Castle Costumes in King's Lynn hopes Halloween will boost business
The owner of a Lynn shop specialising in fancy dress costumes and partywear is hoping Halloween might give a much-needed boost to his business.
Ian Ashford, of Castle Costumes in Norfolk Street, said the Covid-19 crisis had had a serious impact on his trade, forcing him to close for three months and then reduce his opening times.
However with the approach of Halloween, he is hoping to get back on track and return to his usual opening days of Monday to Saturday.
He said: "Halloween is our biggest event of the year. I am running about three weeks behind where I would normally be at this point because I have been holding off on deliveries because we still don't know what's going to happen.
"This year has been extremely slow for business because there have been no parties, events, music events, even sporting events which we usually supply products for. The usual trips to Skegness for Butlins holidays have been off, the 1940s weekend at Sheringham was cancelled, there have been no hen nights or stag nights, pubs have been affected.
"In fact, every gathering of people which we would usually sell or hire costumes for have been affected. It's only because we have had a grant that we have been able to keep the door open – otherwise it would be the end of the business."
But in the hope of turning things around, Ian is now fully stocked for Halloween with a range of costumes, wigs, special effect prosthetics, masks, contact lenses and fake blood.
With half-term holiday coming up, he hopes this could have a positive impact on trade too. And to lure people into his shop he is continuing his tradition of having an animatronic outside the shop door. Last year he had a howling werewolf , which proved a popular attraction.
This year it's a witch who will be casting her spell on passers-by to welcome visitors inside. Said Ian: "I usually do something different every year. I had a witch two or three years ago, but everybody seemed to like her, so she is back."
Castle Costumes has been in Lynn for 13 years and also operated in Downham for four years.