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Citrus Heights costume shop gears up for Halloween season rush

Dawn Cornsilk, owner of Costume Junction in Citrus Heights, poses for a photo inside her shop. // Thomas J. Sullivan.

By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Dawn Cornsilk, owner of Costume Junction, a family owned and operated business at 8215 Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights, is gearing up for what should be a very busy Halloween costume season. New fall hours began mid-last month.

“We’re going through our racks and placing many of our adult costumes and garments up for sale,” she said. “These would be pieces that we might not be renting on a regular basis, and it helps make room for much more inventory.”

Costume reservations have been coming in steadily since early August, she said.

“This year we’ve also made many of our children’s costumes available for sale,” she said.  Cornsilk said by freeing up floor space, she hopes to bring in more costumes and accessories, like wigs and hats, that will be available for purchase.

“Considering I started out of my home just over eight years ago, our business has been a huge success,” she said. “Most of the profit I’ve made has gone back into the business to build the collection.”

The store’s diverse collection includes costumes for all occasions, typically of higher theatrical quality. On occasion, she still takes in high-quality vintage and/or historic apparel for purchase or store credit.

“If you choose to purchase a costume online, odds are high that it might not fit, or it might not arrive on time,” she said. “At Costume Junction you can rent a complete costume you’ve put together yourself that is custom-fitted for a specific look.”

“Do I have a catalog? No, it’s in my head,” Cornsilk said.

Whether it’s the tackiest leisure suit or the craziest shirt you can think of, or the right pair of shoes, odds are you’ll find it at Costume Junction.

Cornsilk opened her store in October 2015 and is delighted to look back on a journey that began with a home-based hobby business.

“Our store is perfect for serving residents throughout Placer and Sacramento counties,” she said. “We’re very well-known to customers in Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Carmichael and Orangevale.”

Costumes are also available for rental for all occasions, including holidays, theme parties and birthday parties.

“We have thousands of garments and accessories, and we can mix and match pieces specific to your character and size,” she said, noting there are almost no duplicate items in her store’s overall inventory.

“If people call in with something in mind, I will ask their size, and sometimes offer to send them some photos,” she said. “I also make available samples of many of our costumes on our website.”

Rental rates start at $15 for a child’s school theme costume and go up to $50 for an adult. Pricing varies based on what clothing items each customer may need. If a customer is looking for an ensemble to dress up for a murder-mystery themed party and calls in advance, she will pull together several different choices for them to consider and choose from, she said.

Costume Junction also offers affordable quality rentals for single day events or multi-day occasions. Inventory includes handmade, one of a kind, and vintage pieces.

Cornsilk said her Citrus Heights store is nearly at capacity and in looking to the future, is hoping to expand to a larger location. “We’re almost out of room here.”

With school now back in session, Cornsilk also reminds local parents that Costume Junction continues to serve school-age students who participate in historical programs each school year.

Before opening Costume Junction, Cornsilk was considered a “go to” costumer for school programs in the Placer County area, operating a small-scale operation from her home.

She’s outfitted thousands of area students participating in history-themed programs at the Bernhard Museum, Sutter’s Fort, a Walk-Through California, a Walk Through the American Revolution, as well as students dressing up for famous person reports. Adult customers routinely shop Costume Junction for Renaissance-themed apparel, she said.

Cornsilk said she has always had a love of sewing costumes. She grew up watching her mother and grandmother sew and always made her own children’s Halloween costumes. When her daughter was in third grade, she helped with a student field trip to Bernhard Museum in Auburn, which offers a Living History program that allows children to dress up in 1889 attire and participate in activities reminiscent of that time period.

When her daughter was in fifth grade, she started making colonial style dresses for the “Walk Through the American Revolution” program. After sewing many costumes, Cornsilk had a nice inventory built up and she started offering the rentals to neighboring schools.

Those colorful colonial-style dresses remain a cornerstone of her store inventory today.

Fall hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary, but advance fitting reservations are encouraged.

Costume Junction is located at 8215-B Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights. Additional information can be found online at www.costumejct.com.

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