By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Spooky season is coming to an end and while it has been an experience unlike any other given the current circumstances, it is not over yet. Halloween is being celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 31. And although the coronavirus pandemic has stopped trick-or-treating or large gatherings, it hasn’t stopped people from dressing up.
One of the main reasons people love Halloween is because it presents the opportunity to embrace one’s creative side be it in the form of a costume or decorations. Over the past few years, Goodwill has become one of the top places to find a Halloween costume and this year is no different.
“Goodwill naturally lends itself to Halloween,” said Julie Deming the director of merchandising and customer experience. “You can find almost anything at Goodwill.”
Deming said Goodwill becoming a Halloween costume hotspot happened organically. Goodwill receives thousands of donations from clothes to knick-knacks to books and more making it one of the best places to come and explore.
Goodwill gives people the opportunity to personalize their costumes, Deming said. Someone may want to be a pirate and rather than buying the generic pirate costume from the store, they get to hunt down unique pieces, Deming said.
In recent years, Goodwill has become more strategic in its marketing when it comes to Halloween, Deming said. For example, it may do an ad or billboard featuring a simple black dress. Eleven months out of the year a black dress is a black dress, said Deming, but come Halloween it can be a costume (think the bride of Frankenstein or Morticia or a flapper).
Given the pandemic, Goodwill is striving to be sensitive to the situation and is encouraging customers to enjoy Halloween in a safe and fun way.
The stores are monitoring capacity limits, installed plexiglass and is accepting contactless donations. If someone tries something on and doesn’t buy it, then the item is sanitized and held in quarantine before being returned to the store.
Recently, Goodwill created a list of fun Halloween related activities.
First on the list is the Goodwill DIY Halloween Costume Contest. (Please note that the costume contest is now closed. To view the contestants, click here. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 3)
The list also includes suggestions such as decorating a Halloween tree (think spiders and pumpkins and skeletons and cobwebs and ghosts), having a friendly and festive front yard face-off, organizing a spooky scavenger hunt, creating a delicious and spooky snack spread and hosting a virtual costume contest among family and friends.
Aside from costumes, Deming encourages people to scope out Goodwill for décor and fun DIY opportunities. The DIY opportunities are endless, she said.
“You can take any of our products and transform them into something new,” Deming said, adding that reusing and repurposing items is beneficial to the environment.
Using stencils and dyes is an easy way to make something old into something new. It’s easy to make something look like traditional Halloween décor, Deming said. Sometimes people donate decorations or goods that haven’t even been unboxed yet, she said.
Although Halloween is one day of the year, Goodwill is around all year. Deming asked that if possible, people continue to donate. A donation isn’t just supporting the physical stores, it’s supporting the Goodwill mission.