Costume Shop Has Halloween Covered



When Kharolina Lampe was growing up, her mother was a stage actress who made her own costumes. All of those costumes around the house were the perfect fodder for any kid to play dress up.

As she grew older, Lampe never stopped playing dress up. She’d create her own outfits for Halloween or parties — and soon, her friends were asking her to do the same for them. In 1987, she launched her own costume rental company and, for years, she operated out of her house. But in order to accommodate the hoard of costumes she made or bought over the years, she opened up Kharolina Costume in Kaimuki 12 years ago.

If you’re still looking for a Halloween costume, Lampe probably can save you from your procrastination. Her shop is like a grown-up, impressive version of her childhood dress-up drawer: It’s full of 40,000 costumes, including pirates, super-heroes, gladiators, angels, princes and princesses, genies, zebras, ’60s go-go dancers and more that are available for rent. Plus, there are wigs, headdresses and jewelry to complement any getup.

“It’s for people who want to get out of themselves and create an experience where they can play,” Lampe says. “Costuming will do that for people. And it’s fun.

“I never run out of costumes, and my costumes win prizes … I have so many things that I can do almost anything,” she explains. (However, if you’re looking for scary, Lampe notes, you may be better off elsewhere. She’s got a handful of scary masks, but that’s about it.)

“We figure out what fits you and what will look great on you,” Lampe says, explaining that she also can help customers put ensembles together.

Much of what you find at Kharolina’s Costume is custom-made by Lampe herself, or one-of-a-kind items she has collected from travels around the world. Lampe also is noted for creating her own masks, which have been on display in exhibits at various art galleries.

For party-goers attending an event with a group, Lampe offers group shopping sessions that are really more like a pre-party.

If you do go, expect a bit of a wait. Lampe says the line can get long around this time of year — but that’s a testament to just how popular her shop has become.

“I have so many wonderful people who come back year after year,” she says.

The shop is open from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. through Nov. 3. The rest of the year, it’s open by appointment only, in the afternoons.

Currently, anyone who “likes” Kharolina Costume on Facebook or drops off a business card at the shop through Nov. 1 is eligible to win a free costume rental worth $50.

For more information, call 732-3423 or visit