By Jenn Haight
Halloween shops pop up in empty strip malls and abandoned storefronts for a couple of months each year offering cheaply made run-of-the-mill costumes and decorations. But what're available at most of these stores are the same things you'd find in any drugstore or discount supercenters. So, if you're seeking something outside of the norm in theme and quality, a trip to one of the long-established, family-run costume shops in Houston is a must. Open year round, these facilities offer options for fabulous costuming for any occasion.
Frankel's Costume Co.
Founded in 1950 as Monty's Magic Mart, Monty Frankel slowly morphed his business into a costume shop. It soon outgrew its small footprint and expanded to its current 40,000-square-foot warehouse on the east side of Houston. From Mardi Gras to Santa Claus to vixen witches, Frankel's can set you up with any style of costume. There are options to purchase completely prepared costumes or the individual pieces to put a costume together. Frankel's carries makeup and accessories ranging from the single-use variety to professional-quality makeup for stage, special effects and video production. Remaining faithful to the passion that began the company, Frankel's also continues to carry supplies for magic and puppetry.
Arne's is known for its massive selection of party supplies almost as much as it is for its fabulous array of costumes. Housed in a massive warehouse, Arne's has aisles of ribbon, floral-making supplies, paper plates and decorations for parties. They also have a second warehouse next door with a huge assortment of pet and discounted party supplies. Arne's has a wall plastered with images of the costumes available. Customers provide employees with the number of the item they'd like to see, and then retrieve it for them. Besides the packaged options, there are also aisles of browsable costume accessories including gloves, canes, false teeth, hats and boas.
A member of the National Costume Association, Southern Importers has been selling costumes and all manner of other party accessories since 1915. One thing that makes this store different from others in the Houston area is that they not only carry completed costumes but they also carry the raw materials needed make homemade costumes too. They offer a large assortment of fabrics, feathers, glitter and trim. Besides traditional costume, dance and celebration supplies, Southern Importers also carries the goods for organizations to make parade floats. Other unique products include lighting supplies, award and banquet items and mannequins.
Looking for something a bit more on the risque side? Since the early 1980s, Erotic Cabaret Boutique has been serving the "sexier needs" of Houston from its storefront in Montrose. Well-known for its assortment of lingerie and fetish clothing, the store also carries form-fitting and often tantalizing costumes year-round, but especially during Halloween and Carnival season. There is also a large selection of masks and wigs for those looking to complete their ensemble.
Danny's Trix & Kix
A short drive outside of Houston brings you to a store with one of the largest arrays of costume selections in the industry. Long a spot for actors and performers to find specialized makeup, Danny's sells a huge assortment of appliances to accentuate any look. The supply includes fake teeth, noses, ears, fingers, hats, shoes, bags and more. There are rooms chock full of highly detailed, extravagantly elaborate costumes available for rent. Commonly utilized for theater and opera companies, these costumes can be rented for Halloween, theme parties, festivals and anytime you want a stand out costume.
Performing Arts Supply Company
For exquisite and high-quality costumes, nothing can beat a rental company specifically designed to cater to the needs of theater companies. From multilayered, fur-trimmed Elizabethan costumes to Renaissance regalia crafted for a peasant, the Performing Arts Supply Company offers individual and group costumes. Sectioned off by theme and topic, you can browse online or visit in-person to peruse the large selection of theater makeup, costume jewelry, theatrical books and scenic supplies. Where else could you find costumes for any character in the Gilbert and Sullivan catalog?
Whether you're getting your spook on by visiting haunted Houston locations, dressing up for a costume ball, heading out to the Renaissance Festival, celebrating Mardi Gras, or looking for an incredible performance costume, these Houston stores are sure to help you transform your look.