Halloween Super Stores. The Gold Mine.
Depending on what city/country, these Halloween pop-up stores start creeping up around the end of September. These places are gold mines for skirts, shoes, wigs, fishnets, shorts, nylons, garters, makeup, accessories and, of course, costumes. BUT the trick is to wait until the week following Halloween. These pop-up stores don’t want to ship back goods. The first few days after Halloween you are looking at 25-50% off. The two-three days after those couple of days you are looking at 75%, or more and bartering is not frowned upon at all.
The key to ensuring you get everything you need is having a solid plan in place. You may laugh, but I ALWAYS get everything I want and need. I have this shit down to a science.
Create a budget and DO NOT deviate!!
We see 75% off and we can’t help but get excited! But that excitement can cause headaches and losses. This is serious biznass don’t let the deal get to your head or distract you from getting everything you need. Create a budget. Mine is substantial. I start saving in June. I will drop hundreds, but will save more than I could ever spend. I buy in bulk. So if there are two Mary Jane’s size 8’s costume shoes on for 50% off, I’m buying two. Remember these are work clothes. No one is looking at labels. No one gives a shit that it’s a pair of costume shoes. And they get used often and hard. So having more than one of an Item you know you are going to use on the regular be smart and buy more than one. It’s not like it’s going to go bad. Should you get out of the industry, you can sell them. Win/Win. This is why a big budget is a good idea. Some years I don’t need to buy shoes so I can allot that money to something else.
Know your needs and Prioritize them before even entering the store!
Make a list! Figure out what you tend to use most, what you are low on, and what you’ve been pining for. Then prioritize! Sure it would be awesome to have that straight jacket, but does your clientele warrant it? Do you get requests for it? Probably not, so that becomes a C-list product. A-list items are your go-to’s. The stuff that makes you the most money. Flat out. The B-List is stuff that perhaps have been requested. Or items that are on the last legs but still can manage for a little while. C-list items are things that you would love to have but aren’t necessities. Maker, sure you buy something new. Something fresh. Yes, you are there to stock up, but you are also there to expand your wardrobe. New stuff that fits well should be A-list. It’s just as vital as your go to’s.
Scout! Scout! Scout!
You are on a mission! You can save hundred of dollars you gotta treat this like the mission of you life!! It is a tad exhausting, especially if you don’t drive, but we are talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars. You can do this!!
Start by finding more than one of these pop-up stores. Try and find stores in areas with diverse socio-economic demographics. All stores cater to the neighborhoods to maximize profits. Often different neighborhoods get more or less inventory of certain items, or even completely different items. Do your scouting early. Waiting until the middle of October is only cutting your options in half.
Once you find at least two or three stores you can start scouting the stores. Make sure you have a lot of time. You want to check out all the stores in one day and have enough time to really check them out. Once you get there, go slow.. find where everything you want and need is located. Try on things like shoes or costumes. Pay attention to the amount of product on the floor. If there is something you need and you notice there isn’t a large quantity on displayed, inquire about stock. Be super friendly. This will come in handy when bartering.
Now clearly after Halloween, the store is going to be picked over. If during your scouting mission there is something you absolutely need/want and there doesn’t appear to be many on the shelves, and you’ve inquired about stock and it’s low you still have options.
You can bite the bullet and pay full price, you can gamble and wait for the 50% days, google their site and see if it’s on sale or cheaper, or risk it all and wait for the 75% days. I recommend making that decision after you’ve checked all the stores.
Go home. Write yourself a little synopsis of what you found where and any other information that is important.
Now STAY AWAY!!! Don’t torture yourself. You have a plan. Stick to it. If you happen to miss out on something. It’s not the end of the world. This is the hardest part!!! But you’ve done all this work, don’t blow your budget! Keep your eyes on the prize!!
The day before Halloween or the day of doing another scouting mission. See what’s left. If anything A-list is low on supply you have two options. Buy it. Or schmooze! Ask a clerk if the item is still there at the end of the night if they would put it away for you and promise you’ll be back as soon as the store opens. You can only do that on Halloween. They won’t the day before.
Buying and Bartering
50% days. So I go right as soon as the store opens on the first day. No ifs, and’s or butts about it. Especially if I have three stores to hit up. I start with the one that had the most of everything I needed. I only purchase A-list items that are in limited supply. I resist buying everything. I know 75% – almost free is coming. If you are struggling because the store you are in only has one left of something, chat up the staff see if they will call the other stores for you. Again but super nice and memorable.
75% + days. Go wild. Go early and get everything you need and want. If you do videos try to keep accessories in mind. Doing a nun scene, get a cheap cross it’s the little added touches that make you stand out.
Look for the clerk that you’ve spoken to before. Usually, everyone is working because it gets hectic. Be kind, be humble. Ask things like “if I spend 400.00 can you give me a bit of a break?” or “This is still a little high if I bought two could you help me out?” “Any chance you can throw in a few freebies” Pride is for fools. I have bartered successfully every year at all the stores. Why pay the full discount price when you don’t have to?
There are some items that bartering becomes difficult to do with. Legs Avenue products, for example, not sure why but they really don’t like parting with that product, that being said anytime I’ve purchased 10+ I’ve never had an issue get a couple freebies thrown in. Wigs and shoes are iffy. If they have an abundance of one kind then not a problem.Things you have a good chance: Costumes that didn’t sell as well as they predicted. Accessories. Socks. Candy. Makeup. Glasses. Honestly, buying in bulk really helps your bartering. When they see you are about to drop some serious coin and, in turn, lessen their workload you almost don’t have to ask.