Rent a costume for Halloween
You can’t rent a Barney costume for Halloween at Mitch’s Costumes, which will come as good news to some and bad news to others.
“That’s a lot of purple fur,” said owner Gloria Mitchell. “I do have some fur costumes, like a bear, a dog, a gorilla and an elephant, but no Barney.”
As possibly the only costume rental business in the Valley, Mitchell said the Halloween season generally begins long before Oct. 31. This is her sixth year in business.
“I’ve rented out several costumes already, mostly to my regular customers,” she said, adding that as it gets closer to Halloween, business reaches the point where it gets a little nuts in the shop. Because of that, Mitchell recommends customers come in and put a deposit on their costumes ahead of time.
She said that every year, depending on trends and popular movies, certain costumes are in demand, but she tries not to carry what the stores are offering and only rents adult sizes.
“I do get a lot of calls for children’s costumes, but I really don’t carry them,” she said. “The stores are so good about offering outfits for children, so I only have adult sizes.”
Mitchell tries to concentrate on more classic costumes and for the most part avoids masks.
She has more than 600 costumes, including all the Wizard of Oz characters, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Batman, pirates, genies, gangsters, cowboys, cowgirls, Southern belles, Roaring 20s, Renaissance clothes and much more.
Every costume comes with all the accessories needed to make the effect authentic, she said.
“I have jewelry, wigs, hats, shoes – everything even down to the hosiery,” she said. Rentals run from $20 to $45 for 24-hours and require a refundable deposit.
Mitchell, 67, runs her business from her home in Minden. She has taken one half of the four-car garage to house the costumes.
Walking among the costumes is to experience a kaleidoscope of fabrics, sequins, textures and wild ideas. She said that when customers come in, she can usually tell what character they would look good as.
“If they’re going to an outside party I might recommend a warmer costume, or if it’s an indoor function I’ll suggest something cooler,” she said. “Also, if they’re wearing it to work, like if they’re a dealer or something, they can’t have things interfering with their hand movement, so I’ll help them find an appropriate costume for that situation.”
Mitchell and her husband, Mitch, love Halloween. They used to dress up every year, but now find that they are too busy with the business and last-minute chaos of getting their customers ready for Halloween.
As the former owner of Island Imports, across from the old Copeland Lumber store in Minden, Mitchell said she missed the contact with people, so one year later she started Mitch’s Costumes.
She has collected costumes from theater groups, film studios, thrift stores, professional costume makers and she also sews some of the outfits herself. She even has a collection of all the World War II uniforms.
“Of course, a lot of the guys can’t fit into them, or they don’t want to wear an unofficial costume (one that wasn’t issued to them specifically), but I do have all the uniforms for rent,” she said.
Mitchell said one of her most memorable rentals was when someone came in and rented both the gorilla and the bear costume for a Girl Scouts overnight.
“I guess they really scared the kids with those costumes!” she said.
Mitchell’s Costumes is open by appointment only. Call 782-8533 for more information.