We all know Halloween is a massive deal with our American cousins. During our recent trip over to NYC we were amazed by the lengths retailers go to when dressing their windows for the event. In fact, they spend almost three times more than we do (around £34 per household).
Regardless of what you sell, there seems to be a way of bringing a Halloween theme to your store. Tanning parlours, hairdressers, chocolate shops, delis, book shops, lingerie stores – all get in on the action. Our spread brings you some of the displays that caught our attention. Trick or treat, you decide!
Yet on a serious note, are we Brits missing a trick? We’ve had to scour the capital for any noteworthy examples of great Halloween windows. When increasingly it’s all about the in-store experience, shouldn’t our retailers be trying just that little bit harder to draw the shopper in? Halloween is a great way to bridge that gap between summer and the festive season.
“Hairs how to do it and Hairs not”
Who would have thought you could bring Halloween to the hair salon? Miwa Alex Hair Salon on East 22nd between 5th and Park Avenues has a quirky and not too scary Mexican “day of the dead” take on the event.
However over on the Upper West Side at Dramatics NYC (great cuts & colour) you wouldn’t be surprised to see Dracula rising from his coffin. While it’s great to see a local business making an effort, this is so macabre (in an amateur Hammer House of Horror way) as to risk scaring off its clientele. Let’s hope they’re careful with those scissors!
Of all the displays, Urban Outfitters in Soho was easily our favourite. A combination of giant bat and cobwebs makes for a dramatic display that’s easy to install and really effective. We also loved the creepy graveyard tree across the front of the whole store that you had to view from the opposite side of the street. And whether or not you approve of the messaging, the clothes in the windows certainly fit the theme.
Hmmm – what do we have here? Expensive naughty knickers and lingerie sets in Greenwich Village and “thelittleflirt.com” as its fascia. A witch’s hat, a few illuminated pumpkins, bats and random spiders among the g-strings does not Halloween make. The poster for their Halloween costume party promising a Burlesque Dancer called “Legs Malone” may deliver greater things. Shame we couldn’t make it.
Books are dead
You wouldn’t expect a bookstore to bother much with Halloween. Well you guessed wrong. NY University Bookstore has picked on the NYU College of Nursing to bring a spooktacular look to its windows. Skeletons dressed as medics and pumpkins wearing headphones balanced on piles of books get the message across nicely. And while our second bookshop hasn’t really bothered with any sort of design, it has dumped an inspired choice of horror titles in the window complete with giant spider. Yet we’re not quite sure how the “3D Big Book of Breasts” quite sits with titles such as Zombie Cupcakes, From Beyond the Grave, Monsters in the Movies and the Walking Dead!
Dean and Dracula
Dean and Deluca, the famous upmarket Soho grocery store/deli is an institution and quite rightly so. They’ve gone all out on the giant pumpkins and the huge range of Halloween-inspired bakery treats. With everything from ghostly cupcakes, Jack O Lanterns, cookie skulls, witches and black cats and giant Dracula cakes, they’ve catered for any and every possible ghoulish taste. You can just feel the culinary passion coming off the page.
The chocky horror window show
There’s good busy and there’s bad busy. Here we have two chocolate shops that bring us a riot of Halloween colour. Teuscher of Switzerland just around the corner from the Rockefeller Centre is kitsch in the extreme. Never before has Halloween seen so many artificial flowers. The witches around their cauldron look truly jumpy.
Much more to our taste is Soho’s Vosges Haut Chocolat store and their eye-catching Mexican “day of the dead” version of Halloween. Skull lollipops seem to be the big thing – who are we to argue? We just love the naïf-style colours even if the window display is a bit of a mess.
House of the Dead
Even high-end homeware store Calypso St Barth is making a token effort. We’re not sure that its tasteful skull drapes in the window really count as Halloween but we admire the muted tones and expensive fabric that blend nicely with its plush interior. Its well-heeled clientele is unlikely to be too upset by their version of Halloween.
The City Sun Tanning Parlour greets us with a field of giant Halloween Pumpkins on stalks. “We make sunshine” they say. “A great source of Vitamin D – ask inside for more info”. Not sure if that’s the sunbeds or the pumpkins. Regardless, we’re not sure we want to come out with an orange Z-list celeb tan. Bizarre.
Hoodies from Hell
Volcom the urban clothing brand is big on skate and snowboard wear – its positioning is “youth against the establishment”.
Its Broadway store windows close to Top Shop are a bit edgy, a bit too Ku Klux Klan come serial killer come hangman for our liking, but are likely to go down well with the target audience. We’re not sure we’d want to hug a hoodie wearing this sort of gear!
Just next door there was one of the many fancy dress shops that NYC offers – they can’t all be pop-ups for Halloween, surely. Outside there was a masked ghoul picking on innocent passers by. He frightened the life out of us and we wouldn’t be surprised if he were to take a place among the Volcom dummies later in the day.