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The hunt for Halloween digs

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO, Colorado
AE halloween costumes2 KA 10-8-07
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Lorinda Bonchu is searching for the perfect costume to wear out bar hopping on Halloween.

“Something that’s sexy and warm at the same time,” the 27-year-old Vail resident said. “I don’t know if that’s possible.”

To brainstorm costumes, she employed a shopping strategy many Vailites are embracing in the weeks leading up to the holiday. She typed “Halloween costumes” into the google.com search engine.



In a valley where specialty costume shops are sparse, many residents are looking further afield to find stellar Halloween digs. The Internet is fertile territory.

Edwards resident Nancy Hanson, who bought several costumes this year, said buycostumes.com has the best selection. She’s leaning toward wearing a black corset dress with playing cards lining the bodice from ebay.com. The outfit fits the “Vegas Ghosts and Gangsters” theme of the Eagle County Charter Academy Ghostly Gala she plans to attend Friday, Oct. 26 at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek.

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“Once you find out the theme of the party, plug it in under key words in google.com,” Hanson suggests.

Annah Scully, executive producer for the Vail Performing Arts Academy, also recommends working the search engines to find quirky outfits.

“One thing you can do that I think is fun, if you just google ‘funny costumes,’ there are some hilarious ones you can order,” she said.



If a sexy getup is in order, Frederick’s of Hollywood sells an array of costumes at fredericks.com. Some of the outfits are flat-out lingerie, but others like the “Alluring Angel” and “Fraulein Plus” cover some skin.

As alternatives to shopping in cyberspace, Scully suggests browsing the costume aisle at Wal-mart or hitting local thrift stores.

About 10 people have come into Ritzy Recalls Ltd. in Eagle-Vail in search of costumes this year, owner Gail Kennedy said.

Recycled clothing is affordable and unique, she said.

“It’s reasonably priced and a lot of times, consignment stores will get things you can’t buy in a costume shop, like vintage clothes,” Kennedy said.

High-heeled boots in bright colors, boas, wild hats, big sunglasses and over-sized gold chains are popular costume accessories, she said.

For shoppers who are willing to put some miles on their cars, Denver offers a selection of costume shops. The largest in the city is Disguises in Lakewood, which sells and rents outfits including Marie Antoinette dresses and Spartan costumes.

“Come with some ideas before you go so you’re not overwhelmed,” owner Cindy Catanese suggests. “Just go crazy. This is your one chance to be someone you wouldn’t be otherwise. That’s what Halloween is all about, I think.”

For the creatively inclined, making a costume is a fun challenge. Scully pieces together her own costumes. Last year, she donned a home-made “mothership” costume resembling an alien with alien babies attached. The year before, she created a “Tina Tourniquette” getup consisting of a Tina Turner wig, nurse uniform and props such as a giant thermometer. This year, she has focused on creating a dust bunny costume for her daughter.

Scully says she prefers to fashion her own costumes “mainly because I work with theatrical costuming and I just know how much more special it is when you can come up with your own unique costume and it’s not like anyone else’s.”

So what does she have on tap for this year?

“Some kind of renaissance wench would be fun, but I have to come up with something beyond just a wench,” Scully said.

Movie-based Halloween costumes are big this year.

Ladies are lining up for Marie Antoinette getups at Disguises, the largest costume shop in Denver.

“There was a movie out recently and I think there’s some interest in historical costuming,” store owner Cindy Catanese said. “Marie Antoinette was a very vibrant woman and had an interesting life and I think some of the young women here identify with that.”

So what are men identifying with?

“Pretty much vinyl rustic briefs with a cape,” Catanese said.

That’s right, guys are taking a cue from “300,” a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, and dressing as Spartans.

At the Wizard’s Chest, another costume shop in Denver, men are suckers for swashbuckling. The popularity of the movie “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest,” has inspired them to masquerade as pirates, store manager Rona Gates said.

Also borrowed from the big screen, Spider Man is popular with boys while girls are imitating Hannah Montana, a pop singer on a Disney Channel show, Gates said.

At a local thrift store, men are pulling a move featured in “Sorority Boys,” a film about fraternity guys who dress as chicks.

Cross-dressing is a common costume request at Ritzy Recalls Ltd. in Eagle-Vail, owner Gail Kennedy said.

“I’ve had a lot of guys come in and try to fit into women’s clothes,” she said. “We dress them up really great. Usually it’s a ‘pimps and hoes’ type things. The shoes are the problem for men. It’s hard to find a high heel or a boot that will fit their big feet.”


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