Halloween came early Tuesday.
Or maybe it was Christmas.
“Halloween is our Christmas,” said Mike Thomas, vice president of retail sales for Goodwill in Western Washington.
The goblin-rich season accounts for 5 percent of Goodwill’s annual retails sales, Thomas said. Last year saw a 6.4 percent year-over-year increase in Halloween-themed retail sales. This year is looking even better.
“We’re off to a double-digit start for this season,” he said.
On Tuesday, Goodwill’s Halloween thrift store in Spanaway was the site of the nonprofit’s annual Halloween Costume Helper Regional Finals.
Halloween costume helpers staff every one of the 31 stores in the region that have Halloween sections, said Goodwill spokesman George White.
The best costumes imagined, created and modeled by Goodwill employees from 15 Washington counties were put on a runway inside the store.
The winner: a “Bloody Mary” costume featuring a genuine wedding dress and lots of fake blood. Cost: $43.95.
Finding a wedding dress was the easy part for the costume’s creator.
“We get a lot of wedding dresses in,” said Andrea Davidson. It was the blood that proved challenging.
“It wouldn’t stay thick, so we ended up putting coffee creamer in it,” Davidson said.
Second place went to a mauve-colored Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)-themed costume modeled by Spanaway store employee Connie Mayenburg. Cost: $25.41.
“I designed everything around this” said creator Gillian Meyer, pointing at Mayenburg’s midsection. “It’s an authentic corset.”
Both women were sporting traditional skeleton face makeup.
Coming in third place was Dominic Delgado, who sported a costume that was part Crocodile Dundee and part Crocodile Hunter. The Centralia stocker wanted to try something new this year, he said, with a stuffed snake wrapped around his neck.
“All it took was a vest and — crikey! — there it is,” he said in his best Aussie accent. Cost: $52.91.
If Delgado’s choice was a throwback, Christian Aquino’s was in the moment. The Federal Way cashier was cashing in on the Pokemon Go! craze. He was a walking and talking Pikachu.
“It’s in this year,” Aquino said. “And I play all the games,” he said.
The do-it-yourself ethos is bigger than ever, according to Goodwill polling.
White said 57 percent of costume shoppers are going the DIY route, up from 51 percent a year ago.
“People are less inhibited and like to show off on social media,” White said.
One advantage of going the Goodwill route, White said, is that new-to-you inventory is put on racks and shelves daily.
“We cull through the equivalent of 5,073 carloads of donations per day to set aside items that would be sought after by shoppers for Halloween,” White said.
Goodwill Pop-up Halloween store
Where: 14918 Pacific Avenue South, Tacoma
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday