Acting, personality key to good costume

Few people get excited about an overweight hairy man who wants to dress up as a baby, complete with diaper, bib and rattle. Maxine Lindsay does.

Few people get excited about an overweight hairy man who wants to dress up as a baby, complete with diaper, bib and rattle.

Maxine Lindsay does.

Once a year she waits for him — or other guys willing to dress up and humiliate themselves.

All in good fun, of course.

Lindsay owns and operates It’s Party Time, a costume store she usually runs out of her garage in Porter Creek.

But for two weeks in October she moves the costumes into a downtown store to accommodate the Halloween rush.

This year Lindsay hauled her 500 mostly homemade costumes to the faux-cabin on the corner of Wood Street and 3rd.

On Wednesday afternoon, at a time she calls the slow part of the day, people are still filing in looking for a costume among the racks of fairy tutus, capes, dresses and baby bibs.

One rack is filled with the full-length furry bodies of gorillas, ducks and cartoon characters like Sylvester and Tweety Bird.

Their empty, smiling heads hang morbidly from the ceiling.

Lindsay runs around the circular clothing racks pulling out costumes to demonstrate what makes a good outfit.

The key to finding the right costume is matching the clothes to the personality, she said.

Once you have your getup, you have to figure out what role you’re going to play for the night, she added.

“Some guys come in here and they want to be Zorros — they only want to be men,” said Lindsay.

“But other guys come in here and they want to have fun and let loose. If you’re a 250 pound hairy man dressed as a baby, how could you not have fun?”

Some people wander into the store with a vague idea of what they want to wear, but are reluctant to come out and say what they want, especially if it is a weird idea, said Lindsay.

“People usually have an idea when they come so you kind of have to pull it out of them,” she said, adding that once people share their desire, everybody has some fun.

“They get pretty excited and then I’m excited and we’re all excited!

“My first Halloween running the store I dressed up three guys in Geisha costumes. It was fabulous. I like dressing up men as women, especially when they’re game for anything.”

It’s Party Time is run year-round but Lindsay does most of her business in the few weeks preceding Halloween and the Rendezvous winter festival, for which she has another 500 costumes.

Lindsay bought the business in 2005 from a woman who operated it for 17 years before selling.

Looking for extra income, Lindsay, the mother of two children, was approached with the chance to buy the established operation.

“Because of my spunky attitude, she thought I’d be good for the business,” said Lindsay.

She took the chance, bought the business and has had fun ever since.

Her kids, too, enjoy the perks of having a mom who owns more than a 1,000 costumes.

“They always get to dress up,” she said. “There’s a few fairy costumes and my daughter is tickled by that.”

Renting costumes is more convenient than making one and can be cheaper than buying, said Lindsay.

“My costumes are homemade so the quality is nicer than you’d find in stores,” she said. “You can be something different every year because you’re not stuck with the bought costume.”

This year, she’s sent outfits to people in Dawson City, Pelly Crossing and Old Crow.

Lindsay’s costumes rent for $45.

A masquerade this weekend has kept traffic through her store steady.

Earlier this week, about 25 people looking for costumes crammed into the store.

In the past two weeks, Lindsay has noticed her customers are younger than in the past and they’re staying away from the traditional witches and Viking garb.

Anything retro is really popular, she said: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Big Bird, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake.

“The costumes are all from shows they watched as kids,” said Lindsay. “Now this that generation is bar age and they’re able to go out and show-off. They’re more willing to be goofy.”

Some classic don’t go away, though.

Cleopatra and the gladiator costumes are always rented, as is Batman and any monkey-themed gear.

Zorros and vampires haven’t moved off the shelves as quickly as they had in past years.

But no matter the costume one dons for Halloween, just play the character and you’ll have fun, said Lindsay.

“This is the only time people get to dress up and get away with it. That’s a good thing, so enjoy it.”