Do Not Get Tricked When Buying Halloween Treats

October 11, 2012
Looking to buy or rent a fun Halloween costume this season? You are not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation, Canadians will spend approximately $75 per person on candy, pumpkins, decorations and costumes – both for them and for their pets. It is a holiday we love, and retailers respond to that by opening specialty stores in October. These stores are usually gone once Halloween is over.

When shopping at seasonal, temporary Halloween stores (especially last-minute), it is important to exercise caution. Better Business Bureau is advising shoppers to know the red flags and read the fine print to avoid fly-by-night costume venders. Even if the store has a return policy, you should enter under the assumption that whatever you buy is yours to keep, no matter what.

Here are some BBB tips to make sure your Halloween is “spooktacular” fun:

Do your research. Many seasonal stores are run by reputable retailers who take advantage of short-term leases on vacant space. They set up temporary stores to augment their permanent space; however, other shops may be in and out in a matter of weeks. While it is always good to check out a shop’s BBB Business Review at, some seasonal businesses change their name each year as a way of disguising a poor track record. Ask around and know with whom you are doing business to avoid being “tricked.”

Read the fine print. Setting up a seasonal store does not mean that the store or the business behind it does not have the same responsibilities as a year-round operation. Make sure to note the store’s refund and return policies to get a basic understanding of the terms and conditions. They should always be made available.

Know what to expect before renting a costume. Rental costumes tend to be sturdier and more elaborate than the average Halloween costume, and you can often find something incredibly unique. Ensure you understand your responsibilities. For example: What happens if the costume rips, you get a stain on it, or you lose it altogether? Do you have to pay for the whole costume? What about the cleaning? Before renting, confirm that all conditions are clearly specified in the rental agreement.

Ensure your security when purchasing costumes online. Check a website’s security settings. If the site is secure, it’s URL (web address) should start with “https://.” You may also see a small picture of a closed lock in the lower right corner of the address bar or on your browser screen.

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