Dressing for Halloween the fright way - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Dressing for Halloween the fright way

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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2007 5:17 pm | Updated: 6:09 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Wait until the last minute to get a Halloween costume, and you might as well go naked.

Check out Halloween costumes, and hear some advice from Oscar Gibson, owner of Mardi Gras Costume Shop in Scottsdale.

Wait until the last minute to get a Halloween costume, and you might as well go naked.

The racks in costume stores and specialty shops are practically bare Oct. 30-31. Die-hard Halloweeners began snatching up costumes in August.

“Those people know they have to get in early because they always want the best,” says Oscar Gibson, owner of Mardi Gras Costume Shop in Scottsdale.

The rest of the world is catching on.

“(Halloween) starts earlier and earlier every year,” says Gilbert resident Stacy Schneider, searching for Harry Potter costumes with her children Lauren, 6, and Logan, 4. “I think everyone is trying to get a jump on shopping.”

The children received a magazine in the mail featuring Halloween costumes, prompting their visit to Spirit Halloween, a temporary store open through Nov. 1 in Chandler. The chain opened its Valley doors in mid-August.

The Halloween mentality has changed in the past 15 years: All Hallow’s Eve is no longer a kids’ holiday, but one of the biggest parties of the year for adults, practically on par with New Year’s Eve. People plan the intricate details of their costumes, creating an alter ego for the night.

“All the kids who grew up trick-or-treating are now adults and they want to keep celebrating Halloween,” says Dave Weaver, district manager for Spirit Halloween. Weaver estimates that his store’s clientele used to be 25 percent adults and 75 percent children. In the past 10 years, the trend has flip-flopped.

Tempe residents Cindy and Louis Iorio began planning their Halloween earlier this month. The Iorios host a masquerade party and invite up to 100 people. The couple went to six stores and changed their minds about as many times before settling on Marie Antoinette and her unfortunate husband, King Louis XVI of France.

“It’s fun,” says Cindy Iorio. “People get to revert into what they want to be for a night.”

And, people are willing to spend to escape their existence for one night. Some costumes retail for up to $150, and that doesn’t include essential accessories such as wigs, makeup and shoes.

Customers at Mardi Gras Costume Shop sometimes opt to rent their wardrobe for the evening, paying anywhere from $75 to $150 to be dressed from head to toe.

“You can go as cheap as you want and still be creative or very elaborate,” says Gibson, whose staff counsels Halloweeners on the essentials.

This year customers are asking to become pirates (“people never get tired of pirates,” says Gibson), Spartan warriors, naughty nurses and French royalty.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Gibson says. “You’re trying to create a character that allows you to be someone else.”|

WHERE TO BUY COSTUMES

Mardi Gras Costume Shop: 5895 N. Granite Reef Road, Scottsdale, (480) 948-4030 or www.mardigrascostumeshop.com

Spirit Halloween: 3111 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, (480) 899-3013; 1244 S. Gilbert Road, Mesa, (480) 558-7403; 1245 W. Elliot Road, Tempe, (480) 705-9708; 9130 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, (480) 362-1847. For more locations, visit www.spirithalloween.com.

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