On Thursday afternoon, Sandy Pugh shuffled through racks of old rental costumes for a replacement outfit.
What she'd worn to work had gotten misplaced in the shuffle from one Halloween costume to the next, and her Renaissance-style dress wouldn't do for an errand to Staples.
Playing with costumes and party supplies has been Pugh's business for 17 years, and after a half-year pause, she's back in it.
The Costume Party & Dance Shop - Pugh's fourth Steamboat Springs costume and party store - opened Monday on Lincoln Avenue between 11th and 12th streets and is set to stay in the location at least through November, Pugh said.
Filled with Halloween decorations and costumes, fall-themed adornments, party supplies and dance gear, The Costume Party is a separate venture from Pugh's former store, Celebrations, Pugh said. That Central Park Plaza business closed in March. Pugh is operating her new shop on a month-to-month basis with a silent partner, she said.
"Right now, we're doing just Halloween and fall - Thanksgiving, that sort of thing. And it's a month-to-month, so we might stay and do Christmas," Pugh said. How often the store will be open depends on business, she said.
Since opening her first party and costume store in 1992 at a location roughly across Lincoln Avenue from where she is now, Pugh has acquired more than 1,000 rental costumes and has spent countless hours playing with them.
"I've always had fun - I just love being out with the people, and how often do you get to play dress-up with the whole town?" Pugh said. The biggest reward comes on Halloween night, when Pugh gets to see the results of her carefully planned selection of oddities and absurdities.
Before she got into the costume business, Pugh spent years as a special events planner in town, eventually becoming frustrated with the lack of a place to buy solid-colored plates and other supplies. So she bought a set of costumes and built her party business from there.
As of Thursday, Pugh had used a Facebook page, e-mail contact lists, some neon orange fliers and a large "costume party" sign in her store window to advertise the new business.
"We've had people drive by and they just see the sign and they come in really excited," Pugh said.
Lila Powers, of Hahn's Peak, and her son, Robi, were shopping for Robi's Halloween outfit at another store when a fellow shopper told them Pugh had opened a new location. They came over immediately to check out the expanded collection of scary masks, the Powerses said.
Susan Phillips said she and her 12-year-old daughter, Joylynn, were disappointed when Celebrations closed; they went there each year for Halloween supplies. Phillips' husband received an e-mail about The Costume Shop, and Susan and Joylynn headed over to look at costumes, Susan Phillips said, checking out at the register with a bumblebee costume for Joylynn on Thursday.
"She likes to have a new one every year, so some day we can probably open our own store," Phillips said.
For this Halloween season, Pugh stocked up on horns, prop noses and other facial appliances, retro outfits, and infant and toddler costumes, she said. The store also stocks dance wear and shoes.
The Costume Party & Dance Shop, at 1125 Lincoln Ave., is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
What to wear
Halloween costume ideas from Sandy Pugh, owner of The Costume Party & Dance Shop:
Current-events-related costumes were a trend in Sandy Pugh's first week at her recently opened party and costume store, she said.
"I have to restock on pig noses - (there is) a lot of swine flu out there," Pugh said. Michael Jackson or the Jackson Five have also been popular choices, she said. A group of girls came in looking for outfits for a '70s party on Thursday afternoon, and Pugh has already had a few customers gearing up for Mambo Italiano's Zombie Prom, scheduled for Oct. 30, she said.
Vampire costumes have been in demand, riding on popularity of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" books and subsequent movies, and TV shows such as "True Blood" and "The Vampire Diaries." The classic costume is one of several that can be put together at home and on the cheap, Pugh said:
- Vampire: Buy a pair of fangs, and grab a nice suit or dress at home. Buy or improvise a cape, and begin terrorizing.
- Pirate: Black, red or white clothing will do. Grab an eye patch and come up with a fake sword, and get to plundering candy.
- Witch: Witch hats are relatively inexpensive and can be paired with any black dress and a household broom.
Sandy Pugh will be on Steamboat TV18's morning show, "Steamboat Today" on Thursday. Tune in about 8 a.m. to catch the interview live, or check www.
steamboatpilot.com to watch the segment online later Thursday.
- Halloween pajama story-time - Bud Werner Memorial Library, 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday
Bud Werner Library invites children to a free special Halloween pajama story-time, with fun, not-too-scary stories for children ages 3 to 7. Wear a costume and bring a stuffed animal. Go to www.steamboatlibrary.org/kids or call 879-0240 for more information.
- 19th annual Pumpkin Festival - Rodeo grounds parking lot, 10:30 a.m.
Children ages 2 through grade school are invited to paint pumpkins for judging from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Call Rob at 879-5283 or Paul at 879-1086.
- Halloween crafts - Steamboat Arts & Crafts Gym, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Bring your own pumpkin for a free carving party from 1 to 4 p.m., or sign up for Halloween candy and cake making from 2 to 4 p.m. Call 879-0384. 1280 13th St.
- Halloween Carnival - South Routt Elementary School, 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 24
The carnival is at the school gym in Yampa. Call 638-4558.
- Scary stories with Spellbinders - Bud Werner Memorial Library Hall, 6 p.m. Oct. 30
The Bud Werner Memorial Library invites adults and children older than 8 to listen to bone-chilling tales in the dark of Library Hall. The free program will feature local members of Spellbinders, a volunteer storytelling organization. Call 879-0240 or go to www.steamboatlibrary.org.
- Hallow's Eve Zombie Ball - Mambo Italiano, 10 p.m. Oct. 30
Costumes and undead makeup are encouraged for the Zombie Ball, with a costume contest for zombie king and queen and a "Thriller" dance-off. Cover to be announced. Call 870-0500. 521 Lincoln Ave.
- Kids carving event - Steamboat Arts & Crafts Gym, 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 31
Bring your own pumpkin for this free carving party. Call 879-0384. 1280 13th St.
- Festival O' Pumpkins - Routt County Courthouse lawn, 3:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31
The Steamboat Springs Arts Council presents its second annual Festival O' Pumpkins contest, with prizes for scariest, funniest, most artistic or best in the 'Boat. Registration is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., judging is from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and pumpkin pickup goes until 8 p.m. Free. Call 879-9008.
- Downtown Halloween Stroll- Lincoln Avenue, 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31
This free event invites children of all ages to trick-or-treat at the businesses on Lincoln Avenue. Call 846-1800.
- "Monster Mash" Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 31
The Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat is sponsoring a "Monster Mash" after the Halloween. Events include a dance party, costume contest, games and complimentary popcorn and beverages. Free. The Boys and Girls Club is in the gym at Eighth and Aspen streets. Call Sahra at 303-532-9274.
- Agent Orange with the Amputators - Ghost Ranch Saloon, 9 p.m. Oct. 31
Classic punk rock band Agent Orange returns to Steamboat with local rock band Amputators opening the show. Wear a costume for a chance at prizes. Pay $10 at the door. Call 879-9898. 56 Seventh St.
- Missed the Boat - Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, 10 p.m. Oct. 31
Local folk rock and bluegrass band Missed the Boat will bring a disco theme and prizes to Mahogany's Halloween and costume party. Free. Call 879-3773. 435 Lincoln Ave.
- Halloween party with DJ Also Starring - The Tap House Sports Grill, 10 p.m. Oct. 31
DJ Also Starring provides the music for a Halloween bash that includes a costume contest for a snowboard. The $10 door fee buys a chance to win a 2009-10 season ski pass. Call 879-2431. 729 Lincoln Ave.
- Springdale Quartet - Old Town Pub, 10 p.m. Oct. 31
The Boulder band plays blues, jazz and funk. Cover to be determined. Call 879-2101. 600 Lincoln Ave.