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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Enchanted Cellar is a hidden Halloween emporium


UC Davis Theatre department offers a wide variety of costume rentals for Halloween

With Halloween on the horizon, students are awaiting the moments when they can freely express themselves and who they are within, whether that be a ghost, a meme or a historical figure. For those who are filled with glee at the idea of becoming someone (or something) else for a night, the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Enchanted Cellar offers accessible costumes for UC Davis students to achieve their spooky dreams.

Fourth-year human development major Brooklyn Sofley explained why Halloween is her favorite time of the year.

“Halloween is the only holiday that lets you freely express yourself,” Sofley said. “If I were to walk around dressed as Guy Fieri on any other day of the year people would question me, but on Halloween it’s embraced and appreciated.”

If you’re lacking creativity or DIY skills this Halloween, the Department of Theatre and Dance has a solution for those looking for a costume of theatrical quality as opposed to Halloween store quality. The basement of Wright Hall is home to one of Davis’ hidden treasures: The Enchanted Cellar.

Roxanne Femling, an expert costume designer and Davis’ very own costume shop director, explained her role in the Enchanted Cellar.

“I take care of all the staff and students including the undergraduates and MFA students who come in to do costume design,” Femling said. “We are basically training them to work in a costume shop in terms of design and helping the [students] navigate designing costumes for a show.”

The idea of costume rentals started back in 2004 and has been an ongoing tradition upheld by the department. Femling explained how a good portion of the costumes are actually designed and put together by students of the department.

“We’ve been renting out costumes for 14 years,” Femling said. “People are always surprised when they come down to the basement, which is why we named it the ‘Enchanted Cellar’ because a lot of people don’t know that we’re even down here. It’s fun watching people think of something crazy and different and it helps the students and faculty get creative.”

Since last year, the Enchanted Cellar began exclusively renting out kits for Halloween-goers. Femling explained how the kits contain a variety of different props and makeup to make the costumes as intricate as possible. Students and faculty together researched different aspects of the costume and tried to implement those features into the kits.

“With our pre-made kits you get props such as wands and glasses for a something like a Harry Potter costume,” Femling said. “On average our kits start at $35 which includes everything from the wig all the way through the shoes and everything in between, our highest price would be about $65, and these fees also include dry cleaning fees.”

Femling detailed the most popular costumes that have been rented out over the past few years.

“A lot of people like the Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI as a couples costume,” Femling said. “We also rent out a lot of Peter Pan and fairytale costumes, fairies and pirates. We did a whole Greek section as well as ghouls and goblins and next year we plan to do a section on villains! We do try to keep up with what’s with the media, so Game of Thrones costumes have been very popular and we actually built a set for that.”

These costume rentals are not only for students alone. Femling explained how a lot of people throughout the Davis community come down to visit the cellar.

“We get a lot of Davis students who rent from us and we also do get a good amount of faculty and staff members and even maintenance workers who rent from us which is always fun,” Femling said. “We even have people come down from the chancellor’s office and they always say ‘I didn’t even know this was here!’ ”

This year Halloween rentals will start October 17 and continue until the following Friday. The Enchanted Cellar will be open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Wednesday till Friday, but anyone is welcome to make an appointment by contacting the Enchanted Cellar. Renters who purchase a kit this Halloween can keep the costumes until November 2. Aside from Halloween, the community is welcome to rent out costumes throughout the year as long as an appointment has been made at least 24 hours in advance.

“Anyone can walk in and look at kits,” Femling said. “We have a room open for people to try things on. If they don’t see anything they like we are more than happy to put a kit together and make an appointment so we have more time to get you what you want.”

For more information about the Enchanted Cellar visit the website or the Facebook page and book your appointment for your costume needs this Halloween.   


Written by Sneha Ramachandran — features@theaggie.org



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