The Stinky, Smelly Russian Black Market for Fake Halloween Costumes

Make your next zombie run — or fancy costume or fancy costume — with a hard sell from the KGB. The Russian mafia cons the tourists as they chase down disguises and, what’s more, hide them in vaults — but if you ask about it, they will give you away. The black market for fake accoutrements to make a lookalike is thriving in Russia, and police estimate they will take in between $4 million and $7 million this year, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

The fake costumes are manufactured in China and sold at Russia-bound airlines and hotels — if you talk to the store workers.

“They sell millions of them,” said a manager in the shop of the Abyss. “They are prepared for the most beautiful hall.”

Some of the fake costumes, which are designed for the most glamorous weddings, are very expensive — expect to spend around $75,000 to fake a full-length princess gown.

Many of the stores imported fake dresses for Russian wedding announcements and offerings — even they are allowed to sell them. The store went out of business, so the official company sold them to opportunists.

One woman said she came up with the idea to make $1,000 in three days by making fake dresses when she went to a fair in the Black Sea region. She decided to hide them and sell them through fake stores.

In Krasnodar region, much of the fake designs are made by a tiny shop about an hour’s drive from a temple dedicated to St. Vladimir.

“These days you can’t go for more than 40 minutes without passing one,” says a female manager. She admits that they make several thousand dollars a week, but don’t care.

“We are making and selling. The amount of fake merchandise. We’re doing fine.”

Masks are not the only goods sold but they are an area where the professional counterfeiters excel. They also make bags, ties, scrunchies and gloves.

Folders, pens, knives, toothbrushes and of course, hats and mittens and hats, hats, hats.

Wearable products. It’s no wonder that they sold out for Russian military traditions, parades and marches, but it can’t be the worst thing in the world to have some criminals fund your efforts.

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