Spirit Halloween is a seasonal Halloween store selling costumes, animatronics and more at competitive prices while promoting charitable giving in the store. The company locates vacant retail outlets and then sets up shop from late August and early September through Halloween. I stopped at the Spirit Halloween store in Monrovia, California that was formerly the site of Circuit City before it went out of business.
I noticed the posters encouraging donations to the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and the store manager said encouraging giving is part of the company’s focus.
“During Halloween, the company will have prizes and piñatas for kids in long-term hospital stays,” said Adam Ramirez. “We provide Xbox games, computers and DVDs.”
He showed me cut-out pumpkins on the wall with people’s names. He explained that’s recognition for donors who give $1. Customers who donate $2 or more to the charitable causes can have their choice of an eco-friendly, durable trick-or-treat bag.
In 2006, Spirit Halloween started the Spirit of Children program to benefit child life departments within 34 children’s hospitals and rehabilitation centers across the United States. The corporate Web site states “the goal of this program is to bring the outside world in so that pediatric patients can participate in and experience the fun and fantasy of Halloween.”
A fundraising component was added in 2007 and 100% of donations are given directly to the participating hospitals. About $ 250,000 in cash and items was raised in the first year while over $700,000 in cash and merchandise was donated in 2008.
The goal for 2009 is to raise $800,000 in merchandise and cash donations and have celebrations hosted in 54 hospitals throughout the United States and Canada.
The Web site has a complete listing of hospitals that received donations in 2008 along with the total amount raised in cash and merchandise. There are also copies of thank-you letters.
Spirit Halloween is the largest seasonal distributor of Halloween supplies in the nation and carries costumes under its own brand name in addition to Leg Avenue, Secret Wishes and a limited amount of costumes under the Disney brand.
The company is 25 years old and is a subsidiary of Spencer Corporation.
Ramirez said the economy has not slowed sales at the store. In fact, he says they’re way above their goals. He mentioned the first day the store was opened that one person spent $ 3,000.
In the Monrovia area, Spirit Halloween has stores in Monrovia, Pasadena, and Glendale.