Caltagirone owns Total Party/Total Fright, a year-round costume and party supply store located in the Ballston Commons Mall in Arlington.
What advice do you have for people looking for a costume?
Halloween in D.C. is pretty big because of "Nightmare on M Street." People always wait until the last minute, and I always tell people, "Don't, because you're going to wait to get into the store." The great question people ask: "Is there anything on sale?" The sales always happen in September. That's standard throughout the industry. Those who are prepared, they don't have to wait in line and they don't have to pay high prices. When that last week comes, it's like Christmas time trying to get the last-minute gifts.
What if you're still looking?
You're always going to be able to find something. Even if it's just a wig. If you don't know what you want to do, we sell Halloween-to-go kits. Its quick and simple for G.I. Joe or Where's Waldo. In and out. It's good for the college crowd.
What are the big costume ideas this year?
Anything topical will always be hot. Like the Romney and Obama masks. This year, because of "The Avengers" movie and "Batman," those costumes are going well. Right now, Big Bird is out of stock. What we have are just the masks. Big Bird is huge right now. Every day, you look in the news, you know something can pop up. Debate, then Big Bird, boom. A few years ago, it was the Chilean miners, and the construction hats were gone. This year, "Hunger Games" is going to be popular so we carry a lot of bows and arrows.
What's the craziest costume request you've ever heard?
We're a party Halloween costume shop. We've been in business six years. I've pretty much heard them all. We try to carry pretty obscure stuff. We carry it all because we've heard it all.