When Halloween lands on a weekend, it's so much more festive than when the holiday occurs in the middle of the week.
Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, and that means no early bedtime because of school the next day, no rushing home from work to get the tots off for trick-or-treating and plenty of time for dressing your 6-year-old in her Snow White regalia (a hot costume this year, according to costume rental businesses).
There's plenty of time for costume parties, leisurely trick-or-treating and special trips to haunted houses.
In the past decade, Halloween has evolved into a holiday for both adults and children.
Witches and devils are passe for Halloween '87. For adults, the prize-winning trick is clever-couple costumes--from a poodle and fire hydrant to Campbell soup and crackers. Girls are opting for the most saccharine frilly dresses, whereas boys seem to gravitate toward the most macho Ninja-Rambo outfits.
The following tells you where to find the costumes and where to wear them. All the shops rent and sell adult costumes, but children's costumes can only be purchased.
Costumes By Magic World, 10122 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Chatsworth, (818) 700-8100. The rental costumes here include a banana, beefeater, teddy bears, knights in armor and Renaissance looks. All of the store's 80 Santa Claus costumes are rented every Halloween. Rates run from $25 to $155 (for a General Patton ensemble). Most are $35 to $45. Costumes for sale are simpler versions of the rented ones. There are 150 from which to choose--from barmaid to zebra. They cost $16 to $85. The 5,000 children's costumes here include Snow White, Ninja and, for the little trick-or-treaters (the ones who go house-to-house in their Aprica strollers), tiger and bunny pajamas. Children's costumes cost $13 to $39. Magic World has a wide selection of makeup and publishes 16 booklets on creating specific effects. Magic World has a second store in Burbank at 900 S. Glenoaks Blvd., (818) 848-8100, that rents one-of-a-kind costumes such as Mary Poppins and the King of Siam.
Costume Rental and Sales, 28850 Roadside Drive, Agoura, (818) 706-2559. This is the shop with the Campbell Soup and crackers costumes--also Coors regular and Coors Lite. Besides unusual couple costumes, they carry costumes for Elvira and Rhett Butler. Rates are $25 to $65. You can purchase costumes to become, for one night at least, a cave woman, Cleopatra or a witch doctor. These cost $25 to $45. New this year for children are padded animal costumes: dinosaurs, penguins and kangaroos. Traditional favorites are brides, princesses and astronauts. Tom Cruise-in-Top-Gun is expected to be a big hit with boys. Children's costumes sell for $10 to $50. The shop also stocks makeup and has 200 bins of accessories, from animal noses to wands.
Magic Emporium, 19641 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 344-2525. With 5,000 rental costumes, patrons can choose to be a bulldog, tyrannosaur, polar bear, Frankenstein's monster (in a two-foot tall head). Couple costumes are big here: Renaissance characters, Southern belles and military men. "Men don't want to wear tights," said shop's owner Paula Kincheloe. Rates average between $25 and $45. The extensive children's department here includes Cinderella, unicorns, butterflies, playing cards, cats, super heroes, spacemen, army and cave men. Poodle skirts are popular with pre-teen girls. Prices are $10 to $40. The shop is stocked with masks, accessories and makeup. The staff can pull together all the required paraphernalia for an authentic Dracula look. It also sells body parts and rents coffins.
Noblitt's Costumes, 12511 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 769-4737. Rentals start at $30 and include Carmen Miranda, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Little Bo Peep, Keystone Cops and nuns. Children's costumes are $26.95 and include princesses, rock stars, Zorro and Dracula. All are washable.
Halloween activities in the Valley:
Woodland Hills Elementary School Fall Festival and Halloween Carnival, 22201 San Miguel St., Woodland Hills, (818) 347-9220. Oct. 31, 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Children in costumes can join the parade around the playground, then head for the game and food booths. Free admission.
Studio City Recreation Center, Halloween Carnival and Country Craft Faire, 12621 Rye St., Studio City (818) 783-3550. Oct. 31. Continuous entertainment from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Karate demonstrations, children's choirs and dance performances will be featured. There will be pony rides, train rides, 25 artisans' booths and food. The costume parade for ages 1 to 12 begins at 5 p.m.
Factory of Nightmares, Pierce College, corner of Victory Boulevard and Winnetka Avenue, Woodland Hills, (818) 363-9329. Oct. 16 to 18, Oct. 23 to 25, Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. The North Hill Jaycees will open their haunted house for the 13th straight year. Visitors move from room to room, each filled with heart-stopping special effects (some a little to gruesome for young children). Outside, there are carnival rides and games. Admission is $5.
Topanga Plaza, (818) 883-9670, will celebrate Halloween from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with a costume contest, puppet shows and trick-or-treating with special candy booths.
Laurel Plaza, (818) 769-3200, begins festivities at noon with instant photos in a pumpkin patch until 6 p.m. The costume contest, hosted by Frankenstein and a werewolf, is from 1 to 3 p.m. There is trick-or-treating at selected stores from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sherman Oaks Galleria, (818) 783-3550, will start off with a costume contest at noon, followed by trick-or-treating at the stores until 6 p.m.