Pandemic forces Halloween stores to find ways to keep customers safe

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INDIANAPOLIS — If Halloween wasn’t scary enough for Hoosiers, the spooky holiday is clashing head-on with the pandemic. It’s causing some costume stores to get creative.

“We made it safe for everyone we have masks available, hand sanitizer available, and we constantly wipe our counters”” explains Jeri Hatfield store manager of Ron’s Halloween store on the west side.

Safety and fun are paramount for Halloween stores, but are not mutually exclusive. Spots like Ron’s Halloween store are not allowing customers to try on masks or costumes beforehand. This can be tough since all sales are final, but some customers believe it’s still better than having to shop for a costume online.

“Sizes and stuff are completely different,” says Karen Everett, “It’s really hard because you order things online, and they come, or they don’t come, and they aren’t correct.”

If people insist on seeing how the big or small a costume may be, the store is making rare exceptions with their own protocols.

“If they are insistent on sizing, I take them to the counter, and I take it out of the bag, so only I touch it, and then I sanitize,” details Hatfield.

Any mask that is accidentally tried on by a customer is removed from the shelf, sanitized with Lysol, and left to sit for hours in quarantine.

“This year customers have been buying a lot more decorations and props for their yards, so it seems like maybe they will be doing things at home,” adds Hatfield of COVID-related shopping trends.

The other issue is how to incorporate mask mandates into a costume. Narnia Zeigler’s son wants to be Jack Skeleton from the Nightmare Before Christmas.

“He will have a mask on over it, and it will mess up the costume, unless I can find a Jack Skeleton mask,” Zeigler explains, “We will incorporate it somehow.”

Since all sales are final at many Halloween stores, the longtime rule helps limit the chance of a COVID-19 infected item returning to the location.

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