Scary Halloween Retail Bargains

Posted in General, Halloween Costumes, Halloween Home Haunts, Halloween Party, Halloween Props on September 14th, 2011 by Ghoul

As an online Halloween retailer, things have been getting quite unpleasant over the last few years due to a number of reasons and factors – One of the mains ones being that the high street competition is getting too strong to fight.

Over the last few days, I’ve seen the first Halloween items – Halloween Decorations, Halloween Costumes, Halloween Party stuff and more, stocked in the local high street stores and Supermarkets.
Some of the products are priced way below my suppliers prices that I would pay, but the product I buy is of much higher quality. There is no way the average consumer will pay the price I need to charge when they can get this cheaper product – in their mind, it’s a purchase that has to last a few days at most, so cheaper is good and quality much less of a consideration.

Last year we decided to clear out quite a bit of our Halloween Decoration stock – Halloween Decorations and Halloween Props that have sat there for a while, taking space and basically dead money. Across the lines, we made little or no profit, but at least it recouped some revenue from idle stock and cleared valuable space.

I can see why the public buy these Halloween products, they’re so cheap, there is also no postage to pay and they get to actually see what they are buying. I can totally understand the buyer mentality, why search and buy online when you can get what you want or quite similar in the high street stores quite cheaply.
These companies, the high street stores, have multiple outlets all over the country, the companies are large and have huge buying influence, often backed by well established import/packaging/distribution systems etc.

I always check out the high street Halloween offerings every year, here in the UK, I find that typically ASDA supermarkets and Poundland have offered aggressive pricing and wide product selection. Today, I came across a new chain, B&M, this chain are offering Halloween Decorations, Halloween Costumes and related Halloween products cheaper than Poundland – from my perspective, only the consumer can win here.

A number of years ago, we had a huge online turnover for Halloween Decorations via eBay, it quite literally took everything we had to process the volume of orders, manage stock, pack and post – some days taking several large mailbags to the Post Office and working into the early hours of the next morning getting the packing and labeling completed.
The following two years declined sharply, for a number of reasons:

  • Competition grew - both online and on the high street, Halloween Costumes being the first items they stocked in abundance.
  • The economic downturn hit – as a result, people had much less cash to spend, so they either re-used what they had or simply cut back on spending.
  • Here in the uk, the postal service decided to strike right in the peak period – this totally decimating what was left of that online Halloween retail season.
  • Our main suppliers cut more lines each year, reducing the diverse collection we had, specially some of our more profitable lines and higher volume Halloween Decorations.
  • Our competitors caught on to our products, which is fair enough, but decided to sell them at stupid prices resulting in really low margins, destroying the product value and profit for all involved.
  • High street competition hit harder, offering lower quality Halloween products at low prices


As well as monitoring the High Street Halloween offering, I also monitor online sales activity and products offered, for this year so far and last year:

  • Reduced variety of Products – many sellers now offering the same products, resulting in a price war – it’s the only difference they can give.
  • The actual amount of units sold is reducing  (based upon monitoring eBay completed listings reports)
  • On Auction sites, the item price remains low and little bid activity, if any, takes place.
  • The Halloween sales season shortens, at our peak, we was busy from July to a few days before Halloween, now that seasonal sales window is much shorter, due to people spending less and also waiting to see what the High street will be offering before topping up via online stores.


As a Halloween retailer, this is quite unpleasant – as a Halloween prop and Haunt builder this is quite good. This does give a cheap source of supplies to use to re-purpose within Halloween props and Haunt products. I can get cheap Halloween costumes and Cheap Halloween Masks for props and characters, skulls and animated products to hack and re-use.

Halloween is greatly important to me and my business – and will always remain that way.
The only thing that will change is the way we operate our Halloween business – I am constantly exploring new potential markets, new customer bases and new products.

Whatever happens – Halloween must always remain Scary Fun for all the Family

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Halloween Fancy Dress Ideas for 2009

Posted in Halloween Costumes on October 21st, 2009 by Ghoul

No matter if you’re going to a halloween Fancy dress party or need a Halloween Costume for trick or treat, there are many options to fit everyones needs and budgets. You can get creative and make the costume, perhaps watch a movie and research the outfit, well that would be my excuse! I would recommend it though if you need to get familiar with the outfits and masks etc. You could hire quite impressive looking and good quality costumes, sometime for less than the price of buying a costume.

Michael Jackson: Some may be offended by this idea, others may not, each person to their own opinion.
The Most common outfit will be the Thriller costume, comprising the Red Leather Jacket, with Black Stripes.  This costume is already available from many stores (including wigs and masks), or you could try to create it yourself.

Super Hero: Batman, Robin, Spiderman, X Men etc. These costumes are readily available from stores, making them would be quite complex, but go for it if you have the time, material, perhaps a sewing machine and the needed skills.  The easy part for these costumes is the masks, either buy them or make from coloured card, maybe thin coloured foam or even print out a mask and cut it out.

Super Villain: just way too many to list, but as for the Super Heros above, these Halloween Fancy Dress costumes, they are readily available in many stores or can be made at home, if you have the time and ability.

Freddy Krueger: Quite simple, again can be purchased, but most of the costume is easily made, just find a striped jumper and make the knifed gloves – just buy a mask.

Jason Vorhees (Friday 13th): Again, either buy or make. to make, all you really need to buy or borrow is a hockey mask. It would be quite possible to make a mask from paper mache.

Michael Meyers (Halloween): The secret to this again is the mask, using paper mache has been mentioned before, this would work here too, otherwise you need to buy one.

Saw Movies: Make a pig mask from paper mache, finish with a cloak. Perhaps get really fancy and create a billy mask, the puppet, then complete with black jacket, white shirt and black bowtie.

Other similar characters are Hannibal Lecter, PinHead from HellRaiser – masks can be purchased or made for both.

To make masks, take a look at GhouishGadgets Mask section – with plans to make halloween fancy dress masks
GhoulishGadgets also has pages for Latex Moulding and casting – a great way to make masks with amazing detail, that also ensure a good fit too.

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Credit Crunch Halloween : 7 Places To Find Free or Cheap Items

Posted in Halloween Costumes, Halloween Home Haunts, Halloween Props on October 19th, 2009 by Ghoul

Why break the bank to decorate yourself, your home or your garden for Halloween?  Here are a few ideas of where to buy materials for your halloween costumes and decorations.  In following blog entries, I’ll cover some of the things you can make with these treasures.

1. Car Boot Sales – everything you may want
2. Charity shops – clothing and more
3. Car Breaker yards – lighting, motors, batteries, cable and similar
4. Local refuse tip – if you ask, you may be able to take for free or buy some items
5. Friends and Family – what are they throwing out or no longer need?
6. Free Ads – look for bargains or free if collected items
7. Discount or Pound Shops – fixings, adhesives, rope, torches etc

When looking around these locations, don’t actually look at what you see, imagine what you can do with it.

  • Clothing could be for costumes or clothing on spooky props like corpses, grave diggers, scarecrows etc
  • Old mirrors can be used for many things, maybe only the frame, with perhaps 2 way film to make a magic mirror effect.
  • All forms of lighting may be used, lamps – perhaps with a flourescent starter to create an eerie flickering light.
  • Old car motors – wiper or window, to animate your props, perhaps a rocking gravestone?
  • You could use an old oscillating, side to side fan, modifiy it and make a character that looks left to right.
  • Don’t forget old audio equipment, either connect to a pc, mp3 player or make a cd or tape for spooky noises, thunder and more…
  • When it comes to screws, fixings, paint, glue etc – the discount shops are great places to check out.

For many ideas like these, wander over to to the Halloween Project List

When it’s over – are you storing your creations or recycling them? think ahead, there’s nothing worse than slaving over a huge masterpiece to then have to destroy it as you can’t store it.

Most importantly, safety – when picking up second hand equipment, especially electrical, take great care that it’s safe.  Ensure no shock or fire hazard and that your halloween fun doesn’t become a nightmare.

Enjoy the treasure hunt, if you’re of your creation, we’d be happy to include it in our Halloween Project List at

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