Retailers not getting spooked over last-minute Halloween rush

Josie Rapacz, left, tries on a banana costume with the help of her friend Maddy Gehr in the newly expanded costume area in the back of Value Village on Friday, Oct. 21, in Bellingham.
Josie Rapacz, left, tries on a banana costume with the help of her friend Maddy Gehr in the newly expanded costume area in the back of Value Village on Friday, Oct. 21, in Bellingham.

It’s close to crunch time for Halloween costume shoppers, and local retailers expect a rush in the final week.

Whatcom County customers have plenty of choices for tracking down costumes, including pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween at 4145 Meridian St. and the locally owned Spookshop, which has a temporary store at 4301 Meridian St.

A year-round store that has expanded its costume offerings is Value Village at 150 E. Bellis Fair Parkway. The store has opened about 2,000 square feet of its warehouse space at the back of the store for customers. That’s in addition to what’s on the showroom floor, said store manager Laura Diaz-Price.

Halloween is a big event for the store, which is known for its secondhand clothing. Many of the costumes are new, and customers tend to buy a new costume and then purchase accessories for a more creative look, Diaz-Price said.

“Customers might buy a fairy costume but then add some things to give it a fairy-zombie look,” Diaz-Price said. “People like to twist it around when it comes to costumes.”

Superheroes and pirates are popular choices so far this year for children, and Diaz-Price expects costume shopping to pick up in the coming days.

“It’s our busiest time of year, and we’ve been preparing for it since mid-August,” she said.

Across the country, Halloween spending is expected to increase this year. Americans are expected to spend an average of $82.93 on Halloween products, up from last year’s $74.34, according to the National Retail Federation. Candy tops the list of purchases, followed by decorations and costumes.


With an eye toward boosting production, Bellingham’s Chuckanut Brewery has opened a facility in Skagit County.

The South Nut Tap Room opened last week at 11937 Higgins Airport Way at the Port of Skagit in Burlington, serving a variety of beers and meals from food trucks. The Skagit brewery portion, which has a bigger production system than Bellingham’s, is expected to open later this month or in November, according to the company. Once it is operating, the Skagit Chuckanut brewery will produce the main beer styles, while the Bellingham system will focus on specialty beers.

The Skagit tap room is open 3-7 pm. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and noon-7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Details on both breweries can be found at


Longtime Bellingham flower shop Belle Flora is moving into a new space at the end of the month.

Its last day at 1201 North State St. is Friday, Oct. 28. The store will move to 2408 Yew St., near Hoagland Pharmacy, and reopen in early November, said co-owner Melissa Bella. Bella, who has worked at the store 12 years, recently assumed ownership of the store with her brother, Josh Colliver.

Bella said they will focus more on flowers and gifts and less on furniture in the new space.

The store is having a sale at its State Street spot through Oct. 28. Further details can be found on its Facebook page.


TCBY has closed its Bellis Fair and Barkley frozen yogurt shops. The Barkley space near the movie theater is available for lease, with all the equipment included, said Neal Swanson of the Barkley Co. ... In other retail tenant news in Barkley Village, Swanson said MOD Pizza is aiming for a mid-November opening, while Jimmy John’s is looking at opening sometime before the end of the year. ... Julia Clauset, who ran Jelita Arts antiques in Fairhaven until 2014, is opening a temporary store for the holiday shopping season. Vintage Art Treasures will open at 3006 Northwest Ave., near Yeagers Sporting Goods, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, for three months. It will offer antiques and collectibles from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Store hours are 1-6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, open on Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas.