Halloween costume shops wary of flu viruses

Last-minute Halloween costume shoppers beware: If you find and try on that Michael Myers mask, you may be buying it, even if you decide you like the Bart Simpson one better.

In light of the spread of the seasonal and swine flu viruses, Grand Valley retail stores are taking extra steps this year to ensure their Halloween merchandise is clean and germ-free.

Mad Margaret’s, 807 N. First St., has signs posted encouraging shoppers to see an employee who will disinfect a mask after they’ve tried it on. By and large, however, the store prefers that customers avoid slipping a mask over their face unless they’re serious about buying it, according to sales associate Brandy Stilwell.

Stilwell said Mad Margaret’s has had that policy for at least the three Halloweens she’s worked there.

“But especially with H1N1 going around, they’re more attentive,” Stilwell said.

She said she hasn’t encountered anyone who has objected to such a policy, and customers who miss the signs apologize.

“Most people are understanding about it, especially right now,” Stilwell said.

Customers have brought Halloween masks into Animaloos, a Fruita consignment store located at 127 E. Aspen Ave. that carries costumes for small children. But owner Dawn O’Grady hasn’t accepted them, partly because they’re easy for her to come by and partly because she wants to avoid the spread of germs and viruses.

She said she inspects every costume that comes into the shop and gives back to the customer any that don’t appear clean.

Beyond that, O’Grady’s continually wiping down door knobs and other items in her store.

“I have been using Lysol because I’m a toy store, and kids come in and play with everything,” she said.


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