Medieval to modern, the “Roaring Twenties”, including fashionable flappers, groovy gangsters, and The Great Gatsby; princesses, pirates, and pilgrims, Dracula, dragons, and devils, soldiers and sailors, cowboys and Indians, clowns and cartoon characters, witches and wizards, skeletons, zombies and ghouls, Marie Antoinette and Scarlet O’Hara …. These, and so many more, are all available at The Costume Scene, 1710 Liberty Street in Trenton.
Who doesn’t like to dress up and for a brief moment in time become someone else? Whether for a play, costume party, or Halloween trick or treating, donning a costume inspires imagination and a chance to pretend. Most of all, it’s fun!
This is certainly the point of view of Amanda Sharp, owner of this special shop.
A graduate of Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart and Arcadia University, where she majored in theater and costume design, Ms. Sharp both designs and constructs costumes. When the opportunity to purchase The Costume Scene arose last July, she did not hesitate. It was a chance to combine her love of costume and theater.
“I used to come here for costumes and make-up for plays when I was at Stuart,” she explains. “This is an opportunity for me to continue the shop and also for me to continue my own costume design for theater in the area.”
“I had always thought about doing something creative and exciting, and where I could be my own boss.”
The shop, which has been in Trenton for 35 years, has a strong existing client base, an is the foundation on which she hopes to expand, says Ms. Sharp. “I want to expand the connection with professional and community theater, as well as the schools. We have a lot of newer items, and a lot more special effects, including molds for prosthetics, especially scary and gross stuff that the kids love.”
Ms. Sharp can create make-up and special effects pieces for the creepiest Halloween or costume party characters. Make-up, from glamorous to gross, is a specialty. Of course, the more gruesome, gory, and grotesque, the better the kids like it, she points out.
“Blood Buckets” and “Zombie Gutz” enhance an overall grisly effect, with faux cuts, bruises, and abrasions, and nasty-looking “infectious matter” and “body fluids” dripping off some other-worldly creature.
False teeth, fake beards, moustaches, sideburns, and bald caps are all popular, as is the tremendous assortment of masks and wigs of all kinds.
And, the costume selection is unmatched. “We have the largest selection of costumes in central New Jersey and the surrounding areas,” reports Ms. Sharp. “We specialize in theatrical costumes and make-up as well as characters and holiday costumes. This includes time periods and historical figures, favorite animated characters and super heroes, Halloween costumes, Santa Claus suits, Easter Bunny suits, and so much more. Tens of thousands of costumes are on -site for you to try on.”
Hats and Tiaras
“We also carry a large selection of professional make-up, and we do make-up applications for customers attending special events. We also have hats, tiaras, and all kinds of
accessories, including sunglasses and gloves.”
The majority of costumes are available for 24-hour rental, but a selection is also offered for sale, starting at $25 for children and $40 for adults. Rentals are priced everywhere from $35 to $200. Ms. Sharp is also able to design and construct special costumes, if customers wish.
Mascot cartoon characters and animals are very popular for children’s birthday parties and graduations from pre-school and elementary school, she adds. Characters like Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and other favorites are all available.
Adults enjoy the shop just as much as the kids — dressing up is ageless, says Ms. Sharp. Costume parties are great fun, and customers enjoy looking at the extensive sea of possibilities.
Hamilton Square resident Anita Oliver was in the shop recently to find an appropriate outfit for a “Hollywood Oscars” theme costume party. “I decided to go as a 1920s flapper, and I needed to get a dress, headband, and jewelry,” she explains. “This store is so much fun! They have everything I want, and they are all so helpful.”
Theme costume parties are very popular now, says Ms. Sharp. “The Roaring Twenties is a big favorite, and also the 1960s, with the hippies; and different decades generally are often themes, as are Disco and dance, such as ‘Saturday Night Fever’.”
Own Back Yard
Customers come from all over the area, including Princeton, and many are repeats, she adds. “It’s really easy to get here, and we are in a very nice residential neighborhood, with our own parking lot.
“It’s so important for
people to know that we’re here. I want them to enjoy coming and shopping in a small shop where they can see everything, touch it, and try it on. We have four dressing rooms. It’s very important for people to take the time to investigate what is in their own back yard. There is no place like this between here and Philadelphia.
“I am very excited about it,” she continues. “I love everything here, and I want this to be a place where people can come, have fun, and use their imagination. I don’t think people use their imagination enough. Come in and be a clown, or a knight or Batman or a mermaid. The sky’s the limit!
“I just want to keep on doing what I love and sharing it with the customers.”
The Costume Scene is open seven days, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 11 to 5. (609) 394-7788.
Website: www.the costumescene.com.