Fashion

The Best Costume Shops In New Zealand For A Banging Dress Up Party

By Alice Rich
19th Sep 2022

Two people dressed up as Queenie and Blackadder.

October is on the horizon and that means a month of Halloween treating and trickery awaits us (if anyone tells you Halloween is just one day, they’re wrong). And while Halloween might not be as big a deal here as it is in The States, there are still a load of frighteningly good costume shops about, brimming with more costumes, props and decoration than you can shake a blow-up sword at.

Where will you get your spook from so you can get your spook on this Halloween? We’ve rounded up the best of the best costume shops in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and online so you can dive straight into bringing your worst nightmares to life. 

Here are the best costume shops in New Zealand. 

Best Costume Shops In Auckland

A fluffy black and white horror rabbit gown hangs on a coat hanger beside a freaky rabbit mask on a brown chair and a pair of white sneakers. Together, they form a Donny Darko costume by Desiree Costume Hire.  Desiree Costume Hire

Penrose

From Donny Darko’s skin-crawling semi-mutant rabbit Frank to classics like Jigsaw, Morticia Addams, and It, Desiree Costume Hire has just about everything you could… desire in a costume shop. And that’s no surprise given they’ve been in the business since 1928. Their costumes are carefully curated and, in many cases, handmade. Better still, in total commitment to the cause, their Penrose haunt is circus themed so make a beeline for their big top and prepare to be costumed. 

First Scene

Avondale

Boasting Aotearoa’s largest selection of party props and costumes for hire with over 400,000 items in stock, First Scene really does have it all. Arrive with a vague idea of what you're after (a pic is even better) and let the wizards fly around kitting you out with just the right accoutrements as we did dressed as Blackadder and Queenie (main article image above). And if you’re looking to throw the party of the century, the team can help you out with full event theming too with giant animal statues and backdrops resembling The Great Gatsby mansion. Pop into their massive Avondale abode and get browsing or go to town scrolling their collections online. 

BodyFX

Morningside

Everyone knows a show-stopping costume is in the details so if you’re wanting to win a costume competition or just scare the bejeezus out of your mates, look no further than BodyFX. Created by internationally renowned body painter Yolanda Bertram, BodyFX is your gateway to creepy contact lenses, industry-grade face paint and body art, gag-inducing special FX, eco-friendly ‘Good Glitter’, totally magical wigs, and more. You can even book in to have your body paint or Halloween make-up done by the professionals. Legit. 

Look Sharp

Multiple locations

Practically a rite of passage for skint students, Look Sharp is packed with ready-to-go costumes, bits and pieces to pull together to magic up your own creations, and decorations for days. With funnels, wigs, drinking hats and glowsticks a plenty, they also provide just about everything you need to ensure your party is a raging success. The magical store has countless locations up and down the motu, with multiple locations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, plus stores in Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings, Porirua, New Plymouth, Queenstown and Dunedin so wherever you are, get amongst. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to… look sharp (sorry not sorry). 

Gracey’s Costumes & Party Shop 

Pukekohe

Boutique Auckland costume hire Gracey’s is the costume capital of Pukekohe. Their 1,000+ costumes are categorised online by decade, character, category and letter for ease so you can find exactly what you want, in no time at all. They’ve also got a bunch of props and decorations to elevate your Halloween party game. From gowns to clowns, Peppa Pig, a prawn, and even themed ice cube trays the possibilities are endless. 

Elite Costume Hire

Rosedale

Walking into Elite Costume Hire reminds us of being a little kid in a lolly store. With all the bright coloured costumes everywhere, and friendly staff on hand to help you out, you can’t help but feel like the party’s already started. If you love being in the spotlight, you’ll dig being doted on by the staff, who’ll ensure you leave looking like the total diva you were born to be. Leaving the best news for last, there’s an entire selection solely for couples' costumes. Cue the cute costume montage. 

Spotlight 

Multiple locations

Spotlight’s getting spooky this Halloween with a range of ready-to-wear costumes, face paint, tableware, DIY materials and all the props and decorations—think everything from creepy animated witches to crafty project ideas like Halloween slime jars. While their costume range might not be the largest in all the land, it’s certainly high quality. We’re seriously considering investing in an inflatable unicorn (surely a hit any time of year). Spotlight has twenty stores all over Aotearoa. 

Ikes & Geoff’s Emporium

Mount Eden & Browns Bay

If you’d rather die than wear a ready-made costume, Ike’s & Geoff’s Emporium might just be a bit of you. While they do have a mighty fine costume selection, it’s their arts and craft supplies that have made this Auckland costume shop a firm favourite among partygoers. From bedazzled jewels to affordable fabrics, zips, buttons, trims and yarn, there’s everything you need to create a costume that’s met with a chorus of “Wait, you MADE that?”

Best Costume Shops In Wellington

A person in a floral shirt with a kowhai tattoo stands amongst Wellington costume shop The Costume Cave’s racks of clothing holding two giant green eyeballs up to their face.  The Costume Cave

Te Aro

Offering costume hire for a range of budgets, The Costume Cave is a Wellington institution that’s been providing top-notch fancy dress for film, theatre and parties alike for over 30 years. Categories range from creatures and Disney to carnival, Hollywood, superheroes and more. And, of course, there’s a section specifically for Halloween. If you don’t find what you’re looking for (although we’re 99% sure you will), jump onto their online store and take a gander at their preloved everyday and vintage clothes. You might just score a gem. 

Creative Show Off Costume Hire

Thornton Quay

It’s safe to say the party hasn’t started until you enter the room decked out in fancy dress from Creative Show Off Costume. Serving high-end drama in all the best ways, it feels like this Wellington costume hire was made to turn out winning group looks. Kit out your squad in the Lord of the Rings fellowship, your faves from Star Wars, a zany fruit bowl or just about anything else.

Velvet Cherry 

Te Aro

Sick of ill-fitting out-of-the-bag costumes? Treat yourself to a costume made just for you at Velvet Cherry, Wellington’s very own custom clothing and costume design service. Spinning dreams into reality from a vintage storefront on upper Cuba Street, Velvet Cherry specialises in Victorian, Lolita and Steampunk outfits but their portfolio spans everything from festival gear to fetish and bridal gowns so no matter what you have in mind, Velvet Cherry’s got your back… and your front… everywhere actually. 

InDisguise Costume Hire

Porirua

If you need a costume, stat, make an appointment to get fitted out by InDisguise Costume Hire in thirty minutes or less. Talk about instant gratification. The Porirua costume shop prides itself on delivering an excellent personalized service and has an ever-changing array of costumes on offer for children, teens and adults. They even do mascot hire so if like us, you’ve dreamed of Cookie Monster crashing your party, they can make that wish come true. 

Best Costume Shops In Christchurch

Two people riding a mobility scooter dressed in Bananas In Pajamas costumes. Rolleston Costume & Event Hire 

Rolleston 

Family-run Rolleston Costume & Event Hire is renowned for its friendly, patient and helpful staff who go the extra mile to give you a fun, fuss-free costume hire experience. From flapper dresses to facial hair, and the Teletubbies, the crew will have sorted. Plus, if you’re hosting a party, they’ve got you covered on the props and decorations front too with fun things like balloon bouquets, massive themed backdrops and a truly terrifying haunted doll prop that rivals Annabelle. 

Petticoat Lane Costume Hire

Papanui

Don’t let the name fool you—there’s much more than petticoats at Petticoat Lane. In fact, they’ve got the full monty of costumes and accessories to hire or buy. Thanks to its team of in-house costume creators, Petticoat Lane is constantly sprucing up its collection with new and imaginative garb. Not sure what to dress up as? Their website has an extensive A to Z of ideas sure to get you inspired. 

Cottage Costume Hire

Halswell 

A killer costume can be a strain on the wallet but thanks to Cottage Costume Hire it doesn’t have to be. The home-based costume shop offers thousands of costume choices for just $40 a pop, accessories included. Owner Amber will help you find exactly what you need, even if you don’t know what you’re looking for when you walk in. And, just between us, we hear their Batman costume is the G.O.A.T.

Malthouse Costumes 

Beckenham

What’s cooler than hiring costumes from a costume shop? Hiring costumes from a theatre housed in a striking heritage building and that’s exactly what Malthouse Costumes offers. Every costume is high-quality and authentic with most made in the theatre’s workroom so you can be sure they’re designed to incite a standing ovation. Better still with every costume you hire, you’re supporting the continuation of live theatre for children. Now doesn’t that just hit you right in the feels?

Best Online Costume Shops

Two adults and two children in a desert-type terrain dressed in Star Wars costumes from HalloweenCostumes.com. HalloweenCostumes

What started as two sisters renting out the childhood Halloween costumes their mum had made them is now the largest online-only costume shop in the world. So if you’re in the mood for some spooky shopping, HalloweenCostumes.com.au is where it’s at. Their extensive and unique range of costumes are made and curated to be inclusive of all ages and body types. We’re a bit in love with their adorable Posh Peanut babies range and even your pooch can serve Halloween realness with a terrifying spider pup costume. 

PartyDudes

If you tend to be frantically running around your house trying to pull a costume together at the last minute, PartyDudes has your back, thanks to their overnight delivery. Based in New Zealand, PartyDudes offers costumes to buy or hire in themes like Grease, Top Gun and Clueless. Browse their 4,000+ costumes, make your selection then sit back and relax, smug in the knowledge you’ve totally nailed this costume thing. 

Lovehoney

If you like your spooky a little more x-rated you’ll want to head on over to Lovehoney and get ready to get a little wicked. With all the usual get-ups from French maid 69 ways, catsuits and nurses to some unexpected numbers like a tuxedo men’s thong, surprisingly festive pasties, and rad face jewels you could 100% repurpose for a festival, Lovehoney has it all. 

More into make-up? Here are some freaky IG accounts to follow this year.

Image credit: Urban List, Desiree Costume Hire, The Costume Cave, Rolleston Costume & Event Hire, HalloweenCostumes.com.au. 

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

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