A plastic muscle-man torso, masks of John F. Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, pirate hats, voodoo dolls, wedding goblets, graduation decorations, professional stage makeup and fake blood, it’s all up for grabs at Everett’s Party@Display & Costume store — but not for long.
The costume and party-supply store at 5209 Evergreen Way will close for the last time Nov. 30. Two other Display & Costume shops in the family-run company, a large Seattle store on Roosevelt Way NE near Northgate and another in Issaquah, will stay in business.
“We’re definitely known for our unique products,” said Angie Durham, manager of the Everett store. On Monday, the store still had racks of costumes for children and adults, paper products for parties, Halloween decor and many other goods for sale at discounts, some as much as 70 percent off. Most props, along with Christmas trees and decorations, have been sold or moved to the Seattle store.
Since 1992, when Dallas and Susan Carleton opened Display & Costume in Everett, it’s been more than a retail outlet. At Halloween especially, it’s been a family-friendly destination.
Kids — my own included — have spent hours in the store making up their minds on wacky Halloween costumes, and then changing their minds when they find something wackier on another aisle. During the Halloween season, an outdoor gargoyle display has been a smoke-blowing, wing-flapping attraction, entertaining shoppers and scaring little ones with its spooky sound effects.
“This is definitely a relocation, not a closure,” said Durham, the Carletons’ niece.
The family has deep roots in Snohomish County. Durham’s father Reid Carleton, Dallas’ brother, owns Carleton Farms near Lake Stevens. William Carleton, the father of Dallas and Reid, lived in what’s now known as the Carleton House, an 1898 Victorian on Avenue D in Snohomish.
The costume business has long been a family affair. It began as Display and Costume Supply in 1952, when Tyler and Merry Kaune opened their first store at Westlake Avenue and Denny Way in Seattle. It specialized in costumes, makeup and other theater items.
Susan Carleton is the Kaunes’ daughter. She and husband Dallas became second-generation owners. Their daughter, Margaret McGowan, runs the company today as the corporate manager.
Now 76, Dallas Carleton started with the company in 1977. He had a drama background and once worked with Arden Flom, the longtime Everett Community College theater director who died in 2010. Carleton now works parttime with the business. “Margaret keeps me employed,” he quipped.
“Times change,” he said. Traffic, the internet and other factors have affected business at the Evergreen Way location, he said. Raised in Lake Stevens, Carleton and his wife live in Everett not far from the store. The 20,000-square-foot space, leased from David Chen, “is twice as much as we need,” Carleton said.
Times change, indeed. When I visited the store for a 1998 Halloween article, the “Monica L” wig — perfect for a Monica Lewinsky getup — was a hot seller. This Halloween, “Trump sold out fast,” Durham said.
Durham won’t be moving to the Seattle store. “We’ve had a good run,” she said. “After more than 20 years, I’m ready for new adventures.” Other workers are also losing jobs. “It’s been a fun place. It’s very sad,” said Nina Juarez, who has worked 19 years at Display & Costume.
Customer Codi Villalobos, of Marysville, said she has often shopped at Display & Costume for stage makeup and other items for her son, who’s involved in middle school theater. “It’s the only local spot,” she said at the store Monday. “It will be Amazon now.”
And that scary gargoyle? “He watches over us,” Durham said. “He’ll reappear every year at the Northgate store.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.