Visiting A Theater Costume Warehouse For A Halloween Costume

An invitation to a Halloween party this weekend had me in search of the perfect outfit.

After having tried a few conventional methods for getting a costume (party store, online retailers), a Google search inspired another source.

On Saturday I pulled into the parking lot of Costume Rentals in Minneapolis, provider of an enormous collection of costumes used in Twin Cities theater.

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Their website said they had 30,000 costumes collected over the years. Entering their warehouse, I was blown away by the selection–not just the volume, but the variety and quality.

Rows and rows of racks stacked two high.

Outfits, props, masks, and footwear.

“This is 40 years of history of the Children’s Theater and the Guthrie Theater,” said my guide and fitter, Lolly.

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Lolly standing in front gear that looked to be useful for Beowulf or Lord of the Rings.

My need for a costume quickly became secondary. This was a joy just to walk this museum.

Barbarian coat and various battle equipment
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Furs galore

Pope cloaks, military gear, American colonial clothing… All these outfits revealed the various fashions that have donned the bodies of humans; all the props demonstrated the various ways of life throughout the ages and around the world.

Millennia of history encapsulated in one warehouse.

But we had to get down to business.

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More than an expert in costumes, Lolly is a theater coach. She told me how to act in each outfit, explaining the context of the style as well as the manner in which one would wear the clothing.

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For the above Shakespearian top, I learned how to bow with hips back, one foot forward, left hand on the hilt of my sword, and right hand extended.

I didn’t learn how to bow in this get up:

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I’m not sure how often a Roman soldier would bow.

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But I did learn how to squat in this one:

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I found one I liked the best (the Shakespeare) and now look forward to a weekend of chivalry and candy.

If you’re in need of an outfit for Halloween, are in the Twin Cities, and don’t want to settle on this year’s Halloween costume, check out Costume Rentals (www.costumerentals.org) at 855 East Hennepin, contact: 612-375-8722 / costumes@guthrietheater.org.

This weekend I hope you get to experience living the life of another era — or another creature.

Happy Halloween!

What say you?