What Spirit Halloween Was Before Becoming A Holiday Store

It has become both a fact and an entertaining meme that Spirit Halloween stores are ready, come fall time, to inhabit the empty building of the store that most recently went out of business in your town. Even The New York Times wrote an article about how the Halloween superstore rises from the dead every year to pack their costumes and spooky decor into an abandoned building that once held a clothing store or a supermarket. Even an artist in San Francisco, California, turned a Google office building that was empty due to the pandemic into a Spirit Halloween store (via SF Gate). It has become a cultural phenomenon.

Poking fun at the Spirit Halloween stores moving into your neighborhood's abandoned storefronts is all in good fun. As it turns out, Halloween is a big money-making holiday. Vox reported that the average person spends over $80 on Halloween each year. With a money-making opportunity like that, it's not surprising that Spirit Halloween transformed its business model. Believe it or not, though, the creepy store wasn't always peddling Halloween costumes.

The store was originally a normal retail destination for women

If you need a fun fact to throw out at your upcoming Halloween party, write this one down. Spirit Halloween's roots are not in holiday garb, but rather in women's fashions. According to Mental Floss, Spirit Halloween was once Spirit Women's Discount Apparel. It was the first business venture of Joe Marver, an entrepreneur who was looking to make it big by selling women's clothing in California.

His original business wasn't as successful as the costume store that set up shop next door, per EClincher. When he saw all the customers coming in and out of that store, he said, "I used to drool at the business he'd do at Halloween." 

So came the business change. Gone were the days of women's clothing; now, the store was stocked up with Halloween masks. The store was successful, selling out of his inventory in record time. Marver decided to take the show on the road, making a Spirit Halloween pop-up shop in a local mall. He sold $100,000 in 30 days, realizing he made the right choice to ditch women's clothing for Halloween garb.

That was the start of the business model we know and love now. Spirit Halloween returns every year to abandoned storefronts near you with all the costumes and decor you could dream of.