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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Cheap Halloween Decoration Bargains

Posted in General, Halloween Home Haunts, Halloween Party, Halloween Props on July 29th, 2010 by Ghoul

Get ready for low priced halloween decoration bargains.

While stocks remain, get cheap halloween party decorations and halloween props.

These halloween bargains are limited stock quantity, once they’ve been sold – that’s it, gone for this year.

Many of the items are even below cost price, we’re clearing the oddments, clearing the space, so grab your halloween bargain while you can.

Cheap Halloween Decoration
[Click to See More Info]

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Spider and Pumpkin Door Curtains – Halloween Decoration

Posted in General, Halloween Home Haunts, Halloween Party, Halloween Props on July 20th, 2010 by Ghoul

We’re happy to annouce that we now have stock of the Spider and Pumpkin Door Curtain Halloween Decorations.

These have been very popular products for a number of years now and no doubt will be this year.

Pumpkin Door Curtain Halloween Decoration
[Click to See More Info on our Pumpkin Door Curtain]

Spider Door Curtain Halloween Decoration
[Click to See More Info on our Spider Door Curtain]

These Door Curtains are great halloween decorations for Halloween Party Fun – use them as the entry to your party room, kitchen or even loo!!.

We’ve used these many times, re-using them year after year, we simply attach them to the wall or top of the door frame with blu-tack or similar.  We’ve also used two of these, side by side, to cover patio doors.

These Halloween Door Curtains add character and feature to your party environment is seconds.

Do you already have a Halloween Haunt or Halloween Yard display or maybe planning one – then why not use these for wall or door covering?

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Scare Actors : Add the BOO Factor to your home haunt or party

Posted in Halloween Home Haunts, Halloween Party on October 20th, 2009 by Ghoul

Depending upon your venue, you may have need for real people to add the BOO Factor to your event.

If it’s just a party, you could simply have an Igor character – handing out drinks and snacks, dropping strange comments and doing similar strange things..

If you have a home haunt of any size, you can add real people to give it that unknown element for your visitors.  These people, often termed Scare Actors or Scareactors can be friends and family, volunteers or even paid staff.

What is important is image, planning, training, direction and rules.

Scare Actor image: take time to give a quality look to your scare actors, dress them in quality costumes or tske time to make impressive outfits.  Make up should be considered carefully also, there is nothing better than visitors going away talking about the quality of your event.  If you can afford it, spend a little on good brand make up, maybe latex wounds and features – special effect contact lenses always wow people

Planning: Your scare actor is bascially another prop in your haunt, typically give them a specific area or zone to work in, perhaps with other props that they can use to maximise the impact – chains, chainsaws, axes, fake body parts etc.  Consider the lighting and space for the area they will operate, perhaps where they can hide and appear from, maybe secret areas where thay can get from one part to another without the visitors seeing them. Take into account that a scare actor may need time to reset the scene or his/her position before the next visitors arrive in the area or zone.

Casting: It may sound over the top, but you may need to actually cast the scare actors – for any scale event.  You will need to find people with the right body sizes, voices and character to maximise the part and effect.  It may be hard to say no to close friends and family, so maybe offer them other task.

Direction: Actually, I mean have a storyline, give your haunt a story, a reason for the events and characters. You don’t actually have to tell your visitors, but it will help to gel your event and improve the visitors experience.  Having a story will mean you can give the scare actors specific roles, with defined character, location and maybe behaviour.  This could even mean having a script for the actors.

Training: Train your scare actors, rehearse the event, maybe even get friends to walk through to test it. This will ensure that all runs smoothly on the night or nights. It also gives you a great reason to have an after event party!

Feeding and Watering Scare Actors: remember that your staff may need to have breaks, refreshments and toilet! Either swap scare actors around or control the flow of visitors to allow this, you can allow people to build up a little, then let them in in groups.

Rules: One general rule is that they should never touch the visitors, there are too many complications, including legal, with this – some get offended, someone could claim harm, others damaged clothing etc, it’s not worth the trouble. Equally, visitors should not touch, or abuse, physically or otherwise, any of your staff, this should be reported to the owner/operator and the offender removed without delay.

Scare Level: Ensure they consider the victim, I mean visitor, if they’re already terrified, don’t over-do it, try to avoid making anyone cry, especially small children, perhaps try to have a slight comical side to some characters where small tots are concerned.

Don’t forget to check the List of Halloween projects on GhoulishGadgets – Halloween Props, Halloween Costumes and much more.

In general, it’s all about both haunt staff and visitors enjoying themselves.

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Halloween Decorations :: Halloween Fun or Nightmare?

Posted in Halloween Home Haunts, Halloween Party on October 18th, 2009 by Ghoul

When creating a Halloween Home Haunt or creating that perfect Party Room, think carefully.

Halloween is not just for trick or treating and similar fun, it’s a great excuse for getting creative, some people waiting and planning for this seasonal occasion to show their true creative skills.

You can buy or make many decorations to decoration your yard or home, as a haunt or for a party. GhoulishGadgets.co.uk has a Monster List of Halloween Projects from all over the internet just for this reason.

No matter if you buy or make, you can create some really scary and spooky decorations and props. But it’s easy to get carried away, without thinking of the possible risks generated by some items.

1. Lighting: Be very mindful of the lighting you use and the risks it may bring with it.  The obvious risks are of possible burns from the heat if touched or electrical shock if damaged.  Careful placement should also be considered if mains powered – avoiding possible liquid spills etc.
Consider too, that little light can be a danger also – your visitors tripping or falling over.  It’s so tempting to create a darkened room or use mostly blacklights, the atmosphere is wonderful.
Maybe consider having extra lighting you can turn on quickly if needed or have good torches at hand.  The other option is to use battery powered LED lighting, very safe, low voltage – so no shock or burn risks.

2. Candles: Candles can create awesome spooky lighting, dark and eerie.
The flickering flames creating darting, almost living shadows in rooms.
Just remember the risk of fire or your visitors getting burnt.  Again, ensure that they are in areas where they can not fall, be touched nor have materials that burn easily nearby.
As before, keep in mind that you may need brighter lighting quickly, either torches or access to lighting.

3. Spider webbing: Spider webs are a great way to create a haunted or spooky look.  Be careful though, ensure that materials used to make them are safe – some may be lethal when burning.
They may also be made of rope, wire and string – ensure that visitor will not walk into these or get tangled.  Perhaps it’s best to place them out of reach, in corners or dressing furniture.

4. Power: Power distribution is sometimes never really given the thought and respect it needs.  Ensure that you do not overload multiple power outlets, split your power over a number of wall sockets.  Be careful with extension leads, that they can not be damaged nor tripped over.

Should an accident occur, you may need to kill the power quickly, so access to switches should be planned also.

5. Exits: Although not a decoration, keep in mind what you would do if you need to evacuate the area.  This can mean door access and also a safe area to get the people to gather, maybe even knowing how many people you have.

With any prop or decoration, try to imagine what is the worst thing that could happen to or with it.  Either by it failing, falling or worse some unpleasant visitor tampering or breaking it.

After all, Halloween should be fun, enjoy it!

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