According to Google’s Frightgiest, a website that lets users see the most popular Halloween costumes in their geographic area, Star Wars and superhero costumes are the talk of the town in Orlando.
But for individuals hoping to stand out from the crowd, Theatre UCF’s eighth annual Halloween costume sale offered an array of one-of-a-kind ensembles.
On Friday Oct. 23, students rifled through row after row of costumes of all shapes and sizes to find the perfect festive outfit. The annual sale is run by the department’s costume shop, which is dedicated to teaching students how to make costumes for their productions.
The shop organizes the sale to get rid of old costumes it will no longer use and raise funds for the theatre’s budget so new costumes can be made. The items available for purchase are selected from the department’s collection of thousands of old pieces based on a variety of factors, including how specialized the costumes are, whether there are multiple copies of a certain costume and the condition of the costume.
“Some of them are falling apart so much that they would last one night for Halloween, but wouldn’t last the physical demands of an entire show,” said Dan Jones, the costume shop manager.
At this year’s sale, sequins, feathers and ribbons abounded as students searched through over 5,000 individual pieces for the perfect spooky outfit.
The Future compiled a list of the top five coolest costumes that students snatched up.
1. The Lizard Man
One of the most extravagant costumes for sale was the Lizard Man from the school’s production of Sideshow. The whole outfit was handcrafted by one of UCF’s theatre professors, Huaixiang Tan.
It took weeks just to make the head, which had to be sculpted in clay, plastered in a cast, molded and painted. Then, the entire bodysuit was sewed together from scratch.
The result was a terrifying, shimmering monster that almost every student that walked by stopped to admire.
2. The Big Bad Wolf and the Eagle
These two headdresses were created for a dance concert in 2013. The costume shop has designed outfits for these concerts since 2007.
It’s hard to reuse costumes from dance concerts, said Jones, because they are often designed specifically for a certain musical number.
But, that doesn’t mean these costumes can’t find good homes after the dancing comes to an end.
Michaela Dougherty, the junior theatre studies major who bought the two pieces, said she’s going to dress up as a vintage big bad wolf for the holiday.
“I go more with comedic rather than sexy on Halloween,” she said.
3. The Wallaby Wonder
A year ago, the shop received an entire fur-mascot donation of a larger-than-life-size wallaby from Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.
The mascot, which came in six pieces—head, torso, legs, tail and two feet—, was dressed in blue scrubs and giant white sneakers.
Jones said the costume has been sitting in the storeroom, untouched, because the chances of the department needing a giant wallaby mascot were pretty slim.
But, the big guy did draw in fans at the sale, and guests stopped to pose for pictures with the mascot’s disembodied head.
4. The Bridal Procession
The school gets lot of donations of wedding dresses, usually dresses from the 1980s and 90s, which Jones said they don’t get a lot of call for.
A few years ago, the department even received the stock of an entire bridal store that went out of business.
They keep any they think they might use, but the rest go right into the sale, where many students eagerly gave them new homes.
5. Hats Galore
No outfit is complete without the perfect hat, and the costume sale was full of a variety of different headgear. There were clown wigs, sea captain hats, a medusa wig and some very popular blue sequined pieces with a lot of Middle Eastern character.
These hats were used by background dancers for one of the musical numbers inSideshow. The dancer’s dresses could be used again, but the hats were too specific to the show, and thus, were put out to find new dancers with heads needing adorning.
Jones said that when it comes to hats, the department has trouble reusing them.
“We don’t have a lot of room for hat storage. They get smashed and are no longer useable. It’s easier for us to make new ones,” he said.
That’s the whole reason those in the department decide to sell these costumes, even though it can be painful to let go of something they’ve worked so hard to create.
“It’s always a little bit emotional. You’re literally putting your blood, sweat and tears into it,” Jones said. “But, it’s nice to know what you’ve worked on is having another life.”
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer and Watchdog Reporter for the Central Florida Future.