As the month of October wraps up, Ocean Beach is getting ready for its biggest non-official holiday. For all we know, it might be even bigger than all the official events celebrated around town, given the young and –how shall we say it?—unconventional ethos of this community. It may be a kids’ celebration in most parts of the country, but here in OB, Halloween is an excuse to get wicked and p.a.r.t.y. So step on up and do a couple of shots of Jaeger and let’s get ready for the big day.
First and foremost, there are decisions to be made about attire. And, while it could certainly be argued that there are plenty of people in costume on the streets of our fair community everyday, Halloween parties in Ocean Beach demand that we live up to higher standard. Hippie wigs and biker garb may play well in La Jolla, but it’s unlikely that you’ll win any prizes or compliments in the sort of costume from your peers around this town.
So, in the interests of mo’ betta fun, we wandered up and down the streets of Ocean Beach recently in search of stores that might be able to hook our readers up with an outfit worthy of such an important day. Since your reporter had an unfortunate episode with Jaegermeister liquor in his younger days, it was decided that massive amounts of caffeine would have to suffice as the drug of choice to stimulate the creative juices. Fortunately, I am also researching an article about coffee joints, so my visits to local retailers were punctuated with java stopovers along the way. It’s tough research, as my hands have just stopped trembling enough to type, but somebody has to do it.
Please note that this post is a review of costume possibilities for persons who are probably old enough to be called “adults” (at least in court). So it’s probably not a good idea to use what I’m writing here as a guide for buying kid’s outfits.
It quickly became obvious that there are many more costume choices for women than there are for men. That’s probably because: a) women generally shop more for clothes than men and, b) guys are genetically wired to wait for the last minute for just about everything. Guys, the good news is that OB Hardware has plenty of duct tape. And there are a few male costume choices scattered around town. Or you can get inspired by this article and go shopping on the internets while there’s still time—we have some ideas for you at the end of this article.
Let’s deal with the most obvious emporium selling Halloween garb first—The Halloween Costumes store at 4976 Newport. You know, the place with the big signs and balloons out front, where Rock, Paper, Scissors used to be. Ugh. The good news here is that they do carry a lot of stock: costumes, wigs, accessories, make-up, you name it. It goes downhill from there, however. The inventory all appears to be re-recycled, old, cheaply made and (mostly) overpriced stuff. If you think that dressing up as a Confederate soldier or a Disney character is a good idea, then this the place for you. Just don’t get near any open flames after you’re suited up. Maybe it was all the signs posted warning me not to steal, or the serious looking dude watching shoppers like a hawk…this place is just plain creepy in a non-halloween kinda way.
You’d be better off (and save some money) by walking across Newport and visiting Rags Fashion Exchange, where they’re honest about the re-cycled nature of some of their inventory. They’ve got endless possibilities for creative people looking to put together unique outfits and a few straight-up costumes. There are hats, masks, wigs, accessories and even an Elvis latex mask. I wanted to buy the Sid Vicious tee shirt ($8.50) but not as a costume. The dude was righteous.
Up the street a couple of doors at The Good Life Boutique (4967 Newport), there are some more original types of costumes for women. They’re really friendly in there and while the costume selection isn’t huge, it’s worth a visit. Plus they’ve been around OB for over 30 years. The guys across the street will be gone in a month.
Back across the street at Ocean Gifts & Shells (4934 Newport Avenue), they have a selection of rather conventional (unisex) costumes towards the back of the store, along with make up and accessories. It’s worth checking out because everything is 50% off, or so the signs say. This store was so laid back that I never actually saw another human being in there while I was poking around.
Finally, I stumbled upon Temptress (1918 Bacon), a women’s boutique specializing in what one fan on Yelp! called “classic sexy pin-up style clothing for women who want to channel their inner “Betty Paige””. This is where the “hot” costumes for women are. As luck would have it, there were a couple of women in the store trying on their prospective Halloween outfits during my visit, who agreed to have their pictures included in the article. I agreed to take their pictures, even though I knew that the politically correct thing would have been to leave immediately and seek help for my (b)latent sexism.
Store owner Janet Pena also tipped me off to her joint venture with Gallagher’s Pub on Halloween, where she’s co-hosting a (no-cover) “Sexiest Halloween Party” on October 31st. There’ll be prizes, banging beats and cheap beer. Sounds like fun. I won’t be there. I’ll be discreetly chaperoning my daughters’ “trick or treat” get together. Candy, anyone?
Special Halloween Costume Bonus:
Costumes we thought up for some of our favorite OB Rag Commenters:
Shawn Conrad: http://www.zoogstercostumes.com/products/ra1798.html