This morning one of those “Spirit Halloween” trucks barreled past you in order to get to the strip mall and set up shop. The “Spirit” chain has been around for some years now; you still wonder what those folks do during the other seasons of the year. And why is the Spirit Halloween dude in such a rush? You are trying to enjoy living in the present, but it’s difficult when you have Halloween trucks whizzing by. (Maybe you just can’t believe that summer is ending!)
But can’t we get through ‘back to school’ time first, and then focus on Labor Day weekend?
The grocery stores are pretty good with their seasonal approach. Your neighborhood store set out the ketchup, chips, paper plate and hot dog display about three weeks prior to the 4th of July, not two months. You were thankful to be reminded, and made a mental ‘note to self’ to crunch up to the attic and try and locate your July 4th decorations, no matter how corny and tired they may be–some flags, some red, white and blue twinkly lights and some fold-out cardboard centerpieces of the statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam (gifts from your Danish neighbors).
Cracker Barrel, however, is always WAY ahead of you and everyone else. Bless their hearts–their gift shop is where it’s happenin’. They are in the holiday business, flat-out, year-round. They know that folks wait for hours for tables and want to wade through cute merchandise. They have set up Halloween tables as well as Christmas ones--chock-full of mugs, stockings, signs, and other knickknacks. But if one so chooses, you can skip the seasonal tables and instead retreat ‘back in time,’ with the Moon Pies, horehound candy sticks, and old episodes of Andy Griffith. For some reason, in this old-timey store, it does not make you cringe to have holidays thrust upon you, as you watch sweet elderly ladies pick up candle holders, faux wreaths and Santa pillows. Instead, it is endearing.
You realize it would take “Spirit Halloween” weeks to set out all of the skeleton, witch, vampire and character costumes, by category and size. Much less all of the paraphernalia: skulls, spears, tridents, swords, cauldrons, blood-pumping breastplates (your son’s 6th grade prop) and such. They do deal in bulk and mega-volume, and not in quaint small tables. You should know; you’ve spent hours in their store, having an absolute blast.
Then you read this press release from their website:
NEW YORK, October 29, 2009 – Spirit Halloween, the country’s leading seasonal Halloween retailer, announced today that its 2009 Spirit of Children campaign has successfully raised a record-breaking one million dollars in customer, vendor and partner donations as well as merchandise contributions. One hundred percent of the money raised will go to improving the comfort and experience of pediatric patients through the purchase of items including books, computers, and entertainment centers, games specifically designed for children with physical challenges as well as toys that are fun, educational and therapeutic for hospital child life departments. This year, Spirit Halloween hosted Halloween parties for children at over 50 participating hospitals. Since its inception in 2006, Spirit of Children has raised more than $1.8 million for hospitals all across the United States and Canada.
You will welcome the chain with open arms and stop by to make a donation to “Spirit of Children” as soon as they open in September.
First, you will enjoy Labor Day. Maybe you’ll stop by Cracker Barrel, buy a sweet tea, rent a new book on cd, and see if they have a table set up for Labor Day.