spirit halloween

Spirit Halloween is back in Toronto for another year

Spirit Halloween is back in Toronto. If you're searching for items to complete your perfect costume you've probably turned to one of the most ubiquitous stores in the city. These costuming super-centres emerge around the end of September and the beginning of October in empty storefronts, including inside old Future Shops.

This year, Spirit - which seems to attract controversy faster than you can say boo - popped up at 336 Queen Street West, bringing with it a slew of plastic costume pieces, makeup, litres of fake blood and lots of decorations to deck out your home, apartment, condo or cat.

When I visited, I found trendy Pokemon costumes, Crayola crayon outfits, a wall of plastic masks and even a steampunk section. At lunchtime, the store was blasting "Time Warp" as patrons walked around trying to locate their perfect Halloween getup.

And even if you've never visited a Spirit before, its somewhat tacky vibe might be familiar. That's because it's owned by former mall staple Spencer's Gifts (otherwise known as the American It Store). If you're wondering, there's still a Spencer's at the Dufferin Mall.

"In 1999, Spirit Halloween was purchased by Spencer Gifts LLC and since then has become the leading seasonal Halloween retailer in the world," says a Spirit Halloween rep via email. And Spirit Halloween has been operating in Toronto since 2003.

Despite having that market covered, it's been making headlines recently for carrying questionable costumes in parts of Canada, including some called "Reservation Royalty," "Indian Warrior" and "Indian Princess," reports CBC News. And despite calls to remove these offensive costumes, Spirit announced it wouldn't pull them from its shelves.

Along with Spirit, Toronto is home to a number of other costume stores, including the nearby Malabar. Thrift shops, like Value Village, also have a sizeable costume section.

Spirit Halloween stores will remain open in Toronto until November 1.

Photo by Hector Vasquez.


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