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Spirit stores another 'pop-up'

FrightWorld isn't the only Halloween-themed business that pops up for a short time each fall.

Spirit Halloween, a New Jersey-based costume and prop store owned by Spencer Gifts, hits the scene from Labor Day to Nov. 1.

It has nearly 1,000 stores in the United States and Canada this year -- eight of them in Western New York -- and increases its national numbers by about 100 stores annually. It employs a year-round staff of 55 people and picks up nearly 20,000 seasonal workers.

Spirit executives hustle all year to make sure each store's two-month run is successful.

"It's very much a year-round operation," said Tony Detzi, the company's senior vice president.

A team of seven real estate scouts heads out each January to tap highly visible space for the following year's stores. All year, its retail website is live, and 11 warehouses are stocked with traditional costumes like vampires and witches.

Though this year's season wraps up Tuesday, Spirit's team will stay in action. A team of 14 buyers will leave for Asia this week to get a jump start on 2012.

Party City has also gotten in on the action. Though its own stores sell costumes and Halloween-themed party items, it also operates temporary pop-up stores called Halloween City. The New Jersey-based company has hundreds of pop-up locations around the country, but none in Western New York.

-- Samantha Maziarz Christmann