Ipswich: It’s been a giggle! The joke shop celebrates 30 years of whoopee cushions and wacky costumes

IPSWICH: It’s been a fixture of the town centre for 30 years.

And now one Ipswich store – which has always raised a smile – is preparing to celebrate three decades of serving the people of the town.

Games and Giggles – also known as The Joke Shop – marks its milestone anniversary on Saturday.

The independent store has been owned and run by the same family since its opening in 1982.

It is the longest serving shop in The Walk and has become part of the fabric of Ipswich, helping to give the area its unique character.

Owner Mary Green, 45, took over the running of the shop in 1992, ten years after her father Tony had opened up.

“My dad used to be a children’s entertainer and he didn’t want to travel so much.

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“Ipswich didn’t have anything like Games and Giggles so he decided to open the store,” she said.

The costume department has seen a number of changes – going from a single rail to more than 1,000 costumes to hire and buy.

Old favourites such as Pink Panther and Scooby Doo have been joined by Captain Jack Sparrow and Lady GaGa.

“Things have certainly changed,” said Ms Green.

“We still get the old favourites like whoopee cushions but we have expanded into other areas, like T-shirt printing for holidays and stag weekends.

“And people prefer to buy their fancy dress costumes and keep them rather than hiring them.”

She said staff have had some unusual requests – like a shopper who wanted a pickled cucumber costume.

“We didn’t have that so we provided him with a chilli pepper instead!”

To mark the store’s special milestone, a number of events will be taking place, including a guess the costume competition, win a jar of joke sweets and a charity birthday bun stall.

Staff will also be dressed in a variety of costumes to add to the party atmosphere.

Ms Green hopes Games and Giggles will continue kitting people out in fancy dress and providing their prank needs for years to come.

“It’s important to have independent stores,” she said.

“Hopefully the university has made a difference to the town because it brings in a younger generation.

“I think it will be a tough year – but hopefully people will want to party again.”

She added: “We’d like to thank the people of Ipswich for their support over the last 30 years.”

n Have you shopped at Games and Giggles? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk