EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Even its own employees know it's the "most meme-able" company out there.

Photoshopped images of Spirit Halloween stores popping up in the most unlikely places dominate the internet this time of year, like one recent placement at the Majestic Theatre in New York City after "The Phantom of the Opera" announced it would be closing.

The chain's "superfans" have become even more attached, with a movie starring Rachael Leigh Cook and Christopher Lloyd due out next month.

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Nikki Balles, corporate director of public relations and communications, said about 2,000 people camped outside, some for as long as three days, before this season's opening of the flagship Spirit Halloween location in Egg Harbor Township.

And when they weren't snatching Spirit's branded material off the shelves, Balles said Garden State costume seekers have been reaching for the classics this year, inspired by tried-and-true movie franchises like "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Friday the 13th," and "Scream."

Jason Voorhees
Jason Voorhees (Spirit Halloween)
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"The New Jersey shoppers have been really, really excited about the Freddys and the Jasons and the Ghostface merchandise we have, but get into the stores as early as you can," she said.

Balles and the Spirit Halloween team took a look at some trends specific to the state exclusively for New Jersey 101.5.

Besides the blanket advice to get Halloween shopping done sooner rather than later to alleviate stress, costume preferences were broken down into infant, child, and adult categories.

For the youngest trick-or-treaters, the characters of the Australian animated series "Bluey" are the big winners in 2022, with Balles even saying Bluey could be the new Baby Shark.

"There's really great costumes for Bluey this year, and those have been just very, very popular," she said.

Bluey
Bluey (Spirit Halloween)
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Get a few years older, and it's a mix of the new and old — well, old as in reboots.

"The kids costumes have really been inspired by the big-screen favorites, so Encanto, Sonic, Buzz Lightyear," Balles said.

Buzz Lightyear
Buzz Lightyear (Spirit Halloween)
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What about the grown-ups? Any Bruce Springsteen imitators? How about Gov. Phil Murphy?

Not quite, according to Balles.

"New Jersey is very consistent with the rest of the nation in terms of Halloween trends," she said. "We've been seeing a lot of witch shopping, horror costume shopping."

Spirit Halloween is operating around 40 stores throughout New Jersey this year, but Balles said the company has already begun planning for 2023.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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