written by: Marigold Pascual
Halloween Costume Shopping in City Known for Costuming
After an enduring summer which finally seems to have an end in sight, we New Orleanians turn our sights to cooler nights and costumes. October kicks off festival season for us, and Halloween is the harbinger of costume season. In a city filled with people who like to dress, it’s both easy and challenging to find something to wear. Some say (not me) that Halloween is a dress rehearsal for Mardi Gras. How insulting to Halloween! I’ve also heard it said that Halloween is more popular than Mardi Gras because most people will dress for Halloween, but not everyone will dress for Mardi Gras. Do you think this is true?
In whatever shape your costume closet may be in, there’s always room for more. You can squeeze a bit of room for that skull and feather headdress that beckons to your very soul. You can eke out some space for that bedazzled Elvis jumpsuit with the sequin wings on the back. I mean, who couldn’t use another wig, or tutu, or sequined anything, am I right? Don’t worry, to aid you in your Halloween shopping adventures, we’ve compiled a list of pop-ups, art markets, and shops for you to visit. And if you can’t find anything, you’re not trying hard enough!
Pop-ups & Art Markets:
Halloween Costume Sale!
The Kingpin Bar
Saturday, October 12 from Noon – 4pm
If Facebook responses are any indication, this is by far the most popular market. A newer Halloween pop-up, this market was added due to the popularity of the Mardi Gras costume markets held for the last 10 years. Anchored by Love, Marigold, and her handmade feather headdresses, this market also features local sellers known for their bountiful vintage, new and handmade costumes and accessories. One of the best parts of this market? It’s located in one of Uptown’s finest dive bars and having drinks while shopping (or as a reward for finding a great costume) is a definite plus.
Piety Market in Exile
The New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St Claude
Saturday, October 12 from 11am – 4pm
After the Piety market lost its lease on Piety street (where it got its name), it was “exiled” to the Healing Center. Though exile may not be the right word because this venue has the added benefit of temperature control, very important for shoppers (and vendors) who no longer have to do battle with the rain or the heat. Many local, handmade, and vintage sellers frequent this market, with many downtown artists that you won’t find anywhere else.
Music Box Halloween Art Market
Music Box Village
4557 N. Rampart
Sunday, October 13 from Noon – 5pm
This unique market is held in the Music Box Village, which is a whimsical art installation of buildings that can be played like instruments! In addition to monthly art markets, the venue often hosts music shows, where musicians incorporate the buildings into their sound. This market features many newer artists breaking into the scene, as well as edgier, well-known artists like Deadly Dapper, who incorporates real human teeth and animal bones into her jewelry.
Art in the Bend
Saturday, October 19 from 10am – 3pm
This market recently made their year anniversary and is a smaller, quaint market held every third Saturday in the Nuance Gallery. You can always find Heather Elizabeth Designs at this market – she got her start post-Katrina and is known for her New Orleans centric jewelry. Sometimes you can even find the elusive Flour Child Bakery, with her inimitable chocolate chip cookies (literally the best cookie I’ve ever eaten). The artists at this market rotate frequently, but regardless of who is showing, it feels like a wonderful community affair.
24th Annual Halloween Costume Boo-tique!
The New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St Claude
Saturday, October 26 from Noon – 5pm
Cree McCree and Oliver Manhattan started the Halloween and Mardi Gras markets over two decades ago when there wasn’t much of an outlet for artists to feature and sell their work. These two markets are highly curated and feature arguably the best artists in town and those who have been honing their craft the longest. This market is anchored by Cree McCree, Oliver Manhattan, and Kate McNee – all of whose creations have been gracing the heads and hearts of New Orleanians for over 20 years.
Brick & Mortar Stores About Town:
Featuring a wide variety of vintage and new clothing, costumes, wigs, fake eyelashes, jewelry and more. They even have a large section just for men.
You can buy, trade, or sell your clothes and costumes here, and they have a steadily rotating stock of goodies. This location is great for ramping up with costumes during the high, holy days.
Miss Claudia’s Vintage Clothing & Costumes
While there is some vintage clothing, much of the show floor features new clothing in vintage styles – think funky men’s suits, pin-up girl clothing, and the like.
Uptown Costume & Dancewear
Lots of theme costumes, so many wigs, eyelashes, and more. The owner here says their busiest time of year is Halloween!
1128 St. Roch
A cute shop in the St. Roch, this shop features Friday night sip and shops with Ingrid Lucia – so classy! You can find plenty of vintage goods, with some handmade costume pieces from the talented Stephanie Brown.
The New Orleans Costume Center
This massive center has some of everything! They sell costumes and accessories handmade by local artists, as well as other pieces of vintage costumery that you can make your own.
Of course, there are many people who like to make their own costumes, and power to you! But if you’re new to creating, my advice is to not be afraid and to jump in. People don’t automatically become costume experts; it takes some time. You must have a hot glue gun – you can buy a decent one at Walmart for $10-15. Various accouterment to glue can be found at Michael’s – like pom-pom balls, flowers, glittery bits. If you want to find some fabric or feathers, you should check out Jefferson Variety on Iris. The ladies that work here are sometimes surly, but they warm up once you get to know them…you know, in a couple of years. But it’s easy to start making a costume – you can even use something plain – like a dress or shirt – as a base, and then build off of that. Look around for inspiration, learn from your mistakes, enjoy yourself!
Happy Halloween Y’all!