There's a certain glee only lovers of Halloween feel when the initial signs of the spooky season start in early September. We weirdos get a contact high from kitschy skeletons, witches or monster decorations at otherwise sterile-looking supermarkets and drug stores.
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Now, take that glee and multiply it by 500: Launched just last week, the annual Roger's Gardens Halloween Boutique (missed opportunity to call it a Boo-tique, right?) is right next to Knott's Scary Farm in local places to revel in your love for All Hallow's Eve. Although it's generally a family-friendly store (no ax murderers or zombie stuff here), among the large inventory are tombstones, coffins, ghouls, mummies, even Ouija boards.
With a theme of "Magic and Mayhem," the boutique is located behind a Harry Potter-esque 9 3/4-marked brick-wall entrance. Everything is arranged by genre, among them steampunk, vintage Halloween, fortune telling, weird science, haunted Victorian, graveyard and occult. You're treated to a wonderland of ghoulish displays, from the ghostly player piano to the tall man in another corner. Also lending to the illusion of the holiday are items such as crystal balls, candle holders, palmistry guides, lighting, old scientific charts and skeletons, fake stuffed owls, gargoyle statues and figurines, and magic wands (they light up!). And for the kiddos, there are classic party games and toys, including eyeballs, plastic snakes and bugs.
Whatever kind of Oct. 31 get-together you're planning—for which the paper streamers, cards and candy dishes you need are here!—or even if you're just browsing to get your nostalgia on, this Halloween Boutique is magnificent. But hurry in: Although the fun lasts until Oct. 28, items will disappear faster than you can say, "Wingardium leviosa!"
"Magic and Mayhem" Halloween Boutique at Roger's Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd., Corona Del Mar, (949) 640-5800; www.rogersgardens.com.