Who Needs Walmart? Small Retailers can take Advantage
of Halloween's Homemade Spirit
By Rachael Mercer
most vivid memories of childhood Halloweens are those when budget
constraints required our family to be a little more creative. Growing
up in the country, we had to make do with what was on-hand. Our
family photos reveal a chronological record of characters brought
to life through the humblest materials: a robot built from cardboard
boxes, a hobo outfit made of old clothes, and even a polka-dotted
Betty Boop made from scrap fabrics.
For Arts and Crafts retailers, Halloween is the perfect opportunity
to welcome those parents who may be unfamiliar with the do-it-yourself
approach but are weary of dressing their child as the latest licensed
movie character year after year.
Clever kiosks or endcaps help catch the eye of parents needy for
ideas on how to make Halloween special, and what better way than
a DIY costume and decoration class held at your store? Kids will
have a great time, and time-strapped parents will appreciate finding
everything they need in a one-stop shopping environment.
Manufacturers of Halloween products distribute fliers and "how-to"
instructions that can help you create eye-catching examples of costumes
and decorations that, when displayed with the necessary ingredients
nearby, can be a powerful enticement for families new to the idea
of a homemade Halloween.
Even simple store decorations made from household materials can
help inspire the creatively challenged customer. Stuffing and batting
from pillows can be fashioned into spider webs. And pipe cleaners,
when combined with rolly-eyes and cotton balls, make wonderfully
furry overgrown spiders.
My son Payton will be two-years-old next Halloween, and I'm already
planning our costumes. Payton can dress as Bob the Builder—not
in a pre-made costume—but in a construction worker outfit
his daddy and I will design. He may not remember all this in years
to come, but there will always be the photo album filled with one-of-a-kind
costumes to inspire a family of his own someday.