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Five costume shops that will prepare you for Halloween

Halloween is on a Friday this year, so you know what that means: party, party, party! Get a real outfit this year (no more of that "serial killer who looks like everybody else" stuff), and check out this list of costume stores:

Fantasy Costumes: With over one million items in stock, this 18,000-square-foot megastore has everything and anything: costumes, hats, accessories, cosmetics, masks, etc.  With this many options, you might want to make up your mind before you go so you won't spend hours browsing the aisles. (4065 N Milwaukee Ave; 773-777-0222)

Chicago Costume: Unless you plan on wearing that chicken get-up year-round, you might want to just borrow it for the weekend.  Here, you can purchase or rent a wide variety of costumes and masks, as well as attire for your pets.  The Lincoln Park location is the main outlet, but there are seven others throughout the city. (1120 W Fullerton Ave; 773-528-1264)

Broadway Costumes: This huge warehouse has been in business for over 100 years and now serves theatres and productions around the country, including our very own Second City.  The costumes are for rent only, but the accessories are for sale. (1100 W Cermak Rd; 312-829-6400)

Mar Ray Costumes: Halloween isn't just for the kids.  This suburban shop offers rental costumes for both little ghosts and grown-up ghouls.  Prices vary, but an average three-day rental runs $50. (154 N Northwest Hwy, Palatine; 847-991-0777)

Beatnix: If you want your costume to be FABulous, this Boystown boutique is full of drag queen delights, including wigs, tiaras, feather boas, cosmetics, and boots that were made for walkin'.  There are also racks of military-themed gear, though something tells me the camouflage Daisy Dukes aren't sanctioned by the Army. (3400 N Halsted St; 773-281-6933)

If you need some inspiration, peruse through Chicago Tribune's top costumes for 2008.

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