The costumes we choose say something about who we are, or wish to be. Little kids dress as astronauts, pirates and princesses; teenagers as sex sirens; and grown-ups … well just to come full circle as little kids again. Why a costume? Maybe for the sheer enjoyment of the experience; maybe to show off your creativity; maybe to try out a new identity; or maybe just to simply fit in with your friends. Choose your Halloween costume wisely, as your decisions say more about you than you think.
JAN’S COSTUMES (www.facebook.com/JansCostumes) Owner of Jan’s Costumes in Kasson, Candy McKern, has been supplying quality costumes to fun seekers for nine years. She works closely with her costume expert, RoseAnn Siegele, who has been with Candy from day one. The majority of Candy’s costumes are homemade. They are much better quality than some of the costumes that are purchased in standard retail outlets. McKern rents-out circa 95% of her inventoried costumes. “To rent a costume, you just need to come in and pick it out and try it on. The price of the rental includes any accessories you would need (necklaces, shoes, wigs, etc.). You may keep the costumes for a day or for a week; whichever you need. Then simply return them to us and we’ll do the laundering,” explained Candy. The ladies at Jan’s have a tremendous selection from which to choose. “Our renaissance costumes are popular, as are the retro (50s, 60s and 70s costumes); and of course our pirates and Disney characters are all-time favorites as well!” exclaimed McKern.
FUN.COM (HalloweenCostumes.com). The business, located in Mankato, started in 1992, when now company CEO Tom Fallenstein’s sisters started renting the Halloween costumes their mother had made for them, as kids. The business became a local rental shop in one of the sisters’ college houses, open only by appointment during October. Today, the company orders all of its costumes annually, all fresh and new. “In November, we begin working on next year’s Halloween items. Forecasting what will be the hot items 11 months in advance can get tricky, but we have been doing it a long time now, so we feel much more confident in our predictions,” Fallenstein suggested. While 99% of the business is generated by purchases, renting costumes is also an option; since that is how the business began, and the family is happy to continue the tradition (all of the rental costumes are available here: https://www.halloweencostumes.com/rental-costumes.html). “People can select the date they need the costume(s) for, and we will send the item a couple of days in advance. We provide a return label with your order, so you can ship it back when you’re done,” Fallenstein explained. Costume choices and preferences often are dictated by big blockbuster movies and shows of the current times. In previous years, it was Wonder Woman and The Incredibles. This year should be Toy Story 4, Avengers: Endgame, and Game of Thrones. Experience reveals that each age/gender has specific things that are important to them. Across the board, the most important thing is that the characters are recognizable. No one wants to hear at a Halloween party, “So, what are you supposed to be?” Men’s top sellers are simple to wear, and easy conversation items like Where’s Waldo and Fred Flintstone. Women’s top sellers are Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland. “With those costumes, we see many women who are creative and give it their own, unique twist, using accessories. Boys are driven by the most popular movies and licensed items — for instance, Spider-Man. Girls often want to be unique and trendy,” added Tom. Fun.com is the largest online-only Halloween retailer, with over 10,000 costumes to choose from (five times the selection found in any store). HC.com also designs and manufactures over 3,000 of its own, exclusive styles, not duplicated anywhere else. Some of the exclusives include properties like Marty McFly from Back to the Future, Macho Man Randy Savage, Kill Bill, Forrest Gump, and many more. Because they manufacture straight to retail, you will find higher quality items at lower prices. “We pride ourselves on delivering to everyone else in the world, the same type of high-quality costumes my mom made for me when I was little,” Fallenstein said.
CREATIVE COSTUMES & CLOTHING (creativecostumesandclothing.com) Marann Faget is the owner of Creative Costumes and Clothing, located at 11 9th Street NE, Rochester. Now entering her 10th year in business, Faget is a wizard at her trade. Marann learned how to make patterns and sew while living in Greece. In the 80s, she began making high-end garments for women, and she was subsequently commissioned by the local theatre to do some sewing. She provided professionally-crafted costuming for the theatre’s next production. She has designed costumes for over 200 productions, in a handful of states. “In my experience, the most popular costumes seem to be characters from movies; anything Marvel, superheroes and characters from games; also characters from movies and television,” Marann explained. Usually these kinds of costumes are custom-made for the client because Faget does not stock all of those types. Most of the costumes she has are constructed in the shop; with the exception of items she purchases online. “In our shop we do a lot of custom-made garments for people, whether it’s costumes or clothing. We can do anything that is done with fabric and sewing machines, including alterations, costume design, bridal wear and even interiors, although we specialize in costume and clothing design and/or construction,” Faget added.
HALLOWEEN EXPRESS (halloweenexpress.com) “While most Halloween Express seasonal stores are closed during the off-season, some remain open year-round. Check the website at (https://www.halloweenexpress.com) to see if a Halloween Express is open near you,” explained spokesman Brad Butler. For the 2019 Halloween season, retail store locations will be posted as soon as they become available. Halloween Express is one of the most aggressive and dynamic Halloween chains in the United States. Started in 1990, Halloween Express has both company-owned and franchised locations throughout the U.S. Their success is based on offering the largest selection of Halloween merchandise available anywhere. Their merchandise assortment is updated annually to ensure that the latest product trends, as well as the tried-and-true best sellers and licensed product are part of the merchandise mix. “Each season we scour the planet looking for the latest and most sought after costumes and accessories available today,” Butler added. By leveraging the huge buying power of retail store locations; coupled with its year-round e-commerce operation, Halloween Express is able to offer the absolute largest selections of Halloween costumes and Halloween-related items anywhere. Additionally, with over two decades of experience being one of the largest and most respected Halloween costume and accessory suppliers in the market, you can make your purchases with confidence, knowing that they will be around. Halloween Express continues to offer all seasonal costumes and accessories 365 days per year. They can also be found on Amazon, E-Bay and JET. “While we encourage you to visit one of our retail locations during Halloween season, you can always find the same selection of merchandise on our website, year-round,” Butler said.
By Pat Garry, Contributing Writer