“This year we had a lot of school-going kids and people living in housing societies coming here to buy Halloween costumes as the Halloween parties have already begun. Even though it is the youth that celebrate Halloween with much enthusiasm and aplomb, we have also had senior citizens coming in for costumes. Just recently a 70-year-old not only bought a costume but also a variety of accessories for Halloween night. The Halloween week has already started and this time the festival is being celebrated like never before,” said an all-excited Sharon Timmins, the owner of Party Hunters – a one-stop party shop located in Bandra.
Halloween is celebrated every year on October 31 to mark ‘All Hallows Eve’ or ‘All Saints Eve’, which is dedicated to remembering saints, martyrs and dead souls. With Halloween being the flavour of the season, I embarked on a journey to find the best places to get the best costumes for Halloween. Outside Candies in Bandra, a tree catches my attention. This tree is situated just outside Party Hunters. The message on the tree reads, ‘Vampires – Beware of Ghosts, Spiders, Skeletons and Dragons’.
An employee, Caroline, greeted me as I step into the shop. After a tour of the entire shop, I felt I was in scary movie complete with skeletons, bones and weird masks. Bunny teeth, Halloween glasses, cut off fingers, shock-pop eyes, vampire costumes, little devils’ costumes, fake moustaches, quirky wigs, you name it, and they had it. “Youngsters and clients mostly prefer to take ready-made costumes, be it of superheroes or vampires. But very often many customers buy only hats, masks or other accessories as they already have the parts of their costumes in place,” said Caroline.
Just 100 metres from Party Hunters, I came across ‘MADCAPS’. A 200-square foot shop, this little gem of a place definitely had a lot in store for me. A ‘Happy Halloween’ greeting welcomed me at the door. A notice saying, ‘You Break You Pay, Your Kid Breaks You Pay Too’ surely made me laugh. I was amazed to see the number of scary masks and horror glasses at the store. If that is not enough, they even had costumes for couples, kids and adults. Different kinds of costumes such as prisoners, devils, pirates, witches and skeletons were on display.
“A full costume will easily cost about Rs 990 to 2400, whereas accessories would come from Rs 99 to Rs 700 depending upon the clients’ tastes, needs and creativity. People from different age groups come here to buy Halloween costumes. We have costumes for one-year-olds and 99-year-olds as well. Many a time, customers come prepped up for what they want. If the clients are not sure of what they want, then our staff is fully equipped to show them everything and get them the best Halloween outfit for their tastes. The kids are choosier about what they want. Very often they either take chef, devil, cat or prisoner costumes,” added Ekta, owner of ‘MADCAPS’. She recommends that for this Halloween, Minion and Satan costumes are the best bets.
While Party Hunters and MADCAPS sell the best outfits and accessories for Halloween, I wondered how students on shoe-string budgets would celebrate Halloween. I made a few calls and the very next hour I found my contacts leading me to ‘Maganlal Dresswala’, a 90-year-old shop situated at the heart of Vile Parle. “Robes, hats, costumes and masks are the few Halloween costumes and other accessories that we give on rent during the Halloween season. These rented costumes can range from Rs 350 to Rs 1250 depending on the availability and requirements of the clients. Children’s costumes can easily be rented for less than Rs 500, whereas costumes for adults would be anything between Rs 1000 to Rs 1250,” added Asha, an employee at the shop. As I spoke to her and took in sights of the various hats, pagdis and phetas, she got an order for the costume of Peshwa Bajirao, making me wonder whether this was for a Halloween party.
Next, I headed to ‘Hollywood Bollywood Dresswala’, where Ram Patil guided me to the few Halloween costumes that they had. Costumes for Dracula, witches, skeletons and armours were present. He came back with a few masks and a sales boy wore them and posed for me. He said, “Most of the times, customers come and show us the pictures of vampires and other scary characters as costume ideas. So if we don’t have that costume, we customise it according to the client’s demands. We make new ones as well. While there are not much sales during Halloween, we have customers who come to us to make customised witches and Dracula costumes.” As he showed me a few customised outfits, a customer next to me showed him a picture of cowboy, asking for a similar outfit.