Spirit Halloween scares up big business all from EHT headquarters

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EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Spirit Halloween, the largest seasonal Halloween retailer in North America, opened more than 1,000 stores and has hired up to 20,000 seasonal employees this year, all based from its headquarters here in Atlantic County.

 The company, located on the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township with its parent company Spencer’s, boasts a full-time staff that works all year to gear up for the fall holiday, according to Lisa Barr, senior director of marketing and creative for Spirit Halloween.

 “Halloween grows more and more each year,” she said. “It’s becoming more popular not just for costumes, but for decorating your home and entertaining. It’s a stress-free holiday. There are no presents to buy and lots of fun.”

 The retailer aims to create special and memorable “in-store experiences,” she said, noting each year the lifelike displays are different. “Our team puts a lot of time and effort into creating these experiences. They are family-friendly. They’re a little haunted, but not too scary that you’ll go running out of the stores.”

 Barr said this season’s “ISEs” include a barn scene with an animatronic werewolf and jumping spider, House of Horrors and a “zombie terror mill,” a play on the popular television show “Walking Dead.”

 “We have the character of Teddy Bear Girl, the first zombie from that show, that walks around and creeps up on people,” she said, noting zombies are a big trend in Halloween costumes this year as well. “The whole family can go as zombies. We have boys, girls and adult sized costumes.”

 The company announces the top costumes each year, with The Avengers, Monster High, Power Rangers, Batman topping the list for 2012 along with Spiderman, Hunger Games, Ted, Angry Birds, and of course zombies.

 In addition to announcing the top costumes each year, Spirit Halloween has another job: Forecasting the next president of the United States. Since 1996, Spirit has accurately predicted the winner of the past four presidential elections with its Presidential Index, based on nationwide sales of U.S. presidential candidate masks, Barr said.

 “It’s hard to call right now since it is still early, but I can tell you that Obama is in the lead,” Barr said.

 Through a partnership with Rock the Vote, a non-profit organization dedicated to building the political power of young people, the company aims to add a little frivolity to the political atmosphere.

 “Election years are always exciting times around Spirit Halloween, as our Presidential Index has proven to be a consistent and accurate predictor of the next president for nearly two decades,” said Steven Silverstein, CEO and President of Spirit Halloween stated in a news release about the index. “What better way to add to that excitement than teaming up with Rock the Vote, the best source of information for young Americans before they head to the polls.”

 Both Spirit Halloween and Rock the Vote will have a presence on each other’s website and social media channels from now through the end of the month, including a coupon offer for Spirit consumers through RocktheVote.com. In addition, SpiritHalloween.com will host Rock the Vote’s online voter registration tool so shoppers can easily register to vote and encourage their friends and family to do the same.

“For over 20 years, Rock the Vote has used popular culture to inspire young voters to engage in the political process,” said Chrissy Faessen, vice president of marketing and communications, Rock the Vote. “The partnership with Spirit Halloween provides yet another outlet for young Americans to participate in the election excitement in a way that’s timely and fun.”

Consumers can access the Rock the Vote online voter registration tool at mock voting booths in Spirit Halloween stores across the country. The political merchandise display will resemble a voting booth where customers can scan a QR code on their mobile device. When scanned, the QR code will lead consumers to an interactive voting page online at www.SpiritHalloween.com/Vote. After casting their vote, consumers can click on the Rock the Vote logo which will direct them to a voter registration tool.

 While the company loves to have fun, Barr said the nonprofit arm is “at the heart of everything we do.” Called The Spirit of Children, the program focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. 

Since its inception in 2006, it has “brought smiles, laughter and a much needed escape to thousands of pediatric patients in 130 hospitals across the United States and Canada,” the company’s mission statement reads.

 “We hope to make the children less afraid of what they are going through,” Barr said, noting the organization donates costumes and hosts Halloween parties at the hospitals as a way to bring cheer into their lives and provide a sense of normalcy.

Watch a video of the in-store experiences by clicking HERE.

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