It may still be summer, but the fall season is officially underway at Roger’s Gardens, where shoppers previewed the annual Halloween boutique that opens to the public on Friday.
“You can’t have too many rats,” said Mike Ridenhower of Coto de Caza, who attends the sneak preview every year with his wife, Carolyn Ridenhower. “We usually come several times,” he said. “Every year, we add to our collection.” The rats, they said, line a spiral staircase at their home and always get a big response from trick-or-treaters.
Roger’s Gardens’ Creative Director Eric Cortina develops a different theme annually for the Halloween shop. This year’s theme — Blackstone Manor — is a continuation of the Blackstone Theater backstage theme from last year.
“We wanted to go a little darker this year and create a creepy atmosphere of a New Orleans decrepit manor,” Cortina said in an email. “I think it’s my homage to the Haunted Mansion, and you’ll see a few scenes recreated with our Roger’s magic. The Hallway with moving doors, our version of the séance and other touches fill the rooms.”
The result is a mixture of shelves filled with merchandise as well as a feel of a Halloween experience, with the hallway including a floating candelabra. Dressmakers’ dummies with rib cages drawn on them line the aisles, and a table is set with plates featuring octopi, crows and spiders.