The other day I actually walked my dog and didn't have to change out of a sweat-soaked shirt for the first time in months. You know what that means? Halloween is upon us, gentle readers. It's the perfect holiday to take your mind off the fact that you'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner with your relatives after a presidential election very soon.
You may not be aware of it, but you can spend some serious spooky dollars in Houston, on everything from costumes to candy to curiosities. Welcome to our guide on how to get your wallet lighter and your life more macabre.
10. Old Time Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Patch
7632 Spring Cypress
Let's start lighthearted. There are great pumpkin patches all over the city, but the annual one at the Old Time Christmas Tree Farm is by far my favorite place to pick up a really first-rate jack-o'-lantern candidate. The one I got for just $5.99 was so big I almost couldn't carry it to the car. They also sell a very nice selection of wooden yard decorations if you prefer the wholesome route in how you signal your love of the season to the neighbors. Plus, it makes for a good family outing overall, with hay rides, bounce castles and turkey legs.
9. Danny’s Trix and Kix
3400 FM 2920
And as long as you're hanging out on the north side of town, check out Danny’s Trix and Kix. It's got a standard, though still impressive, stock of costumes for adults and kids, and, unlike a lot of the other good places to buy holiday disguises, is open on Sundays this time of the year. Amusingly enough, Danny's is where I discovered Slip Knot was a mask genre as well as a band.
I recommend any one of the three Spookers locations around Houston. Their staff is extremely friendly, and the stores are spacious and well-organized and really do have a little something for everyone. Steampunks on a budget or who need children's outfits should definitely apply.
Side note: I visited the Westheimer location specifically because the website said it had a Tardis. The Doctor must have popped out for a moment because I didn't see it, but they did sell Cybermen masks, which is a rare find.
7. Stanley Drug Company
Fellow Press writer Chris Lane clued me into the last great Houston hoodoo shop, and there's a really amazing Texas Monthly article about it if you'd like to learn more. It's a seriously spooky place, but friendly for those with an open mind. It's definitely the one-stop shop to learn about the rich traditions and items used in hoodoo rituals from those still practicing today. You can also pick up books on Santeria and Santa Muerte there. Bring cash.
6. National Museum of Funeral History
415 Barren Springs
If you want to Halloween-ify your office space, the gift shop at the National Museum of Funeral History is the place for you. Morbid coffee mugs, coasters and business card holders are among the fare you can purchase that's sure to keep the more obnoxious coworkers afraid of your death-centric desk. Oh, and the museum is tops for an afternoon visit.
5. Party Boy
The last time I did a Halloween shopping guide for Houston, I sort of paired Party Boy with another shop as a standard destination, but my subsequent experience has convinced me that Party Boy is the superior costume shop, with some very high-quality rentals available. The companion haunted house, Nightmare on the Bayou, is also consistently good quality for scares.
4. Southern Importers
4825 San Jacinto
This remains my personal favorite costume outlet. It has a good wig selection at affordable prices and a top-notch section for make-up effects. I would also argue that Southern Importers has the best fake plastic weapon selection in the city, if that's a selling point for you.
1837 West Alabama and 2521 University
If candy is your favorite part of Halloween, you need to run, not walk, to Candylicious. They have everything! Highlights I spied were the saltwater taffy candy corn, the sour witch's legs Pixie Stix, the zombie-themed root beers and the hard candy bones and skulls. You can also snag a lot of different candy singles for a better than average trick-or-treat dish at very affordable prices. Oh, and if you visit the West Alabama location, the Chocolate Bar next door has giant chocolate pumpkins and skull towers for party pieces.
2. Frankel's Costumes
For 60 years Frankel's has remained the premier costume location in Houston. It can be quite expensive for more elaborate get-ups, but the quality is undeniable. Frankel's sells lots of puppetry and illusionist supplies too, and though I would still rate Southern Importers sliiiiiightly higher in the make-up department, Frankel's is definitely a close second. Frankel's is where you go when you want to really impress someone with a costume.
1. Wilde Collection
When you absolutely, positively have got to creep out everybody in the room, accept no substitutes. Wilde Collection is a curiosity shop full of everything from old medical supplies to bizarre taxidermy art. Want a creepy doll to unnerve guests? Wilde's got 'em. Be sure to sign up for its séance with the Willow Witch on October 30. Knowing Wilde Collection, it'll be an event that proves why it's the best spooky shop in the city.