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The Witch and her Wardrobe

Ghosts of dramas past on sale for Halloween
by: Barbara Adams, Susan Charriere has been collecting costumes since her stage debut at Estacada High School in the mid-1970s. Now they’re on sale, at least 300 of them, at Button Willow Antiques in downtown Estacada.

Susan Charriere played a 300-year-old fairy in 'Three Fairy Godmothers' through the Estacada Community Theater in the 1970s. Charriere remembers one of her favorite lines: 'We'll die out here and the wild beasts will eat our bones!'

That was the beginning of Charriere's life on the stage. She graduated from Estacada High School in 1976, where she played a number of shows and began collecting costumes. During college, they mysteriously disappeared from her closet. 'I began missing them,' she said. 'It became an obsession after that.'

Storybook and movie characters, clowns, cowboys, animals, ghouls, colonial and renaissance era-Charriere has them all, and they're now on sale at Button Willow Antiques in downtown Estacada. Charriere calls her business The Witch and the Wardrobe. 'I have beautiful vintage stuff from the 1920s to the 1980s,' she said.

When Ruth Burg, a local costume collector, became ill, Burg decided to sell her collection of costumes, which filled her basement.

'She had about 300 at the time,' Charriere said, 'but that didn't count the bazillion accessories-hats, shoes. It's probably, all told, at least 1,000 pieces.'

Charriere bought them and moved them to her house. 'That was just a nightmare,' she said. In the 1990s she rented a small retail space in Estacada and rented out the costumes. 'That's why they're still around, haunting me.'

They also spent years stored in an old farmhouse on Metzler Park Road. 'It was haunted, of course,' Charriere said.

To rid her life and her home of these costumes, Charriere is subleasing space at Button Willow Antiques, 360 S. Broadway St. Everything must go, she said, even the valuable old vintage military uniforms. The price range is from $10 to $300. Soon, they will also be available through her website, witchandwardrobe.com. She said she will continue making them available at Button Willow after Halloween. The store is open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.