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Halloween peak time for party store

With Halloween quickly approaching, a handful of customers perused the aisles of Party City in south Grand Forks Thursday in search of a last-minute costume for the upcoming holiday.

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Michelle Moore, manager at Party City, stands along the wall of costumes for customers to peruse. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

With Halloween quickly approaching, a handful of customers perused the aisles of Party City in south Grand Forks Thursday in search of a last-minute costume for the upcoming holiday.

Halloween shoppers plan to spend an average of $82.93 this year, according to the National Retail Federation, which is up from last year's $74.34 in spending. Total Halloween spending is expected to reach $8.4 billion, the highest in the 11-year history of the survey.

The NRF survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, found consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes, more than they will spend on candy, decorations or greeting cards.

The Herald sat down with Michelle Moore, manager of the Grand Forks Party City store, to find out what costumes are popular this year. Answers were edited for clarity.

Q. We're getting pretty close to Halloween. Do a lot of people come in at the last minute?

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A. Almost everybody. The beginning of October is kind of slow, and then the last weekend we get a big rush, kind of the last 10 days before Halloween.

Q. Do you get people buying Halloween costumes in, say, January?

A. We do. They look for the sales. Or a lot of people dress up for the anime conventions, stuff like that.

Q. Are a lot of people creating their own costumes?

A. Everyone likes to kind of make their own. That's why most of our sales floor is taken up just with accessories, to kind of make your own costume. We have our costume wall (where photos of individual costumes are on display). We keep all the costumes in the back just so we can use more of our square footage for accessories.

Q. How many different costumes do you have?

A. Roughly, probably about 200 to 300.

Q. What are some popular costumes this year?

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A. This year, it's kind of Donald Trump. We sold out of him pretty quick. (Hillary Clinton) sold out, too. We just have (President Barack Obama) left. Harley Quinn (a character from the movie "Suicide Squad") and an inflatable dinosaur costume were also popular.

Q. Clown outfits have been in the news a lot lately. Are people still buying those?

A. They're still buying clowns. I wouldn't say anymore than previous years.

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