Halloween shop reopens its doors

Michael Stockinger

Although it’s still September, stores are already preparing for Halloween. In Old Sacramento, Evangeline’s Costume Mansion has an upper hand: They’ve been prepared for almost two months!

Each year, the store opens Aug. 1 through Oct. 31, said Deborah Chausse, manager of the store.

Halloween is in full effect on the second floor of Evangeline’s Costume Mansion, which is a windowless and dimly-lit floor with a creepy, Victorian vibe, seeming as if the holiday is only a week away.

The store is decorated with chandeliers adorned with skulls, classic paintings that have been changed to exhibit gory scenes such as the famous portrait of a George Washington, only it is now headless and holding his head in one hand and a sword in another; fake rubber or plastic spiders are everywhere; a shaking, bloodied head in a terrarium; all while dismembered arms, legs, and heads are distributed evenly throughout the store.”I’ve always liked the store. Honestly I think they have some of the best costumes,” said Laura Garwod, an American River College Student.

Things are relaxed at the store, much different than other stores that offer costumes, like Target or Wal-Mart.

Customers laugh at costumes, while cashiers and employees wait for customers to walk near a picture, so that they can push the button to make a painting slide down and release a skeleton that jumps out at the unsuspecting, terrified victim.

“There is a sizable population of people who like to shop early because the cutest, most popular items will be gone if they shop later on in the season,” Chausse said.

This is true for customer Desiree Allen, a cosmetologist.

“I want to get it done and over with because it’s hard to find something late,” Allen said. “I’m looking for something along the lines of police or army uniforms.”

Unlike other stores, Evangeline’s doesn’t need to prepare for the holiday when the season arrives.

“We have people that work on the store all year,” Chausse said. “We escort people upstairs all year, say, if they are having a party.”

In different rooms there are different themes of costumes: in an old safe there are police accessories and skimpy police outfits for women, but around the corner from this is the military room with army clothing, there is an old western room featuring cowboy and Indian attire, a historical room for roman, pirate, barbarian, and even monk costumes, and in other rooms there are any other costumes that you can think of.

Masks of any variety are also displayed, taking up a whole wall, from Krusty the Clown of “The Simpsons” to video game characters to devils and demons.Up the spiraled staircase and on to the third floor, which appears to be an old saloon, are plenty of dresses, superhero costumes for men and women, and wigs, an entire wall of them ?” any and every type of hair.

The store is full of the hot and popular items that many shop early in order to find before anyone else.

“Men, for some reason, are still going for pirates,” Chausse said. “The pirate costumes have improved a lot since last year.

“Zombies are also definitely popular for men. We have great makeup for zombies, since all the zombie movies have been coming out.”

As for the prices, Evangeline’s is well priced, depending on what you’re looking for.

“We are definitely reasonably-priced,” Chausse said. “I know that some other seasonal stores jack up their prices when it gets closer to Halloween, but we don’t do that.”

“Evangeline’s Costume Mansion” is open 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and is located at 113 K St. in Old Sacramento.

Michael Stockinger can be reached at [email protected]