The month of October and the Halloween holiday marks the start of a new shopping season.
Small Eagle businesses report an uptick in sales this time of year and the trend generally snowballs through Christmas. Halloween costume shopping is part of it, along with early Christmas shoppers and the influx of seasonal employees moving here for the skiing.
It somewhat depends on the business as to what sort of shopping people are doing in a given store.
“Our sales always go up around this time, especially because we sell hunting licenses,” said Cheryl Bisant, a clerk at the Eagle Pharmacy.
Inkahoots on Broadway sells apparel and jewelry. Mollie Hay said her sales have been on the rise but not because of costume shoppers.
“I started seeing Christmas shoppers in September,” she said. “There are some organized women who get their stuff done and wrapped early.”
Meanwhile, the Thrifty Shoppe on Chambers Avenue and Jules, a new shop on Broadway specializing in new and used jewelry, collectibles and specialty items, are seeing lots of Halloween action.
“That’s all that’s left of our costume stuff,” said Thrifty Shoppe employee Nima Sherpa, pointing to a corner of the store’s entryway racked with bizarre outfits and masks.
“I opened about a month ago and people have been coming in for Halloween jewelry,” said Jules owner Julia Preston, who had a display case dedicated to items like jack-o-lantern charm bracelets.
Logan Ahern, 10, recently found a deal on a Darth Vader costume for $12 at the Thrifty Shoppe.
“I was thinking of being a hobbit for Halloween but then I saw this,” he said, already wearing the Darth mask.
“This is the first time I’ve bought a costume here and it might be the best deal I’ve found here,” said Ahern’s mom, Kathy Ahern.
“We collect and store Halloween stuff each year and sell most of it around this time,” said Vail Valley Cares Executive Director Greg Osteen. Vail Valley Cares oversees the Thrifty Shoppe, which has locations in Eagle and Edwards.
Though the Thrifty Shoppe’s costume inventory is selling out, it doesn’t mean items can’t be found that would be useful for a costume. The store has wigs – which Sherpa enjoys wearing around for fun while she works – and a multitude of clothes at bargain prices.
The best part is that shopping at the Thrifty Shoppe benefits local charities. All inventory is from donated items and proceeds are reinvested for the needy.
Osteen said Vail Valley Cares donates an average of $250,000 annually to charities. This year the organization donated $275,000. Last year was above average as well.
“We’ve given away more than $2 million since we started giving grants in 2000,” Osteen said.
The thrift shops also give items a second life.
“It keeps things out of the landfill,” Osteen said. “We have lots of kids outfits since children outgrow them so fast, and seasonal employees moving into town can outfit their apartments for $300 and then give the stuff back when they leave.”
Osteen said the sales do pick up in October but not just because of Halloween.
“I’ve got to think with the hunting and ski seasons that all the businesses are picking up,” he said.