Halloween Spirit, the Halloween store located at 2135 S. Mission St., arrived in Central Michigan with reserved expectations.
Spencer’s, the owner of the franchise, opened a different store in Mount Pleasant several years ago to little success. Yet Halloween is a concept which students flock to.
“I think we finally decided to give Mount Pleasant a chance,” Assistant Manager Heather Sian said. “But we’ve been very busy; the business has been beyond our expectations.”
Halloween, it turns out, never dampers on a college campus. Whether it’s the parties, the costumes, the haunted community events, or a combination of every holiday norm combined, Halloween has evolved to become the most vibrant periods of celebration on campus. Halloween Spirit reflects that.
“We had a new order of cat ears come in not three days ago,” Sian said. “We ordered 300 of them, they’re gone already.”
While Halloween Spirit is a new addition to Mount Pleasant, Halloween Central, 2012 S. Mission St., has been a Halloween centerpiece in Mt. Pleasant for several years.
“We’re locally owned, all the other Halloween stores in the area are corporate, the city notices this and appreciates it,” John Joslin, the co-owner of Halloween Central said. “Plus, we have the widest selection of costumes, other stores focus on other things, we focus on the costumes.”
Joslin said the way that individuals choose their ideal costume is often dictated by gender.
“Girls aren’t necessarily all about a theme, it’s about how it looks on them, how it fits on them.” Joslin said. “Guys are just trying to be funny, they don’t go shopping to look good, they just want to have a good time.”
Both Halloween Central and Halloween Spirit identified superhero costumes as the most popular costume purchased by all demographics, including college students.
Kelsey Councilor, who, along with her three roommates, dressed up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, said the recent superhero craze was taking place for several reasons.
“Well, we’ve had a ton of superhero movies, ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Spiderman,’ and I definitely think that affects it,” the Otisville junior said. “Also, both men and women know superheroes, it’s gender neutral for the most part, and everyone is going to know who you are.”
Councilor’s outfit might reflect students’ favorite choices at Halloween stores, but the mutant turtle shell is made out of a spray painted trash can, not mass-manufactured plastic. The swords are made out of white pipes, not foam. Councilor said there was no question that making the costumes homemade was the best way to celebrate the holidays.
“We were browsing through Halloween stores, and for all four of us to buy the same costume was going to be well over $100,” Councilor said. “We went to Home Depot instead, they gave us the trash lids for free.”
Kristina Sepanski, who decided to dress up as a female Terminator, the only part of which is store-bought being the makeup, said homemade costumes present a distinct advantage to students.
“It allows your costume to have that personal touch, you get more in touch with Halloween that way,” Sepanski said. “Also, it’s cheaper. It’s a lot cheaper.”
The Mount Pleasant freshman said she chose her Terminator outfit because of her infatuation of science fiction. This was not the first time she has dressed up as a science fiction character. In previous years she had dressed up as a Star Trek captain, and not only on Halloween.
“I showed up wearing the Star Trek costume to my high school once,” Sepanski said. “I just got too many weird looks.”
Although both Sepanski and Councilor have gone the homemade route with their costumes, Detroit Senior Joanna Wysocki’s costume is a hybrid, featuring a store-bought costume with high degrees of innovation.
Dressing up as a female version of Edward Scissorhands, the popular Johnny Depp character, she used cereal boxes to reinforce the flimsy foam blades. The costume came with simple make-up, but Wysocki plans to turn it up a notch giving herself scarring and excessively pale skin. The costume might come with a wig, but forget that, Wysocki is giving her own hair a makeover for the costume.
Wysocki said she takes Halloween so seriously because it allows her to return to her childhood.
“(Halloween) allows you to step into someone else’s shoes. It’s about holding onto childhood. There’s no limits to what you can do,” Wysocki said. “It’s a chance to be with people. You don’t have to go out drinking. Just have spirit and have fun. It’s OK to be silly and enjoy yourself. That’s what Halloween gives you.”