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!