Between plastic Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama masks and among stacks of hats from different eras that reach the ceiling, Maureen Cue, owner of Disguise the Limit Costume Rentals, searches for her favorite cowboy hat.
She tries on the costume and ties a bandana around her head. Walking over to the mirror in the middle of the Colwood shop, among the thousands of costumes she puts the final touches on one of her pandemic-safe looks.
Cue’s been in the costume business for almost three decades.
“I had a friend who had her own shop and I used to help her at Halloween time,” said Cue. “She encouraged me to get started when she was closing.”
And while this Oct. 31 is looking different from others, Cue isn’t worried about the impact COVID-19 may have on her business.
“I’m so lucky – I mean it’s been 28 years it’s not like I just opened my business up. I didn’t purchase a lot more stuff, and I’ve got a room full of fabric that I’ve purchased over the years that I could find lots to do.”
Throughout the course of the year, Cue said a number of regular customers have taken to dressing up for Zoom calls and birthday parties.
“You can always count on grandparents,” she said with a laugh. “Ever since March, they’ve been renting little things for their grandkids’ birthday parties … something to make it special for them.”
Cue said what she misses the most about pre-pandemic times is the interaction between her customers.
“Having customers come in one at a time is great. I can totally focus on them, but the downside for them is, there’s an excitement with a bunch of strangers in the shop together who can say ‘oh, that looks great’,” she said. “They’re total strangers so you know it’s true. It’s that sort of excitement that you get with a group.”
Cue has noticed a number of trends in Halloween costumes that have emerged this year.
“We’re seeing more parents coordinating with kids,” she said, adding that just recently a family was dressing up as the three bears but planned on having their golden retriever dress as Goldilocks.
She also has noticed people are choosing costumes that can work indoors and outdoors.
“We had a fellow who was a white storm trooper because he had a car that looked like a storm trooper when you look straight at the vehicle,” she said. “So people are having fun, doing groups in strange ways and I mean, you can’t get COVID from your car.”
Cue expects Christmas will be a good season for the shop as well.
“We‘ve got 30 Santas and we normally send them out to businesses and events, things like that but because I don’t think people are going to be doing the Santas in the mall people are already booking to just have uncle Joe be Santa for the kids.”
For more information on the shop or to see what’s available, visit disguisethelimitcostumes.ca.