Consignment costuming a popular alternative to big-box Halloween options

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Finders Keepers consignment shop in Glens Falls, N.Y. sees steady business in Halloween costume assembly every year. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s that time of year again. Children are clamoring to get costumed up. Adults are donning costumes for some COVID-safe holiday partying. But where to go to get a costume together?

In the Glens Falls region, options may at first appear slim. A Spirit Halloween in the nearby Aviation Mall is the only Halloween-specific game in town, and other big box stores nearby may be an easy option for many. But downtown, a staple of Glen Street has an important role of its own to play.

“This is a really busy time for us, because we have a lot of vintage stuff,” said Lori Arpey, an employee at the Finders Keepers consignment shop on Glen Street. “People love to come here for their costumes.”

Arpey said that the majority of customers with Halloween on the mind are looking to use the vintage stock that makes up some of the store’s two floors of gently used clothing and accessories, and turn them into part of a period piece. This year, it’s a lot of 1920s. 1970s costumes are popular, too.

Part of the fun of it for Arpey – whether for Halloween or not – is helping customers assemble an outfit. Sometimes customers will come in needing one key item, but plenty leave having assembled an entire outfit. Just after opening on Monday morning, Arpey helped a customer put together a 1920s outfit for a Halloween party.

“He bought a waistcoat, and a tweed kind of thing to go with it,” she said. “And he’s got a hat, and even a Tommy gun to go with it.”

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The vintage rack in the basement of Finders Keepers, where many costume-appropriate treasures wait. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

Reaching back into the past for a fun costume idea is attractive for more than just adults. Arpey says she even sees kids and teenagers looking to put together something from the flapper era, or the hippie movement. And it doesn’t surprise her that those eras are the ones that get the most attention.

“They’re the most fun,” she said.

Traffic through Finders Keepers has been heavy this Halloween season. The shop saw a lot of visitors this time last year, too. Business has picked up and stayed steady since taking the same hit any other downtown business did early on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the frights will take to the streets again. Just across the street and up the block from Finders Keepers, City Park will be the home of this year’s Boo2You festivities. The celebration is the Saturday before Halloween, inviting Glens Falls families for some daytime trick-or-treating, pumpkin contests and more.

In previous years, Glen Street itself has been Boo2You’s home. Although it won’t be happening as close to Finders Keepers’ front door, window displays featuring masquerade attire and festive pumpkins are set up to remind shoppers to keep the secondhand option firsthand in mind.

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Costumes in the storefront window of Finders Keepers in Glens Falls, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

Anyone who comes to the store, and works with Arpey or another employee to assemble an outfit, will be doing so entirely from clothes and other goods the store has acquired via consignment. Finders Keepers has a list of around 5,000 regular consignment partners, who they schedule regular meetings with, as often as they can. Many items come in after only being used a couple of times.

“People decide, well, I’ve already worn this twice, I want something new this year,” Arpey said.

Sometimes, the sources for the jackets, dressed, hats and jewelry on display are local. Other times, they come from hours away. That’s true for some customers, too.

“Not long ago, some folks came in here from five hours away,” Arpey recounted. “It’s a long way, but they said they heard about us and they had to come.”

Finders Keepers has been in operation for around 18 years, originally located on Ridge Street. A new location recently opened at the Adirondack Outlet Mall.

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