Halloween

No costume, no problem For the scariest night of the year, help is right around the corner

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If people still are spooked about a Halloween costume idea this year, just take a look around. Resources in Steamboat Springs offer the scariest, freakiest and most lovable costumes for Halloween.

With Halloween only less than two weeks away, people are beginning to scramble for the perfect Halloween costume for either trick-or-treating or festive parties.

But every Oct. 31, millions of people seek to be something or someone different than past years.

Deborah Improta of Lift Up said she's seen women in the store buying lots of red, shiny clothes and accessories for devil costumes.

"I don't think people have thought about it. But when people show up, they see the big Halloween racks," Improta said.

According to legend, Halloween is a Celtic tradition that began in the fifth century B.C. The pagan ritual began when Celts believed the dead spirits were searching to possess living bodies on the eve of All Hallows Day or All Saints Day.

On All Hallows Eve, Celts would dress up in ghoulish costumes and put out their fires to scare away spirits. If Celts believed a person had been possessed, they would burn the person at the stake.

In the first century A.D., folklore has it that dressing in costume the night before All Saints Day became more of a ceremonial ritual than a way to warn spirits. Halloween came to the United States in the 1840s with Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine.

Now, it seems, costumes are not only images of hobgoblins, but the celebration has come to represent a way for people to dress up as someone they've always wanted to be.

Devils, wizards, witches and angels pop into mind of traditional Halloween costumes.

But with more movie stars creating out-of-the-ordinary characters, more ideas hve blossomed for the average costume designers. Haven't little girls always dreamed of being Genie or little boys pictured themselves riding in the Batmobile?

Sandy Pugh, owner of Celebrations, said a couple costumes are becoming more popular. Group costumes have become hits for businesses or teen-agers.

As of Wednesday, Pugh said she's rented 126 costumes of the 1,200 that she and co-worker Katie Johnson have.

"You could be Felicity and we've got a Dr. Evil suit to go with it but he's missing the pants. We're out of Austin Powers," Pugh said while displaying her rack of costumes. "I like to call it surfing the rack."

Like a rack seen at the dry cleaners, Pugh has categorized and put most of her costumes on a rack that rotates. Pugh's got styles through the decades, starting with the 1920s and moving through time, but she also has eras before that including Biblical figures, Renaissance, pioneer, Civil War and Native American styles.

Pugh rents and sells costumes, accessories and decorations for those hosting Halloween parties.

"It's helpful if they know what they want to be but we're pretty creative too," Johnson said. "If it's something that's within reason, we can put things together to make different costumes."

LIFT-UP received a large bundle of Halloween costumes in the beginning of December.

When Johnson came to Celebrations about six months ago from her shop in Cedar Ridge, she brought costumes that she purchased and sewed in the three years she's been in the business.

Next door to Celebrations, a large room sits vacant except during Halloween. Johnson stores her children and adult costumes on large wardrobe racks.

Pugh said they go to garage sales to shop for various costumes.

"I went to this garage sale and bought this woman's 1952 prom dress. I couldn't believe it," Pugh said.

Celebrations does have prom dresses, saloon outfits and characters from almost every popular television sitcom and Disney, but less than two weeks away from Halloween, she's already out of things.

Pugh said she's out of cheerleaders, The Flintstones, Wizard of Oz characters and superheroes.

Celebrations can special order costumes from their catalogs, but deliveries take up to a week to arrive in Steamboat.

"We do more adult costumes than kids," Johnson said. "The patriotic theme has been really big Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam."

Improta said she hasn't seen too many children shuffling in and out of Lift Up; however, adults are utilizing the local thrift store to the full extent.

"I see a lot more adults coming in, usually moms dragging their kids with them," Improta said.

Celebrations changes its atmosphere Oct. 1 by filling the store with colored wigs, wacky glasses and out-of-this-world hats. Johnson said they saw children coming into the store for costumes at that time.

Johnson said her favorite costume out of Pugh's collection is the 1950s bee-bop outfit. Pugh said her favorite of Johnson's is the blue two-headed dragon.

Improta said a couple came into LIFT-UP not long ago and said they were having a children's theme party of an enchanted castle.

"We have such an odd assortment of stuff," Improta said.

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