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Last-minute Halloween requests keep costume shops busy

There's always someone who walks into David DeJac's DC Theatricks on Main Street in Buffalo looking for a last-minute Halloween costume.

Sometimes, it comes right down to the wire.

"Every now and then, we dress someone as they're on the way to the party," said DeJac, owner of DC Theatricks on Main Street. "It's almost our 30th Halloween, and you can never figure out what days are going to be the busiest."

DeJac and his staff -- who work year-round renting costumes for theatrical productions -- have extended their hours this week to accommodate last-minute costume seekers.

"People are stepping a little bit more out of the box this year," said Jodie Mancuso, who has worked at DC Theatricks for eight years.

Mancuso said she's seen adult customers this year shunning the skimpy outfits for more intricate costumes.  

"Big and frou-frou and lots of glamour," said co-worker Christina Serio.

The store deals mostly in costume rentals for adults and older children, but also sells accessories and wigs.

Betsy Ross, who has owned Betsy Ross Costumes on Main Street in Clarence for 28 years, said it's always tough to spot the unusual Halloween trends. She stocks up on the latest characters, but always gets a few calls for obscure costumes.

This year, Ross said, she has gotten six calls from people who want to dress up as the Amish.

"They're oddly looking for characters and icons from TV shows and movies from 25, 30 years ago, which at this point don't exist," Ross said. "We've been getting multiple requests for things like Jessica Rabbit."

The character from the 1988 movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" got loads of attention earlier this month when television cook Rachel Ray donned her signature red dress and red hair. 

Ross said she's ready for most requests that come in this week.

"I tend to get called when they can't find something else in the big box stores and they end up coming to me," Ross said. "Gladly, I can help, them but I wish they'd come here first."

George Smilanich, owner of George & Co. in the Eastern Hills Mall, said he's gotten several requests for accessories for Chilean coal miner outfits (hard hats and sunglasses). Another person called wanting to dress as "The Rent is Too Damn High Party" gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

As for children, Smilanich said, there's no stand-out favorite this year.

"Nothing like in years back," Smilanich said. "When they first came out, every kid had to be Batman and every kid had to be a Power Ranger, but there just hasn't been anything that specific this year."

Smilanich, who is the third generation of his family to run George & Co., said he's expecting a steady stream of customers from now until Sunday.

"Most people usually don't shop until it's necessary," Smilanich said. "It's usually the day before or the same day."

For more ideas, and to read about what's hot this year in adult costumes, read "Going Gaga: Ghosts, goblins give way to Gaga," which appeared in The Buffalo News on Oct. 9. 

--Denise Jewell Gee

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