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Thursday, February 9th
Frank Bee got its start as a five-and-dime shop in the Bronx back in 1957. They've still got a retail store in that location that visitors describe as "eclectic" . That lines up with what you'll see when you visit the Frank Bee Costume Center online - festooned with animated Christmas lights year-round.
Completely outdated website
You're not going to be "wowed" by the shopping experience on the Frank Bee website. The URL isn't secure (which was an update that should have been implemented years ago), and it's obvious that it's an old Yahoo store that's never been moved into the new millennium. At least it's not hard to find what you're looking for: the categories at the top of the site include New Stuff, Adults, Kids & Teens, Wigs, Masks, Make Up, Accessories, Mascots, and Plus Sizes. You can also use the collections listed on the left side to jump to popular groupings like Sexy Costumes, Star Trek, and Disney. We were a little baffled - and scared? - by the "Prisoner Child" recommendation.
No one wants these Halloween costumes now
It gets worse. When we went to the New Stuff section, thinking we might see Halloween costumes from the Netflix series everyone is binge watching, we found that the inventory held "the latest & newest released costumes for Halloween 2014... only at Frank Bee Costume Center" . Annoying Orange and The Flash aren't at the top of anyone's must-have dress-up list anymore, but - yay - you can buy them here. The Kids & Teens section gives the same outdated impression; no one is watching "Yo Gabba Gabba!" anymore, and the Marvel movie characters they featured are about five films behind (if not more).
No free shipping
Shipping costs depend on what you order. You can either put items in your cart and see how it shakes out during checkout, or you can go to the Shipping page and click the link to get a ballpark estimate from UPS. You won't get any customer-friendly "free shipping with a minimum order" here.
No returns, period
Frank Bee Costume Center has the worst return policy of any retailer we've seen: all sales are final. Your costume doesn't fit? Too bad. It doesn't look anything like what was on the website? Out of luck. That's just one more sign that this business isn't keeping up with the times; most of today's shoppers expect to be able to return their Halloween costumes, especially if they're in new, unopened and unused condition.
No reviews - because no customers?
Frank Bee has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and the retailer only received one complaint there in the three years leading up to this review. However, we wonder if that's because no one is actually doing business with this store anymore. One report (from more than five years ago) said that they placed an order only to get a phone call several days later, informing them that Frank Bee didn't have what was shown in the online store and that they "can't update their website" . What?! That makes sense, though, considering that the site copyright was 2012 the last time we checked.
Shop anywhere else for your Halloween costume
It's hard to come up with a reason why you'd bother looking for a Halloween costume here, unless you think it's fun to shop for "trending" outfits that are really more retro or you've got some loyalty to the flagship store in the Bronx. Frank Bee Costume Center gets our lowest ranking.
There's something in Halloween for everyone, from the kids who can't wait to get their hands on piles of free candy, to grown-ups who get to feel like a kid again by dressing up like their favorite superhero or celebrity. Of course, at the heart of any Halloween celebration is the perfect costume. If you're tired of dragging out the same tired clown, witch, or devil attire every year and you're ready for something new, it's time to get shopping!
But wait - what if it's not even fall yet? Or what if you're trying to dress up your kids for their end-of-the-year theme days at school? No need to panic: even though they're called "Halloween" costumes, you can shop for almost any imaginable attire with any number of online retailers who keep the proverbial doors open year-round. That's especially true now that conventions, cosplay, and other dress-up occasions have become so popular - why should that kind of fun be limited to the month of October, right?
One of the best things about shopping for your Halloween costume online is the selection. Have you been to a retail store a few weeks before the holiday and seen how picked-over it gets? Good luck finding anything that fits or matches, let alone a costume that everyone will be talking about.
Yes, you're always going to find the most options in stock if you shop sooner rather than later, but some online stores can hook you up with a killer costume - literally, if you're into dressing up like a slasher movie - and get it delivered even just a few days before Halloween.
With so many Halloween costume stores out there, and so many themes to choose from, it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed when deciding where to shop. Want to make it a little easier? Keep these factors in mind:
To help you get your spooky on, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular online retailers of Halloween costumes. We're sure this information will make it fun and fast to get the perfect outfit before the big party or trick-or-treat!
Select any 2 Halloween Costume Stores to compare them head to head