Around Halloween, costume shops pop up, then disappear like a ghost. What may seems like an overnight feat in fact is one man’s year-round job.
“Some people go to Atlantic City, others go to Las Vegas, I open Halloween stores, its my gamble,” said Michael Greene, who has owned pop-up Halloween stores for 19 years.
In the Washington area, at least 26 stores set up just for Halloween season, with different names, locations and sizes. Nationwide there are about 900, the majority owned and operated by one company which spends all year planning and selecting the best spots.
Greene begins his search for the perfect spot in January. He got a deal on a Montgomery County location that was once a linens and things.
“Typically I try to hone in and identify spaces where tenants have vacated spaces, or I'm constantly keeping up with the real estate industry to see where chain stores are in bankruptcy,” Greene said.
Shoppers were impressed by the efficient set-up.
“It’s amazing because one day there's nothing, completely empty and the next there’s a complete shop with everything, you can come shop around see various of stuff that you can find,” said Connie Nkosi.
Halloween stores have become increasingly efficient at setting up overnight to take in a lot of money in a short period of time
“It’s great you can just walk in and get something, but then they just disappear and you're left with vacant whole in the wall, whole in the building,” said shopper Jay Graney.
With the national retail federation expecting the average shopper to spend $6 more this Halloween than last year, there's nothing scary about this business.