Wigs, face paint, neon fishnets -- these are the trappings of Austinites in February. Between Carnaval Brasiliero and Mardi Gras, it's normal to shed one's identity (and clothing) for a night. But pray tell, what new identity will you put on? Let's find out.
This is Austin's go-to for Halloween, Mardi Gras, Carnaval, and any other party involving huge feather boas or funny glasses. Absolutely packed to the gills with plastic revelry, try going on a weekday when it's less packed -- Saturday is bedlam.
Blurring the lines between "dress up" and "stripper," The Bazaar never saw a swatch of pleather it didn't like. Good news for you come Carnaval! The Bazaar also sells the smaller essentials, like fake eyelashes and pasties, and about a thousand colored wigs.
Yes, you'll encounter some "adult novelties" the moment you walk in, but Le Rouge is consistently reliable for having a vast selection of corsets -- the raison d'etre for many a Carnaval (and/or Dungeons and Dragons) costume.
Kicky 1950s and '60s vintage to satisfy your inner Betty Draper. Also includes a promising wall of sequined, feathered, and leotardy items that could very well contain your next Halloween costume.
A hike for some Austinites, the huge selection and organized layout nevertheless make this north Austin costume shop worth the drive. Costume World is a more expensive rental shop than others, but you also get the impression that their items are (blessedly) laundered more.