Let us guess — you were planning on rolling into a costume shop on Oct. 30 and ordering a custom-made Groot getup to impress revelers at a Guardians-themed Halloween shindig? Well, don’t.
“We have to be done with all our custom work by the middle-to-end of September,” says Terry Anderson, proprietor of New Millennium Costumes on Tremont Street. “We get people coming in all the time on Oct. 30 asking us to make ‘em a custom costume. Can’t be done in one day, even if we weren’t busy.”
The choicest rentals also get snatched up well before All Hallow’s Eve. During a visit in late September, we overheard a conversation confirming that dibs had been called on Chewbacca and most of the other “Star Wars” outfits.
We can infer Boston is a more than alright town to own a costume shop. After all, we’ve kept Cambridge’s Boston Costume and Dorothy’s Boutique in the Back Bay in business for decades. New Millennium threw its novelty hat into the mix in 2011, when Anderson saw an opportunity to fill the void left in the Downtown neighborhood when Boston Costume moved from Chinatown to Cambridge.
New Millennium traffics just about all you would expect at a specialty costume shop, from pre-packaged superhero attire to “sexy” pirate garb to a rubber George W. Bush mask to sparkly blue wigs and all the stuff in between. But their distinguishing trade is customer-designed, in-house made, custom costumes. Excluding Nazi and Klu Klux Klan uniforms, they’ll consider constructing any disguise within feasibility (even if it’s filthy). Did you see pictures of the Mr. Freeze cosplayer at this year’s Anime Boston, whose outfit included the chilly Batman nemesis’s transparent dome helmet and glowing blue LEDs? That was one of theirs. Anderson tells us he just wrapped up a similarly LED-rigged “Tron”-themed suit, presently on its way to a customer in Mexico.
Believe it or not, international patrons help keep New Millennium busy during all those crappier times of year that aren’t close to Halloween.
“We have people coming in all summer from Spain, Chile, and everywhere else, because they don’t really have Halloween stores there,” says Anderson, who lives in Dorchester. “A guy was in from Chile. He bought costumes for his kids, and said there’re probably only four costume stories in his country.
“There’s a girl who comes over from Ireland every year. All her girlfriends give requests, they chip together to pay for her plane ticket, she buys everybody’s costume and flies back. She said it’s cheaper than paying on the internet, because of shipping bills and having to send something back and the whole nine yards. So one person flies over here and grabs everything for 15 or 20 people. When Halloween catches on in another country, it catches on pretty big.”
America may be looked down on for some of its exports, but when it comes to Halloween, nobody does it better than the ol' U.S. of A.