When you were a kid, you had your Halloween costume picked out in July. Now that your life is taken over by work or school or both, you’re lucky if you even plan as far ahead as October 30th. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of costume shops, second-hand stores, and Halloween supplies in Boston to fulfill any last-minute shopper’s costume dreams. Whether you’re putting together a last-minute look, throwing a theme party, or searching for vintage fashion year round, these top picks will have everything you’re looking for:
1. The Garment District (& Boston Costume) – Though they stock plenty of vintage looks and fashionable used clothing for a colorful, year-round wardrobe, Halloween is truly a time to shine for The Garment District. Located on Broadway in Kendall Square, this large, self-proclaimed department store is home to over 40,000 different and unique pieces of clothing.
During the month of October, The Garment District transforms from an alternative department store to an over-the-top costume shop with shelves bursting with wigs, fake mustaches, vampire fangs, and rows upon rows of the best ready-made costumes. If you’re looking for scrap fabric to construct your own costume (perhaps for a scarecrow or hobo look), make sure to take advantage of the “clothes-by-the-pound” section where you can wade through a mountain of clothing and pay for your perfectly selected material by the pound.
Also at this location is Boston Costume where you can buy or rent one of the many fully decorated costumes available. With two great costume suppliers sharing one roof, your chances of finding the best Halloween costume at the last possible moment are greatly improved. Though their hours of operation are extended to midnight during the Halloween season, be prepared to wait in line with hundreds of other last-minute shoppers. For more information about The Garment District and Boston Costume visit http://www.garmentdistrict.com/ or stop in at 200 Broadway in Kendall Square.
2. Dorothy’s Boutique – If your desired costume requires a voluptuous wig, platform heels with poker chips inside them, or hot pink fishnet stockings, Dorothy’s Boutique on Mass Ave in Back Bay is where you need to be. This costume shop has been praised for its eclectic selection of platform heels and drag-queen-approved apparel.
Dorothy’s also has a large selection of stage-worthy theatrical makeup including hair dye, lipstick, glitter, modeling putty for that perfect, over-sized witch nose, white face paint for a clown or ghost look, and even black-light hair spray. For those of you looking for something a little less sexy, Dorothy’s also carries full size penguin, Gumby and Pokey, and Santa Claus costumes.
As the 31st creeps nearer and nearer, the line at Dorothy’s gets longer and longer, so be sure to plan ahead or be ready to wait in line. Find Dorothy’s Boutique at 190 Mass Ave in Boston.
3. Goodwill – If your Halloween costume requires less wig and makeup action and more era appropriate clothing, seek out a Goodwill store near you. For anything from 60’s hippie to 80’s secretary to 90’s grunge rocker, the many color-coded racks will provide you with plenty of material and inspiration. Though you may have to do a little more searching, your costume will glow with resourcefulness and authenticity. For best searching results, look through every section and don’t be afraid to recruit friends to help. Many of the most unique pieces get moved around and the best costume accessories are never where you expect them to be. Top rated Goodwill store locations include Roxbury, Davis Square, and Central Square. To find a Goodwill store in your area use the Goodwill locator: http://locator.goodwill.org/
4. Buffalo Exchange – This second-hand store specializes in bringing together designer looks and used fashion at a reasonable price. They buy and sell only the most popular brands and trends so that you don’t have to go searching and searching through piles of boring, faded clothing. Buffalo Exchange has a surprisingly large selection of men’s clothing, a vast collection of shoes, and a variety of dresses. If you’re taking a more modern approach to your costume this year, say with a celebrity or political figure in mind, Buffalo Exchange will help you get exactly the right look. In October, they always add more costume friendly accessories and attire to their selection.
If you need a little cash for your costume this year, bring in those jeans from the back of your closet and that jacket you never wear and take advantage of the exchange. They can give you store credit or cash on the spot when you bring in your unwanted, lightly used clothing. For more information about buying, selling, and trading at Buffalo Exchange visit: www.buffaloexchange.com or check them out at 238 Elm Street in Davis Square or at their Allston location at 180 Harvard Ave.
5. Army Barracks – A life-size marine statue stands at attention on the sidewalk to greet you as you make your way to the camouflage jump suits, bandanas, helmets, and dog tags. If an army soldier, marine, naval officer, jungle safari hunter, or Rambo is all you ever dreamed of being for Halloween, Army Barracks is here to help. An accommodating and enthusiastic staff is always ready to assist you, making shopping quick and easy. Add a camouflage vest and military insignia to give your costume that extra edge and head off to the party. If you’re still going to be a princess for Halloween, stop by Army Barracks anyway for an exceptional shopping experience. In addition to toy guns and aviator sunglasses, many shoppers praise Army Barracks for providing apparel that can actually stand up to tough New England winters, including real wool coats and Carhartt pants and boots.
6. Blick Art Materials – If you’re still determined on making your Halloween costume from scratch, despite being short on time, don’t fret. Blick Art Materials at 401 Park Drive in Boston has all the supplies needed to make an outrageous, spectacular costume at home. Blick stocks all the crafting must-haves: glue, glitter, ribbons, paint, foam, felt, buttons, tie-dye, yarn, and even wiggly stick-on eyeballs. Look for the plastic face masks for a quick craft project. These pre-made masks are perfect for creating a “Phantom of the Opera” costume or Shakespearean masquerade ball attire.
If you’re a beginner crafter hoping to make this Halloween your crafting debut, Blick carries a wide selection of books and how-to manuals to help you each step of the way. If you don’t have time for books, the expert staff is always available to give tips and tricks on how to get the best results. To save time, visit Blick online at http://www.dickblick.com and create a shopping list so that you can get in and out and still have plenty of time to create your masterpiece.
Don’t get caught without a costume this year. From inspiration to materials, these top retail resources will have everything you need. And remember, costume shopping works best when accompanied by friends, so get a group and get hunting for that Halloween costume you’ve always dreamed of.
1. The Garment District & Boston Costume - 200 Broadway, Kendall Square, Cambridge
2. Dorothy's Boutique - 190 Mass Ave, Boston
3. The Goodwill Store - 230 Elm Street, Davis Square, Somerville
4. Buffalo Exchange - 238 Elm Street, Davis Square, Somerville
5. Army Barracks - 173 Mass Ave, Boston
6. Blick - 401 Park Drive, Boston & 619 Mass Ave, Central Square, Cambridge