Pamela Chan, BCFamily.ca*

This year, for the first time, I realized that we might need to buy at least one Halloween costume for one of our five year old twins.  In the past few years we’ve planned for Halloween by creating costumes or putting together homemade pieces with purchased accessories.  An invitation to visit Value Village for an evening of Halloween shopping was perfect timing for our family.  At first I planned to take my two five year olds and they certainly were keen to go with me. Ultimately it turned out to be an impromptu date night with my husband while my parents – visiting from out of town – stayed at home with my children.

We visited the Value Village on East Hastings street, which has been in that location for over 30 years.  The used Halloween costumes can be found on the first floor, just in front of the entrance, while the new costumes and accessories are located on a mezzanine area above the main part of the store.  As I looked at the used costumes, I could see that there were many clothing items and used accessories on the main floor that could be used to piece together a costume.  While you are visiting Value Village, it’s worth having a look at other areas such as the children’s section, toys and puzzles. (In this location they can be found in the basement area.)

On this night we were shopping for a new costume for my son and for Elsa (of Frozen fame) accessories for my daughter.  We couldn’t find pieces that worked in the used section so we decided to head up to see the new products up the stairs at the back of the store.

A faun from the forest and Cleopatra helped us look for costumes and accessories.

In the new products section there were three costume advisers available to help look for specific types of costumes and offer advice about how to put a costume together. One of the advisers I spoke with knew about Elsa’s costume and gave me a heads up about the cape that she has on her outfit.  I couldn’t find a white cape that suited my daughter’s hand-me-down dress but I did start to think about looking for some material at Value Village that might work.

For young children and babies I found tutus; butterfly wings and costumes; horses and other animals that you can wear; and, baby outfits that would look great in a Halloween photo.

In the adult costumes section I couldn’t help but notice the Cow Girl, Day of the Dead and pirate pieces.  It would be fun to dress up in any of these themes. If you decide to choose these options, it would be fun to search out complimentary clothing and accessories in the rest of the store.

After checking out the fun range of animal hats and a ladybird costume that reminded me of the book Ladybug Girl, I faced the daunting task of choosing a costume for my son.  I realized there was only one choice that would help me – I called him.  He took the matter very seriously and talked me through the process as he had me thoroughly explore and explain every option that was available.  As much as he likes Spiderman, we realized that the tight cloth mask covering his face wasn’t going to work.  So we chose….

Optimus Prime! (From Transformers).  This isn’t the costume that I would have been drawn to; however, he was thrilled to receive it and immediately developed a Transformers type voice. My son has limited exposure to Transformers but somehow he knows what they’re all about. A few days later I visited another Value Village in the Tri Cities area.  If you are looking for this type of costume and can’t find it in the used section of one store, it is a good idea to check out other locations.  Whether you’re looking for a new costume or a used one, have a few top choices that have been provided by your child.  You never know what you will find and you might end up choosing an option that you hadn’t considered earlier.

For my daughter we decided to use a hand-me-down dress for her Elsa costume and set about searching for material for her cape.  We found a lovely skirt at Value Village that my mum carefully took apart to create a shimmering, sequined cape.  Some of the material will also be used to replace the arms currently on the dress.

Although Elsa doesn’t wear a crown in her famous “Storm Up The Mountain” scene, she does dress up for an official function elsewhere in the movie.  We thought this crown, snowflake wand (we’re making it a snowflake) and “ice crystal” bracelet would be perfect.  Technically Elsa removes her gloves after she heads up the mountain but if my daughter wants to feel more Princess-like with gloves on, we’re going to go with that option.

While exploring Value Village I discovered that they have a great selection of material that could be used for sewing. This never-been-used cloth will be used as a table cloth.  I can see myself returning to Value Village in the future to check out this section for treasures.

Our shopping excursion to Value Village was a success.  My mum is now busy over on Vancouver Island working away on Elsa’s costume (as she is a more talented seamstress than me) and I look forward to seeing the final result.

*Value Village and North Shore Mama kindly arranged for a $50 coupon to help with our Halloween shopping.   Value Village will give away a $100 gift card to one lucky reader who would like to make some fun Halloween purchases at one of their stores.  Maybe it could be you.  Good luck and (in advance) Happy Halloween.

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The Alter Ego line of costumes and accessories is made exclusively for Value Village. Some costumes -such as the Elsa costume – sold out in September. So if you’re looking for that perfect Elsa dress, you might have to do what we are doing and put together your own outfit. The results might be better than what you had expected or could have purchased ready made.

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