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‘Our store is still full, we could do a 2nd Halloween:’ Costume shop sees uptick in sales similar to national trend

National Retailer Federation says consumer spending this Halloween season could reach $10B
Posted at 7:13 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 19:25:58-04

WYOMING, Mich. — Gayle Vaartjes has been making and sewing costumes all her life. She owns the Kostume Room on 36th Street SW in Wyoming where she now sells hundreds of costumes, wigs, masks, and makeup.

Her biggest thrill, she said, is helping people put a costume together.

“It feels so great,” said Vaartjes during an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “It feels so good to see everyone again and all the new people that we’re seeing coming in. It’s exciting for us because that’s what I want to do, that’s my favorite thing is to help people get ready for their parties.”

Vaartjes said this year superheroes, movie characters, kings, and queens are the hottest costumes. Longtime customer Dawn Williams stopped by to pick up one for work.

“This will be my Friday outfit,” said Williams holding up a pink polka-dot Minnie Mouse dress. “It’s family-friendly and I’ll be shopping Shipt at Meijer and I want to look family-friendly.”

Williams was one of the dozens of customers who shopped at the store on Tuesday. Vaartjes said this Halloween season they’ve been seeing an uptick in foot traffic and sales.

“Last year was pretty rough,” Vaartjes said. “But we prepared ourselves and we figured we’d be 40, 50 percent down from our sales. So, we accommodated that in our purchasing and went with it.”

Vaartjes said the week of Halloween 2020, they actually did OK in sales. However, this year they’re doubling.

According to the National Retailer Federation, consumer spending on Halloween-related items this year is expected to reach a record-setting $10 billion.

“We can go out now and so that’s what makes it fun too,” Williams said. “So, I think people are really ready to go out and have a good time again. So, that’s the main thing ‘cause  I don’t think we could trick-or-treat last year either could we.” 

Last year it was discouraged by the CDC. However, this year it encouraged. Nevertheless, safety is a top priority at the Kostume Room.

“Our rentals are all clean. We have our own laundry facilities So, we clean everything and I mean everything,” Vaartjes emphasized. “So, everything’s all sanitized and washed. We make sure that it’s ready for the next person.”

Vaartjes said they’re open year-round but this week they’ll be open each day through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. They’re ready help customers pick out the perfect outfit.

“Our store is still full,” Vaartjes said. “We could do a second Halloween. We’ve got so many stuff.”