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Customers face difficulties finding Halloween costumes as stores deal with supply chain crisis

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 9:11 PM EDT
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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This Halloween, one thing spooking customers is difficulty finding the perfect costume. Local businesses in the Midlands are facing shortages of Halloween supplies due to nationwide supply chain issues.

Customers say they’ve had great difficulty locating desired costumes. One said she’s searched for weeks, and struck out every time. Another customer says he went to at least four stores before finally finding what he needed at Halloween Express in West Columbia.

“So lo and behold the only one around town, found a banana. Last one, so thankful that I found this one,” Bruce Vestal, a shopper, said.

He has been searching far and wide for a banana costume, and has burned a lot of gas in his travels with gas prices recently reaching 7-year highs.

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“My son needed a banana so I have been running all over town, Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, all the dollar stores, Dollar General trying to find a banana, and lo and behold my wife told me about this store that she found surfing the internet.”

Halloween Express is faring better than most stores, and management says they’re prepared for the holiday rush as of right now.

They have a healthy supply of costumes, but there have still been some issues. According to staff, Michael Myers masks sold out quickly, and there’s been difficulty getting anime costumes, some decorations, and pumpkin carving kits.

Manager Pam Taylor said supply chain issues led the owner to do things differently this season, and pre-order lots of extra merchandise.

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Vestal appreciated the effort.

“The big box stores, you know, they’re all a mess,” he said. “This store here was completely organized so it made it easier to find and the staff was helpful.”

Olivia Workman’s search for a costume finally ended at Halloween Express as well.

“I started looking weeks ago, and I really started noticing difficulties within the past couple of weeks, even a little bit out from Halloween when I thought I still had time,” she said. “Specifically I’ve been looking for butterfly or fairy wings, I have not been able to find them anywhere.”

She said Amazon had the item on back-order until potentially early December, and she’s glad Halloween Express had it in stock.

Other local Halloween shops are feeling more severe supply issues. Some are filled with empty shelves, with store management saying they’ve experienced shipment delays.

Despite the supply shortage, the national retail federation says Americans are expected to spend a record $10 billion on Halloween this year, with more than $3.3 billion of it going toward costumes.

With her son having his mindset on one costume, Halloween Express shopper Pamela Drafts said the shortage has been tough.

“So we went to Walmart looking for just an all-black costume, he couldn’t find anything there,” she said. “It was a headache because you know because kids want what they want. And then we went to this – over here by the gas station there’s a little place where they sell the fireworks and they have the costumes out now, yea, couldn’t find anything there. And I saw his face was looking kind of anxious so I was like ‘Let’s go back to the location we went to Saturday and he found something.’”

Halloween Express encourages those still looking for a costume to get it as soon as you can because supplies are going fast, and it’s too late to do any special orders.

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