There are certain Western traditions that just don’t quite translate – customs that the majority of Chinese people don’t understand and indeed do not even try to understand because the tradition itself seems preposterous. One such ritual is Halloween. And yet that hasn’t stopped the foreign population (and us!) from celebrating it.
So, since a proper Halloween celebration cannot be had without a costume, just where in this fine city can one find the stuff needed to put together a suitable ensemble? Shanghaiist has compiled a few ideas to put you guys on the right course towards finding what they need to make the perfect ghost, vampire, or 2010 Expo mascot.
1. Western-style Costume Shops
Holiday House: 1188 Panyu Lu, near Hongqiao lu (番禺路1188号近虹桥路). Tel: 6447-7189, Open 9:30-6:00pm. A kind of one-stop-shop for costumes for kids and adults and decorations, Holiday House has the largest selection of traditional Western costumes in Shanghai at decent prices, though this would not be the place to go for more unique costume accessories.
Party Monster: 41 Songlin Lu, Pudong near Rushan Lu (松林路41号近乳山路). Tel: 5882-4991, Open 9:30-5:00pm. Somewhat difficult to find, Party Monster is only worth the trip if someone is looking for Halloween party supplies rather than a full costume. Costume accessories can most likely be found here as well, but it takes a while to rummage through the (disheveled) store before finding what one searching for.
Old standbys like Carrefour and Hola will have a limited selection of Halloween costumes, though inevitably at inflated prices in comparison to the Chinese-owned stores.
2. Cloth and Clothing Markets
For those who plan their costume months in advance and know precisely what they would like to be for Halloween, it may be a better idea to have a costume custom-made by a seamstress or tailor at the Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market (399 Lujiabang Road near the Bund, 上海南外轻纺面料市场 399 陆家浜路 近中山东二路) Open 10:00-6:00pm. Again, this is a much more viable option for those who are looking for unique costumes that cannot be found in regular costume stores.
It is also important to note that while tailors and seamstresses will likely be able to make a human outfit as a costume, they will be less inclined to make a human-sized lamp costume for you. This option is in fact less expensive than one would initially think, but be sure to bring a picture of your intended costume and allow the tailor enough time for the costume to be completed before Halloween.
Another idea: the sizeable markets around Shanghai that sell ‘designer goods’ of questionable quality have some of the largest selections of ridiculous clothing on the planet, and at relatively inexpensive prices to boot.
A stroll around the Qipu Lu Clothing Market (168 Qipu Lu, near Sichuan Lu, 棋谱路 168号) should conjure up several costume ideas, and much of the clothing there is perfect for wearing once or twice before discarding. Just be sure to bargain for everything, and you’ll be sure to find something that sparks your imagination!
No seriously, Taobao Field Guide has even written up a really great post on various shops that are selling everything from shanzhai “Batman” kids costumes to frickin’ Chinese space astronaut suits (!!!).
And best of all, Taobao lets you procrastinate. Let’s say you don’t decide on the perfect slutty [blank] costume until two days before Saturday, the 31st. You don’t have to worry because, chances are, they’re covered under the same day delivery in Shanghai clause. You never even have to leave your house to find the perfect outfit.
So, now that you’ve got the costume all figured out, what will you do with yourself come Halloween night?
Why, show yourself off at the Shanghaiist Halloween party, of course!