Alyssa Ashford and her team scour the globe so we can offer our customers the most spooktacular Halloween range. Here she blogs about how they do it.
I love working on the Halloween range. People want to enter a fantasy world, so you can really let your imagination go wild.
No one does Halloween better than the Americans so we flew out to Orlando last September to get some fresh inspiration. People decorate outside their homes much more there – some of the houses had 10ft blow-up creatures outside!
We’re a different market here – most families don’t have the space or the budget for the level of theatre you often see outside American homes. But you can really create a big impact with just one or two statement props – like the Projector Light which projects swirling ghosts up to 15 feet. It’s perfect for lighting up the front of your home to welcome trick or treaters. And our light-up “Beware” sign looks great too. With some key pieces it can look like you’ve really made an effort without breaking the bank.
I’m also particularly proud of our range of masks this year, where we've really been focusing on innovation and uniqueness. The quality and attention to detail is great too and they start from just £8. We have some unusual designs like the three-face mask and upside down head. We’ve also got some great innovation in our special effects make-up sets, such as 3D stickers and peel away latex.
In November we went out to China to see our suppliers and the Walmart team were already there with their fantastic range. We cherry-picked a few eye-catching products for Asda like the Haunted Terror TV – which will be a big talking point if you pop it in the middle of a table or in your hallway to greet guests. We always get requests for life-sized animated characters as well – last year we had the Grim Reaper, and this year we’ve got a 6ft skeleton pirate. He’s available in our bigger stores and online – he’s got an interactive talking parrot on his shoulder and he’s motion-activated so sure to give your Halloween party guests a bit of a fright.
Halloween’s all about the spooky and the scary – but I think it’s important to keep the accent on fun, and never stray over the line into something that’s offensive or unnecessarily grotesque. That’s always in my mind when we’re choosing items and themes for the range.
I like to make sure we cover a variety of trends and styles – from the more traditional to the glam, like our glitter gold and black range that we’ve expanded after it went down so well last year. And new this year is our “Twisted Carnival” range.
My favourite part of Halloween is the dress-up and we’ve got loads to choose from – like our Ringleader’s costume kit, part of the carnival range. It’s ideal for those who don’t want to wear a full costume and want a quick and easy fix!
Of course the priority when it comes to dress-up is safety – and doing as much as we can to avoid the risk of items catching fire and causing injury. For children's dress-up we go beyond the legal safety requirements on flammability and carry out additional testing based on the tests done on nightwear.
To help our customers stay safe this Halloween, we’ve teamed up with West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and Amanda Patience, a Wheatley store colleague and trained volunteer fire fighter, for their top tips to stay safe at this time of year. Read them here.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!