Even before the Christmas rush, driving down Milwaukee Street is exhausting. Halloween specialty stores spring up in the Boise Towne Square area starting in September. But those big-box temporary retailers aren't the only costume options available—locally owned and operated shops provide both prepared ensembles and the supplies you need to create your own costume.
Fortunately for those who never grew out of our fascination with dress-up, the Treasure Valley has been blessed with a year-round costume retailer, The Costume Shop. The Chinden Boulevard retailer not only rents or sells prepared ensembles, it's also a great source for shoes, props and accessories for folks creating their own costumes.
The Costume Shop also sells wigs and professional theatrical makeup for more elaborate special effects. When it comes to costume-related accouterments and things you're unlikely to find anywhere else, the Costume Shop comes in first place. The store features items like EL Wire, a bendable, battery-powered light-up wire that glows brightly enough to shine through a mask's eyeholes, lending an awesomely creepy effect.
Though the Costume Shop is around all year long, the Theatrical Costume Sale is here for one day only. On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Boise State Department of Theatre Arts is cleaning out their closets and selling hundreds of costumes and accessories. With prices starting at $1 and whole costumes available for less than $20, it's a great way to snag a high quality costume for a low price.
In addition to more typical costumes like zombies and fantasy creatures, the department is selling uniforms and formal wear that could easily be incorporated into a unique Halloween outfit. Visit the Theatrical Costume Sale website for more details and photos of some of the costumes for sale. The sale is Oct. 22 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Room 214 of the Morrison Center Academic Wing.
But if traipsing around big boxes in mall-land is more your style, Halloween Express, located in the former Borders Books location in the Boise Towne Square mall, is one of the stores selling pre-made costumes and decorations. Practically across the street is Halloween Bootique, and Spirit Halloween Store has reopened shop in the former CompUSA big box. For those headed down Fairview Avenue, Halloween City is also a good bet.
Most of these stores sell the same simple costumes—ranging from the horrific to the sexy to the humorous—along with shoes, hats and other costume accessories. Though they provide makeup for special effects, it tends not to be professional quality.
Depending on your skill with a sewing machine—or your willingness to call in favors with relatives with skills—you can hit up fabric stores to find the right tools to make a beautiful (or badass) Halloween costume. Larger, national retailers like Jo-Ann Fabrics carry other non-fabric craft materials like floral products, woodworking and painting supplies so the truly adventurous can make their own props, as well.
Consider heading to Jo-Ann Fabrics or smaller retailers like Hancock Fabrics to assemble your own outfit from the ground up. Smaller, local fabric stores tend to focus more on quilting or knitting supplies, so stick to the big boys for Halloween. In particular, the Jo-Ann Superstore at 1085 N. Milwaukee is a Mecca for homemade costumes.
And for those on a budget, don't forget Savers thrift store, which sells both new and previously worn costumes in addition to their massive everyday selection of thrift treasures.