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Temporary Halloween store aims to get Cottage Grove in the spirit

Danielle Sortor and her son Evan, 4, shop for the boy's pirate costume at the Spirit Halloween Superstore in Cottage Grove. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente

Halloween fans have a new local store to find the perfect costume - whether it's spooky, sexy or silly.

Spirit Halloween Superstore recently opened its doors in Cottage Grove selling costumes, accessories and home decorations that vary from inexpensive to elaborate.

It's the store's first year in town. Cohn said he received a letter from Mayor Myron Bailey and the city of Cottage Grove encouraging Spirit Halloween to consider opening its temporary operation in vacant retail space.

"We said, 'yeah, we ought to do that,'" said Dick Cohn, who oversees six stores in the metro area, including one in Woodbury. The Cottage Grove store occupies the former bingo hall at 7240 East Point Douglas Road, near Rainbow Foods. It has about 15 part-time employees, but that will increase to about 30 in mid- to late-October, Cohn said.

Halloween is the fastest-growing retail holiday, Cohn said, and specialty stores face competition from discount retailers and other stores. But Spirit Halloween treats shopping for Oct. 31 as an experience, he said.

"It used to be a day; now it's a season," Cohn said of Halloween.

Store racks feature costumes for all ages and tastes.

Popular costume themes for children this year include the Transformers and Cars movies, along with "Where's Waldo" characters. Princess dresses, rock start costumes and other traditional outfits are still popular with young girls. Boys tend to like the scary, gory costumes.

Still, classic costumes sell better than the trendy outfits, Cohn said.

That was the case for Danielle Sortor and her son, Evan. The Cottage Grove woman and her 4-year-old son recently were shopping the Spirit Halloween store for a pirate costume. Kids often change their mind about Halloween costumes before the holiday arrives, but Sortor joked that her son cannot change his mind because she is converting a wagon into a pirate ship for him.

Cohn said the trendy adult costume target this year is Charlie Sheen, the actor whose bizarre behavior was tabloid fodder.

The old marketing adage that sex sells seems to increasingly apply to Halloween costumes. Cohn said risqué outfits are a top seller for women and, "unfortunately," for teenage girls. The store has more space for those skimpy costumes this year as demand grows. It also sells costumes for pre-teen girls that are similar to those for adults, but "a little less revealing," Cohn said.

The store's home decoration merchandise ranges from seasonal window stickers to elaborate animation. One animated decoration features a dismembered body and a hungry rat.

"It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen," Cohn joked. "People love it."

Store hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Store hours will increase as Oct. 31 draws near. The store marks down its merchandise to 50 percent on Nov. 1, then closes for the season. For more information, call (651) 769-2425.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

(651) 459-7600