You have exactly four days to figure out, and acquire, a Halloween costume. At this point, you have either the foggiest of directions in mind (funny, serious, scary) or possibly one concrete idea (Sergio Flores of Sexy Sax Man fame, take it, it’s yours). While it’s easy to climb down an internet rabbit hole in search of air-tight ideas, it can be most helpful to hit the costume shops to first see what’s available and get some inspiration. As an aside: If you borrow a friend’s saxophone, please don’t use it for beer drinking.
The Rental: Malabar
This spot has been in business for nearly nine decades, for good reason. For the past seven years, a portion of Malabar’s ample catalogue has been available for sale online. Still, its brick and mortar location is where it’s at, offering rental costumes by the thousands. Expect a lineup around the block. 14 McCaul St., 416-598-2581.
The Secret Identity: Theatrix Costume House
Pay close attention to directions, as this is a tough place to find. As a bonus, Theatrix is slightly off the radar, and may be a quiet spot for a drop-in. Great for licensed superhero or theme-based costumes, both for sale and rent. 165 Geary Ave. 2nd floor, 416-977-3113.
The Mask: It’s My Party
You can accomplish two tasks at this place. It’s My Party always has some stellar masks on-hand, loads of accessories and wigs, and some costumes for adults (Fred Flintstone-type packages). Its real stock-in-trade is kids stuff, though. So when you take your kid trick-or-treating, be a cool dad and get yourself a mask. 423 Danforth Ave., 416-469-2223.
The Last Minute: Creepers
This is a dedicated Halloween outpost with a huge assortment of costumes and accessories. Just by looking around, you’ll be able to cobble something together in the 11th hour. Beach Vacation Vampire or Give My Remains to Broadway (you may remember this from Troy McClure) — you’ll figure it out. 900 Dufferin St. (Dufferin Mall), 416-534-0468; 3401 Dufferin St. (Yorkdale Mall), 416-780-0243.
The Last Stand: Vintage shops and Local marts
If you’re strapped for both time and cash, get creative. Head to your local vintage shop, followed by a wig store (you’ll notice that all the wigs are gone from costume shops at this point), and get thinking. A grocer and Winners can sort you out, so don’t limit yourself to Value Village (though it’s not a bad choice). Also, don’t forget that Shopper’s Drug Mart deep discounts most of its admittedly average stock on the final lead-up days.
Image courtesy of Jorge Quinteros.