Joining the witness-protection program is the best way to disguise your identity, but the vast array of costumes at Halloween Express gives the program a run for its money. For more than two decades, the chain’s 300+ stores have supplied customers with costumes year-round from vampire capes for Halloween to Caesar togas for the Ides of March.
In preparation for the fall of 2012, they’ve added new items to their Halloween collection. These costumes range from fuzzy blue monsters to skeleton zombies and can transform groups of four into Raggedy Andy and three clones spawned from his DNA. The store’s party supplies add a spooky touch to festivities and include tombstones, rotting pumpkins, and giant hairy spiders.
The Hartford Advocate named Consignment Originals the Third-Best Consignment Store of 2010. While there aren't many online reviews for the Rocky Hill and Orange locations, five Insider Pagers give the Cheshire location a four-star average:
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).
The window dressers at Connecticut Shade and Blind have embellished bare panes with custom blinds, shades, and sumptuous draperies for more than a quarter century. Interior rooms exposed to overly enthusiastic sunbeams or binocular-bearing blue jays cover vulnerable windows with light filtering double-cell shades ($546 for a 36"x54" panel). The futuristic blinds are energy efficient, helping to defend against winter drafts and roasting summer suns. Wood blinds ($549 for a 36"x54" panel) or faux wood blinds ($413 for a 36"x54" panel) add texture and a touch of the outdoors to stylish interiors. A variety of fabrics in woven blends or ethereal sheers dress window interiors as curtains or human exteriors as stylish togas. Any accrued shipping costs are included in this Groupon.
Over the course of 20 years, family-operated Just Like New has inspected apparel, accessories, and home furnishings from thousands of consigners, accepting only the pieces that meet strict quality and style standards. At the start of each fashion season, the family treks to New York City to gather enough designer duds to restock two 5,000-square-foot locations. Clothing, shoes, and accessories by classic brands such as Coach and Ann Taylor adorn shelves and keep mannequins from being charged with public indecency, and a children's section outfits youngsters in apparel purchased exclusively from catalog brands and specialty stores. Just Like New's jewelry selection glitters with 14-karat gold and sterling silver; vintage and costume jewelry occasionally makes the cut by way of jingling the shop owners' favorite songs. Vintage glassware, furniture, and artwork make unique design accents for the home.
Jeff Lederman took a hobbyist's interest in personalized crafts more than 30 years ago, and today that hobby has blossomed into a gift mecca tinged with a distinctively masculine edge. RhinoGifts.com and its sister storefront Recognition Inc. fill orders big and small for all kinds of inscribed paraphernalia, from apparel and watches to cedar humidors for stogies, and incorporates customers’ own artwork, logos, and personalized messages to complete each gift. The outfit also emblazons trinkets for companies with no minimum order sizes, meaning big corporations and mom-and-pop shops alike can treat their employees to a commemorative pen on Dr. Spock’s half birthday.