Bwog kicks off Halloween early this year with a special guide to two of the neighborhood’s best costume purveyors, Ricky’s and  Possibilities @ Columbia.

You can divide the world in two camps: Those who love Halloween and those who hate it.  Bwog falls into the former camp and we hope you do too. But we understand, fun is not for everyone.  If you’re a Halloween hater, a self-conscious self-customer or just not in the spirit yet, Bwog’s here to help.  Today, we’re guiding you through two of Morningside Heights’ most unabashed Halloween haunts, the already infamous Ricky’s and Possibilities@Columbia.

Ricky’s is not a place for everyone. Really.

Nonetheless, if you are still unsure of what your Halloween costume will be, a browse through Ricky’s is an excellent way to get you thinking.  But be forewarned: Many of the costumes will strike you as tacky, trashy or mildly entertaining.  Shoot for the latter.

Although Ricky’s has a wealth of complete costume ensembles, Bwog does not recommend investing in one.  If you show up to your Halloween bash in a Ricky’s costume straight out the box, your lack of inspiration will be obvious.  And besides, the majority of costume ensembles at Ricky’s are upwards of thirty dollars.

Bwog cannot stress how important it is to abstain from purchasing the your entirety of your respective costume at Ricky’s.  Instead look for the key essentials: For example, if you decide to be a witch, don’t buy the purple and orange striped dress selling at Ricky’s for  twenty-five dollars.  You probably have something in your closet that will serve equally well.  So instead, buy the witch’s hat for only thirteen dollars because you probably don’t have one of those in your dorm room.

Unfortunately Ricky’s does not cater itself to those seeking only to purchase costume accessories.  The majority of such accessories are poorly displayed and hard to reach.  Furthermore, Bwog could not find a plain, black pointy witch’s hat in the entirety of the store.  There were plenty of jazzed up variations of the witch’s hat but no basic witch’s hat.  This last observation is indicative of the greater shopping experience: Ricky’s is not a place for the basic Halloween essentials.

In addition to the the tired but true favorites — pirates, ninjas, sexy Hermione Granger among others — this year Ricky’s collection has some noteworthy newcomers just right for its Columbia clientele. Special for Fall ’08 and all CPU members, Ricky’s offers an array of election themed costumes including a “boss” Sarah Palin wig ($39.99) and an “always sexy” Michelle Obama wig ($29.99).  To complement either wig, Ricky’s also sells a Sarah “Miss Alaska” costume, comprised of a bikini and beauty pageant sash.  For men, Ricky’s sells an equally droll Joe the Plumber costume.  

If you’d rather avoid making political statements with your Halloween costume or you already have in mind what you’d like to be, Bwog advises skipping Ricky’s altogether and heading straight to Possibilities@Columbia.  Here, you’ll find the atmosphere much milder; the lighting and display is preferable to that of Ricky’s which makes for an easier, less grating shopping experience.

Possibilities is really the best place to go for all the Halloween basics. Think plenty of black pointy witch hats, cat ears and tail kits, devil ears and tail kits, face masks and other traditional Halloween paraphernalia.  As opposed to the alarming quantity of female pirate costumes sold at Ricky’s — with names ranging from Pirate Vixen, Marauder Wench, Pirate Wench, Treasure Hunt Wench, Captain’s Treasure Wench to South Seas Siren and Buccaneer Babe — only two styles, Pirate’s Wench and Captain’s Wench, are sold at Possibilities. 

The best thing about Halloween  at Columbia is that it comes right after fall midterms, which means a week straight of Halloween parties.  Ricky’s and Possibilities@Columbia  provide plenty of costume options, but  to maximize your Halloween success  remember the best costumes are usually an amalgam of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something orange.