A costume worthy of the Halloween party prize is going to take some effort. Here’s where to go in the city to spark a creative idea, where to go to find those bizarre extra items you need, and the big stores the you shouldn’t forget about.
Where to go for costume inspiration
Instead of going to the historical village to ride the caterpillar or indulge in cheese buns, come to look at the costumes worn throughout the park. Each costume in the park’s replica collection has been carefully researched and recreated, so if you’re looking for inspiration here, know that the attire is historically accurate of the era they represent.
Head down to Studio Bell to check out the National Music Centre’s collection of real-life rock star regalia. Get up and close to stage wear originally sported by Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé, Lee Aaron, Terri Clark and more. Lots of people dress as celebrities for Halloween — this extra bit of research will make sure you don’t just blend in with the riff raff. Collection items not currently on display can still be viewed at collections.nmc.ca.
850 4 St. S.E., 403-543-5115, nmc.ca
Fans of both history and the performance arts should visit the University of Calgary’s costume design collection. The university’s library and digital archives have an impressive collection of resources on costumes, some of which date back to the mid-nineteenth century. See what was worn by actors in a 1907 production of As You Like It and a 1974 production of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.
Places to get costumes that you may have missed
While this store specializes in traditional south Asian attire such as sarees and lehngas, this is also a great source for gorgeous fabrics, trims and jewellery. For anyone who wants their costume with a little something extra, an authentic fabric from this family-owned store is a good place to start.
5075 Falconridge Blvd. N.E., 403-293-3369
This local production company doesn’t just create cool special effects and 3D/stop motion animated short films — this is also a little-known venue for your Halloween needs. Makeup from here will take your costume from kitschy to terrifyingly realistic. Bleeding Art sells everything from gelatin burn kits ($23.80) to zombie packs ($15) to prosthetic-grade gelatin ($7.50).
3815 61 Ave. S.E., 403-236-0025, bleedingartindustries.com
Batons, leotards and legwarmers are here. Find Body Wrapper branded leotards and tutus, bun covers and costume embellishments by Glitter Pie and Mirella knitwear. Your costume will look authentic and the good quality means you can use the pieces repeatedly. (Who wouldn’t want to have to wear legwarmers more than once?)
6624 Centre St. S, 403-263-4828; 5720 Silver Springs Blvd. N.W., 403-294-1090, classiquedancewear.ca
Depending on the kind of costume you have in mind, Crown Surplus might have the novelty item you’re searching for. Find dog tags ($10) and an authentic British issue canteen ($65) to complete your costume.
1005 11 St. S.E., 403-265-1754, armysurplus.com
Sometimes the perfect costume isn’t in stores. Or if you’re lucky enough to find that costume, maybe it doesn’t fit just right. If this sounds like a problem you’ve had before, consider visiting Hanna’s Design Alterations to get a costume designed just for you. The store can put together a unique costume that will win you the Best Costume prize at the Halloween party. Consider it a bonus that you can also get a costume for your pet at the same time.
315, 12100 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-225-9777, calgary-dresses.ca
You likely already know that Reid’s stocks unique stationary, decorations and gifts, but if you haven’t picked through their Halloween stock you’ve got another thing coming. They have pre-built costumes, makeup, accessories and mix-and-match garments for those who want to customize their own Halloween look. Pick up some unique decorations while you’re there and stand out from the rest of the pack.
710 17 Ave. S.W., 403-229-4400, reidstationers.com
While you won’t find a costume here, you can take your makeup to the next level with the help of a pro. Whether you’re looking for a superhero look, something ghoulish or a more conventionally glamorous feel, just call in and ask to book with Kira. If you’re making the trip in anyway, this is also a great option to avoid buying a wig for your look — just pre-book a hair appointment and really commit to the season.
323 17 Ave. S.W., 403-264-3211, shagsaloncalgary.com
Here you’ll find the belts, straps and buckles you’re looking for to add that finishing touch to your costume. Or, if you’re a DIY type when it comes to costumes, you can purchase a leathercraft set ($49.99) and carve, stamp and finish the leather on a wallet or coin pouch yourself. (Or if you’re really dedicated, purchase all the supplies to make your own leather belt, stitching and lacing included, after a leatherworking class.)
7816 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-253-1768; 8, 2015 32 Ave., N.E., tandyleatherfactry.ca
The big stores you shouldn’t forget about
3911 37 St. S.W., 403-249-6641, canuckamusements.com
4307 Blackfoot Tr. S.E., 403-571-2466, thecostumeshoppe.com
1515 Centre St. N., 403-262-5717, donshobbyshop.ca
707, 3221 Sunridge Way N.E., 587-353-2266; 162, 8228 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-259-4333; 420, 5111 Northland Dr. N.W., 403-974-0050, halloweenalley.ca
Halloween City (seasonal store operated by Party City)
3120 27 St. N.E., 403-719-0997, halloweencity.com
5111 Northland Dr. N.W., 403-202-6108 and three other Calgary locations, fabriclandwest.com
5588 Signal Hill Centre S.W., 403-246-3336; 3160 27 St. N.E., 403-250-9833; 400, 8180 11 St. S.E., 403-640-1633, canada.michaels.com
9250 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-230-3306, themasque.ca
3320 20 Ave. N.E., 403-798-5688; 9950 Macleod Tr. S.E. 403-291-4537
9631 Macleod Trail S.W.; 1120, 901 64 Ave N.E.; 5663 Signal Hill Centre S.W., 866-586-0155, spirithalloween.com