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Inside La Casa de los Trucos, Miami's Oldest Costume Store

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Welcome to Cult Classics, where our resident Miami expert Patricia Guarch Wise delves into our city's oh-so-fashionable history. Take out your notebooks, ladies and gents, because you're about to be schooled, Miami style.

Photos: Karli Evans for Racked Miami

This month for Cult Classics, I donned my best witch-inspired garb and headed to Calle Ocho to visit La Casa de los Trucos. I'll take any excuse for dressing to a theme and the whole month of October means American Horror Story Coven vibes with a healthy dash of Stevie Nicks in my book.
At the corner of the store dedicated to magic, a grandfather-aged Cuban man named Nelido gives me a delightful little magic show in Spanish. By delightful I mean he made my photographer Karli smell something called "Liquid Ass" and made me put a farting machine in my purse. This is a man who loves the little prank and simple magic tricks that surround him in overflowing Tupperware containers piled high on the walls. He has a gag rehearsed with one of those skeletons that lets you record something and it repeats it back. I laughed so hard with him that my stomach hurt. He taught me how to make a magic wand levitate. He is particularly fond of a prop that looks like a lighter but sprays foam all over you when you try to use it.

What began as a magic and jokes store is now the go-to costume destination for trick-or-treaters of all ages. La Casa de los Trucos was founded in Cuba in the 1920's and has a devoted multi-generational client base that comes back year after year because it carries truly niche regional and cultural items. I'm not going to go so far as to call holy saint costumes and typical attire from Latin American countries cults, but it's not a stretch to say that there's no where else that carries these items plus a variety of bad smelling perfumes for prank-pulling.

This small retail space overflows with hundreds of masquerade masks, animal prosthetics, gloves and tights, character costumes, face paint and so, so much more. You may be surprised to hear they only keep a tiny fraction of their total inventory in the actual store. Scattered throughout this little neighborhood in Little Havana are warehouses and spaces that hold the rest of their stash: over 80,000 items in stock and more than 15,000 different costumes.

I was surprised to hear that this world functions a little like the bridal world I dived into a few months ago – they have exclusive deals with distributors. At La Casa De Los Trucos you can buy a Big Bird, E.T. and Mighty Mouse costume that you can't find anywhere else.

Here are a couple of my picks for costumes you should buy this year from La Casa De Los Trucos: a mime, an Amish settler, a chicken, Mugatu and Fozzie Bear. Hurry up and go now, while the selection is good, because no one wants to wind up with a sexy saint costume.
· La Casa de los Trucos [Official Site]
· Cult Classics [Racked Miami]