In my post about Cedar Point’s Halloweekends I made no bones about the fact that I’m a huge fan of Halloween. Because of this, you’d think I enjoy shopping for Halloween costumes. You’d be wrong.
While I love plotting what I’m going to be for Halloween and actually dressing up in the costume, I’ve been disappointed time and again by the costume offerings in a lot of the Halloween Warehouses that crop up during this time of year. You would think that if your only purpose was to be a Halloween store, you would have more costumes besides some sort of variant on ‘sexy’ mythical creature or police officer/nurse/*insert random occupation here*. While I wouldn’t classify myself as ‘prudish,’ there’s a problem when the only option for a female Ghostbuster is the extremely scantily clad version and the costumes for ‘tweens’ look like smaller sizes of the inappropriate adult costumes.
However, as October approached this year, I knew that I wouldn’t have to put up with the same disappointment of the last couple of years. While hunting down a 1960s-era party dress this past summer, I finally stumbled upon my holy trifecta of costume shopping in Cleveland — Chelsea’s Costumes, The Cleveland Shop and Flower Child. There are a lot of other great consignment, goodwill and secondhand stores throughout the city. However, because of these three stores’ proximity to one another and the uncanny ability to have what I need everytime I go in, they are my first stop when shopping for vintage clothing and costumes.
Chelsea’s Costumes is located at 1412 W. 116th St. It may be a little overwhelming the first time you walk into the square brick building, turn a corner and enter a huge room filled with towering racks of clothing. However, the team at Chelsea’s is there to help. First and foremost, they keep the racks organized by article of clothing. Looking for a black dress, there’s a whole rack of different sizes and styles. Looking for a dress from the 50/60s, a skirt, sweater, men’s suit jacket? There are racks and racks of those as well, clearly labeled.
However, let’s say the first time you walk in there you’re so easily overwhelmed that you totally miss the labels at the front of the racks. Because my reaction was a little like a kid in a candy store, I needed to ask for help. And the ladies who were working when I went in were not just quick and helpful in directing me to the right place, but I also watched as they helped another customer figure out how to make a costume for Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They also have accessories and other costume parts to rent. I’ve heard their hours change around Halloween so maybe call to get their exact times (216.221.9147). When I searched online and couldn’t find a website, I did find a list of their September hours (Wed., Thurs., Fri. 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
The Cleveland Shop is located almost right across the street from Chelsea’s at 11606 Detroit Ave. It’s the city’s oldest vintage clothing store, opened in 1979. Even though it’s not a huge warehouse, there is a large selection of amazing vintage clothing in the boutique. Styles run from the 1920s to the 70s, and usually when I go in looking for one thing, I leave with 5 great finds. My favorites have included a fruit-print house dress and a silk party dress from the 60s.
The Cleveland Shop also carries a nice assortment of vintage belts, hats, shoes, handbags and scarves (my wallet’s secret downfall), as well as vintage reproductions of platform shoes, go go boots and wigs. Like Chelsea’s, they rent certain costumes. If you live in the area, I definitely suggest going for the boutique experience to see their full slate of offerings; however, if you want vintage clothing without leaving your home, you can shop online at The Cleveland Shop’s ebay store.
Flower Child is the first Cleveland store that got me hooked on the vintage shops in the area, and I can thank the opening of the Westside Big Fun store for introducing me. They’re located next door to one another – Flower Child is at 11508 Clifton Blvd. On a whim earlier in the year Scott and I wandered in. We didn’t wander out for another couple of hours.
When you look at Flower Child‘s store front, you may be deceived as to how large it really is. The unending labyrinth of rooms reminds me of the T.A.R.D.I.S. on Dr. Who (follow the link if you don’t get the reference) because I never expected that that much stuff could be found in the store when I first walked in the door. And it’s room after room where every space is filled with some sort of vintage treasure. From the racks, to the shelves, to the floor, wall and ceilings, you seriously need to invest some time in exploring the entire place. Scott stops by every week while I’m at the gym and he still hasn’t seen it all.
The best part about the store is that they sell more than just clothing. There’s furniture, art, and housewares from the 30s to the 80s. Rooms are set up like department store displays with furniture sets and decor matched together in color and subject themes. You don’t have to buy the entire display, but if you did want to build a tiki bar room, they have everything you’d need.
For Halloween this year, Scott and I are dressing up as Shaggy and Velma. Thanks to these stores, we were able to finish pulling together our costumes in one afternoon and for half the price of the Shaggy costume the Halloween store offered. Plus it was the first time in a while I’ve actually enjoyed going shopping for Halloween.
Costume Shopping 411: