Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spirit Halloween

I had planned to sketch a dance rehearsal but the instructor was sick and I didn't get the note. On the drive home, down Colonial, I saw a large sign for Spirit Halloween ( Colonial Promenade 4628 E Colonial Dr.) I turned into the shopping complex. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I decided to see how many people were shopping for costumes this early in the month. I leaned back against a metal pillar in the store. Within a minute a store clerk asked if he could help me. I explained about the blog. He decided to get the manager. Betty Ruocco came out and said she was delighted to see how the sketch turned out.

In the center of the cavernous store was the "Spirit Playland." A large scary swing spun carnival like. Each swing held a different demonic baby. One baby held a human brain which it was eating and another baby was chewing on its own foot. A fortune teller booth had a red haired, green skinned baby whose head would periodically spin around, exorcist style. Many of the displays were large mannequins that were for people's front porches. One display had a telephone where people could scream into the receiver as they were threatened by Ghost face. Many people posed here for photos.

Little pads that said, "step here" were scattered in front of displays on the floor. One little boy must have assumed I was an employee because he kept asking me what would happen if he stepped on a pad. I would tell him what I had observed and then he would tentatively approach the display and step down. A ghoul rose from the grave growling with smoke wafting up over the tombstone. The boy screeched and ran away looking for his sister. He coached her to step down and then they both screamed. This game held an endless delight for them.

At the check out counter Betty rang a cow bell. Every time a customer bought a purple pumpkin or a brightly colored rubber wrist bracelet for a dollar, the cow bell was rung. All the money raised from those sales went to Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital. On October 18th Spirit Halloween employees are going to the hospital with costumes for the children to celebrate Halloween in style. Over 4.6 million dollars in cash and merchandise were donated to children's hospitals since 2007. What a great cause. Go down and keep that cow bell ringing!

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


aka Penelope said...

It really is a small world, isn’t it? My husband and I happened upon the same Halloween Spirit sign on our visit to a town a few miles from where we live in BC last week. Although there probably was a fundraising component, I didn’t notice it. But I did see a lot of masks! The faces and sights I photographed in the store will be posted this coming Monday. The scary scenes in your illustration look frighteningly familiar. :)

Thor said...

Send a link when you post.

Lyndsey Cook said...

521It's so wonderful to see Spirit Halloween from someone else's perspective. I am an employee at a Spirit Halloween, here in Augusta, Maine. I came across your drawing and was instantly drawn in. I could name each of the items and displays. In 2010 we had a very similar set-up. Spirit Halloween is not only a great store, but an even greater experience. Spirit of Children is an awesome cause! Our stores have worked with over 130 Children's Hospitals across the United States and Canada during the 2013 season. Local children's hospitals stay with the nearest Spirit Store. There are lots of opportunities to help out a close by Hospital. We have Spirit Halloween sweatshirts, hats, t-shirts, cups, bracelets and even face painting and 100% of the proceeds go directly to help keep hospitals less scary for children and their families during the Halloween season, amongst others. Our store also has the purple cowbells. When the cashier rings the bell, the other employees on the floor all yell "Thank You!" to show our gratitude for each and every dollar earned. I am a second year employee for the company and look forward to seeing the vast amount of smiles and fast paced, ever loving environment from mid September through October.