BALLSTON SPA — After more than three decades in business, a Ballston Spa landmark is closing its doors at the end of October. Fred and Lois Myers, owners of Myers Fun Services and Halloween Hall say after one more spooky holiday, they’re ready to retire.
Be sure to click through the gallery!
With encouragement from friends, Myers Fun Services began as a carnival supplier with great games and red and white striped booths. Over the years the Myers have added the Secret Santa Shop Program, inflatables for rent, Vegas equipment, and have even rented tables, chairs and tents.
The business began in one small room of the Myers home and quickly outgrew it. Fred and Lois moved the business to a small house in Ballston Lake and then eventually set up shop in a 10,000-square-foot building in Ballston Spa.
Fred and Lois developed Halloween Hall in 1981 and plunged into the Halloween scene with a small shop in Ballston Spa where Mom & Pop’s Cafe is today. In 1983, the Myers relocated Halloween Hall to the Curtis Lumber Industrial Park, which is it’s current location.
“Starting out, it was basically just for children. Adults hardly did anything,” said Lois. “Now, it has totally flip-flopped — it’s adults and children, but mostly adults.”
Lois says while Halloween is the namesake of the store, it’s not just seasonal. She sees customers every day of the year whether it’s for themed parties, office days or events.
“Adults get dressed year-round. They do themes for birthday parties, anniversaries, so there’s a lot more of that going on,” said Lois. “It’s good for the balance. We also work with theatre groups, so that’s another little niche. It’s not just Halloween.”
With hundreds of costumes and wigs, a sea of makeup and thousands of hats, Halloween Hall has been a go-to store for many in Saratoga County.
“I know there’s going to be a hole when I close,” said Lois. “People are going to have to go to Albany or Schenectady and most of the people who live out here would rather not. This is handy. I know people will miss it because we’ve been here for so long.”
Throughout that time, Lois says there have been some stand-out costume themes such as ET, Star Wars, aliens, princesses, zombies and superheroes to name a few.
“Spiderman has always been good,” said Lois. “I don’t think there’s a little boy alive that hasn’t been Spiderman. Another one to remember is The Wizard of Oz. Probably more people have done that theme because you can dress the whole family. Dorothy is forever popular and there’s a lot of characters.”
One of the more popular costume themes over the last four years has been anything zombie-related. Lois works with a seamstress who takes old clothing from thrift stores and turns them into costumes that can make anyone look like a stone cold, slow-paced horror from the grave.
“I’ve always said girls and women want to be beautiful and boys and men want to be scary and ugly,” laughs Lois. “That hasn’t changed in 33 years.”
What has changed, however, is the addition of “sexy” or “sassy” costumes to the market. Nowadays, Lois says it’s harder to find modest costumes for the “tween” customer base, although she does carry a selection of age-appropriate costumes. Another memorable change has been the cancellation or restrictive Halloween costume parades at local schools.
“Some schools don’t allow it and other schools say costumes have to be educational or that you can’t wear masks or bring toy weapons…the list is pretty long,” said Lois. “A lot of parents that come to the store tell me the costume parade was the best part of Halloween. That change, I think, is sad and I think the kids are going to miss out.”
The Myers have seen a lot through the eyes of Halloween Hall and Myers Fun Services for the last three decades. With no long-term retirement plans set it stone at the moment, Fred and Lois will head to Florida for a few weeks after closing the shop. Lois says they’ll miss their customers the most.
“Every day is different,” said Lois. “I like creating something, helping customers and seeing them satisfied and happy. It’s been a fun business.”
The Myers are selling of all their inventory before Saturday, Nov. 1 with “Customer Appreciation Daze” — ongoing special discounts on everything in the store. But, ask Halloween Hall customers and they’ll tell you, everything in the store is priceless.