Odessa Shop Keeping Costumes Clean During Flu Season

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Halloween is just a few weeks away, and some West Texans may think twice before including a mask or headpiece with their costumes. Parents across the country are worried about how the H1N1 or regular flu could spread just by sharing a small accessory. On Wednesday, NewsWest 9 learned how one Odessa shop is making sure it's not sending out the germs.

With the flu season in full swing, people are worried about how the illness could spread through certain costumes or accessories. Even when you go to the costume shop, and try on a mask, odds are, you're not the first to try it on. However, one mainstay in Odessa is not changing any polices. They said they clean so much, they don't have to.

"I think that's the reason I've been here for 31 years, is we are adamant about everything being clean," Liz Atkinson, Owner of Chubby's Party Emporium, explained.

Customers who walk through Chubby's costume shop may not even think twice about trying on the Pink Panther head, the shrek rubber mask, or other facial accessories. Atkinson said they shouldn't have to. Every year, employees clean everything the shop rents out, personally.

"We can't do without anybody and we cannot get sick so that's one of our things. We got to make sure that we are well," Atkinson said.

That means a thorough cleaning. In fact, Atkinson said she's cut down on the rubber masks because they're not quite as disinfectant friendly over the years. It makes it easy to tell customers this place is not a haven for H1N1 or any other flu.

"I think if you come in and see everything you'll know that you don't have that worry," Atkinson added. "And again, there's a lot of places that you go that you can tell that is not their policy."
     
But flu season or not, Chubby's is keeping all of these clean.

"That's the way we handle it over here, and we're not afraid of the flu this year," Atkinson said.

Health experts said when it comes to the flu, and halloween and costume shopping, many of the same recommendations apply. Get vaccinated, practice good hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.