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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.”

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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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