PORTAGE PARK — It’s that time of year for Tony “Scary” Perry.
The owner of Scary Perry’s Halloween Store on Irving Park Road is in the thick of the season — and he’s celebrating his 10th year of doing the popup business.
“We’re not just a store. You don’t just come and shop, you receive an experience. And not only do we have great customer service, but basically what I like to do is I create an ambience where you feel like you’re shopping in a haunted house,” said Tony Perry, the store’s owner.
Initially in the nightclub business, Perry realized it made sense for him to change careers once his wife became pregnant with their first child. So to avoid the vampire hours of working a nightclub, and because he loves Halloween, he decided to open up Scary Perry’s 10 years ago.
“I came up with an idea to create something that I could do with my kids. I was always kinda involved in the party industry, so for my next thing I started coming up with ideas for Halloween store names,” he said. “Scary Perry’s popped into my head and the rest just all kind of fell into place.”
The store’s first location was in River Grove. They stayed there for six years, then moved to Norridge for two years, Perry said. The store’s been at its current Chicago location at 5859 W. Irving Park Road for the past two years.
Perry handpicks everything sold in the store and tries to arrange the items so browsing customers can experience the store like a haunted house.
“I go to a lot of shows and events where they make and sell Halloween stuff. I like to deal with the smaller vendors,” he said. “You get that really homey feel at my store. You know as soon as you walk in and start looking at our products that everything’s very different. It’s a lot of fun. And I get a lot of repeat customers just because how fun it is to come in here.”
Halloween has always been one of Perry’s favorite holiday and he remembers his mom taking him to different pumpkin patches and haunted houses when he was a kid during the fall.
“It left a big impression on me. I loved it,” he said.
So when Perry told family and friends he was going to open a Halloween store 10 years ago, his family and friends weren’t surprised.
“I’ve always been fascinated with masks and props. If you look at my artwork growing up or just the way that I was when I was younger, I was always into punk rock,” Perry said. “So people told me at the time it made a lot of sense when I opened up the store. And because we’re open all year it’s kind of like we’re creating a huge family. It’s very much my dream job.”
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