Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Halloween shopping guide (via

Check out my Halloween shopping guide in this week's print issue of

What are you going as? Tips for selecting the right Halloween costume - and how/where to find it.

The first step in creating a great Halloween costume is deciding what you want to be. Here's our Top 10 list to help you get started:

1. Avoid sure-to-be popular costumes (i.e. dead celebs and vampires) -- unless you can provide an original spin on it.
2. If you do dress as a popular character, try zombifying it (i.e., Zombie Barbie & Ken).
3. Ladies, avoid any costume that is preceded by the term "sexy."
4. Never, ever buy a ready-made costume. They're cheap-looking, unoriginal and lazy.
5. If you have a lot of cash, get a local designer to make your costume.
6. Handy with a sewing machine? Make your own, or add extra details.
7. Team up with your cronies to come up with a group costume for maximum impact. The fact that you're Zack Morris from "Saved by the Bell" will be more obvious when you show up with Screech and Slater.
8. Props are key to a great costume, and give you an instant party trick.
9. If you have a strong enough concept, you can go the simple route with your costume. For example: a murdered health care bill.
10. If you're really clever and can get away with it, you could forgo the costume altogether. One of my friends last year dressed in her normal clothes, and when people asked what she was, she would look them up and down with a smirk and say, "a pervert."

Shopping guide
Whether you've already decided what you're going to be, or want to start shopping first and let inspiration hit you, now's the time to go shopping.

Costume warehouses

This is the way to go for the serious costume-wearer.
Costume Rentals (855 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-375-8722), the co-opted warehouse for the Guthrie Theater and the Children's Theatre Company, offers more than 30,000 theatrical costumes for public rental. Twin Cities Magic and Costume (250 E. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-227-7888) is another go-to, with one of the nation's largest costume selections available for sale and rental.


About this time of year, many local vintage shops tailor their selections to showcase potential Halloween gear.
Blacklist Vintage (2 E. 27th St., Mpls., 612-872-8552) also confirms they are stocked up for Halloween, particularly if you're in need of a hat. Other vintage shops to try: Lula's Vintage Wear, B-Squad Vintage and Tatters.

Secondhand & thrift

If you're willing to do a little more digging to put your outfit together, try any number of the Twin Cities' secondhand and thrift stores. Resale shop
Buffalo Exchange (2727 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-871-9115) promises to be stocked up with Halloween outfit ideas -- everything from '80s music icons to '70s disco stars, from country-western to hair metal. Then there's the always-popular Ragstock (323 14th Av. SE., Mpls., 612-623-9095; 2912 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-824-3112), which has uniforms and acid-wash galore. (Also try the locally owned version, Everyday People.) If nothing else, you can always try Goodwill, Salvation Army, Arc's Value Village, and Unique Thrift.

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