We sized up Montreal’s Halloween shops

Halloween is two weeks away. If you’re lazy, like a few of us, you might end up buying a costume at one of these stores.

entrepot de halloween
By the time we got here, this place was closed. Judging by its window display, though, it’s not startlingly original.

Despite the unseasonal heat, Halloween is only a couple of weeks away. And while we like the holiday, we almost feel as though it puts a little too much pressure on us to have a good time. As a friend of ours once said of this sort of thing, it’s almost too earnest an attempt at having a good time.

If you’re serious about it, though, you’ve already begun looking for your costume — Miley Cyrus or Walter White or sexy nurse or whatever. The authenticity of your outfit hinges largely on where you found it. And for those of us without the will to scour the earth (or Village des Valeurs) for the perfect Robin Thicke get-up, that usually means a trip to the local Halloween emporium, aka the pop-up stores that materialize each year.

With that in mind, we visited five shops to see what they have to offer those of us who, rather than spend weeks putting a costume together, would prefer to coast our way through the holiday. This is what we found.

Trouille et Citrouille (900 Ste-Catherine W.)
trouille et citrouilleWhile whoever operates Trouille et Citrouille, a two-floor pop-up across the street from Indigo, had the sense to play that Friday the 13th ch-ch-ah-ah sound on loop, Technotronic’s “Move This,” a not-so-scary tune, was also blaring when we checked out the store. The first floor was filled with generic outfits — “Superstar Diva,” “Frost Fairy,” etc. — along with some racier, if inexplicable, stuff, including sexy referee gear. On the second floor, we found the usual assortment of film franchise outfits, including Batman and Bane and the like, as well as something like three varieties of pimp gear (the sight of which inspired one fratty-looking caucasoid to say, “Niiiiiiiice”), costumes for the big and tall (Robin Hood, for one) and some culturally insensitive fare, like the Sheik. All of this left the Jewish member of our crew with one burning question: How long will it take before the sexy Hasid becomes a Halloween party staple?

Halloween Depot (183 Hymus)
Ground zero for Halloween revellery is undoubtedly the suburbs, yet the spacious Pointe-Claire location of the Halloween Depot chain was curiously devoid of the laughter of children during my visit on Thanksgiving weekend. The costumes, though, were numerous, split into tidy sections for kids, sexy outfits, pop culture ephemera and even a rack for canines. They also had a wide aisle devoted to scary front lawn fixtures. Ready-made bagged costumes have become remarkably current (Walking Dead, Eastbound & Down, etc.), but the one that especially caught my eye? B-level Mario Kart foe Waluigi.

LOL Party Centre (3715 St-Laurent)
LOL Party Centre is quite the place. If your idea for a Halloween costume skips over clever and slams into sexy LOL Party Centre territory, this is the establishment for you. On first glance, we took note of the massive selection of tights, leggings and wigs, but what’s really impressive is the store’s large selection of scandalous sex-related costumes. This Halloween, why not go as the Shocker; the Big Pink, which they suggest goes really well with the Happy Halloweenie; or as a member of the Department of Erections? LOL also has a wide selection of slutty attire. It does cater to so-called norms with its superhero, pirate or mummy costumes, make-up and decor. But we’re not entirely sure whether other shops will house an inflatable penis right next to a child’s Wolverine costume.

Halloween Experts (9420 Acadie)
marche centraleFrom slutty reimaginings of kids’ stuff to movie, TV and music merch to plastic and rubber tits, asses, cocks and even poop, this north-end spot (a seasonal rebrand of Party Experts) overflows with possibilities for adults. There are kids’ costumes too, of course, plus loads of accessories for the more DIY-inclined, as well as Halloween party decor, but packaged costumes dominate, in numbers and in wacky-factor. There are myriad Lady Gagas, historical get-ups, scary gross-outs and franchise costumes, though in that regard these so-called experts seemed a little behind the times, Star Trek and Superman aside. The highlight of these stores (and the circulars they sometimes deliver and distribute) is the excess of sexiness: sexy Joker, sexy Freddie and sexy Chucky, skin-tight walking-billboard dresses (Muppets, Coca-Cola, Skittles, Nerds), sexy zombie nurse, sexy panda, sexy referee and, among a handful of plus-size costumes, “seductive leopard.” Costumes for men are generally an easier fit for imperfect bodies, save for the popular second-skin series (Green Man etc). So if you want to be Coca-Cola, you get to hide your whole torso in a can.

La Fiesta Idéal (815 St-Zotique E.)
This one’s heavy on the kids’ fare, for those who are just in this to hem and haw over things that are adorable. La Fiesta Idéal has a pretty diverse array of surprisingly cheap all-in-one costume packages, with a lot of superhero-for-boys, fairy-princess-for-girls options. The store seems relatively family-oriented, offering non-slutty women’s costumes that fall well below the knee (gasp!), although they also, of course, have the usual standards in the sexy nurse/nun/devil/schoolgirl nexus, as well as a teen-oriented line of insect costumes, including a sexy bumblebee and numerous fairly WTF takes on the slutty ladybug. The complete men’s costumes were more limited, but the store offers a wide variety of mix-n-match DIY pieces, make-up kits and cheap wigs, including that turquoise afro you’ve no doubt been pining for. ■

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