Tis the season to find a Halloween store. NYC is about to be overrun with free candy, elaborate costumes and ghouls tearing up the town. Not only do these stores provide Halloween costume rental, there’s also nearly as much makeup as beauty supply stores, so swing by to stock up on goodies and guises before you get spooky this year. Because one of the best things to do in New York this fall is to eat four bags of Skittles as you flounce around in a truly horrible getup you found at vintage clothes shops (without arousing concern from friends).
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The best Halloween stores
In a city where your favorite coffee shops were once button factories, Frank Bee Costumes has been consistently supplying New York with whatever mad make-believe garb its residents have required since 1957. Whether you’re in the market for a respectable Hannibal Lecter mask or plan to don a sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ensemble, Frank Bee probably has it. (It does, after all, stock 10,000 costumes year-round.)
For the past 15 years, this store has been weirding out 4th Avenue in the East Village with its iconic but creepy clown logo embossed on the overbearing black awning at the entrance. For real, though, its selection is stacked—it has every conceivable holiday covered, from Purim to Mardi Gras to (oh yeah) Halloween.
These outfits may give your wallet a pinch—the Unisex Handmande Loin Cloths retail for a cool $55, which is pretty steep for a get-up you could easily mistake for a fancy dinner napkin. But if you’re keen on high-quality gear, look no further. There’s also an extensive line of in-house makeup, called Abracosmetics, for whenever you want to paint your lips perma-pink.
This storefront cultivates an expectedly Addams Family–esque aesthetic. Come here for blood-red velvet frocks, sultry corsets and spectral garb. Also, you can cop a Ouija board or some tarot cards if you prefer to channel the best psychics in NYC and party au supernatural.
Do your Halloween requirements include a leopard-print jumpsuit, neon-blue hair dye and a hefty dildo? No need to exhaust yourself around town—you can tick everything off your raunchy sex-shop list at Ricky’s. There’s also every shade of every beauty product you can imagine, perfect for both freak and Fashion Week shows.
If you’re throwing a themed soirée or are in need of niche balloons that match your paper plates, hit this place up. It appears to have the most robust bachelorette party section in the city (and possibly the world). Surprise your favorite bride-to-be with a gaudy pink goblet inscribed with Sexy Bitch and a penis-adorned curly straw. So classy.
If you’re looking to dress up as a convincing Slash or Debbie Harry, pop into this punk-clothing mother lode. Festooned with feather boas and neon signs—it’s where the aforementioned rock idols actually shop for their everyday threads—the bi-level store features a mix of punk, goth, mod and classic rock gear from brands such as Underground and T.U.K, as well as Trash and Vaudeville's own eponymous line. Pay homage to Guns N’ Roses’s lead guitarist by scooping up a seven-inch top hat and tight pleather pants.
Why dress up as a standard-issue superhero when you can create your own character? At this Brooklyn shop, you choose from a variety of stick-on emblems—bombs, mustaches, rabbits and stars—and belts to customize your leotard. Finish your look with the all-essential cape; the basic style comes in a variety of colors. Arrive at your Halloween bash armed with a bottle of Truth Serum—the perfect icebreaker—and keep enemies away with your Photon Shooter. Just be sure you adhere to the Vow of Heroism you're required to recite before your purchases are handed over. Proceeds benefit the 826NYC kids' writing center, located behind a concealed door in the back of the store, so you can feel super about that, too.
Looking to watch a s scary movie?
Our guide to the best Halloween movies to keep you up this October 31—from terrifying horror films to animated classics