Less Tricks, More Treats; Here’s To An Un-boring

I was four when I first remember my mother dressing me up for Halloween. I was a disco-cowgirl, Halloween being the best excuse my mom had to wrap her baby in a fluffy feather boa and sequined 10-gallon hat and send her into the dark October night. And while pink cowgirl boots might explain my footwear fetish, it’s the intoxicating sense of temporarily becoming someone else that explains my fascination with all things Halloween.
For one night a year, you are anything in the world you desire to be; a Jester, an Ice-Dancer, a Transformer or a Crazy Cat lady. The sheer fun of childlike pretending fuels the rest of Halloween and makes it fun for the over 14-year-old set, generally resulting in many an embarrassing picture of you, taken with your wig half on, fueled by Newcastle and too many Pixie Sticks, tagged for posterity on your Facebook.
So of course, you need the most badass costume you can get.
If you have an idea in mind, which I certainly hope you do, then you are probably like the Average College Joe and still need to purchase a majority of the costume. I hope, pray and cross my fingers that no one resorts to the pre-packaged costume options that showcase busty blonds dressed in soulless pre-assembled and generously hemmed mini-dresses.
Yes, boxed costumes are easy. No, they are not worth it, I argue, because can you imagine the sheer awkwardness of dressing up as Naughty Cop No.2, only to find that three other girls at your fete-du-jour have opted for the same spandex uniform? A little extra effort will result in a far better outcome.
To start looking for a real costume, unboxed and unprepared, a blank canvas for you to play with, you must know where to start looking. A personal favorite of mine is a little store in Costa Mesa called The Costume Connection (1822 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa 92627).
This is the place to go to find extravagant rental costumes, when you know you want to be a Samurai or Miss Chiquita, the Banana lady, but aren’t sure you’re ready to take the plunge and buy a sword and/or a fruit basket for your head.
They also have pieces of costumes, such as bow ties, fake teeth, wigs and prosthetic body parts. Since the store isn’t seasonal, you can expect service that isn’t apathetic and products that aren’t overpriced.
For the eager college trick-or-treater who is willing to drive further than Costa Mesa, Gasoline Alley (3804 E Chapman Ave, Orange, 92869) is a few freeway stops north on the 55. It is also not a seasonal store, but it is something of a hole-in-the-wall.
Herein the appeal lies; it smells like your grandmother’s attic and it probably has many of the same collections: hats, go-go-boots, plastic ninja stars and old Biker jackets. It’s a nodge-podge of wonderful things you never knew you couldn’t live without.
For the customer who is looking less for attire and more for eccentric clothing that could be converted into costume, there is the consignment store Buffalo Exchange at the hipster favorite The Lab (2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa 92626).
Does your cowboy outfit need a rad plaid shirt? Is your sailor pin-up girl ensemble still hatless? Are you dressing up as your favorite character from a TV show only to realize that you need the right pair of glasses to make the ensemble work? Buffalo Exchange can supply you with all of this, and since it is all secondhand, you can expect not to pay an arm and a leg for it.
Ah, Halloween. No longer do I have the shiny cowgirl hat I wore a long 17 years ago, but I will always carry the memory of a simpler time and how, one night a year, I managed to become someone I always wanted to be. Cheers, here’s to the pursuit of grown-up Halloween costumes.