Now that we’ve fully entered the season of pumpkin spiced everything, it’s time to talk about Halloween. People who love the holiday know just how much fun it can be to transform into something or someone else, even if it is just for one night. Parents know how exciting it can be to take their kids out trick or treating for the very first time, or how frustrating it can be when their 6-year-old keeps changing their mind about their costume, even though you’ve just shelled out fifty bucks on something they swore they’d love forever.
For the express purpose of making your life easier, these are the best Halloween shops in the City of Toronto for ghosts and ghouls, on budgets, big and small. Whether you’re looking to be the Belle of the Ball at that Charity Halloween Gala, need that “it” costume for little junior, or want to pick out that perfect couple’s costume for your first Halloween together, these fantastic stores have the staff, selection, and ideas you need to get your spook on. Come on, let’s get scary!
Toronto West – Amazing Party & Costume Store
Location: 923 Oxford Street
This year marks the 24th anniversary and the 25th Halloween for the Amazing Party & Costume Store in Etobicoke. The store has a wide selection of costumes, props, wigs, masks, and party supplies available all year long, boasting around 3,000 costume options to choose from. Costume prices average between $60-$80 total for adults and $35-$50 for children; however there are a few customers who like to take their costumes even further. The store has helped customers customize KISS costumes, work on Mad Max post-apocalyptic themes with a handful of unique customers who will readily pay over a thousand dollars to make their costume just right. Several of these people committed to making Halloween a “Go big or go home” occasion come in every year to curate the perfect costume, and go out on Halloween from club to club to collect prizes for their elaborate creation.
Those looking to transform themselves on a budget can check out the large selection of clearance costumes available for adults, children and pets for up to 75 percent off, all year long. Jamie DaSilva, Purchasing Manager has a few suggestions for those who are undecided on their costume yet for this year:
Come in and browse our website or store. Don’t worry about having to purchase something straight out of a package – use accessories to create or customize any costume! Be creative & don’t be afraid to be unique to really stand out in a crowd or at a party!
Jamie predicts adult costume trends this year to include Star Wars, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, Ghostbusters, Day of the Dead, and an inflatable T-Rex costume. For kids running around your street expect to see a number of characters from Finding Dory, Paw Patrol, and Pokémon.
Kelly, one of their loyal customers says this is the place you want to visit if you’re planning any kind of a costume party:
The Amazing Party & costume is the BEST place for Halloween costumes and props. Their selection of party items is also awesome!
If you’re looking to beat the crowds at the Amazing Party & Costume Store get your shopping in before mid-October. Online customers are encouraged to order at least one week ahead of time to ensure they get that perfect costume on time.
Visit The Amazing Party and Costume Store online or in person at 923 Oxford Street (just west of Islington and Evans).
Toronto East – Reflections Vintage, Antiques & Theatrical Costumes
Location: 839 Gerrard Street East
Established in 2006, this business has evolved over the years and now calls the Leslieville neighbourhood home. Its warehouse space with a storefront concept now features online shopping available for 24-7 selection. Co-owner, Karyn Phan says most of their customers are creative and budget-conscious:
We focus on quality, classic vintage clothing and costumes with integrating new accessories. Most of our customers are creative people just like us. We enjoy making costumes with our own ideas and feel costuming is every day for most of us. We choose to find and sell items that are reusable. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good. We choose (from around 50) classic themes because they are always a great look.
Pricing for child costumes usually cost customers under $30 whereas adults can walk away with great quality costumes for between $50 and $110. Staff help customers pair accessories with items they may already own to get their money’s worth.
Reflections Vintage, Antiques & Theatrical Costumes have some customers who take costuming to the next level and dress up all year long:
Some of our clients see costuming as an investment to their lifestyle enjoyment which can cost hundreds. They work hard and costuming is their reward.
Since Reflections Vintage, Antiques & Theatrical costumes focus on classic costumes they avoid the trends, and this works out well since a lot of their customers love creating their own costumes with staples including corsets, vests, petticoats, tights, gloves, hats, shoes, and capes. This year for Halloween, Karyn’s costume will likely be an Alice in Wonderland one with a Steam Punk twist.
According to Wendy, one of their customers, this is a place for anyone searching unique, one-of-a-kind pieces:
Brilliant place to find something unique. Not your run-of-the-mill vintage store. Great to browse and blow your mind but word to the wise: if you’re looking for something specific, ask for help. They literally know where everything is. So let them help you and advise you. And it is 100 per cent worth it every time I make the trip from London, ON. The prices are what you would expect to pay for true one-of-a-kind items. Prices vary, but everything is individually and FAIRLY priced for what you are buying. Cannot say enough great stuff about Reflections. Brilliant store and experience. Every. Time.
To beat the rush head on in before the Thanksgiving long weekend!
For all of your vintage inspired costuming needs visit Reflections Vintage, Antiques & Theatrical Costumes online or in person at 839 Gerrard Street East (between Logan and Carlaw).
Photo: Candy’s Costume
Toronto Uptown – Candy’s Costume
Location: 685 Mount Pleasant Road
For those living uptown, or even those who don’t, it’s worth a subway ride to Candy’s Costume for quality, unique pieces, and amazing customer service, with a staff that works tirelessly to make it among the best to visit in the city. Geoff Waszek, Store Owner, knows that people feel best when they go out with costumes they can feel comfortable in. For people on a budget, Geoff suggests focusing on some great accessories to make your costume really pop:
The key to an elaborate costume is the small additions. For example a simple flapper costume looks fine with (just) the dress, but add fishnet stockings, long satin gloves, a short-cut (wig), and an elaborately decorated flapper headband and you will look like you were born in the 1920s.
Retail costumes at the shop start at around $55 and go up from there with most costumes ranging between $60-$100 total.
Geoff expects popular costumes for this year to include Star Wars, Donald Trump, and the Avengers. Geoff plans on celebrating Halloween himself with a super costume from the store, going as Captain America.
Diana, a returning Candy’s Costume customer says nothing but good things about the place:
We get all our superhero costumes here. Amazing store selection and such a friendly, excitable staff who LOVE costumes and really know their stuff. I love going here.
Candy’s Costume is fully stocked right now for those who want to come in early, with the best possible selections and beat the crowds.
For making your Halloween costumes really “super” visit Candy’s Costume online or in person at 685 Mount Pleasant Road (between Eglinton Avenue East and Soudan Avenue).
Downtown Toronto – Malabar
Location: 14 McCaul Street
Malabar is a flagship Canadian business opening up a shop in Toronto in 1923, celebrating nearly a century of costumes. Malabar prides itself on the quality of their products and professional staff, a rental department with an experienced costumer, and thousands of hand-made theatrical-quality costumes. Customers can obtain advice from professional make-up artists at their extensive make-up counter.
Staff encourages those on a budget not to rule out classic Halloween costume staples, or freshen up old items with new twists. Sales Associate, Shayla Duval recommends using lots of make-up to create a special costume:
If you wanted to breathe new life in a zombie costume, you could use make-up to make a pop art zombie (see attached photo). Accessories and make-up are your new best friends! If you’re good with make-up or willing to learn, there are also endless possibilities for make-up only costumes you can wear with street clothes.
Malabar offers costume rentals for people who want a show-stopping costume with minimal planning, with nearly all rental costumes hand-made on-site. Costume rentals are great for people who want a quality costume for the season but are concerned about storage space or the wastefulness guilt of getting rid of a pricey costume come November.
Costume rentals range from about $45 for simple costumes and up to $200 for very elaborate costumes including ones with big Baroque ball gowns. During the Halloween season Malabar extends their rental terms, so customers can keep their costumes from October 23rd to November 5th for the same price.
In our Retail Department, we carry some deluxe licensed costumes of characters from films and comics. These are some of the most high-quality, realistic versions of the character costumes available on the market. We have a number of superhero costumes, including Batman and Superman ($495) and Cat woman ($400). We also carry supreme editions of some Star Wars characters, including Darth Vader ($1620), Boba Fett ($1775) and a Stormtrooper ($2120).” The store also carries economy versions of most costumes available for under $130.
Shayla notes that on top of US Politicians and other noted popular costumes, her predicted trends include costumes inspired by celebrity deaths as a tribute costume. So expect to see various manifestations of Price, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Gene Wilder.
Shopping early is the best way to avoid lines and crowds, but Shayla considers visiting the downtown location in the morning or on your lunch hour, instead of after work or on weekends. For all of your Halloween purchasing and rental needs visit Malabar Limited online or in person at 14 McCaul Street (Off of Queen Street West between John Street and University Avenue).