Spirit Halloween was founded sometime in 1983 by Joe Marver. Marver opened his first location in the Castro Valley Mall that very same year. By 1999, the store had 60 seasonal locations across the United States and was purchased by Spencer Gifts that same year. In 2003, Steven Silverstein became the CEO of Spencer Gifts and Spirit Halloween and remains in that position today. Since then, the number of Spirit Halloween stores has expanded to 1,300 locations across North America, making Spirit's network of pop-up stores larger than any other specialty retailer of its kind.
Spirit Halloween serves a Halloween consumer market estimated to be around $8.4 billion dollars yearly. The retailer's website is open year-round, offering its in-store products online. The store carries animatronics manufactured by companies including Crazy Create, Gemmy Industries, Magic Power Corp., NewRaySun Electronics, Pan Asian Creations, PartyTime Costume, Seasonal Visions International, Seasons USA, Sunstar Industries, Tailuxe Artware, Tekky Design, Wo Yu, YJ Toys and Crafts, and countless more in previous years. Nearly every decorative prop or animatronic sold by Spirit is exclusive to the store.
About June-July of every year since 2009/2010, Spirit Halloween has typically put out very short clips of animatronics on social media and YouTube to create excitement for new items. The full videos can be found on the Spirit Halloween website.
The Flagship Store of Spirit Halloween is based in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, in the former Circuit City building. Spirit typically makes use of vacant retail space such as Toys "R" Us, Babies "R" Us, Sears, hhgregg, Sports Authority, and others types of vacant retail space. The stores will likely operate for 60 to 90 days, with most opening sometime in August 1 and usually closing on November 3 after Halloween.
In 2007, Spencer Gifts launched a program called Spirit of Children to raise money in-store for children's hospitals. The program annually celebrates Halloween at hospital locations, supplying both costumes and decorations for the events. Since then, Spirit of Children has raised over $29 million dollars in donations.
- Though Spirit Halloween has been criticized for high prices, the retailer regularly promotes 20%-off coupons, as well as shipping discounts, yearlong.
- One of the most common complaints is the quality of Spirit's animatronics. A lot of them are infamous due to the tendency that they break easily, especially ones produced by Pan Asian Creations and Tekky Design. Fortunately, Spirit Halloween's Customer Service is very helpful and will send you new parts as long as you have proof of purchase.
- Although certain Spirit Halloween products are sold on Amazon every year, they are of a very limited quantity and many animatronics sell out within weeks.
- Spirit Halloween products are also sold at Spencer Gifts.
- Spirit Halloween makes up for about half of the $250 million annual revenue of Spencer Gifts.
- Spirit Halloween's official mascot is Jack the Reaper.