, Derry, New Hampshire


October 31, 2013

Downtown shop a year-round costume treat

Costumes aren't just for Halloween

DERRY — It was a last-minute effort to find that perfect Halloween touch.

“Do you have any cat tails?” the woman asked during a visit to the Costume Gallery on Saturday.

The downtown costume business has been outfitting the area for more than 25 years.

The shop was hopping Saturday, with people stopping by to find that perfect wig or accessory to complete this year’s costume.

But it’s not the last-minute Halloween shoppers that make up most of the business.

Gallery owner Claire Renaud said her busiest time is yet to come.

“June to January is my busiest time,” Renaud said.

That’s the time of year when all the schools and community theater groups stage their productions, something Renaud is heavily involved with, building costume collections and creating original designs. She ships costumes all over the world.

Her business relies heavily on rentals. Right now, she has more than 20,000 costumes in her collection. Many are stored at her tiny business at 11 East Broadway. Others are stored away in another downtown space.

Rentals are available for almost any occasion from Halloween through the holidays. Renaud has even made custom-designed wedding dresses for that perfect medieval event.

Growing up in a big family, Renaud said she always loved dressing up and creating her own costumes.

She learned to sew at a young age and was encouraged to be creative, often making her outfits from things around the house.

The passion to share her talents as a business began in her Derry home before she moved to the Broadway location in 1995.

This year’s choices for top Halloween wear include period clothing for a Great Gatsby look, or something to keep up with the top sports teams.

“We’re selling a ton of Red Sox beards,” Renaud said.

People tend to be very original when they plan their costumes, Renaud said, and this year has a little bit of everything.

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