Davisites looking for something a little more detailed than the traditional mass-produced Halloween costume are turning to the UC Davis theatre and dance department for help. For the entire year – including all of October – the department runs The Enchanted Cellar, a costume shop located on campus in 15 Wright Hall.
Now in its fifth year, the shop offers a wide array of costumes made from materials used in past theatre and dance shows, from the ‘60s to present-day, said Enchanted Cellar director Roxanne Felming.
Appointments are necessary to try on costumes at the shop. Felming said that the Enchanted Cellar is currently booked solid but some no-shows or cancellations might allow for new appointments. On the other hand, free viewing is available today from 3 to 7 p.m. and tomorrow from 1 to 5 p.m.
Felming said that the average costume – which includes everything for the outfit from head to toe – typically costs between $60 and $100. UC Davis students and affiliates, however, are entitled to a 50 percent discount on all rentals.
So far, the shop has rented about half of the 55 sets put together for the Halloween season, Felming said.
“We have also done a lot of rentals for people looking for just one part of a costume like a cape or a hat,” she said. “Some of the costumes went really fast: Batman, the Joker, Indiana Jones, Mario, Princess Peach and Marie Antoinette were all popular this year. I’ve noticed a lot of people are looking for historical garments this year as well.“
Devin Payne, a junior English major who volunteers at the Enchanted Cellar, said that she got involved with the costume shop through the course Drama 180: Sewing Lab.
“It’s a very fun class and anybody can take it, including people who aren’t drama majors,” Payne said. “You get to be involved in all of these creative activities and you sign up and volunteer for the costume shop through class.“
Payne said her job consists of fitting customers, designing and making costumes as well as searching through the theatre and dance department’s collection of outfits for garments that might be useful for a costume.
Angela Kight, a cutter and draper at the Enchanted Cellar and also a staff member for the theatre and dance department, said her job at the shop is similar to fitting actors for performances.
“I take the measurements of the actors and then using pictures I pattern a garment and cut it out and put it together. It’s the exact same thing for these Halloween sales,” she said. “I made a Mario costume – his hat and his overalls – the same as I would for a stage production.“
Kight said she enjoys working at the costume shop.
“It’s an extraordinary amount of fun and we seem to make people very happy with their costumes,” Kight said. “It’s fun to see people become these characters.“
In addition to the Halloween season, the Enchanted Cellar offers costume rentals year-round for people looking to find something to wear for a school project or party, Felming said. The previously mentioned 50 percent discount is good for the entire year.
The Enchanted Cellar also offers a “Bargain Bin Room,” where visitors can find and buy individual costume pieces instead of renting an entire outfit or part of an outfit.
For more information, visit theatredance.ucdavis.edu.
ZACK FREDERICK can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.