Go vintage for Halloween

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By Jackie Adams / Asst. Features Editor

( Hobo’s Vintage)

By Jackie Adams / Asst. Features Editor

They’re taking over. Every Halloween more and more scantily clad bumblebees, angels and milk maids are seen roaming parties, leaving people to wonder, when did lingerie become synonymous with Halloween costumes?

This Halloween if you find yourself at a costume party wondering, ”What happened to the face paint and the scary masks of our childhood? And when did Little Bo Peep get so slutty?” then you’ll be glad to know there are a few local places where you can still go to get cute, original costumes at a low cost.

One such place is Hobo’s Vintage in Redlands. More reminiscent of an over-packed walk in closet than retail store, Hobo’s harbors a wide array of old-fashioned clothes, hats and other accessories dripping from every surface.

Noticeably missing when you enter is the fake-enthusiastic “Hi! Welcome to fill-in-the-blank!” Instead you might receive a quiet smile from Nicole Howell, AKA Mrs. Hobo, who looks like she just stepped out of the 1920s and started organizing the racks of puffy-sleeved shirts.

Or maybe you just stepped into the 1920s.

Surrounded by all kinds of nostalgia, one could forget what year they’re really in.

Nicole and husband Marquis Howell, or Head Hobo, opened the store in 2006 and it has been a local favorite ever since.

 After working for years in the vintage business, opening their own store just seemed like a fun way to pay some bills. Mr. Howell said that he gets to let his own interests be his day job.

Together the couple handpicks each of the items that will be placed on their cramped racks, with most of the goods coming from estate sales. They refer to Hobo’s as the “anti-boutique” and strive to offer unique finds at affordable prices.

“We want to show our customers something new that they may not have seen or heard of before,” Mr. Howell said. “The best part of shopping vintage is finding that great piece on the rack and being able to buy it without having to check your bank account balance.”

But don’t confuse Hobos with a thrift store. Instead of selling any and all used clothing, only items from the 1920s through 1970s pass the inspection and make it onto the cramped racks.

“We’ve got jewelry, shoes, hats and other assorted goodies,” Howell said. “We also carry an assortment of hand picked, yet still cheap, vinyl.” 

The variety is almost overwhelming, they include a collection of 1940s hats with black netting veils and an I Love Lucy styled quilted duster jacket for $27.

“We do get strange & amazing things like 1950s Vegas showgirl pieces, 1910s baby clothes, 1940s Suits and 1970′ Disco polyester.” Howell said.

The prices are also surprisingly college-budget friendly.

“I have found better deals there than at many thrift stores,” Melanie K said in her yelp.com review.

Even if you’re not normally a vintage shopper, Hobo’s is worth checking out for its pure novelty value. And it’s a great place to get inspiration for Halloween costumes for both men and women.

“Somebody could have a really great Zombies-from-Vegas party,” Howell said. “We’ve got flapper accessories and swing dancer pieces. You could find a lot of ideas with some digging in our racks.”

So this Halloween, look further than your underwear drawer for costume ideas and take some time to really pick out a unique look.

You will be guaranteed to stand out at the party for your originality and not just your goodies.

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