Halloween is ready to come a-haunting

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
Halloween is creeping up quickly.
And children, teens, and adults looking to celebrate the spooky holiday probably are planning the perfect costume for trick or treating or going to a party.
But what are the hot trends for costumes this year?
Spirit Halloween, which has pop-up stores throughout the state this time of year (including one at Corbin Corner, 1451 New Britain Ave., West Hartford and Waterbury Plaza at 939 Wolcott St., Waterbury), offered up a list of what they see as this year’s must have costumes
According to a press release from the retailer, “Powerful Women” are a popular choice in 2015. Look for super heroes like Supergirl or Wonder Woman. And super villains, like Harley Quinn are favorites as well, said the release.
Also, Spirit Halloween said, “American Icon” costumes are popular. Look for real-life superheroes or your favorite celebrities for inspiration.
Those Teenage Mutant Ninja continue to be a popular choice for costumes. And Spirit Halloween said kids aren’t the only ones who can get in the action for these sewer-residing mutants.
Characters from Disney Channel’s super hot made-for-TV movie, “The Descendants”— which follows the adventures of the offspring of Disney villains such as Malificent— are also a top choice, said the Halloween retailer in its press material.
Gaming characters, “Star Wars,” “Day of the Dead,” and “Princesses” are also prime choices this season, said Spirit Halloween.
Do-it-yourself costumes are also an top option, said Spirit Halloween.
And to that end, thrift stores such as Savers, which has a location at 657 Farmington Ave
Bristol, is a great resource for creating your own look—as well as buying premade costumes at a discounted price.

SHOPPING ON A BUDGET FOR
HALLOWEEN
Savers recently provided four youths from the area—Sami Anderson of Wolcott, Maggie and Cohen Wernicki of Southington, and Taylor Plourd of Bristol— with a $40 gift certificate. With that money, each youth (with the help of their parents) were asked to pull together their Halloween costumes.
Cohen, with the help of his mother, found a Grim Reaper-inspired costume. He liked what he saw at Savers. And his mother Amy said her son’s biggest problem was he found some costumes he thought were too scary.
“I showed the moms at cheerleading and they couldn’t believe the prices and what a great costume we got for so little money,” said Amy.
“I like it,” said Maggie of the Addams Family-inspired costume her mother pulled together. “I like having the accessories with it. I think it’s really cool,” said Maggie. And she said she would tell her friends to go to a thrift store like Savers.
Sammi, who found a princess costume, said, “It definitely wasn’t what I expected. But I can say everybody who worked there was so helpful. And they definitely helped us find the costume we were looking for… They made sure we got something good.”
Each Savers has a costume consultant on-site.
Sami said she’d tell her friends to to go to a thrift store like Savers. “You can buy a costume just as good as any other store.”
Taylor found a way to really stretch her $40 at Savers, pulling together three different costumes—a maniacal surgeon, a devil, and a witch. “I was excited to see what I could find and get to put me in the Halloween spirit,” said Taylor. “I was surprised at the options and the selection. I had a lot of fun putting different creations together.”
The experience was one that she would recommend to her peers.
“I would tell my friends to try (shopping at a thifrt store like Savers) because it is a different experience,” said Taylor. “I would also tell them to set a budget for themselves and see how many items they can get with their set dollar amount.”

GO OUT AND
EXPERIENCE
HALLOWEEN
Besides costumes, there are several horror-themed attractions in the area that can help put people in the mood for Halloween.
Witch’s Dungeon at the Bristol Historical Society at 98 Summer St., Bristol is a loving tribute to the classic horror films of Hollywood.
The Witch’s Dungeon founder Cortlandt Hull is a descendent of Henry Hull, who was one of the first actors to ever play a werewolf in a film. Cortlandt Hull also is a master of movie make-up and he has created life-size figures that lovingly re-create classic Hollywood monsters such as Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, The Fly and more. He then has placed these figures in settings that evoke the original movies. The exhibit moved to the Bristol Historical Society last year, allowing Hull to expand the offerings.
Hull is quick to point out that Witch’s Dungeon is not a haunted house but is a museum-quality exhibit that preserves these classic scream-worthy moments from classic movies.
The craftsmanship of the piecee are a clear indicator that this exhibit is not about scaring the pants off of visitors.
Hull told a story about one woman who was convinced the sarcophagus in The Mummy exhibit was a stolen artifact from the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. The woman even called the police on Hull. Since the exhibit was open, the police let the public continue to file past the exhibit for the day and promised to return with Hull’s accuser.
The next day, Hull said he turned the sarcophagus around, where law enforcement officials and the woman saw the piece actually was made with Styrofoam.
The Witch’s Dungeon is open Fridays through Sundays 7 to 10 p.m. now through Nov. 1.Admission is $5 per person and benefits the non-profit exhibit and the Bristol Historical Society.
For more information, go to PreserveHollywood.com
If you drive down Wolcott Street in Waterbury and you see a UFO at the side of the road, you have found “Nightmare on Wolcott Street.”
Michael Anderson started the haunted house attraction four years ago, first in his garage. Then he moved to his basement. Eventually, since the family owned the building on Wolcott Street, the attraction was moved to its current location.
The attraction features all kinds of props from Hollywood films and stage shows. Anderson said “Nightmare on Wolcott Street” has over 55 rooms, covering 10,000 square feet, and takes about 30 minutes to walk from beginning to end.
“Nightmare on Wolcott Street” is at 1058 Wolcott St., Waterbury and will be open weekend till Saturday, Oct. 31. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 6 to midnight, and Sundays 6 to 11 p.m.
For more information, go to NightmareonWolcottStreet.com

PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN

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Killer clowns have captured Sami Anderson of Wolcott, who found her princess costume at Savers in Bristol. The clowns are part of ‘Nightmare on Wolcott Street’ in Waterbury.

Killer clowns have captured Sami Anderson of Wolcott, who found her princess costume at Savers in Bristol. The clowns are part of ‘Nightmare on Wolcott Street’ in Waterbury.

Cohen Wernicki of Southington, left, sits at the organ in a scene from the classic silent film, ‘Nosferatu’ at Witch’s Dungeon on Summer Street in Bristol

Cohen Wernicki of Southington, left, sits at the organ in a scene from the classic silent film, ‘Nosferatu’ at Witch’s Dungeon on Summer Street in Bristol

Cohen Wernicki of Southington, left, sits at the organ in a scene from the classic silent film, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ at Witch’s Dungeon on Summer Street in Bristol

Cohen Wernicki of Southington, left, sits at the organ in a scene from the classic silent film, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ at Witch’s Dungeon on Summer Street in Bristol

Maggie Wernicki of Southington is haunted by a life-size figure of Bela Lugosi as ‘Dracula’ at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol. She bought her costume at Savers in Bristol, a local thrift store. The costume was bought for under $40.

Maggie Wernicki of Southington is haunted by a life-size figure of Bela Lugosi as ‘Dracula’ at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol. She bought her costume at Savers in Bristol, a local thrift store. The costume was bought for under $40.

Taylor Plourd of Bristol, right, found a maniacal surgeon costume at Savers of Bristol—one of three costumes she was able to buy for under $40. She is seen here with a figure of Dr. Phibes from the film, ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol.

Taylor Plourd of Bristol, right, found a maniacal surgeon costume at Savers of Bristol—one of three costumes she was able to buy for under $40. She is seen here with a figure of Dr. Phibes from the film, ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol.

Taylor Plourd gives life to Frankenstein's Monster at Witch's Dungeon.

Taylor Plourd gives life to Frankenstein’s Monster at Witch’s Dungeon.

A little bit of the devil found Taylor Plourde of Bristol as she found three costumes including this one at Savers of Bristol for under $40. Behind her is a life-size figure of ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol.

A little bit of the devil found Taylor Plourde of Bristol as she found three costumes including this one at Savers of Bristol for under $40. Behind her is a life-size figure of ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol.

 Taylor Plourd of Bristol, right, is seen here with ‘Sleeping Beauty’s’ Malificent at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol

Taylor Plourd of Bristol, right, is seen here with ‘Sleeping Beauty’s’ Malificent at Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol