Creative costumes available at local shop

Online Poster

By Tracy Douglas

Dinosaurs, gargoyles and skulls meet customers as they walk through the doors of Dallas & Co. Costumes and Magic.

During the rush to get Halloween costumes, customers pour into the store where cut outs of Elvis Presley and C3PO greet them at the 101 E. University Ave. store.

“It’s not usually this crazy,” said store employee Amelia Moore. “It’s like the 10th circle of hell these days.”

To prepare for the costume rush, storeowner Andy Dallas said the store has longer hours. Usually, they are open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., but this week they are open from 10-9. Dallas said that in the weeks leading up to Halloween, they incrementally increase hours until they get to the 10-9 store hours of the week before Halloween.

Dallas & Co., which is a member of the National Costumer’s Association, rents costumes all year. The store can satisfy a range of interests in costumes – animals, Wild West, Civil War, pirates, superheroes, Medieval, Victorian and many others.

Rental department employee Liza Bishton said customers have to be 18 to rent a costume because they are signing a contract. Bishton said the store only rents out adult costumes. Minors can rent costumes if they bring a parent along, she said.

Bishton said costumes are normally rented for three days. During Halloween, however, they have a different policy.

“You get it whenever you come in, and we are staggering the return days so we aren’t swamped,” Bishton said. Rentals cost anywhere from $15 to $85.

She added that renters must leave a security deposit, which is twice the amount of the rental and will get the deposit back if the costume is returned in good condition.

In addition to renting costumes, the store also sells costumes ranging from the raunchy to the angelic genres. Moore said they keep a lot of costumes in stock all year.

Moore said Tinkerbell, pirates, cops and copies of Mean Girls characters are popular costumes this year.

“Men like to be scary; girls like to be pretty,” Dallas said.

“I’ve seen people spend up to $200 for accessories for their costumes,” Moore said. They can get gloves, tights and swords. Moore said the costumes are priced anywhere from $10 to $55.

Storeowner Andy Dallas started the store in 1974.

“The market was just changing from children to adult costumes, and I just happened to start at the right time,” Dallas said. He said he started out by selling only masks but advanced to selling costumes.

He said he started with a small store but now has 14,000 square feet at the current location. The store moved over the years from Green Street to Fifth Street and finally ended up on University Avenue.

When it’s not Halloween, the store rents out the head costumes, such as Bugs Bunny and Scooby Do, and carnival games, Moore said.The store’s Web site, www.dallasandco.com, offers information on all the items the store has to offer. According to the Web site, the store offers party supplies, magic supplies such as crystal balls, make-up, prank supplies and a magician for hire – Andy Dallas.

Moore said the store gets a pretty good variety of age groups coming into the store.

“People come from all over, like two or three towns away,” Moore said.

Clarissa Mankus, junior in communications, came to Dallas and Company in search of a costume for Sunday night. She said she did not have any definite plans for Halloween.

Maggie Dietlin, sophomore in applied life studies and member of Delta Delta Delta, said her sorority house had plans to go to the bars for Halloween. Dietlin said that the majority of sorority houses go to the bars for Halloween.

“We are designing our own [costumes], but I know a lot of people get them from Dallas and Company,” Dietiln said.