Sponge Bob soaking up the costume market | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sponge Bob soaking up the costume market

Super chic is hot. So is Fire Woman, Police Woman and GI Jane. Pimps and FBI agents are all the rage this year, along with America’s newest darling, that super-sized lovable luffa known as Sponge Bob.

Traditionally a holiday for children, Halloween has carved itself into a popular yet surreal showcase for South Shore adults who gussy themselves up for private costume parties and of course, the infamous Freaker’s Ball.

And by the looks of this year’s batch of costume treats, there appears to be a trick to being fashionably original.

“Halloween is the one time of year where the ordinarily shy person will put on their alter egos and let their hair down,” said Rena McCarthy, owner of Romantic Adventures in South Lake Tahoe.

Following advice given by customers, McCarthy has fashioned her shop as the Taj Mahal of Halloween costumes that run from the tasteful and tame to downright drag.

Halloween has become such a novelty these days that adult costume parties, such as the Freaker’s Ball, are a place to showcase original costuming.

“What’s fun about Halloween and why I think it’s so popular is everyone is trying to be different,” McCarthy said. “The last thing someone wants is to go to a Halloween party and see five of the same costumes.”

It’s also a place where people dress to their more wild side their friends and colleagues might not ordinarily see.

“It’s the time of year where the shy become daring. Where someone who dresses conservative will go as a devil or a dominatrix,” McCarthy said.

And it’s not just women’s costumes that turn heads.

Doubling her inventory from last year, this year, Romantic Adventures offers a selection of apparel and accessories straight out of Hollywood movies, from the Milan Rouge to 1930s gangster flicks.

“There’s the bad guys and the good guys,” she said. “There’s the Latin lover, the mobster and the FBI man.”

Custom-made costumes such as elaborate Victorian and Renaissance-themed attire are popular this year, said Cathy Ferges, owner of the Back Fence Sew and So in South Lake Tahoe.

And so is anything with a super-hero theme.

“You have people who are into costuming and want something elaborate and then you have people who just want to go as something fun,” said Ferges, whose custom-designed costumes run from $45 to $150, depending on how elaborate people are willing to go.

“Whatever the person wants, we will sketch it out for them and make it work to whatever their taste and comfort is,” Ferges said.

For those who wait to the last minute, they risk losing out on originality. That’s why the serious-minded costumer prepares weeks and even months in advance.

“We have people who come to us as soon as Halloween ends, wanting to plan for next year,” she said. “Halloween has become one of those holidays now where people are planning months in advance.”

For parents, Kmart is traditionally the place to shop for kids costumes on the South Shore. For every Halloween there is a trend and this year’s happens to be that lovable luffa Sponge Bob of Nickelodeon Channel fame.

“They’re flying off the shelves as fast as we can stock them,” said Kmart store manager Charlie Roome.

“Every year it’s something different. This year, it’s anything Sponge Bob,” he said.

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