Laurel Mall - Hazleton, PA
The anchor store on the opposite side of the Laurel Mall from Boscov's has had a few occupants since the mall opened in the 70's. It was originally a Zayre's store, but it was converted into Ames in late 1989. K-Mart moved across town from it's old location on Broad Street to occupy the spot immediately after Ames closed in 1994, and they stayed in business for almost a quarter century.
The Hazleton K-Mart survived for a while, even as the chain had been closing stores all across the United States. However, the one that anchored the Laurel Mall since the mid 90's finally shut down in March 2018.
Since that time, they've split up the old K-Mart, which is now occupied by a Planet Fitness at the end, where the K-Mart garden center used to be, and a Hobby Lobby, where K-Mart's parking lot entrance once was. However, despite the fact that there were two new businesses, the anchor store still looked abandoned from inside the mall.
They put up a wall over the old K-Mart mall entrance with a a neon "Family Fun Center" sign and put a few arcade games there. Sadly, none of the games are anything to write home about, except for a Mortal Kombat machine that definitely looks like it had seen better days.
I just figured that Hobby Lobby was directly on the other side of that wall, and that they decided to only have a single entrance that led directly to the parking lot so that they wouldn't need to maintain a second set of checkout lanes at the mall entrance, but that's apparently not the case. There's still a very large section of vacant retail space between Hobby Lobby and the inside of the mall, and as is the case with many empty storefronts this time of year, that spot is now occupied by Spirit Halloween.
So, without any further unnecessary history lessons about the history of the Laurel Mall, here are a few things that the Spirit Halloween store has this year.
The main decorative theme of the Spirit Store this year is a creepy abandoned factory that has been taken over by skeletons and other demonic creatures. There was a pretty awesome pumpkin carve-o-matic outside of a walkthrough section filled with chains, and a lot of spooky signs and photo ops throughout the display. Very cool!
There was also a lot of spooky decorations, as there always is at the Spirit Halloween Store. Most of them are themed after movies or other elements of pop culture. It looked like they had sold out of a few things, but these two were my favorite ones out of the decorations that were in stock today.
There were a lot of plague doctors and zombies among the latex masks that were available, but the scariest options were the full body costume bags.
You have to wonder how many people are going to try to wear these to the office Halloween party this year. "Say there, Bob, what did you get fired for? Who, me? Why, I dressed up as a blowjob robot who's interested in getting into a sixty-nine. What about you, Timmy? Well, as it turns out, you're not allowed to pretend to be a cactus with a giant erection at the Make-A-Wish Foundation."
Not all of the costumes were sexual. There were quite a few of them that lit up, which is pretty cool. My favorite was the Dungeon Master from the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series that I used to watch when I was a kid. If money was no object, I would have bought both the Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Bob Ross costumes and tried to combine the two into the character of a mild-mannered giant corn snack with a brown afro and beard and the intense desire to paint happy little trees out of cheese dust. I did end up choosing a costume to wear to the drive-in on Halloween. It's not pictured here, and it's not especially crazy or funny, but it fits with the movies that will be screening that night. Stay tuned!