LIMA — Superheros, celebrities or politicians, which one will you be this year?
As the Halloween season quickly approaches, regional small businesses are gearing up to help Halloween lovers find the ideal costume.
Once Upon a Fantasy, located on 216 S. Greenlawn Ave., Elida, is one of several businesses in the Lima region offering costumes. Unlike the box stores, owner Barb Lochnerd has rental options, which she said is a great alternative to purchasing them.
“The advantage of renting is that you don’t own that costume, and you don’t feel like you’ve spent $60 or $80 and have to wear it again,” Lochnerd said. “Mine are generally half of that, and you return them and don’t have to do the laundry. And they usually hold up better and look better usually.”
Rebecca Browning, co-owner of Will’s Costume Shop, at 119 S. Detroit St., Kenton, also said rentals are better than purchased costumes because customers can try on the items.
“A lot of times when you go to a typical costume shop, you don’t have the opportunity to try it on, or you’re buying a bad costume, and parts of it don’t fit well,” Rebecca Browning said. “So people tend to really like being able to try them on.”
Customers have the opportunity to try on their costumes before deciding to rent them at both Once Upon a Fantasy and Will’s Costume shop.
Pam Fried, owner of The Lion, the Niche and the Wardrobe, at 4270 Elida Road, Lima, said the greatest benefit of rental costumes from her shop is that she makes it personalized for her clients.
“I will find their size and make it work, and I will find what they need to make them look the part,” Fried said.
Once Upon a Time and Will’s Costume shop also customize costumes based on the needs of the customers.
Popular costumes of 2018
Lochnerd said that she expects superheros and cartoon characters to be the most popular this year. Although she does not sell copyrighted character costumes, she has more than 8,000 options to choose from.
She has a Snow White alternative costume, superheros, cartoon characters, original Batman, original Spiderman, Indians, flappers, renaissance-themed costumes, chickens, koalas, Dalmatian dogs, snowmen, geese, bears, horses, cows and more. Sizes range from extra small to plus size.
She also sells masks, make-up, shoes and various other accessories.
Rebecca Browning said she thought that superheros, Star Wars and new movie characters will be popular this Halloween season.
“There is always some kind of pop culture that pops up and gets everyone excited,” said Adam Browning, co-owner of Will’s Costume Shop.
Will’s Costume Shop offers close to 4,000 costumes, with sizes from infant to adult plus sizes and various accessories.
“We love getting couples into costumes for a party,” Rebecca Browning said. “If a couple comes in and are unsure of what they want to be for a costume party, that’s a challenge to me. I love getting them into costumes that they like and fit their personalities.”
The Brownings also sell an organic, fast-drying, hypoallergenic ruby red makeup and wigs.
Fried, who specializes in costumes between the 1920s and 1970s, said that her 1920s costumes will be the most popular this year. She has a whole room dedicated to 1920s-themed costumes, with suits, dresses, gloves, fur coats, hats, boots and various other accessories.
She has more than a thousand costumes, including Michael Jackson, Elvis, Fabulous 4, Minnie Mouse, Wizard of Oz and Star Wars characters. Sizes range from small to plus size.
Costume rentals at Once Upon a Fantasy are between $15 and $125, but the average is between $30 and $40.
A deposit is required, and Lochnerd suggests that reservations be made in advance to ensure that the item is still available.
At Will’s Costume Shop, children rentals are between $10 and $20, and adult rentals are between typically $30-$50 unless it’s a deluxe item.
“I always suggest that if you have something specific in mind that you know that you want, you should tell us because you can get it reserved, get the deposit and not have to worry about it,” Rebecca Browning said.
Rentals are typically for 24 hours, but the owners do make exceptions for add-ons.
“We’re a mom and pop business, so we understand how life works, and we understand that it’s not always realistic to get the items back within a day,” she said.
At the Lion, the Niche and the Wardrobe, costume rentals are close to $65 and $75 for a package. The package includes all of the accessories and outfit needed for a particular costume.
“They should come two weeks in advance so that I can order something if they need it in their size,” Fried said. “The day of is not a good idea.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews