Halloween Express: The New Guys in Town

Kimberly Messineo, Reporter

Glowing skeletons, scary clowns, bloody vampires and numerous pretty little princesses. Enter what used to be a well-known bookstore in Lawrence, and this is some of what one can find.

This year, there is a new store in town. At the corner of 7th and New Hampshire, where Borders used to be located, Halloween Express has opened shop. This specialty store has everything from costumes and masks to spooky decorations to scare the neighbors.

“I would much rather there be another bookstore [where Borders was],” said junior Alexandra Wendt, an avid Borders customer.

The new store is part of a franchise, with other Halloween Expresses located nearby in Kansas City, Olathe and Overland Park. When the building went up for sale, owners decided to open a store in Lawrence for more business.

Owners are taking advantage of the space they have leased and plan to use the majority of what used to be the Borders bookstore.

Near the front, people can find costumes for kids, including the pretty princesses and comic book characters. In the center of the store there is a wide range of masks and wigs for any costume. Then deeper within the store, people can find adult costumes, along with a variety of decorations to create a haunted scene.

Employees are eager to help shoppers with what they need to find. Assistant manager David Hassinger claims Halloween is his favorite holiday.

“I got too old for Christmas and believing in Santa Claus, and with Halloween I could still dress up and have fun,” Hassinger said. “It’s the chance to cut loose and be goofy.”

On most days when customers go into the store to find what they need for the upcoming holiday, it shouldn’t be too hard to find help.

“Most of the time, employees will be in costume,” Hassinger said. “My favorite would have to be the gorilla suit.”

Halloween Express isn’t the only place to see employees dressed in costume to make the job more fun. There are three other stores here in Lawrence to find the best costume for Halloween.

See the Free Press’s top ten Halloween costumes.

Fun and Games is one of the other stores in town, not too far from where Halloween Express is located. It is not exactly welcoming to this franchise store taking residence in its town.

“It hurts our business a lot,” owner of Fun and Games Kyle Billings said. “It’s unfortunate that [Lawrence] let them come. There are three other local stores.”

It’s not only stores who are unwelcoming to Halloween Express.

“I pretty much lived [at Borders]. I would go there to read and study,” Wendt said. “There’s no reason for me to go downtown anymore, because that’s all I ever really did.”