Still haven’t found a costume? Don’t have time to sift through jam-packed thrift-store racks? Don’t have any desire to spray on a prepackaged sexy-nurse outfit? No worries. Millennium (1109 Granville Street) has got you covered. And who better to get you in the festive spirit than assistant manager Billy Bonito (aka Billy Hopeless)?
The former lead singer of the Black Halos has no shortage of ideas—and furthermore, he’s more than willing to share them with anyone who’s within earshot. Which isn’t all that surprising. After all, if you’ve ever bumped into the perfectly accessorized frontman at a gig, you know that a) the man can talk a blue streak and b) he clearly loves to play dress up.
But first things first. Make no mistake—Bonito and co. want you to know that the vast selection of alternative clothing at Millennium isn’t a seasonal offering.
“We’re not a Halloween pop-up shop,” says the immortal punk rocker during a tour of the store, which started out as a novelty shop in Edmonton 18 years ago before expanding into fashion and opening a Vancouver branch. “This is an all-year-round shop. I love it when people go, ‘Oh, you’re a Halloween store.’ And then I’m like, ‘Come and see us in December and tell me that.’ ”
When it comes to creating a totally rock ’n’ roll costume from scratch, Bonito recommends taking cues from the steampunk movement. The pseudo-Victorian, sci-fi “retro-futuristic” subgenre is all the rage in the underground scenes these days. And according to Bonito, there’s so much to work with here that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a specific idea in mind.
“Just dress to excess,” he says. “Accessories, as I always say, make the whole picture.”
For example, you could start with a corset like the Burleska red-and-black satin number ($99.99), a tutu or some black pleather short-shorts, and some crazy-ass platforms like the Tuk black-and-red Mary Janes ($119.99).
After that, it’s all about the accoutrements. A top hat is a steampunk must-have, and Millennium has a great selection of handmade wool classics ($119), which are so much more effective with goggles ($49.99) around the base. And if you really want to rock that postapocalyptic circus-ring mistress look, go for a leather bullwhip ($89), fishnets ($6.99), a pocket watch, and loads of mechanically inspired jewellery—think clock gears, lots of clock gears. The robotic dragonfly necklace by Alchemy Gothic ($99.99), in particular, is a stunning piece to sport any time of the year.
If you want something that’s a little more pared down but just as sexy, perhaps a demonic Bettie Page would be to your liking. Millennium has some gorgeous knee-length velvet pinup dresses ($159.99)—the wine-coloured version would look especially hot with outrageously vampy makeup and glittered red devil horns ($2.99). And the best part about this getup is the dress is so versatile it’ll also get you through the December party season.
And if you know of any “nerdcore” dudes looking for a last-minute costume, Millennium’s got a healthy assortment of Star Wars merch, like the faux-fur Chewbacca zip-up hoodie ($99.99) and the C-3PO gold-lamé backpack ($69.99)—perfect for carting your collectibles around! (Added bonus: partial proceeds from these purchases go toward supporting starving artist George Lucas, who, at last count, only had $3 billion and change in his account.)
But those are just a few ideas. The costume possibilities at Millennium are virtually endless. So whether you’re beige, punk, goth, rock ’n’ roll, or a fandom virgin, let this year be a happy, happy Hopeless Halloween!
“Yeah, we love playing dress up,” Bonito admits. “And we love making everyone’s wildest fantasies and nightmares come true.”