Still need a costume? Really?

By Ian Winship

Halloween is right around the corner and you still don’t have a costume. You’ve checked your pockets and you aren’t exactly stacking bills. You have to have a costume, so you hit the road with what you’ve got, and get busy.

Some may be gifted enough to head over to Jo-Ann Fabrics or Michael’s Arts and Crafts and whip up something snazzy. But what if you aren’t one of those people? Don’t worry, there are still places you can go to get an original costume that won’t break the bank.

A great place to start is thrift stores. There are quite a few in the area. Thrift stores have all sorts of odd and interesting things that could be used together to make the best costume ever. Not only can you find every type of clothing out there, but you will also find them at reasonable prices. The biggest one in the area is the Salvation Army on Route 9 in Hadley, Mass. This place is great. It has rows and rows of clothes that were donated by people in the area. You can find anything from full suits to leotards. Not only is it a great place to piece together a costume, but you can also go there to save a little money on your other school-related needs. The best thing about the Salvation Army is the mass quantity they have to offer. There are rows of clothes sorted by color that are just waiting to be found. It may take some time to sift through everything, but the prices make it all worthwhile. Who knows, maybe you’ll finally find that perfect used pair of underwear to compliment your Quailman costume.

There are a few similar stores located in The Big Y Plaza in Amherst – Plato’s Closet and Goodwill. Goodwill is a smaller version of the Salvation Army, with a similar set up and similar prices. You may not find the same type of eccentric clothing there, but it is still worth a shot. Every so often you will find a diamond in the rough, and there is nothing better than that. Plato’s Closet seems to cater more to the needs of females, whereas the other places has a good mixture for both guys and girls. This works out though, because what easier costume could there be than a hearty cross-dresser? Go for it. There is no limit to what you can do with another person’s normal clothes. Keep in mind that it is in these small stores where you will likely find the some of the most interesting things … Whatever it takes to avoid dressing up as a character from the Jersey Shore.

The best place in the area to get a costume is Ultra Gal in downtown Northampton. Don’t let that name deter you. You may have walked by it from time to time wondering what goes on in there. Well, it’s four floors of everything you need to make an awesome costume. They really do have everything. They provide a wide variety of masks, face paint and props. You can find costumes from different points in history. There are even full-body costumes like a Santa suit or a chicken, and smaller things that can be mixed and matched to make whatever you costume you’d like. The store in itself is an interesting place to go even if you don’t end up buying a costume. The first floor is on street level and it seems like a semi-normal street shop. Then you will find a sign that says “Enter if you dare!” This will bring you to the stairs that brings you down into various other floors that have masks and costumes hanging everywhere.

The time to find a costume is now. You better get out there and get busy before all the good ones are taken. Go, go, go!

Ian Winship can be reached at [email protected]