by Sue Lancaster
A Party Palace, East Sheen
Summer has well and truly given way to autumn now, the weather is getting chillier and there are spiders everywhere. Which can only mean one thing: Halloween is almost upon us. Yes, it’s that time of year when, for one fright-filled night, scary-faced pumpkins flicker in front windows, trick-or-treaters fill the streets and horror films haunt our screens.
It’s also the time of year when the need for ghoulish costumes, gory masks and shocking accessories becomes a parent’s top priority (whether you like it or not). This is where A Party Palace in East Sheen comes in very handy. For Halloween—or any occasion for that matter (I got helium balloons there for my little girl’s first birthday)—they’ve got it well and truly covered. Adrienne, who runs the shop with her husband, gets very enthusiastic in the run-up to October 31st. “Halloween is always our craziest time of year,” she reports, “and we are expecting a monster one this year as it is on a Friday, which gives everybody a license to party!”
Located on Upper Richmond Road heading towards Richmond, the bright pink-and-yellow-fronted party emporium is hard to miss. This is especially the case from around mid-September when their huge window display gets a makeover with creepy cobwebs, giant skeletons, witches’ cauldrons and ghosts aplenty. Inside, by the time it gets to October 1st, the Halloween displays have taken over.
When you’ve worked in a party shop for a while, you’re going to learn a thing or two about what customers want. Adrienne has noticed particular Halloween trends over the past couple of years: zombies, apparently, are hugely in demand, and this year the shop has zombie flesh, scars and—new to the range—green zombie blood! Kids especially love the idea of creating ‘zombied up’ versions of their favourite stories such as ‘Alice in Zombieland’.
Other children’s dressing-up options include corpsed brides and vampire fairies, and there is a pumpkin tutu dress that will no doubt fly off the shelves. Masks, fake weapons, vampire and ninja outfits and an array of scary clown outfits round out the offerings. Even toddlers are well catered for with little devils, bats, monsters and skeletons. I will definitely be making the most of this selection for my own little monster! For mums and dads who don’t want to miss out on all the fun, there are plenty of adult costumes as well as a range of accessories such as FX transfers and disposable contact lenses. Suitable for over 16s, they come in red, black or white and are great for adding the shock-factor.
A Party Palace also has plenty of decorations if you’re throwing a Halloween-themed party. From budget-friendly cobwebs and warning tape, to hanging skeletons and witches that scream, to huge animated light-and-sound characters costing £199 for the die-hard Halloween fans—there is something to suit all tastes and pockets.
Don’t miss a trick this Halloween, get yourself down to A Party Palace and give the kids (and you) a fright-night to remember.
Check out A Party Palace’s website for shop hours and more info; they even open on Sundays throughout October.
About the author:
An Essex girl, Sue came to London 12 years ago and never left. She moved to West Kensington with her now-husband, then spent a couple of years living in Stamford Brook, before finally settling down in Mortlake. Prior to becoming a mum, Sue worked in TV production. She now stays at home, looking after toddler Tabitha and writing whenever she can.