Jessica Haynen, a priestess wearing an Anne Klein trenchcoat, was helping to exorcise the demons of Johnson Apalla, a self-described “possessed psycho killer” who wore a surgically tattered outfit that appeared to be the work of Frankenstein’s dead tailor.
A severed head that otherwise belongs to a mannequin completed Apalla’s ensemble.
Both Haynen and Apalla work at the Federal Way Goodwill, and they were in Spanaway Tuesday to meet with other “costume helpers” who will be assisting would-be witches, pirates, zombies, tramps, ninjas and fairies over the next few weeks.
One of five pop-up “boo-teeks” in Goodwill’s 15-county Tacoma-based region, the Spanaway store, at 14918 Pacific Ave., is the largest Halloween outlet of any among all Goodwill stores nationwide, said regional spokesman George White.
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After being open for more than a month, store officials are making ready for the late-October rush.
“We save all year. All year long we’ve been putting things in boxes,” said Regional Sales Manager Diana Reinhard.
“So far, our sales are tracking with last year,” she said.
The last 10 days of the month will be busy with adults buying their costumes for Halloween parties, she said. The majority of costume sales, some 65 percent, will be generated from adult costumes with the remainder coming from costumes for children.
“This is our Christmas,” Reinhard said. “This is our biggest month of the year.”
“People see that this isn’t their grandmother’s Goodwill,” White said. “It’s a modern retail store. When people come in, it changes a lot of minds when they see the merchandise is quality.”
There’s even a book to help you choose.
Want to be a doctor? Don’t forget the facemask, rubber gloves and empty coffee mug. A clown? You can make that red nose with lipstick. A mummy? Cut a white shirt into strips. And remember that a tablecloth can double as a superhero’s cape and an old brown skirt can serve as one feature of a barbarian Viking’s outerwear.
And if the Invisible Man needs sunglasses, there’s a chance Goodwill can fill the order.
“What I really see happening – this gets everybody in the holiday spirit,” said Reinhard. “This promotes a lot of fun in the stores.”
“People want to be creative, they want to be unique,” said Jennifer Kupka, regional retail merchandise manager.
She gently removes a pair of pants, brown houndstooth gabardine, from a rack of costume possibilities.
“Somebody, somewhere wore these at one time,” she said, politely incredulous.
Same with the gold lame jumpsuit, or the widely, wildly flared women’s pants.
“The possibilities are absolutely endless,” Kupka said.
And cheap. Individual items go for 99 cents up to a midrange of $5.99 to $9.99
There’s even a selection of ugly Christmas sweaters.
This year for the first year, said White, Goodwill has conducted a nationwide poll seeking Halloween trends. Among the results:
• Among adult women, the top costumes this year include witch, zombie, pirate and vampire.
• For teenage girls, it’s witch, princess, zombie and cheerleader.
• For younger girls, it’s princess, witch, fairy and Elsa (from “Frozen.”)
• Among adult men, it’s Zombie, pirate, soldier and clown.
• With teenage boys, it’s zombie, pirate, vampire and policeman.
• For younger boys, it’s Ninja Turtle, Spiderman, zombie and ninja.
• Among Northwest anomalies, White reports that “football fan” is unusually popular among boys and men, while “bride” is big hereabouts among female adults and teens.
“Bridal is surprisingly hot this year,” said Krupka. “We get a lot of wedding dresses, and they can be used for bride of Chuckie, ghost bride, zombie bride.”
In another Halloween poll, the National Retail Federation reports:
• 75 million adults will dress in costume this Halloween.
• 14.3 percent of Americans will outfit their pets, with the majority turning Fido and Mittens into pumpkins, even before midnight.
• Americans will spend $2.8 billion on costumes, including $1 billion on costumes for children.
• Total holiday spending will reach $7.4 billion, with the average person spending $77.52 on costumes, candy and décor.