Roxanne Shakeri visited at least four different stores in the Los Angeles area last month looking for Halloween decorations.
She said she wanted to adorn her apartment with orange and purple lights, witches and maybe even a scary Snoopy figurine to “get into the spirit” and “get it back to normal” after more. one year of disruption due to the pandemic.
But stops at several Michaels, HomeGoods, and Target stores yielded only a few decorative pumpkins and a few other small items.
“Nothing,” said Shakeri, 28, “with which I wanted to fill my whole basket.”
Just weeks away from Halloween, shoppers across the country come across bare store shelves and “sold out” posters online as they search for decorations and costumes.
Lack of stocks is another consequence of the Covid-19 shipping crisis crippling the global supply chain.
Historically, at this point in the year, Spirit Halloween would have delivered more than 90% of merchandise to its stores, seasonal retailer CEO Steven Silverstein told NBC News. But on Tuesday, the company had only sent about 80%, he said. The rest should be delivered by the third week of October, which is about a week before Halloween.
Spirit Halloween opened 1,400 locations and hired 30,000 employees this season.
Silverstein said the impact of the shipping delay has grown since the spring.
“There was a lack of availability of equipment suddenly in April when we started shipping,” he said. “And so that delayed us about four to six weeks.”
Marybeth Brock, owner of Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon Party Warehouse in St. Louis, said last year that the store has already sold 95% of its products at price and on the shelves. As of this week, it was at 75 percent. The decorations were the most affected, she said.
This year, the company also had problems getting large props and some common stuff, such as the mask from the “Scream” slasher films.
“We have clients who ask us for them every day, and we just heard from them today. Normally we would have them in mid-September, ”she said on Tuesday.
Brock said there had been rumors earlier in the year that his industry could be affected by supply chain and shipping issues during the pandemic, as other industries faced problems .
“But really, I would say August is when you’re like, ‘OK, these containers that were supposed to be there, they’re floating in the ocean. They’re at a dock. They can’t be unloaded,’ ” she said.
“We just crossed our fingers and tried to stay on top of everything else, so that when the product arrives, we can quickly turn it over and get it out on the shelf,” she said.
Brock, who described his store as “30,000 square feet of pure Halloween fun,” said the company had recently started increasing inventory, allaying fears that inventory would arrive before the holidays. .
“So we see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
But at Chicago Costume in Chicago, general manager Courtland Hickey has agreed that some costumes and decorations won’t arrive at the store until October 31.
Hickey said the store is still awaiting delivery of about 25-30% of the merchandise ordered.
“It’s just a very high number,” he said. “It’s at all levels. It is not a single company; it’s all manufacturers. And it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of product; these are all the different things that we sell. It’s all the costumes, wigs, masks, and makeup. They all have different problems getting in.
Reanae Smith, of Texas, who shopped at the Spirit Halloween store in New York on Tuesday, said she usually starts Halloween shopping in August. She said she “was waiting for things to show up. Back home, it’s really a touch-and-go with everything, with Covid going on.”
Smith said she also noticed while shopping at home that “there are definitely a lot of empty holes when it comes to products in stock wherever we go, especially Walmart. Walmart has been hit hard.
While supply has been unmistakably lower this year, Silverstein said he believed demand had been higher as well, resulting in part from “last year’s pent-up demand” when Halloween was effectively canceled. .
Silverstein said he believes anticipation is at its peak this year because of the sense of magic and escape that the holidays provide at this phase of the pandemic. Even though people can’t find exactly what they’re looking for this year, “you’re going to find something that you love because there are so many different ideas and so many different ways to celebrate Halloween,” he said. he declares.
This is the attitude that Shakeri has adopted. Not even a decorated apartment without witches chills his spooky spirit. She said she thought the same was true of others who love the holidays.
“Whether it’s digging in the attic for your old Halloween decorations that you haven’t put out in last year, for two years, or adding to your collection and buying new decorations this year, I think. that a lot of people are excited about the vacation, ”she said. “I know I’m excited for Halloween.”