It's usually around mid-July that I think of the perfect Halloween costume. My husband and I typically dress up as a couple, with get-ups ranging from the well-known (Tapatio man and Chiquita banana woman) to the obscure (The father and son duo of the Paul Thomas Anderson film based on the novel, There Will Be Blood – yes, I dressed up as a 10-year-old boy).
When September rolls through, it always seems too early for a head start on planning. By Oct. 1, I'll start having second thoughts on that great idea I had three months ago, and two weeks before Halloween, my husband I find ourselves scrambling for new ideas. Invariably, our costumes are always pulled together several days before All Hallows' Eve, and we tell ourselves we won't make the same mistake the following year.
Visiting specialty Halloween costume retailers can be a nightmare as the holiday nears, and it's not uncommon to wait in line at the door and again at the register after you’ve spent 45 minutes rummaging through the best of whatever slim pickings are left. And for those procrastinators (myself included) who prefer to come up with an original outfit rather than purchasing a pre-packaged costume, it's a challenge to think creatively at the last minute.
Whether you’re looking for that last piece for your nearly-complete historical-figure-as-a-zombie outfit, or you need an entire vintage-inspired wardrobe to transform yourself into a character from the film of the year, these local shops are a must-visit for anyone looking for an outside-of-the-box costume.
Eclectica Vintage Store, 5663 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.
Located in North Hollywood's "Antique Row," Eclectica not only carries antique and vintage furniture, bicycles and knick-knacks, but also a great selection of clothing, shoes and accessories.
Someone Else's, 11024 Magnolia Boulevard, NoHo Arts District.
Guaranteed to be the most popular stop for many last-minute shoppers, Someone Else's is a fail-safe for costumes, wigs and accessories for every decade. Select items are 50 percent off, just in time for the Halloween rush. Open Mondays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the store will be open until 7 p.m. to accommodate holiday shoppers.
Larry’s Levis and Collectibles, 5018 Lankershim Boulevard, NoHo Arts District.
Further south on Lankershim is Larry’s Levis, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. You’ll find an entire wall of cowboy boots and vintage Levis denim, as well as “great last minute costumes like army gear, zombie clothing, flapper dresses, hippie jackets/pants” and more, according to the business’ Facebook page. Open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Lucky You Resale Boutique, 12441 Magnolia Boulevard, Valley Village.
This consignment and thrift store carries a well-edited, budget-friendly selection of clothing from couture to contemporary designers. The shop recently stocked up on Steampunk-themed items. Open Tuesdays from noon to 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.
Thrift NoHo, 5041 ½ Lankershim Boulevard, NoHo Arts District.
The Arts District’s newest thrift store is courtesy of sisters Rica and Carine Cortez, who opened the shop last December. Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Kathy's E. Boutique, 11054 Magnolia Boulevard, NoHo Arts District.
This vintage boutique might be small, but it’s bursting with great finds – from hats, novelty clothing and evening gowns to every day wear fitting for fashion-forward Angelenos. It’s one of several vintage clothing options along Magnolia Boulevard in the Arts District. Open daily from noon to 5 p.m.; the store will be open as late as 6:30 p.m. for Halloween shoppers.
St. Anne's Thrift & Gift Shop, 11102 Magnolia Boulevard, NoHo Arts District. This charity thrift store isn’t exactly your go-to place for high fashion vintage; it carries mostly house wares and furniture in addition to several racks of used clothing, shoes and accessories. But if you get there early enough and at the right time when new items have just arrived, you might find designer clothing and other great finds at thrift store prices. Open Mondays through Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
I'll be your adventure guide through the bustling arts district, Toluca Lake and the rest of North Hollywood, surveying theater, film, books, music, politics, places and people for your daily culture intake.