‘Big kids’ fork out big bucks for the perfect Halloween costume

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Long gone are the days of slapping on a mask, cutting two eye holes in a bed sheet or ripping up a 30-gallon trash bag to fashion a homemade witch’s frock. The day before All Hallows Eve, we spoke to a local costume shop about the hordes of adults they see each year willing to banish their budgets in order to scare up the best Halloween costumes imaginable.

Halloween sales account for about a third of Fig Leaf Costume's business each year. The shop, located at 3301 9th Ave. S.W., a couple blocks off Triana Boulevard in Huntsville, maintains a collection of over 2,000 rental costumes.

"It has been so busy," said shop employee Iris Billiter who spent the day dress as vampiress 'Baroness Thirsty Von Darkness.' "So crazy that we have lost our heads, almost literally -- at least Marie Antoinette did," Billiter said motioning to a fellow employee donning an obligatory powdered wig and drawn-on beauty mark. "But people come in here if they want a different kind of experience," she says.

Now, if you're like me this year and decided channel Jerry Hayes circa 1978 for an office costume contest, all you need is a little vintage swag, some good thrift store finds, a wig, and some spirit gum. But some people are willing to forgo the frugal route and shell out big bucks to rent their Halloween costumes.

And, let's be honest: it's the adults who are the ones wielding the debit cards.

The average Fig Leaf costume rental is $40 for three days with the price going up to $50-$100 for more intricate and involved pieces. But when you rent from the experts there, the whole nine yards are included.

"Wigs and hats and jewelry and shoes, sometimes and scarves -- so it's not just one particular piece," explains Baroness Von Darkness.

"I've done the costume stores and Halloween party stores and stuff before but the quality is just not as good as if you come to a place like this," says customer Andy Yarborough as he selected the perfect western garb for his cowboy get-up.

As long as the doors are open, Fig Leaf will be raking in the dough from those searching for the perfect Halloween accoutrements. That is, until they're too covered up with rental returns.

"We will do laundry for days and days," says the Baroness.

Fig Leaf got smart this year and spaced out rental return days. As you can imagine, getting the costumes clean and back in order is quite a task, especially when 'big kids' decide to misbehave while wearing them.

Speaking of reckless abandon and debauchery, some people of course find Halloween repulsive, devilish even. But get this:  Fig Leaf Costumes sell more fake blood at Easter than Halloween.

"I know a lot of people around these parts have problems with Halloween," admits employee Tonya Wise. "But the funniest thing is, on Easter we have more business than Halloween because people come in for fake blood for the crucifixions. That's okay, too. That's great."

So Easter pageant praise beats out haunted house gore -- who'da thunk it?