Browse racks of one-of-a-kind finds, and let your creativity run wild.

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woman in a wig and costume
Credit: Aaron Dyer

Creating an over-the-top or wonderfully wacky Halloween costume at home is a fabulous project for those with ample time and a crafty side. (And we're all for spending an afternoon with your nose to the sewing machine, if that's in your lane.) But for those who'd rather pick up the pieces of their ensemble pre-assembled and ready to rock, we suggest visiting or ordering online from one of these unique costume shops. Instead of "out-of-the-bag" outfits, they stock their shelves with a host of garments and themed accessories that feel anything but generic. Consider this list permission to let your Halloween flag fly.

Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds

This Austin, Texas, institution is frighteningly well-stocked. For starters, you'll find everything you need to live out your rhinestone-cowboy or Vegas-showgirl dreams in graphic detail from bedazzled two-piece suits to sparkling headpieces. And it'll be easy to unearth period garb from any decade of the 1900s: The store curates an impressive vintage collection spanning from the Edwardian period to the '90s. True to its Texas location, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds is also home to many a Western special—namely, spot-on Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers ensembles, real-deal cowboy hats, and a large selection of old-school University of Texas marching-band uniforms for a group look. Most pieces are also rentable (for a fraction of the price), and each item is meticulously maintained by an in-house cleaning crew.

Funky Monkey

Like the city it calls home, this New Orleans stalwart is always ready to party. Amid Funky Monkey's rotating selection of clothing and accessories, you'll find gems from bygone decades—an '80s power suit, a '40s Paisley shift dress—and a bright array of contemporary and vintage items in polka dots, tropical prints, and tie-dyes. Peruse its racks, and you'll pull together a rocking retro look in a flash. Even better: Bring in your lightly used, unwanted clothing items, and you can sell or trade them to offset the cost of your new get-up.

Adele's of Hollywood

Channel the Christmas season a little early at this Los Angeles spot, which specializes in striking custom-made Santa Claus suits (and Easter Bunny get-ups) of all kinds, from the velvet-vested to the royally robed and classic "Coca-Cola" styles. Not in the holiday spirit quite yet? Not to worry. Adele's also stocks a full variety of ready-to-wear guises for both kids and adults (for rental and for purchase), ranging from cleopatra to Prince Charming, as well as a line of fluffy, full-body mascot costumes that double as warm onesies.

Piedmont Boutique

The disco era is alive and glittery at this zany San Francisco storefront. Its wide array of faux fur, feathered, and sequined pieces embody all the free-spirited energy of its Haight-Ashbury district locale (just take the fishnet-stockinged legs poking out of its upstairs window as evidence). An essential hub for theater and dance companies, as well as Carnival parade-goers and drag queens, this shop makes almost all of its merchandise in the United States (and its own accessories line is produced right in San Francisco). As a result, it's easy to customize any piece—they'll get it done in as few as three days—and complete your look with a mini top hat, satin gloves, cozy leg warmers, or a wig in just the right shade.

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

Like your most successful Halloween costume, this Brooklyn storefront is actually a clever disguise—the not-so-hidden identity behind the shop is 826NYC, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting students through creative-writing programs. Every purchase of a cosmic cape, pair of gauntlet gloves, muscle power vest, or any number of other unique superhero accessories available in the shop or online directly supports 826NYC's youth writing programs, allowing them to be free for students and their families. And if you're looking for a special element of super-heroic garb not in the store's standard catalogue, it's worth reaching out directly; they might just have the power to bring your custom creation to life.

Screaming Mimi's

Slip into character at this stylish New York City atelier, which sources items like corseted dresses, brocade waistcoats, and beaded headpieces from professional productions of the New York City Opera and Royal Shakespeare Company. (Theater fanatics: Yes, you can dress up as Macbeth or Juliet, and wear pieces of the actual costume worn by the actor in a recent performance.) On racks organized by costume category, you'll also find special takes on the classics—beautiful fairy-tale characters, realistic sailors, and a diverse array of angel and devil get-ups, so there's no chance you show up on Halloween night in the same look as someone else. This year, the store will also stock artist-designed masks and face coverings in a variety of styles, which will add to your look while providing peace of mind.

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