Costume Drama

Hussein, Freddy Krueger, and Peggy Pom Pom

On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who doesn't know it is Halloween until you are blindsided by an egg, there are neighborhood stores without the breadth of Halloween Adventure or Ricky's that nevertheless present quick solutions. At Kmart, you have to go to the second floor for the adult outfits. (The kids' stuff, including a miniature plaid skirt and microphone for a pint-size Britney Spears and an Iraqi invasion-ready camo suit for her brother, is more prominently displayed near the checkout lines.) Upstairs, there's a big pink tutujust begging to be worn Cockette style by a man with a beard, a hippie costume with a flowered shirt and bellbottoms not far off from what people are wearing on the street outside, and an elaborate getup called a bleeding ghost ($19.99). This consists of a Martin Margiela-ish hooded black robe, gloves, and something called an "animated ghost face bleeding mask" that comes with a heart-shaped blood pump and the assurance that "the two-layer mask allows 'blood' to flow without a mess!" (It appears to work on the same scientific principle as the poo-stained heinie.)

If even Kmart is too much for you, there's always Rite-Aid. A recent visit turned up far more candy than costumes, but there was something we hadn't seen anywhere else: a $12.99 mask shaped like an eerie smiling football that covers the wearer's entire head. If you don't mind walking around nearly blind and on the verge of suffocation, this could be your ticket to a happy Halloween.

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