Shopping tips: Pop-up Halloween stores and online scares

Halloween is scary, but in some cases, it can haunt you long after Oct. 31.

The Better Business Bureau serving Wisconsin urges shoppers to check companies before buying those costumes and decorations.

Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation.

The BBB says they receive complaints each year about those temporary Halloween retails outlets.  They say the complaints include unclear return and exchange policies to damaged products.  Some said they’ve attempted to return a product to find the store packed up and gone.

Here are some tips from the BBB:

  • Check the company’s business review with the BBB at
  • Buy from companies that have been around long enough to have a clear track record.
  • Stores with a spotty past may change their name from year to year.
  • Ask the store how long it plans to occupy the building. If you cannot get an answer, ask to speak with a manager.
  • See if they have a website in case you need to contact them later.
  • Inquire about the return policy in detail.
  • Save your receipts.
  • Use a credit card. You’ll have the most protection if you must dispute a problem with the card’s issuer.
  • Some recommend shopping nearer Halloween. Retailers may lower prices on candy, costumes and decorations to move them out.

Here are the BBB’s tips for online shoppers:


  • Check the company’s BBB record at
  • Use your browser to search for the company’s customer reviews by typing their name plus the word “review.”
  • Services like Pay Pal are useful because they keep your credit card number from the seller.
  • With reputable retailers, pay by credit card.
  • Know the return policy and read it carefully.
  • Print out and save all email notifications regarding the transaction.
  • Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the price and any shipping and handling charges.
  • Check a site’s security settings, being sure the web address is secure and begins with https://.

If you would like to get more customer reviews or file a complaint on a company, click this link:


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