Masters of Disguise

Five dress-up shops where you can rent your alter ego for a day, or buy it for a lifetime.

With Will Mari October 28, 2009 Published in the October 2007 issue of Seattle Met

Venetian Blinds

As a child, Kyra Stewart loved playing dress up; later she developed an affinity for carnevale masks from Venice. Today at A Masquerade Costume, Stewart supplies Mardi Gras revelers with Italian masks and outfits costume partyers with a collection she’s been growing since childhood. She says the masquerade is about “putting on another side, and having people discover what that other side is.” 12736 NE 15th Pl, Bellevue, 425-373-5990. 10676 NE Eighth St, Bellevue, 425-455-7621;

Period Pieces

Looking for the uniform of an ancient Roman centurion, complete with scarlet plumage? It’s at Arnie Grossinger’s Vintage Costumers, and he made it himself. Since 1977, Grossinger’s been renting the mostly handmade attire of days gone by. “We don’t do ‘gimmicky’ although we’re not above being whimsical,” he says, adding that with his one-of-a-kind pieces, customers will not “run into themselves” at parties. 7011 Roosevelt Way NE, Roosevelt, 206-522-5234;

Party People

For over half a century, Party @ Display & Costume Supply has been transforming kids of all ages into hulking cavemen and go-go girls. And, as the name suggests, they do more than disguises; you can also pick up a fog machine and face paint. “We’re in the entertainment business,” says co-owner Dallas Carleton. With 32,000 square feet at the flagship Seattle store and locations in Everett and Issaquah, good times are practically guaranteed. Visit for locations

Good Old Days

Vintage equals high style no matter what the occasion, and Michelle Mortenson’s boutique, Private Screening Vintage, has a reputation for offering true-blue originals from the 1910s through the ’70s. Rat Pack suits and flapper dresses work better on Halloween than on regular old Tuesdays, it’s true, but Mortenson advocates mixing old and new all year long. Don’t be surprised if part of your perfect costume turns into everyday attire. 3504 Fremont Pl N, Fremont, 206-548-0751

Cast Party

We can’t all be Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady, but if you fit into her white Ascot dress you can play her at a party. Drawing on her experience as a wardrobe designer for the likes of Redmond’s SecondStory Rep, Pacific Northwest Costume owner Sherrill Taylor creates characters from the stage and screen. For would-be Yodas and Romeos alike, all the world’s a stage. 16129 Redmond Way, Redmond, 425-881-8618. 1738 NE Riddell Rd, Bremerton, 360-479-6720;

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