Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 52: Costume Rentals

If you can dream it, they can dress you

Editor’s note: We are sad to report that Costume Rentals has closed after 18 years of serving individuals, schools, theaters, and nonprofits. The warehouse will continue to store costumes from Guthrie and Children’s Theatre Company productions, but they are no longer available for rent.  

Every day is a dress rehearsal at Costume Rentals, the Northeast Minneapolis warehouse where the Guthrie Theater and Children’s Theatre Company store more than 70,000 wardrobe pieces from their permanent collection. It’s one of the five largest costume collections in the country and an incredible local resource for Halloween, murder-mystery dinner parties, community theater productions, liturgical pageants, and weddings. (Most every garment is available to the public to rent.) Even TV shows like Saturday Night Live and NCIS: New Orleans call upon Costume Rentals when they need specific looks shipped in a jiffy.

So whatever role you’re dreaming of (Roman gladiator, French aristocrat, Cleopatra, Lady MacBeth?), whatever time period you’re channeling (Elizabethan, Roaring Twenties?), whatever drives you (a personal quest to be the weirdest weirdo at Burning Man?), the Guthrie probably has something in stock. And if not, they’ll steer you toward a suitable alternative. That said, if you’re just seeking a garden-variety zombie getup or a pop culture costume like Freddy Krueger, you’re better off at a Halloween shop near the Mall of America.

Walk-ins are welcome every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but the best way to experience the breadth of what’s available here is to reserve a spot on the Guthrie’s behind-the-scenes tour, slated for the first Saturday of every month at 11:30 a.m. The hourlong tour walks you through every section of the warehouse. Guides relay the history of the Guthrie and point out costumes designed by Tony Award-winning alum like Paul Tazewell (Hamilton), as well as outfits worn by theater stars Kristin Chenoweth and Jessica Tandy.⁣

The average cost to rent a full head-to-toe ensemble for four days is $150. But if you join the $12 tour, you’ll be handed a coupon at the end that’s good for 20 percent off your first costume rental. Alternatively, mark your calendar for Costume Rentals’ annual garage sale — September 19-21, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — in which racks of gently worn dresses, suits, pants, shirts, and shoes are priced to move.

Costume Rentals
855 E. Hennepin Ave., 612-225-6260.