When you first enter the Theatre Garage’s new location on 109th Street, you’ll spot mannequin heads with wigs and masks lining the walls, with the usual packaged accessories you’d find at any seasonal Halloween costume shop. But you have to travel past this front room to discover the real Theatre Garage.
The back room has aisles of clothing, a warehouse full, which attracts some customers as early as February to look at costumes. But it’s OK to start in October too, according to costume designers Tessa Stamp and Christy Hutchinson. It’s a matter of keeping costumes simple, and sometimes putting a twist on a classic.
“Anything with a Stormtrooper helmet is really funny,” says Stamp. That is why she recommends the Stormtrooper prom costume, mixing a powder-blue leisure suit or powder-blue polyester dress with the helmet works for both genders, making a great couple’s costume.
Digging through some of the racks, Stamp pulls out a white dress with a lace collar covered in blood. Actually, it’s acrylic paint. Stamp frequently makes zombie-versions of certain characters, like this one that interprets Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice as if she were a zombie hunter.
If you’re the type who waits until the last minute, fear not — the Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by V for Vendetta, is a popular option and available in abundance in the retail area. Stamp suggests the mask, a black cape, and a cavalier hat for a simple but effective hero.