. 6, said Karri Wilborn, the store's manager. Among the most popular costumes, she said, are Disney princesses, zombies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

She encouraged shoppers to search out their holiday looks early into the season, before supplies run out.

"Once you get to about the second week of October, stuff is going real fast," she said.

Vanessa and Martin Saucedo ventured out to shop the first week of October and said they mainly planned to spend the holiday trick-or-treating with their 5-year-old.

The Port Lavaca couple, who dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Little Red Riding Hood last year, won't be throwing or attending any parties, as they say they've heard those can get out of hand.

Regardless, Martin Saucedo said he enjoys the holiday.

"Everybody gets to be a kid for a little while on Halloween," he said.

Still, not every Crossroads shopper is in the spirit of the season.

Goliad resident Jessica Gall, who typically celebrates the holiday by trick-or-treating with the kids, found herself this year searching for multiple costumes for herself. She works at Cactus Canyon, she said, and the staff must dress up every day for a week.

"It's a little crazy," she said with a sigh.

Gall said she has two main criteria when it came to searching for this year's looks. Not only should it not be too revealing, but, because she has to buy multiple, it also has to be budget-friendly.

Streety, too, said she keeps her finances in mind but said she doesn't mind splurging a bit on the holiday she loves.

"I do go kind of crazy, but I kind of set a budget. I don't go over $200," she said. "A lot of times, you can reuse things from last year, but there are some things you have to buy."

A pirate costume and some creepy decor - namely, a chained-up person she can hang upside-down for maximum scare factor - have already made this year's list of purchases.

As for Streety's friends and family, fair warning. Beware.

"With me at this time of year, you know to watch out," she said with a laugh. "I like to scare people. I have a lot of fun."

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