Spooktacular Costumes: The Best Shops in Town

Dress up. Candy. Staying up late. Yes, Halloween is pretty much the best. But coming up with the perfect costumes, without spending a fortune, can be the biggest trick of all. Treat yourself to a simple hunting for haunting wear by boning up on the best costume shops in town, with our handy guide to retail and resale costume shops.

Dear Red Tricycle Editors, Jennifer Chaney is a renowned Bay Area Family Life Photographer from the East Bay with clients in San Francisco, Danville, Walnut Creek, Palo Alto, and Marin Counties.  http://www.jenniferchaneyphoto.com. Jennifer has put together a light-hearted piece on great tips for taking great Halloween photos this year.  She approaches it from a pro photographer AND mom perspective.  Her insight is priceless.  Recent photography stats indicate that families take more photos at Halloween than at Christmas.  We think the article will be valuable to your readers in the SF Bay Area.  Her name will be recognized by moms and families across the Bay Area. We've attached a few photos, and will have group Halloween photos early next week featuring a diverse group of Bay Area children dressed up for 2013 Halloween! Let me know if you need anything more.  Have a wonderful weekend! Cathy Bennett Owner, Start The Startup 925.788.3527 cathy@startthestartup.com *************** Five Unique Halloween Photo Tricks Jennifer Chaney, Bay Area Lifestyle Photographer 1) Make it a game. This is a trick I use in my professional family sessions, and it’s favorite! Many times we parents get very serious about our picture taking. When this happens, our children start seeing the camera as a taskmaster and suddenly what seemed like fun is now a chore. Instead, help build up the little photo shoot as a fun event. Give them an excuse to act the part and ask them show you how well they can zombie it up! Play with them! Don’t sit behind the camera the entire time, grab a few pictures, goof around with them, and then grab a few more. The more they’re engaged, the more authentic your pictures will be. Years from now, those candid pictures will likely be your most treasured. 2) Photograph them when they are their most excited about Halloween. Many times the thrill of getting a costume on loses it’s luster by the time Halloween night rolls around, with parties and parades, kids wind up wearing their costume several times before they go out trick-or-treating. Be ready to get pictures when you’re kids are at their happiest; I’ve noticed the excitement is at a high right after we buy the costume. If it’s not an elaborate costume, let them try it on and grab so fun photos of the enthusiasm! This will guarantee that you at least have some happy pictures of your kids in costume. On the night of trick or treating, you can focus on grabbing the details such as eating their first piece of candy or 3) Be ready to change gears. We’re talking about kids here, so as every parent knows, it’s important to be flexible. When trying to photograph your kids, it’s the most important time to let things go. If you’re trying to get your little mermaid to sit still, but she refuses, step back and think of a different way you can photograph her. Maybe it requires you to dance to make her relax and laugh, or it could just mean asking her to help you find a good spot to take the picture. Shifting gears is often the answer to getting the pictures you want. Just don’t let your little mermaid know what you’re doing! 4) Fill your photos. Think about what you really want your pictures to say. I like my photos to tell a story, so I always try to incorporate as much as I can into each frame. If I’m photographing Green Lanterns glowing ring, I might have his cat sister dance in the background. Think about packing in as much as possible into each picture. Group shots that focus on one person are a great example of layering a photo. 5) Get in front of the camera with your kids. Along with planning for crazy, this is my favorite tip. Learn your camera's timer or ask a neighbor to photograph the entire family. Maybe even hand the camera over to the first house you take your kids to trick or treat at and ask them to take a quick picture for you… what a great photo that would make! Especially if it’s your child’s first Halloween!

photo credit: Jennifer Chaney

Retail Shops

Hollywood Toys & Costumes
A visit here is almost a right of passage for kids who just can’t decide what costume they will wear for Halloween. This isn’t your typical spirit store, mind you – it has been creeping out customers since 1950, and it’s easy to see how. This costume shop has everything from wigs to fake body parts to costumes for kids and adults. Browsing here is half the fun: stop by the magic tricks counter for an impromptu show.  Decorations and other spooky decor are plentiful, so don’t be afraid to really get in the Halloween spirit and cover the house in cobwebs and ghostly apparitions.

6600 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles
Hours: Mon.-Sat. from 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. from 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Phone: 323-464-4444
Online: yourhollywoodcostumes.com

kids costumes

photo credit: Juhan Sonin via Creative Commons

Make Believe, Inc.
Kids will get to ‘make believe’ they are just about anything when shopping at this fantastic and expansive costume shop. Superheroes, princesses, pirates, Cat in the Hat, crayons, spooky costumes, and a wide range of animal costumes are just a few of the many choices available. If Moms and Dads really want to go all out but don’t want the commitment of buying an expensive ensemble, a staff member will act as your personal costume stylist and help you choose an elaborate get up from their rental selection.

3240 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica
Hours: Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sun. from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phone: 310-396-6785
Online: makebelieveinccostumes.com7th Annual Halloween Party for Downtown L.A. Kids

 photo credit: Halloween Party Downtown LA Kids

Adele’s Costumes
Adele’s is a small costume shop that is loaded to the hilt with costumes. While many patrons dub the place chaotic, they’ll also assure you that the friendly staff knows exactly where to locate just about anything you need from the shelves, which are packed sky-high with merchandise. Adele’s has been serving Hollywood since 1945, and is an entertainment industry institution. Bring kids up to the second floor shop to poke, play and discover some truly unique outfits.

5034 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood
Hours: Tues.-Fri. from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Phone: 323-663-2231
Online: adelescostumes.com

halloweencam

photo credit: Elena Fenegan

Ursula’s Costumes
Ursula’s offers literally thousands of kids costumes that run the gamut from classic witches and Dracula attire to TV and movie characters, food and candy, renaissance and medieval garb, and just about anything else your little one can conjure up. We love this spot for the accessories – wigs, masks, tights, make-up and all kinds of accessorizing toys that make pulling together your own unique costume (for when your daughter wants to be a My Little Pony Princess Vampire Bride…) a snap. Or at least possible!

2516 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica
Hours: Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Phone: 310-582-8230
Online: ursulascostumes.com

 baby costumes

photo credit: Juhan Sonin via Creative Commons

Halloween Town Kids
Halloween Town got so big it had to split into three stores, and one of them is just for kids (and pets, too). There’s an outstanding selection of costumes for kids, makeup, pet costumes, clothing, toys, decor, novelties and everything else you need for home or school for Halloween. Another bonus is that this Halloween-centric story is open all year, so you can really get a head start on that shopping.

2921 West Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank
Call for store hours.
Phone: 818-848-3644
Online: halloweentownstore.comHalloween Costumes

 photo credit: epSos .de via fickr

Resale Shops

All that browsing may have you wondering where you could save some pennies. Why not get creative and hit up your local Goodwill for inspiration? You can pick and choose from hundreds of items to create your own costume, but they also offer a variety of brand-new or gently used costumes. Teach your little goblin about going green and donate your outfits once the holiday is over, so that another child can enjoy them for next year’s fun.

You can also find wicked wearables at Bluebird and Grow Kid Grow. Both fabulous resale stores have a tempting selection of Halloween costumes well before the holiday arrives. If you’re looking for bargain goodies closer to your home check out this list of the best resale shops for kids all over LA.

And if you’re into being totally green, why not trade last year’s cool costume for another one?
Saturday October 11th, 2014 is National Costume Swap Day. If you have outgrown costumes on your hands, (or they’re taking up space in your closet), this is the perfect opportunity to be out with the old and in with the new-to-you! Many resale shops host a swap on this day (or sometimes another day) so check your local favorite shop to see if they will take part in one – or host one with friends yourself!

Or, if you’re a crafty mom with a talent for homemade duds, check out these suggestions for DIY Halloween Costumes.

We wish you a howling good time on Halloween! Let us know if there are any cool costume shops we missed.

- Elena Fenegan

Additional image of baby in cow costume by Caitlin Regan via Creative Commons.