Shopping for Halloween before it’s gone – a guide

With Halloween fast approaching, this is a guide for seasonal shopping – be it for costumes, candies, or decorations.


Toby Ord

A Jack o’ Lantern made for the Holywell Manor Halloween celebrations in 2003.


Well, it’s October and if you’re anything like me October came a lot faster than you would’ve thought. So, let’s take some time to get ready for the Halloween season. Stores and supermarkets are already stocked up on their shelves full of seasonal drinks, foods and decorations.

Spirit Halloween is a seasonal exclusive store solely meant for Halloween products. This store specializes in costumes, accessories for said costumes and most importantly decorations. If you’re just looking for a place that sells Halloween related items, but you don’t have anything specifically in mind then I recommend Spirit Halloween as it’s an all-round great Halloween store. You better visit it before it’s gone, though, because it’s only around for a few months.

But if you are planning to go to a Halloween event and just realized a couple hours before the event that you’ve completely forgotten a costume then fear not for, I have done the same thing many times and I have no better recommendation than Party City. While Party City is usually a party store that sells items like glitter and party hats, around the Halloween season it completely transforms into an excellent Halloween store with a wide array of decorations, like cobwebs and fog machines, costume props and most importantly the costumes themselves, ranging from the Mandalorian to Minion costumes. Whether you go at the last minute or right now you’re bound to find great things.

Another good candidate for decorations would be Home Depot, which has a wide array of both small and large decorations like inflatables, skeletons and tombstones. But what really separates Home Depot from the other stores is the large variety of animatronics such as undead skeletons, werewolves, mummies, the Headless Horseman and many, many more. Although these decorations are more on the pricy side averaging around $250 each. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper alternative, then Big Lots is a great place with many animatronics and decorations as well.

But whether you go all out for Halloween or choose not to celebrate it, there is one part of the holiday everyone loves: the food. With the Halloween season a variety of limited time treats and drinks become available like the seasonal drink Mountain Dew Voo Dew, which every year has a new mystery flavor which you must try to solve yourself (I’m pretty sure it’s sour patch kids). There are also treats like Debbie’s Pumpkin Brownies, M&Ms new flavor Cookies & Scream or even Hershey’s Cookies & Creme Snack Size Fangs, which are also only available in the spooky season. These can be found especially plentiful in places like Target.

However, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to these other stores then I recommend The Dollar Tree. Obviously very cost efficient – some might say cheap – but it sells surprisingly good stuff like cobwebs, candy, tombstones, hanging ghosts and ghouls. In fact, I use The small boxes of LED candles they sell to give a glowing effect to my cobweb-filled graveyard and as inside decorations. All for $1.25!

So, in short, Spirit Halloween for a good all-round if not a little pricy store, Party City for costumes and decorations, Home-depot for large Halloween decorations like animatronics and Target for Halloween candy, drinks and treats. The best piece of advice I can recommend is to get creative with decorating and celebrating. Make some homemade decorations that would cost hundreds at a store for free, for example every year my family and I make an undead giant reaper to overlook the graveyard made of wood and nails. So, whether you’re going to buy a giant animatronic or just want bags full of candy for the season then I hope this guide was of some help to you.