News

  • Rip's Top Six Quick and Easy Costume Ideas

    With three more days to go before Halloween, even procrastinators may be panicking. Master costumer Rip Claassen of the American Backstage Company offers six last-minute suggestions to create a quick and fun outfit or update an old costume.

    1. SINK YOUR TEETH INTO IT:  In a word, Fangs. Vampires are hot, and with fangs you can turn just about any costume into a vampire. Vampire Prince Charming? Vampire Alice in Wonderland? Vampire Pirate? Vampire Baseball Player? It’s not just a costume, it’s an ironic statement. This year fangs are better than ever with new styles providing a custom fit. Our store carries six types of fangs.

    2.  MAKEUP MONSTERS: Again, an old costume becomes new with theatrical makeup. We recommend and stock the Ben Nye kits such as the Zombie Wheel and Monster Wheel, with all the right colors in a convenient pocket-sized case. How about  Zombie Superman or Zombie Red Robin Hood or a Monster Monk?

    3. TUTU MUCH: Tutus aren’t just for dancers, and they don’t have to stay on the hips. Tack a pair of tutus to the bottom of jeans or leggings, put on some mod jewelry and some makeup glitter, and you can be a cool 1970s disco dancer. Wear one around your head like a hat, for a Phyllis Diller or Martha Rae look. Pop a tutu around your neck for a fabulous clown collar. And yes, you can be a ballerina if you really want to. (At left, part of our Tutu Wall.)

    4. CLOWN IT UP: Start with that clown collar tutu, add clown makeup and a clown nose, maybe a wig, throw on brightly colored baggy clothing, and you’re done. American Backstage carries several styles of clown noses, so you can pick your nose. (Just some old-fashioned clown humor to get you started.)

    5. SUPERHERO SURPRISE: Pair a cape and a mask with a leotard or turtleneck, and invent your own superhero. Or take a look at some of the lesser-known supers beyond the mainstream. For example, the Phantom Stranger costume components are a cape and fedora-style hat, an amulet, your own black pants and turtleneck, and you’re ready to go.  Check out our cape department, our hat wall, and our costume jewelry section.

    6. INSTANT COSTUME KITS: Become your favorite historical figure, simply and inexpensively. With these kits and your own black and white clothing, you can just throw on the collars and hats or wigs, and become Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Betsy Ross, Amelia Earhart, etc. These are very popular for school projects and they work for Halloween too.  We also have a few Instant Animal Kits left.


    The American Backstage Company is the area’s premier costume and theatrical store.  Located inside the Beltway at 5380 Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria, the store is a very short walk from the Van Dorn Metro on the Blue Line. Year-round the store serves the local theatrical community with costumes to rent or buy, theatrical makeup, wigs, hats, masks, dance shoes, magic supplies, and theatrical books and scripts.
  • ← Next Post Previous Post →