Trolling for a costume? Haunt these rental shops

Halloween is coming.

What costume to wear, what character to be?

Two Hood River shops have the answers.

How about a prince with all the charm, or a troll with all the frown?

Perhaps a galactic princess with a double-bun wig, or a cactus — without the puncture?

From a Medusa costume in the Heights to one of the Pied Piper of Hamelin downtown, the choices are limited only by the imagination, at Hood River’s two costume rental shops.

For Halloween and parties year-round, more than a thousand choices await at Just Imagine, in Kathy’s Closet in the Heights, 1203 12th St. Costumes to Suit Your Fancy, 13 Oak St., is open during Halloween; owner Joan Chantler rents the Swiss Swell windsurfing rental shop.

Just Imagine owner Kathy Frazier claims the largest selection of costumes in the Gorge, with “almost a thousand.” She rents costumes all year long, but October is her busiest month.

Chantler’ shop has moved around in its seven seasons. “We’ve been around the block,” she said. In her first season she rented Mike’s Ice Cream, and has been in several other locations downtown.

Her store is stocked with several hundred costumes, most of which Chantler made. Most rent for about $30-40, though masks and accessories are available in the $5-10 range.

“I started out making things for the Lions Follies. That’s how I got into this, and I wanted them to get out and about a little more,” Chantler said.

Her Pied Piper outfit is almost done; it will feature a trail of rats.

“I’m a school teacher in my real life. I do this because I just love it,” said Chantler, who lives in Snowden and teaches at Wishram School.

Frazier shares Chantler’s love of the business.

“Costumes are my passion,” said Frazier. “I like the creativity, and helping people find the right costume.”

Frazier said her children, Chris, 7 and Rebecca, 16, have grown up in the costume shop. Frazier also runs Kathy’s Kids Day Care, but the costumes are for adults as well as kids.

“Halloween is the chance to dress up and be what you want or always wanted to be,” she said.

Frazier has animals, police officers, fruit, devils, Barney or Frankenstein, Vikings, and all sorts of fantasy and historic figures, including about every Disney character available.

This year Frazier herself plans to don one of her newest costumes: the Statue of Liberty.

Twenty-four-hour rentals run from $10 to $50 (plus refundable deposit) for full costumes, but Frazier also provides masks “for last-minute needs,” as well as makeup and other accessories.

The selections range from a simple black plastic cat mask to the troll with gown and full beard. He’s an example of a costume she purchased, but the almost cuddly cactus and Prince Charming — “that one kind of spooked me” — she made herself.

“If people don’t find the costume they want, we can custom order, or I’ll go home and whip it up,” she said.

One such creation was a silver-lame Medusa, with a wig replete with matching snakes.

For something that won’t turn fellow partiers to stone, Frazier has dancing girl outfits — the continual favorite in her 15 years of costuming.

Chantler also reports she has new “can-can dancer” costumes, as well, and Uncle Sam and Statue of Liberty outfits.

“I have some patriotic costumes for the first time,” she said. “I’ve had requests for them in past but since Sept. 11 it has gotten me motivated to get them made this year.”


Just Imagine is open 1 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday, with extended hours in the last week of October.

Costumes to Suit Your Fancy is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday through Nov. 4.

Both shops offer costumes for children as well as adults.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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