Celebrating a Highly Unusual Halloween with Attitude

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Halloween is fast approaching, and we all know it will be a different sort of holiday this year. The Village Holiday Parade has been cancelled and replaced by a virtual component. But people all over the city are still decorating the fronts of their homes; the Halloween spirit will not be extinguished. The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade  goes virtual Saturday, “Blood Manor,” a haunted house experience will be open with safety and social distancing, and the Village Halloween Costume Ball will take place virtually. New Yorkers do not give up on something they love. They adapt.

New York is a city of one-of-a-kind stores, and some of them specialize in making holidays happen. Find the costume and vintage stores selling looks to kill, or be killed by. There are thousands of looks, from super scary to super heroes, sexy and demure. You will be celebrating Halloween with attitude.

Halloween Body Parts
This is where to come for the body parts you need.

Abracadabra is one of the largest costume and prop stores in the city. Be warned that gruesome, assorted limbs, heads and other body parts are for sale in the deli case at the store’s entrance. Do you have a few limbs to spare?

Halloween Store
Some of the many animal and figures available.

Props like these animals are for sale or for rent. They are not inexpensive, but they do make a statement. Abracadabra has the largest selection of props in the city. There are walls full of packaged costumes and they are sold in all sizes, from petite to plus size, so no one is left out.

Halloween Masks and Creatures.
More masks and creatures.

Odd creatures like this on are on sale, or for rent, as are skulls to wear or to decorate with. The store has three levels, and is packed with many unusual items. These elaborate masks can finish your look.

Packaged costumes for children.

We all know that Halloween is a big holiday for kids. Trick and treating is discouraged these days, but pumpkin carving and dressing up in your pod is perfectly okay. Disney characters, superheros and other franchise costumes are available, from Star Wars to Harry Potter. Princesses, fairies and cowboys, too.

Halloween Masks
Very serious masks.

There are many different kinds of masks. The masks are roped off so people do not try them on.

A Very Large Assortment of Wigs
A very large assortment of wigs.

If wigs are your thing, you will find hundreds of styles to chose from. Fright, punk, glam, historical and more. There are also more masks for Halloween or other holidays and masked parties.

Special Effects Make-Up for Halloween
A big case of special effects make-up.

The selection of make-up is extensive. In addition to glam make-up and glitter, you will find all sorts of prosthetics. Scars, burns, ears, noses, horns and more. There are even different shades of blood to chose from. Eek!

Halloween Costumes
New pieces to create your look.

In the basement is a large selection of non-packaged costumes. These are new pieces of clothing produced by the store that resemble vintage clothing.

Super-Hero And Other Costumes for Rent
Superhero and other costumes for rent.

The costumes are arranged by theme. You can rent some of them — usually the more elaborate costumes. And they are available to buy in a variety of sizes.

Period Rental Costumes for Halloween
Period costumes to buy or rent.

Period costumes include the ’20s, ’70s, ’80s, Colonial and other eras, Fairy Tale, TV and movie themed, animal mascots, superhero and villains, medieval, and or course witches and vampires. Find hats, jewelry and other accents to complete your look. Should you want to learn some magic tricks — time travel, perhaps!? — there is a section that sells the tricks of the trade.

Abracadabra, 19 West 21st Street

Haunted House for Halloween
Decorate your haunted house with these at New York Costumes, Halloween Adventure.

New York Costumes, Halloween Adventure is a store that stretches from Broadway to 4th Avenue in the Village. Here you will find different rental props, as well as a selection of rental costumes.

Halloween caostumes
Figures among the costumes. If memory serves me well, this is Donatello.

People were already shopping for Halloween in all these stores while I was browsing.

Funny Costumes for Halloween
Funny costumes among the scary ones.

Costumes are all arranged by theme, so if you know what you want it is pretty easy to find your section. All the costumes are packaged. Add-ons are scattered around each section.

Costume masks for halloween
Masks for all seasons.

Masks have their own section, with a good selection of different styles and looks.

Halloween Wigs in NYC
A world of wigs.

Most of the wigs are packaged. There are over 100 different styles of wigs, current to historical.

Fun Children's Costumes for Halloween.
Fun children’s costumes.

The large section of children’s costumes was full of young shoppers with their parents.

Put some bite into your look.

Fangs are here for sure, as are other prosthetics. Many different novelties line the walls.

A Hawaiian Halloween
A Hawaiian Halloween.

If you want a happier look, why not go Hawaiian? Every sort of look is found at New York Costume. It is a very large store on two levels.

New York Costume/Halloween Adventure, 808 Broadway (104 Fourth Avenue at Eleventh St).

Vintage Halloween
Each section is labelled at Screaming Mimi’s.

Across town is Screaming Mimi’s, selling vintage fashion and one-of-a-kind costumes put together with a stylist’s eye. The first store opened in the mid-’80s. They moved from the East Village and Noho to the Meatpacking District several years ago. Celebrity clientele comes to them for their unique pieces. Not into band uniforms or glam rock? Try costumes deaccessioned from British theatrical collections.

Halloween Costumes that are Vintage.
Uniforms to vintage evening dresses.

None of the pieces here are replicas. You will find head-to-toe vintage dressing.

Decorated Face Shields For Today's World.
Decorated face shields for today’s world.

Should you want to mask up safely, Mimi’s offers a big selection of these decorated face shields. Other vintage masks are also for sale.

Vintage Clothing for Halloween.
Men’s clothing and sequin hot pants.

Tulle skirts for that Punkette look are available. Elaborate head pieces and wings are also  specialties.

Unusual Wigs and Footwear for Halloween
Unusual wigs and footwear among the clothing.

There is a large collection of vintage shoes and boots to make your look truly authentic.

A Wide Range of Costumes for Halloween.
A wide range of costumes. Sexy to goofy.

Want to dress with imagination and humor? Screaming Mimi’s is for you. There is a reason why they have been in business for over 30 years.

Screaming Mimi’s, 240 West 14th Street

Halloween costumes
The entrance to Gothic Renaissance.

Gothic Renaissance offers many different looks for men and women. The clothing is all new, and is sourced from many countries. Walking into the boutique is like stepping into another world.

Coats and Jackets for costumes
Coats and jackets that might live beyond Halloween.

Many pieces are a bit old-school rock-inspired, looks that some people might wear year-round.

Sexy Halloween Costumes.
Statement pieces for women.

Hundreds of different looks are on display. They bill themselves as an alternative fashion boutique.

Different looks for Halloween.
So many different looks.

Bikers and dandies can find pieces. Would-be pirates and princesses will find things, too.

Fanciful Tiaras and Crowns for the parade
Fanciful tiaras and crowns among the masks.

Tiaras crown the princess look. There is also a lot of jewelry among the masks to finish your look.

Costumes for Halloween
Costumes that cut across a time divide.

Pieces are tucked everywhere. You never know what you will find here as the stock changes all the time.

Halloween Costumes
Deconstructed pirate blouses.

Build an original look with the many pieces available here. You will be unique.

Gothic Renaissance, 110 Fourth Avenue

Unusual masks at Trash and Vaudeville, the Ramones’ favorite store.

Trash and Vaudeville is an East Village institution. It has been around since 1975 and is still going strong. They dressed The Ramones, as well as The Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Blondie and others. At Halloween, they offer unusual punk-inspired masks like the one above.

Punk Costumes for Halloween
Put your punk look together.

Trash and Vaudeville manufactures most of their clothing under the Tripp label, which is sold to other stores and websites. The punk look endures.

Risque Bodysuits and Punk Plaids
Risque bodysuits and punk plaids.

All the punk plaids are here, as well as lots of leather and suggestive bodysuits.

Masks, Goggles and Jewels for Halloween
Masks, goggles and jewels for a punk look.

The masks are all on the aggressive side. Spikes are a big part of the punk look.

Halloween Handbags
Celebrate the season with a fun handbag.

Even if you don’t want to go full blown punk, the whimsical handbags or some Elvira socks can add a fun touch to a simpler costume.

Interesting Masks and Hats.
Interesting masks and hats.

There are a ton of rock tees for sale, too, along with vintage hats. Marky Ramone’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame statue sits next to a grotesque mask. If you want a costume with attitude, find it here.

Trash and Vaudeville, 96 East 7th Street

Halloween Costumes.
A small selection of unusual packaged costumes at Spark Pretty.

Not far away, Spark Pretty, a vintage store specializing in ’70’s, ’80’s and ’90’s clothing, offers more ideas for Halloween costumes. Stylists for TV and movies are among the store’s clients. It’s authentic.

Collectable Denim Jackets from Tony Alamo
Collectable denim jackets from Tony Alamo.

Tony Alamo jackets are very collectable. He is a real cult designer. Its followers produced the jackets. Nicky Minaj and Miley Cyrus are fans, and Michael Jackson wore one of his jackets on the cover of Bad.

Vintage Sequins
Vintage pieces to make your costume sparkle.

The vintage pieces are one of a kind — and all very upbeat.

Spark Pretty, 333 East 9th Street

New York's Oldest Occult Store
New York’s oldest occult store.

Enchantments has everything a witch could need. The boutique has been in the East Village since 1982. They sell special hand-carved-to-order candles, other candles, incense, oils and books on magic.

Ask the witches for Halloween
What do you want to ask the witches?

The hand carved candles help people manifest their intent. The store has never dealt in dark magic, and they help people help themselves. Maybe this is something we can all use in 2020 while we are celebrating Halloween in this highly unusual year.

Enchantments, 424 East 9th Street

Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn. 

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