Baton Rouge Little Theater sells old costumes to public
A lunch break away from work last week became a break from reality for Neal Killam.
After searching through the racks at Baton Rouge Little Theater’s costume sale, Killam pulled a plush brown lion suit over his clothes, then popped on a ridiculously huge head — more cartoon than king of the jungle.
He extended a paw for friend Roxanne Searcy, who took pictures on her phone, but Killam looked less than fierce.
“You look like you’re crying,” Searcy said. “Are you crying? You’ve got a thorn in your foot?”
Baton Rouge Little Theater has had a few costume sales over the years, but this year is its biggest. Recently, a costume shop that was closing donated its entire stock to the theater, said Crystal Brown, the theater’s costume shop manager.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Brown said, “because we were able to find a lot of great stuff and then we were having this sale.”
The curse came when she and a few others had to sift through hundreds of outfits to decide what the BRLT would keep for future performances and what they would sell. Costumes with cartoonish, mascot-style heads would not be useful for theater, but they would fetch a little higher price — $30 — than the rest of their stock.
“There’s stuff I haven’t even had time to go through,” Brown said.
Killam thought hard about the lion costume, but the big head was a little too much for him, even at a cheap price.
“I’d like to wear it in a cooler climate,” he said.
Racks of period costumes — dresses fit for Civil War-era productions and striped pirate shirts — collided with cave woman pelts and bunches of Santa Claus suits.
Searcy reappeared dancing a bit and showing a bare midriff while modeling a festive carnival dress. As a member of a new little theater in Plaquemine Parish, she was scouting for period dresses for their wardrobe.
“I’m going to clean them out,” she said. “All this stuff is so well made. It could cost a hundred dollars, but they’re selling it for $10.”
Meanwhile Killam tried on two different rabbit heads, trying to figure out why one looked so much creepier than the other. Then he saw a Batman mask and cape, and rushed to try them on.
Laundry baskets of wigs, boxes of hats and stacks of pants filled folding tables. A few very non-theater items brought snickers, like a few sets of novelty, anatomically correct plastic breasts.
With an 1800s-style dress, a sunflower outfit and a prisoner’s striped uniform in hand, Kevin Smith was shopping for his three older children’s Halloween costumes.
“I think it’s probably a little more variety, and we know it’s going to help the Little Theater,” he said while holding his new daughter, Eden. “We try to get creative every year and make costumes, but this year we don’t have as much time as we did last year.”
Jan Richmond tried on a few wigs, settling on a set of dreadlocks. She came over on her lunch break, too, but was having difficulty getting back to her desk. She had already picked out a mermaid outfit and a flamingo costume complete with mounds of pink feathers and a small beak hat.
“Pink’s one of my favorite colors, and it just seemed different,” she said. “Different is right up my alley.”
After the first day of the sale Thursday, more crowds had appeared than Brown planned, so she restocked the racks with articles from the costume reserves. While this year is the BRLT’s biggest sale, next year should be good, too, after the donations from the costume shop, which she declined to identify.
Prices range from a few dollars for accessories to $10 to $15 for most costumes. The big-headed things with plush bodies, hands and feet go for $30.
“We price everything to go because we don’t want a lot left over,” Brown said.
In the racks of smaller-sized things, Richmond continued to look, even though work beckoned.
“I’ve got grandkids, too,” she said.