Costume shops keep busy

The time has come to get out those fishnets, strap on a black wig and call yourself a witch. Or maybe give in to your animal instinct by transforming into a ferocious feline.

Whether your Halloween dream is to be a seafaring pirate or a bundle of grapes, local costume shops have seen and outfitted it all.

But what many Halloween revelers do not know is that once the plastic ghouls are laid to rest in the back of the garage, many Capital District costume stores stay busy throughout the year.

"Most people think that we're only open during Halloween," said Eric Zenner, owner of The Costumer, in Colonie and Schenectady. "Our busiest time is in the spring."

The Costumer, a 90-year-old local costume business, is celebrating its fifth year at its new location at 1995 Central Ave. According to Zenner, the store is open year-round and almost never sees its business slow.

Zenner said one of the reasons the Costumer is always busy is because it services theaters throughout the region with directors seeking costumes to fit the roles. For those types of situations, Zenner said, the store typically rents out many peasant costumes, and old-fashioned outfits.

But theatrical costumes are not the only things that can keep a costume store in business throughout the year.

Lois Myers, owner of Halloween Hall, in Ballston Spa, said that even though her store does not carry theater costumes, she stays busy throughout the year.

"I've been in business 27 years, so I guess there's a need all year round," she said.

While it is undeniable that Halloween is the busiest season for the store, she said, there is a demand for costumes during other holiday seasons during the year. Especially Christmas and Easter.

Myers said Halloween Hall typically rents somewhere between 50 to 60 Santa suits per Christmas season and about 40 bunny suits every Easter.

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