Walk in and you will be surrounded by faces without skulls, hair without scalps and skeletons without skin. Its close confines are home to an eclectic collection of the latest in fall fashions.
“Cloaks are really popular this year,” said Shirley Aydelotte, an employee at Life of the Party, Fort Collins’ most popular costume shop.
And why not accompany that cloak with a sophisticated pair of Harry Potter glasses or a beautifully cast Lord of the Rings ring?
“Actually, Austin Powers is also quite popular this year,” Aydelotte said.
It looks like there is something for everyone this fall, the intellectual types and the swingers. In fact, for the more rugged, unshaven, outdoor personality, Life of the Party even supplies a werewolf option.
“The more traditional figures, like Frankenstein and werewolves are always popular,” Aydelotte said.
Indeed, the oddities of October are rearing their made-up faces with the arrival of Halloween and, in Fort Collins, Life of the Party ushers in the season of playing dress-up.
Life of the Party, locally owned by Pat Talley, was originally a toy store owned by Talley’s father before it was converted completely into a costume and gag-gift shop.
Around Halloween, customers will find the store packed with costumes and consumers half-dressed in possible disguises. Among the bustle between the crowded aisles of hats, wigs and oversized beer-bottle costumes are the store’s employees cleverly camouflaged and dressed as anything their imagination comes up with.
“The people who work here are encouraged to dress up,” Aydelotte said.
Despite the people at the store, however, the real entertainment comes in trying out their many costumes. An aspiring trick-or-treater can choose from any number of costumes from more traditional, angels, princesses, G.I. Joes and pirates to more elaborate costumes like human beer bottles or Popeye.
“I think the most extensive costume we have this year is the Popeye suit,” Aydelotte said. “It comes with a full-head mask, the clothes and the big, pumped-up arms.”
Down to the finest detail, an ambitious costume designer can pull out all the stops.
“We have fake I.D. cards with movie stars and other figures on them; we have all types of fake jewelry; and, of course we have fake money,” Aydelotte said. “One million dollar bills usually go for around 50 cents.”
Perhaps the best costumes, not to mention the cheapest, are not pre-fabricated. Even just a wig can go a long way.
From being a hair-rocker and showing your appreciation of music history to becoming a hairy cross-dresser revealing your sensitive side, imagination often will make the best impression. Besides, you can pay tribute to those things you really love at only the cost of one night’s humiliation.
Of course, if one night does not do your costume justice, there are other times for costumes throughout the year.
“We actually sell a lot of costumes around Christmas and Easter for Santa and the Easter bunny,” Aydelotte said. “Also, there are a number of private events throughout the year that come up.”
Even if it is just once a year, it gives us all the more reason to let loose our inhibitions and live the dream… to make a complete ass of ourselves and still fit right in.