Vancouver shop Boo-La-La wants to help you find the ultimate Halloween costume
I feel like a princess. This is partly due to the fact that I’m dressed like one. But much of it is owed to all the fussing and pampering going on around me: corsets are being tightened, pearls are being fastened and giant pink wigs are being fluffed for maximum royal effect.
Dani Barnes, Boo La La’s head stylist, steps back to admire her handiwork. “You ARE My Little Pony’s Princess!” she says happily, picking out a parasol to go with my outfit as a finishing touch. To be honest, I didn’t even know My Little Pony had a princess, but I’m really into what’s happening on top of my head. And I trust her: Dani is a true artist.
“I’m really good at styling wigs. And I think they add so much to any outfit. I try to get everyone who comes in to try one on at the very least. They make the costume complete,” she explains as she adjusts my tiara. She makes it crooked on purpose: what a pro.
Boo La La's costume consultant service
Boo La La has such a great selection of costumes, you'll need help sorting through everything. (Image: Boo La La)
It can be overwhelming, walking in to the North Van shop, the shelves stacked with official Michael Jackson-brand jackets and Glee cheerleading uniforms. Giant decapitated plush mascot heads perch creepily atop racks lush with vintage army suits and authentic flapper dresses for rent; it’s nice to have a little help narrowing down the options.
With their costume consultant service, Boo La La helps you figure it out. What have you been in the past? Do you want to be cute or gory? Where are you going for Halloween? Who is going to be there?
"All these questions help us figure out what direction to take a costume,” Dani says, flipping past burlesque garb and decidedly un-regulation nurse uniforms in favour of a Rainbow Brite outfit for me to try.
From our conversation, she’s pegged me as the kind of gal who prefers cheer to creepiness or cleavage, and my past penchant for pop-culture costumes (samples from years past: Pepper Anne, Sailor Mars, Miga the Olympic Whale/Bear) has inspired her to drape me in ‘80s cartoon-wear. It’s the best.
The Boo La La transformation is complete! (Image: Stacey McLachlan)
“I’m a pretty good judge of character,” says Dani. “I try to read people and think of what sort of character they'd really be able to get involved in. Not necessarily someone you remind me of, but who you could play really well. ”
And Halloween is just the biggest day in a year full of costume opportunities, Boo La La owner Laurie Sluchinski explains. “There are so many reasons for a theme party: birthdays, corporate events. We rent and sell stuff for dance performances, theatre, indie projects and music videos. It’s nice to be dressed up; it really helps people engage.”
Consultations are free and take about an hour, but you've got to book in advance, especially with Halloween creeping up fast. Luckily, Boo La La is keeping special Halloween hours from October 17th until the big day, so you can try on costumes under Dani's supervision late into the night.
I know you’ve probably got your sexy pumpkin costume already planned out already, but you can do better, and Boo La La can help. Book your consultation today for the greatest game of dress-up you’ve ever played.