Spirit Halloween employees share behind-the-scenes secrets of the iconic costume pop-up shop

Once you feel a chill in the air it’s only a matter of time before the closest abandoned Best Buy storefront is being taken over by that infamous orange banner, advertising that it’s a temporary Spirit Halloween.

Spirit Halloween has 1,300 stores in the U.S. and Canada and every franchise is stocked with costumes, masks, wigs, animatronics and collectible items. It is truly a one-stop-shop for all Halloween and cosplay necessities.

Every year around August, Spirit starts to form teams of seasonal employees who help out with the shopping season, which typically runs through November.

With the season is now in full swing, employees have been sharing some of the best secrets from working at the store (including 80 percent off everything after Halloween!). Here are some of our favorite behind-the-scenes tidbits:

First thing’s first, Spirit Halloween employees have to love Halloween. This seems like a no-brainer, but seriously, the employees really, really love Halloween. One employee told Mental Floss that he’d never met another employee who wasn’t as obsessed with the holiday as he was in the five years of working at the store.

Employees have to live up to certain rules while under contract for the chain and they hate when customers make it impossible to do their job. If you’ve ever opened a package in a Spirit Halloween and gotten a weird look from an employee, that’s why — it’s Spirit policy that only employees open up packages.

“Although we try hard to make it as easy and friendly as possible, some customers would rather do it themselves wherever they may be standing in the store,” an employee named Kota told Mental Floss.

There are also rules about trying on costumes — especially masks. Employees can’t believe how many people try masks on, even prior to the pandemic, despite there being signs everywhere that ask them not to.

“If you’ve bought a mask from Spirit in any of the past seasons, there’s a very high chance you’re one of at least five people who’s worn that mask, and that’s a conservative estimate for some of the masks,” another employee said.

They also hate when customers use the aisles for changing rooms.

“You could’ve just finished putting every mask neatly back on the racks, and half of them will be back on the floor before you’ve caught your breath,” Derek, another Spirit worker, said.

“It’s very common to find people, mostly kids, trying on costumes in aisles,” Kota added. “We [did] have multiple fitting rooms to try to stop this from happening, but once again, people would rather do things themselves sometimes.”

Of course, employees also have spooky stories to share about working at the Halloween pop-up shop — it just comes with the territory.

“An associate and I have both seen things swaying on the shelves as if someone walked by it, though nobody else is in the store,” one employee described. “We’ve seen a few shadow movements as if people were hiding behind [a] corner. The funniest one [was] at closing time. One of my associates yelled ‘whoo’ and we heard a guy’s voice say something in response. It totally freaked him out. It was one of our sound-activated hanging [animatronics].”

Want to know more customer service secrets? Read about the most “irritating” things Costco customers do, according to employees.

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