Waterloo Playhouse costume shop is a hidden gem - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo Playhouse costume shop is a hidden gem


Halloween is just around the corner.  And if you're still looking for a great costume, you can find thousands of costumes tucked away in a small building in downtown Waterloo. 

The Waterloo Community Playhouse is practicing its latest production "Panache".  Once a show wraps, some of the actors' outfits may end up at the playhouse's costume shop.  Over the years, the collection has grown to more than 10,000 costumes.

"Anything that you can imagine that you would want, we probably have it," said Sandi Briden, manager of the costume shop. 

Some costumes from entire productions are stowed away in a warehouse area and are rented out to high schools and other theatre companies around the country.  But the hidden gem is the public costume shop, tucked away on the second floor of the playhouse office on Commercial Street in Waterloo.

"It's amazing to me how many people that even work downtown have no idea it's here.  So they're thrilled when they come in here and find something they can wear that maybe will last through a night of partying," Briden said.

The collection is sorted by time periods and costumes are stacked ceiling high.  The HUGE selection is what brings folks like the Nicol family coming to the shop each year to find Halloween attire.

"You won't all show up to the same party wearing the same thing.  No two costumes are alike here.  It's not the same thing you get at a lot of the discount stores.  And you can rent it for a similar price and then not worry about dry cleaning it or those kinds of things.  You can just return it so it's not hanging in your closet for years," said Linnea Nicol.

The Nicol family has amassed their own costume collection over the years, by taking part in Waterloo Community Playhouse productions and picking up creative add-ons to dress up for parties and trick-or-treating from the shop.

Part of what makes the shopping experience at the playhouse unique is that all the money brought in from costume rentals goes right back to the Waterloo Playhouse, helping it fund future productions—which are a great creative outlet for many in the community.

"Maybe if we give back to the theatre and have more kids coming, then the theatre will live on to see many, many more years," said Madeline Nicol.

So whether you want a classical costume from Medieval times, or a groovy blast from the past....you're sure to find something unique at the Community Playhouse Costume Shop-- to dress up your Halloween. 

The costume shop is typically open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  For the holiday, it will also be open Saturday from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and again on Halloween night from 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Costume donations are always accepted, and you can even volunteer your time to work at the costume shop.

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