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Belfast's Halloween revellers join annual queue for Elliotts fancy dress shop

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 30/10/2015

They have been helping the people of Ulster to scare the wits out of each other for almost 130 years.

When Halloween approaches, the staff at Elliotts costume shop in Belfast's Ann Street work around the clock to ensure families are kitted out in the spookiest of gear.

For over a week now would-be witches, ghouls and superheroes have been queued down the street before the store even opens for the chance to get their hands on costumes and accessories which will make a spooky impact at Halloween parties.

The city centre business was established in 1886 by James Elliott.

Mr Elliott's grandson, also named James (above), told the Belfast Telegraph a little bit about the history of the shop that has been serving families for generations.

"He started off as a hairdresser, and the hair that he sold to get made into beards and wigs, he bought some back to supply for theatrical people, so that was how he got involved."

James said the team was "flat-out" supplying thousands of costumes to people across the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe.

More than 10,000 outfits and accessories will be making their way out of the shop for this Halloween.

"The Day of the Dead, a Mexican celebration, has been outstanding this year," he explained.

"People dress up in outfits for dinner around the grave and that sort of thing. It has caught on big-time. For Halloween children like skeleton and funny, horror costumes."

Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Shoppers inside Elliots pick their Halloween costumes
Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast where queues have been growing to buy Halloween costumes Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
James Elliott

Among the customers at Elliotts yesterday were healthcare worker Bernadette Corr (43) and carer Fionnuala McDonald (63) from Belfast.

"I am Radagast from the Hobbit, so I need to get a walking stick, pipe and bushy eyebrows," Bernadette said.

"I have the rest of my stuff at home."

Fionnuala said: "I am Gandalf this year.

"We are having a house party. It is great getting the family together and having all the kids about for a good old catch-up."

Foster agency worker Seana O'Kane (38) was at Elliotts with her son Odhran (12) and her three-year-old nephew Aaron Kelly.

"I am a witch this year," Seana said.

"Odhran is going for the 'Anonymous' look and Aaron is going to be Slimer from Ghostbusters.

"We normally go down home to Derry for it but this year will be going to the Monster Mash fireworks in Belfast and Odhran is going to the Riddles House of Horror at Crumlin Road Gaol."

Cake decorator Michelle Maitland (left) was helping daughter Tegan and her boyfriend Curtis pick costumes.

"Elliotts is the best," Michelle said.

"I used to dress up as a witch, anything to hide my face, but not this year. I will leave that to the kids."

She added: "It will be a nice quiet Halloween for me."

Belfast Telegraph

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