1902 Victorian

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Paint the Town Red

When I was 16, my parents bought a costume and party store. As a teenager, I hated working at the store - being bossed around by my mom at home was plenty. The only time I enjoyed it was Halloween. For the entire month of October, my parents get to the store at dawn and work past closing time. The week of Halloween, they open up extra registers, and still the lines of customers wind around inside the store. They hire every available extended family member to monitor the dressing rooms and off-duty cops to man the doors in hopes of discouraging shoplifters.

It's a madhouse, but it's like one giant party. Or at least the getting-ready-for-the-party, which is always one of my favorite parts. The staff wears silly hats or wigs or flashing pumpkin pins. My mom wears her collection of Halloween-themed shirts. Everybody dashes around like they're fetching defibrillators and life-saving medicines rather than fog machines and green face paint.

You see everybody you ever knew, and all sorts of people you never thought you'd meet. Goth kids, frat boys, sorority girls, drag queens, secretly gay co-workers, your pregnant high school Spanish teacher wanting to dress up as a breast. They all want advice; they're eager and so are you because you're helping them get ready to have fun.

I haven't worked a Halloween in years, not since I graduated college and got a full-time job. But this year Mom and I hatched a plan to open an online store. We started talking about it last year after Halloween, and it's been in progress since then. At first, we wanted a full costume shop, but then we decided to take it smaller and more focused for now - just women's costumes with a good selection of plus-size costumes.

I designed it and set everything up, but the costumes only started arriving from the manufacturers about a month ago. In a frenzy, I put as many costumes as I could on the site before I left for Italy. My parents are not Internet or computer savvy at all, so I also wrote down a VERY DETAILED step-by-step procedure for dealing with orders, including the words "click the link. It will be blue and underlined." My favorite part was teaching them how to cut and paste.

So now I'm back and still adding things to the site - we need to list more accessories, especially - and fixing design problems. It will be bigger and better next year, but I think it's pretty decent this year. I'm proud of it anyway, flaws and all - even though I can't figure out why the blankety-blank search box won't work.

So if you're a woman - or a man, I don't judge! - and you need a Halloween costume, please check it out.

Candy Apple Costumes

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5 Comments:

purejuice said...

what was your advice to the breast woman? a coolie hat with pink foam sheets???? no seriously?

1:35 PM  
Kristin said...

I wasn't actually the one advising her. She was planning to decorate the big pregnant belly as a breast. I think she might've been buying face paint to create a nipple!

3:04 PM  
jm@houseinprogress said...

Kristin, This is the coolest family business ever!

Is there such a thing as infant fairy wings? Do your parents sell them? (I'm serious.)

11:46 PM  
Christine said...

Kristin, you must work your little butt off!
Sounds like a lot of fun, too, though ~

7:23 AM  
Kristin said...

Hmm, I bet there are infant fairy wings. I know Mom and Dad have some baby costumes. I'll check.

4:12 PM  

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