Dueling costume shops: Halloween Express vs. Spirit Halloween

Driving down N. College Avenue in the months leading up to Halloween, you can usually see at least two costumed people, one on either side of the road, waving signs for one of the two costume shops located in Fayetteville: Halloween Express and Spirit of Halloween Spirit Halloween.

About 10 years ago there were zero dedicated Halloween costume shops in Fayetteville. When I was a kid, we got our costumes from Wal-Mart, or K-Mart, or we’d piece them together from thrift stores like Cheap Thrills. Occasionally, someone would rent out an empty store in the mall and fill it with cheap costumes, and we could buy them from there. Later, there was Spencer’s Gifts.

More often than not, though, most of us Prairie Grove kids made our Halloween costumes out of whatever we could find in the trash. And we liked it.

These days, kids (and adults who like to pretend to be kids) have plenty of choices for where to purchase a Halloween costume in Fayetteville. Two of them are right across from each other on 71B. Hopefully this post will help you to compare Fayetteville’s dueling costume shops in order to find the costume that makes all of your Halloween dreams come true this year.

Here are the contenders:

Halloween Express
Sq. Feet: 7,675 (approx)
Address: 3722 North Front Street
Phone #: 479-582-1208
Website: halloweenexpress.com
Hours: M-Sat 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Chain?: Yes

Spirit Halloween
Sq. Feet: 10,000 (approx)
Address: 3825 N. Shiloh Dr.
Phone #: 479-582-9515
Website: spirithalloween.com
Hours: M-Sat 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Chain?: Yes

Kids costumes

First and foremost, Halloween is for kids. Whether it be for trick-or-treating, the school carnival, Halloween parties or just so grandma can take a picture, every kid needs a Halloween costume. Both Halloween Express and Spirit Halloween delivered, each with a separate kid costume area separated from the giant wieners and slutty-nurse outfits. And both had a nice mix of classic-kid costumes like vampires, werewolfs, Disney characters, princesses, ghosts, ninjas, as well as plenty of Optimus Prime / Hannah Montana options for the cool kids. Probably whatever your kid is looking for can be found at either place.
Advantage: Even

Adult costumes (prepackaged)

I’ve always been a fan of homemade costumes that are clever or abstract, but some people don’t have time for that kind of thing, and would rather just pay the $60 to get their entire costume in one package. For those people, head to the room at the far left from the entrance at Halloween Express. The entire room is full of plenty of out-of-the-box solutions that require zero effort and some of them are hilarious.

While Spirit Halloween had lots of the pre-packaged costumes as well, Halloween Express definitely has a larger selection so you don’t end up at the Halloween party in the same costume as Steve. Hate that guy.
Advantage: Halloween Express

Costume supplies (raw)

Fake blood, weird makeup, vampire teeth, wigs, funny glasses and other items are essential for anyone who is making their own costume. Like the white makeup for your Vampire Bill from True Blood getup, or the blonde wig that completes your Lady Gaga ensemble.

Halloween Express has a great wig selection with an entire room devoted to fake hair. They also have plenty of makeup and fake blood in the front area near the cashier for whatever scary crap you’re putting together.

Spirit Halloween also has a hearty selection of costume-compiling supplies, with its own wall of wigs near the back of the store and plenty of makeup and fake teeth near the front. I’m calling this one even as well.
Advantage: Even

Party supplies

Halloween party supplies and decorations have come a long way since I was a kid. Paper ghosts on strings (that’s what we had), fake spider webs (bags of cotton) and decorative jack-o-lantern leaf bags (screen printed trash bags) have been replaced by realistic severed limbs and animatronic dead people. Spirit of Halloween has the edge on cutting-edge (I guess) party supplies, with multiple displays throughout the store and a room full of stuff that will live in your attic for 11/12ths of the year, but will pimp your Halloween party to the maximum. Halloween Express has some cool stuff too, but Spirit Halloween has more.
Advantage: Spirit of Halloween

Slutty costumes

I don’t know when it started, but slutty costumes have definitely become a Halloween tradition. What started with “slutty-nurse” and “slutty french maid” is now a genre all to itself. Now, you can be a slutty-anything-you-want, if you want. I’m partial to slutty-inanimate-object costumes, like the “slutty-chicken-sandwich”, “slutty-window”, or “slutty-helicopter” (I haven’t seen any of these, but I know they’re out there somewhere). Spirit Halloween has a whole section of slutty costumes. They win.
Advantage: Spirit Halloween

Mildly offensive adult costumes, usually showcasing/exaggerating the male/female genitalia

If your friends like wiener jokes or if you don’t care who you offend, both of our local Halloween shops have got you covered. My favorite of these types of costumes were both at Halloween Express. “Giant Boob” and “Camille Toe, Aerobics Instructor (yup) were both available.
Advantage: Halloween Express

So there you have it. Overall, I’d say that Spirit of Halloween is a little bit larger and better organized, but Halloween Express is more established. The prices at both stores are about the same and you can expect to pay between $40-$100 for a costume at either place depending on what you’re looking for. Of course, you could always do some comparison shopping, and the fact that these places are across the street from each other make that a little more convenient.

You’ve got a little over three weeks to get your costume together. What are you guys gonna be this year?