Things to Do

Boo: Where to Find the Perfect Halloween Costume

It’s October: time to dust off the old French maid outfit you bought at Halloween Express. You know, the one you saw five other women wearing last year. Or you could rock your costume party/contest/trick-or-treating with creative (and authentic) finds fro

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Meeps Vintage Fashionette (2104 18th Street, NW; 202-265-6546). Halloween is the busiest time of year at this Adams Morgan shop—probably because owners Danni Sharkey and Leann Trowbridge are insanely helpful. Tell them what you want to be, or bring in a picture, and they’ll find you an ensemble to match. They up their selection of costume clothing (think: hippiewear, super sparkly dresses, and wigs galore) in October. Customers usually want to be a character from the movies or TV, says Sharkey, who has put together countless Charlie’s Angels costumes. This year? She is hoping guys will want to be Mystery from the show The Pickup Artist. “It’s so easy and perfect and ridiculous,” she says.

Clothing selection: Men’s and women’s.
Tuesday–Saturday noon–7; Sunday noon–5.

Annie Creamcheese
(3279 M Street, NW; 202-298-5555). Washington’s best-dressed love Annie Creamcheese for designer vintage, but this hip Georgetown store is a surprisingly good stop for costume seekers, too. Skip the clothes on display, which can be $300 a pop, and head to the back corner for a more Halloween-affordable selection of ’50s to ’80s party dresses and men’s shirts and ties. Or check out Annie’s for accessories such as $12 sunglasses or $9 black-and-white striped tights. Many items have the decade on the tag.

Clothing selection: Men’s and women’s.
Monday–Wednesday 11-7; Thursday–Friday 11–8; Saturday 11–9; Sunday noon–6.

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The Remix (645 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE; 202-547-0211). Disco kings and Madonna wannabees can hit up this Eastern Market store for its ’70s and ’80s attire. Some items we’d actually wear, and others—like an oh-my-wow bright pink pantsuit—we’d sport only on October 31. If you want the best (read: most ridiculous) outfits, be prepared to shell out at least $50 or $60. But other items—including a few leather vests for around $20—are almost as good. The front of Remix is primarily couture, but head past the dressing rooms to find the bargains.

Clothing selection: Men’s and women’s.
Monday–Friday 11–7; Saturday 11–8; Sunday noon–6.

Madam X’s Vintage Planet (7000 B Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-6380). This basement shop is packed with vintage treasures and exuberant employees full of suggestions on what to wear and how to accessorize. The clothing selection is tame (plenty of classic black dresses for pulling off the Audrey Hepburn look) but includes pieces that date to the Victorian period. The sheer volume of sunglasses and glasses frames (dated not just by decade, but by year) should be enough for any costume-hunter. It’s almost impossible to leave empty-handed—if anything, you’ll be clutching an old-school glass Coke from the store’s antique soda machine.

Clothing selection: Men’s and women’s.
Wednesday–Friday 2-7; Saturday–Sunday 1-6. Hours may vary, so call before going.

Moonshadow Antiques & Collectibles
(7000 C Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-8775). Right next to Madam X’s is Moonshadow, a small store with a few great finds—including long gold gloves and dainty black hats—for anyone who wants to go elegant this Halloween. Also check out the collection of vintage aprons to pull off the ’50s housewife-look with style. You have to fight your way past a door that sticks to get in (push HARD), but it’s worth checking out.

Clothing selection: Mainly women’s.
Monday–Friday 11–7; Saturday 11–6; Sunday 11–5.

Rerun (7001 Carroll Avenue., Takoma Park; 301-270-0360). Smelling of incense and reverberating with yoga music, this vintage store is of a different breed than its Takoma Park neighbors. The selection of ’60s and ’70s retro vintage sits more on the trendy side (example: a pair of killer BCBG boots). But if you’re in the neighborhood, scope out the selection of cowboy and cowgirl boots.

Clothing selection: Men’s and women’s.
Monday–Saturday 11–7; Sunday 10–6.

Polly Sue’s Vintage Shop (6915 Laurel Avenue. Takoma Park; 301.270.5511). If you’re looking for a hat to cap off your costume, Polly Sue’s can help. Try a ’60s paisley style or a ’70s fedora, complete with a showy red feather. The store, mostly clothing, is also home to some beautiful vintage dresses, but—if we’re just talking Halloween­—a dress may run you a bit more of your paycheck than you’re willing to part with. One word of advice: If you want to snag la crème de la crème, hurry! Everything—like in all of these stores—is one of a kind.

Clothing selection: Mainly women’s.
Monday–Friday 11-7; Saturday 11–6; Sunday 11–5.

What do you want to be for Halloween? Tell us in the comments section!

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Costume Stores in Washington

Vintage Stores for Costume Shopping

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