Sometimes the Thrill Isn't the Costume, but the Costume Shop

Driving down any major Texas highway in October you can see pop-up Halloween costume stores scattered on corners like landmines.

Ever wonder how they got there? Or how they come up with all those clever costume ideas? We did, so we decided to check out some costume shops around the Dallas area and found stores that fit any costume you idea you might be looking for.

If you're looking for a sexy (insert any idea here) costume or an adorable pumpkin costume for your 6-month-old baby, then pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween are perfect for you.

"A crew comes in and sets up the store," said Spirit store manager, Carly Brooks. "They like to create a store that looks like it has been there a long time."

Working like a well-oiled corporate machine, pop-up stores get all of their costume ideas and inventory from their corporate owners so they will have all the popular and commercial costumes like superheroes and cartoon characters.

If you want a totally original costume, then Dallas Costume Shoppe Inc. might be more your style. Located on Main Street, Dallas Costume Shoppe has been around for almost 100 years and has period pieces for rental. Owned by Michael Robinson, Dallas Costume Shoppe has clothing that date back to the 1930s. Shop employee Pix Smith says he has had costumers coming in asking from everything you can think of.

"Someone came in as Princess Diana after her accident and had a steering wheel around her neck," Smith said. "We also get a lot of people wanting be Titanic survivors, with seaweed around their legs."

Dallas Costume Shoppe specializes in custom hand-made costumes. If you can't find something in their store, don't worry. They will find a way to make one for you and make it work.

Not sure what kind of costume fits you? Costume World off Inwood Road is the best of both worlds. The front of the store is filled with the costumes typically found at pop-up stores, while the back is filled with more original costumes for rent. Owner Marilynn Wick is a huge Broadway fan and has costume collections from famous production like the King and I.

What's the weirdest thing that has happened to Wick while working in one of her stores? Store Manager Joy Lee said one time Wick found a coffin with a body inside left over from a costume store she purchased in Pittsburgh.

"When she called the previous owner he said it was a prop used in the movie Dawn of the Dead, and oh that's just corn syrup and cereal on the body," Lee said.

Months later after putting the coffin on display, Wick almost was arrested because the body was real! After investigation, Wick ultimately paid for the dead woman's funeral out of respect.

Lee says something popular this year is straight guys dressing in burlesque.

"One guy isn't shaving his chest hair so he can look really ridiculous," she said. "It gives guys an excuse to dress like a woman."

Other popular costumes for this year include Katy Perry, flight attendants and vampires. Lee says popular culture is what influences what costumes she decides to order for the store. TV shows like Pan Am influence what people want to dress up for Halloween.

But the funniest costume ideas go to the couples. Lee has seen everything from Michael Jackson and Blanket to a girl dressed up as a chicken with a guy dressed like a boxer -- together they make a cock fight.

Whatever you're looking for these costume shops are filled with outgoing staff that are willing to help you find what you need. Don't feel embarrassed if you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary. Trust me, these people have seen it all.

"Its something new and different everyday and its fun because you are making someone's dream come true," Lee said.

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Samantha Guzman
Contact: Samantha Guzman