Halloween specialty store getting set for ‘holiday season’
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 00:09
Dennis and Pam Markel, owners of The Illusive Skull Costume Castle, never expected their passion for selling Halloween costumes to make their store a Morgantown classic.
"It’s turned into a bigger business than I thought, but it’s still fun," Pam said.
The Illusive Skull at Morgantown Mall specializes in quality costumes, theatrical paint and Halloween props. The store offers a wide variety of costumes ranging from children’s outfits to professional masks, some of which have been featured on the TV show "Face Off."
The Morgantown location is open through September and October, but the Fairmont location remains open year-round.
Thanks to the variety of merchandise, the Markels offer customers more than just costumes: they offer memories.
"We’re firm believers that you don’t just have to buy a package costume," Pam said.
She said most people prefer standard generic costumes, which can
result in awkward situations. "Who wants to go to a bar or party and have five people dressed the same as them?"
To help customers be unique, Pam and Dennis take great care to sell diverse merchandise.
"We have everything," Pam said. "We want to make this a family store, so our employees are equipped to help you find out what you want to be, then help you put it together."
Pam said the strength of the store is the staff, many of whom are West Virginia University students dedicated to their work.
"Our staff’s not just people who want to sell you something," she said. "They care about what you look like, but they’re not going to sell you something you don’t need."
Co-owner Dennis Markel agrees.
"That’s the name of our store; the other stores can’t do that," he said.
Dennis’s pride and joy in the Morgantown Illusive Skull is the haunted house – a maze of lights and frights he designed himself. The haunted house is free and open to all customers.
His only regret is being forced to cut the haunted house short.
"I have a limit on what I can do because of the fire marshal," he said. "But that’s okay; this is what I like."
The Illusive Skull carries a variety of special foam latex and silicon masks that, according to Dennis, will revolutionize Halloween costumes.
"These masks are the wave of the future," he said. "They’re comfortable, they fit to your face, and they look absolutely great."
The Markels started their business as a small haunted house before growing into a mall kiosk. Soon enough, the Markels expanded into two full-size locations that have been in operation since 1998.
Justin Gantle, a Morgantown native, has been coming to the Illusive Skull since he was 6 years old.
"This is the most helpful Halloween store," he said. "They’ll get you everything you need: tips, makeup, costumes – anything."
Gantle is particularly fond of the Markels’ dedication.
"When you come in here and see the owner working, and he actually comes over and helps you, that means a lot to me. Not to mention the depth of the employees’ help," he said.
Pam loves her work – especially when a customer finds exactly what they’re looking for.
"When you walk out of here, I want you to win a contest and be happy with what you have," she said. "We’ll never be millionaires, but that’s okay."
To learn more about the Illusive Skull’s Morgantown location, call 304-284-9150, or visit www.illusiveskull.com.