What Are You Wearing?

Debbie Easley's Gangster-Costumed Halloween Plans

The Easley clan has been through a lot of Halloweens in their day. More than half-century's worth of 'em, to be exact. 

Four generations of the Easley's family have been selling and renting costumes to Valley residents out of their namesake yellow building on McDowell Road and 7th Avenue for the past six decades.

Debbie Easley, the shop's outspoken general manager and president, runs the place along with her parents Herb and Carol, and has been working long hours lately due to the yearly Halloween rush.

Naturally, it's the busiest time of the year for Easley's, as locals pack the place during the scary season in search of the perfect costume. This year, some of the more popular choices are Captain AmericaAngry Birds, stuff from the flick Sucker Punch, and steampunk wear.

Debbie stepped away from the Halloween grind for a few moments to speak with Jackalope Ranch to discuss what she will be wearing for All Hallows Eve this year, what controversial costumes that Easley's will never rent out, and a few other things.

What are you wearing for Halloween?
Believe it or not, I think we're gonna be gangsters. Me and my significant other, my "partner in crime," if you will.

Is it handmade or from the store?
It's funny, we've got all this variety and so many things to choose from here, but we decided to get something simple and nice and easy from the store's rentals. And to be honest with you, I hate taking something that's maybe the last one of in the store. But what we do with our staff is pretty much whatever's left out of our rental costumes, they get to choose from.

Where will you wear your costumes?
I think we're maybe going to a couple parties before Halloween. Both of 'em will be house parties. We're not bar people.

What's the best costume you've ever seen?
We've got some really drop dead beautiful King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth costumes, just some really elegant and elaborate outfits. Also some gorgeous Southern Belle costumes. They're romantic and they're beautiful.

What three things no one should ever be for Halloween?
It depends on the year. If it's the year that Lady Diana died, you don't want to be that. That's offensive. You never want to be a Klu Klux Klan member. Or Osama. You don't want to be a terrorist. People come in and say, "Do you have a terrorist costume?" And I always tell them no. "Do you have a Nazi costume?" No. Never wear anything that's racially offensive.

Carol Easley (Debbie's mother): We actually have a Nazi costume. It's for The Sound of Music, if someone was doing it. We do not bring it to the floor, we don't rent that on Halloween. Anything like that we would not rent, but we might have it for a certain play. People wouldn't know we'd have it because you'd never see it.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.