Sourcing Halloween Costumes: Your Local Theater Company

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On our most recent family weekend with all the Harris Sisters together, Harris Sister Donna mentioned that her local theater group recently had a sale to the public to sell off many of their extra costumes.  Unfortunately, she wasn't able to go.  But it got me remembering that our local theater group did the same thing last year.  Hmmm...  I wondered if they would be doing that again anytime soon.  And then as if they were reading my mind, I got an email that very week that they were indeed hosting another costume and prop sale- just in time for Halloween!  I marked my calendar and made it a priority to get down there as soon as the doors opened.  Oh, I am so glad that I did!  With Halloween coming, it's the perfect time (and way) to find a cool costume, or add to your costume closet for later use.  

Here's a look at some the inventory they were selling.  Lots of holiday costumes donated by none other than the Grand Ole Opry.  WHAT?!?!?!  You better believe I shopped this rack!


Shoes of every color and size you could imagine. 


Children's costumes and adult costumes


Racks and racks and racks of clothes in all sizes for men, women, and children.  All of it was either used in their theater productions, or was donated by other entertainment groups for their use.  But they use it and turn it over quickly because they don't have the room to store tons of costumes, year over year. 


These were the first things I saw as soon as I arrived.  Incidentally, I was the first person there- arriving about 30 minutes before their advertised start time.  Everything was already set up and ready to go and they gave me the green light to go ahead and start shopping.  I literally had first pick of the entire lot!!!  I also brought my father-in-law with me to help hunt out the deals since this is right up his alley.



Since I had never shopped this kind of sale before, I had no idea what sort of pricing to expect, so I just quickly looked at a tag or two to see what I was in for, and it turned out to be the most pleasant of surprises.  The green harem costume pictured in the center above was only $5.  So was the purple fairy dress to the left and the red belly dancing costume on the right.  WOW!  At those prices, I knew I would be taking home some good finds!  


Racks and racks of cowboy costumes.  We are in Tennessee, after all!  This one came home with me!


Look at this lovely!  I wish I had snapped it up now, but I did not.  I wasn't 100% sure what I would do with it, but isn't she lovely?


So there's a look at what they were selling, but let me show you just what I bought, because it's good- really good!

First up- the handmade Raggedy Ann and Andy costumes.  These are both a child's size 7/8 so no one in our family will fit them (yet).  These are going straight in the costume closet for future use.  They were $5 each!


Next up is the only men's costume I scored on this shopping trip.  There weren't very many men's costumes available in this sale, but I'm sure that's subject to change from year to year. It's a sailor suit from their production of Anything Goes.  It came complete with the sailor hat you see here as well as the jacket and pants.  All of that for $10!


Just look at the detail.  I was impressed!


Next up is my find of the day.  This was the holiday costume I scored that was donated from Opryland!  It is completely custom made and it fits me like it was made just for me!  I rather think it looks like Mrs. Claus.  It's priceless to me, although I still can't believe I only paid $10 for the set- custom made jacket and skirt. 



Here's a look at the back of the jacket and the volume on that skirt!


This one is my close second in terms of favorites.  It's a 1950's poodle skirt- only this one features a record instead of a poodle.  It's made of shiny satin and completely lined with a built in tulle crinoline. That much I knew when I bought it.  


What I didn't know is that it's also completely reversible to this gorgeous solid red satin on the other side.  This skirt was $10!  If you are so inclined, you can certainly try your hand at making one of these for yourself.  The Harris Sisters have and here's how it's done


Here's another sweet donation that was made to my local theater company by the Country Music Tour Company.  It is clearly handmade, and even has the name of the performer who this costume was assigned to written on the inside of each piece.  Again, only $10 for the set!



And then I couldn't leave this sale without bringing home my very own cowgirl costume.  This one came with the beaded and fringed shirt you see here, as well as the chaps and red cowboy hat too! All for $10!


The shirt has pearl snaps on it, and check out the fringe on the chaps too!


And last but not least were a few vintage accessories that I couldn't leave behind.  This muff and hat set were calling to me.  


And just as we were leaving, we spotted one more set.  So I added it to my pile, and was on my way!


This is the first time I have shopped such a sale.  Oh, but it won't be the last.  So here are a few tips for you if you happen to shop a similar sale. 

  • Make sure you know when your sale starts and try to be there as soon as the doors open.  You will get the best selection, and won't see the good stuff walking out the door as you are walking in.  :)  I arrived about 30 minutes early to this sale and they let me start immediately. By the time the sale started (and other people started showing up) I was already finished shopping and checking out. 
  • Ask to try things on if you need to.  This sale had a close by area for people to do just that. 
  • Browse the online photos your sale provides before you go so you know what you are most interested in.  My sale had advertised the Opry costumes specifically and I knew I wanted that Christmas dress so I made a b-line there first. 
  • Ask for a deal.  It never hurts to ask, especially if you are buying several items.  In this case, I did not because all the costumes ranged between an unbelievable $5-$10 to begin with!  But usually I do. 
  • Sign up for your local theater company's mailing list.  That's how I knew about this sale.  They also advertised it on Facebook.  If you aren't sure if your group has this sort of sale, just give them a call at their offices.  I'm sure they would be happy to talk with you.   Speaking of which, my group told me that they planned to donate any unsold items to our local Goodwill at the end of their sale.  Hmmm, I wonder if that orange feathery number made it there?  
And finally, I will leave you with a link to some of the Harris Sisters costume ideas for even more inspiration.  Happy costuming to you all!

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