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The Party People store at Sans Souci defies downturn with record sales this Halloween

Scary surprise: The Party People store at Sans Souci has broken sales records this Halloween. Store manager Vicki with one of their Donald Trump masks. Picture: John Veage
Scary surprise: The Party People store at Sans Souci has broken sales records this Halloween. Store manager Vicki with one of their Donald Trump masks. Picture: John Veage

COVID restrictions and unease over trick-or-treating have not been enough to dampen enthusiasm for the busiest time of the year at The Party People store at Sans Souci.

In fact, after a slower than normal start to October, the past two weeks has seen sales surge ahead of last year, according to co-owner and co-director Dean Salakas.

Mr Salakas, who shares the title of "chief party dude' with his brother Peter, said while Halloween was always their busiest time of year, there was no doubt the impact of COVID had been felt in the lead-up.

Australia's biggest party supplier, which has stores at Sans Souci and Drummoyne as well as an online presence, was hit hard at the start of the coronavirus pandemic but found innovative ways to stay afloat.

"We were down about 92 per cent in March," Mr Salakas said.

"We did think about closing but in the end stayed open and brought in hand sanitiser and masks at first.

"But then we asked our customers what they were buying and they said arts and crafts, and dress-up costumes to keep kids entertained at home so we brought more of that in."

As the lockdown continued, they found sales of balloon bouquets remained high, so they introduced more items to help people celebrate milestones, such as birthdays, in isolation.

"We did a 'Happy Iso Birthday' balloon, then made up something for Mother's Day," he said, adding hampers included items such as hand sanitiser.

"We were finding people were still having parties at home, just on a much smaller scale.

"Things are definitely picking up now but without the big events."

And while Halloween preparations started off slow, he said people were now making up for lost time.

"Early October we did not have a lot of activity," he said.

"People have now just started to feel they want to do something.

"Just the last week we have overtaken our [Halloween sales] figures for last year."

With big events such as the Sydney Zombie Walk, which they run, not going ahead this year, people are instead hosting small gatherings at home.

While they are not spending as much on outdoor decorations, indoor items, as well as themed tableware, are big sellers, as are costumes.

Keeping with the COVID theme, there is much call for costumes relating to doctors, as well as Hazmat suits, and plague and gas masks, which are "flying off the shelves".

He said classic costumes such as evil clowns and devils were also selling well, as were scary dolls and Ninjas, but sales of Zombie costumes - perhaps a bit too close to the apocalypse we all felt like we were part of this year - were down.

Details: The Party People store will be open until 7pm tonight and 9am-5pm Saturday. For more information click here.