Costume Holiday House's inventory of wigs, makeup, suits, and party supplies enables costume changes ranging from spooky to comical. Customers can dress themselves as everything from pop-culture icons to terrifying specters and macabre forms, and an ample supply of wigs and accessories form the basis of inventive costumes that don’t require full-body suits or rubber masks. In addition to wearable Halloween goods, the shop also sells fog machines and animated props that set the stage for monster mashes and haunted houses. Costume Holiday House accommodates dress-up even in the Halloween off-season, with theater costume rentals for schools and community plays, or Second Skin colored bodysuits for showing team spirit at a baseball game or camouflaging into the green-screen background at local commercial shoots.
After having her first child, Rosa Lee had trouble finding a place that was equal parts play time for kids and chill time for adults. So in 2006, she took matters into her own hands and opened such a place. Rosa called her creation My Urban Toddler, a city-themed play center for kids and a welcoming, knowledgeable community for adults. Here, explorers aged 5 and younger can visit a firehouse, a market, a library, and even a theater for rounds of dress-up, story time, and puppet shows. Parents, meanwhile, enjoy various onsite grownup attractions, including classes and a boutique-style retail shop stocked with apparel, toys, and books.
Palumba, which takes its name from an amalgam of Latin words meaning "wooden dove," unlocks children's imaginations with heirloom-quality toys handcrafted from organic, natural, and sustainable materials. As part of Camden Rose, Palumba dispenses products made in the U.S. or through Fair Trade cooperatives, such as the cherry-wood rattle, comprised of a maple bead and wooden handle polished with beeswax, jojoba oil, and unicorn tears ($14.99). Kids can turn any flat surface or forehead into a racecourse with the Dandy Racer, a wooden dragster carved from walnut and other hardwoods ($19.99). Alternatively, aspiring artists awaken upon dipping a brush into a nontoxic watercolor set ($14.99 for a set of 7 colors; $19.99 for set of 14), and hands find much-needed heat with a pair of Ruskovilla wool mittens ($24.99). Holiday shoppers may also take advantage of Palumba's gift-wrapping service to cloak toys in eco-friendly trim, such as mulberry wrapping paper (prices vary per item).
The colorful novelties, handcrafted dolls, and blown-glass figurines on Lucky Duck Toys’ brimming shelves enthrall youngsters and inner children alike. Playthings from popular brands include the Uglydoll Big Toe ($19.95), whose unostentatious cuddliness enthralls pride and joys. A sprawling Playmobil collection bolsters creativity through entertainment alongside a multicolored wonderland of Legos (2.95+), which equip aspiring architects with the bricks to launch themed construction projects or cubist self-portraits. Papo knight figurines take frequent breaks from chivalrous posing while juniors bend their brains on the assortment of puzzles and literature in the book section. A collection of rocks and minerals launch geographic inquiry, and the Folkmanis tree-frog puppet ($22.95) spurs blossoming imaginations like a business card from the Tooth Fairy.
Knowledge is free at Bloom Baby & Kids—at least when that knowledge covers cloth diapers or the atomic weight of baby carriers. That’s because owners John and Nellie Sowash host complementary workshops within their retail store, introducing parents to topics such as making baby food at home. The Sowashes teach some of these sessions themselves, as well as bring in other instructors to lend their expertise. It's all part of John and Nellie’s effort to create a close-knit community of parents and kids. In this spirit, Bloom Baby & Kids' team also hosts events throughout the community, including kids' art classes at Millpond Park Gazebo.
These free workshops and events are of course supported by Bloom Baby & Kids' retail shop. Accented by bright blue walls, the calming storefront surrounds parents with clothing, toys, and supplies for babies and young kids. Exemplifying the community-mindedness of John and Nellie, the store sets aside a portion of their inventory strictly for local "made in Michigan" products.
Game Headz powers up electronic arsenals with its selection of pre-owned games and machines. With portable systems such as a used Nintendo Game Boy Advance ($19.99), nature-loving gamers entertain themselves while basking in summer’s embrace. Button mashers whip lazy thumbs into shape with recent titles ($20–$30) such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Saints Row 2, Fable II, and Resident Evil 4. Classic Atari games let customers dust off their “Tilden 4 President” bumper stickers and revisit an earlier chapter in video-game history. An affable staff of console buffs is always on hand to point visitors to exciting titles and engage in debates about the finer points of pixilated entertainment.