If you're preparing for a costume event or theater production, you don't always want to invest in purchasing a costume. Sometimes it makes more sense to rent an outfit for a shorter period of time. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for renting costumes, including national chains and local businesses.
Tips on Renting Costumes Online
National chains and online companies specialize in renting costumes to people all over the United States. Often, these shops are a great place to look if you're interested in a hard-to-find costume.
Finding the Best National Chains and Online Shops
The following shops have a great selection and a good reputation:
- Costumes Galore - This shop has an amazing range of costumes for every possible situation. You'll find holiday costumes, international outfits, historical costumes, group costumes, and more. In most cases, complete costume rentals cost between $45 and $95 per day. The customer pays shipping both ways. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), this business is also called HalloweenCostumes.com and has a rating of A+.
- The Costumer - This shop has been around since 1917, and they specialize in renting costumes for plays and other events. This store also rents costumes to individuals. They ship via UPS, who will pick up your costume return for you. Rates vary, but expect to spend about $75 per day to rent your complete costume. According to reviews on Kudzu, consumers have had consistently great experiences with this business.
- Costume Holiday House - Specializing in online costume rental, this shop has a great selection of mascots, seasonal costumes, and more. Most costumes cost between $65 and $95 per day to rent, including two-way shipping. Reviewers on Yelp.com praise the great selection and good customer service of this business, which also has a retail location in Columbus, Ohio.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you're considering renting from a national chain or online shop, keep these tips in mind:
- Ask about the return policy. What happens if you return a costume late? Most places charge a slightly increased fee for each day the costume isn't returned.
- Find out who pays shipping and how much it will cost. This varies with your location, but many places have the customer pay shipping both ways.
- Keep an inventory of all the items you receive and return them in their original packaging. This will help ensure that you don't lose any pieces before you mail your costume back to the shop.
- Shop around to find the best deal. You'll notice that there may be some variation in prices between the shops, even for the same costume.
- Find out about how the costumes are cleaned and sanitized and whether you're responsible for cleaning.
- Read the entire rental agreement and make sure you understand all aspects of it before you sign.
Tips on Renting from Local Costume Stores
Renting a costume from a local store often means a more limited selection than going online; however, you'll get great customer service and the opportunity to try the costume on before you rent it. Many cities and small towns have costume rental shops, and if you live in a metropolitan area, you may even have a few to choose from.
Finding a Great Local Costume Shop
Checking your local phone directory is a good way to find a rental shop, but it may not give you enough information about the business. Getting a sense of the business' reputation is important, especially if your plan is to rent several costumes or you really need an outfit for an important event. You can do this by looking the shop up in the Better Business Bureau.
One of the best ways to find a great shop is to talk to people who may have rented costumes there. Try some of these ideas:
- Call up your community theater and ask if they rent costumes from local businesses. If they do, the business is likely legitimate and probably a good pick.
- If you have a community college or university near you, ask the theater department for costume rental recommendations.
- Talk to friends and family who may have rented costumes locally.
Things to Keep in Mind
Keep the following tips in mind:
- If you're planning to rent a costume for Halloween or a big local event, stop by the shop several weeks in advance. Reserve your outfit for your event while there are still lots of options available.
- If you do decide to reserve a costume in advance, ask whether the shop guarantees that your costume will be available when you need it.
- Ask the shop if you can try on the costume. Many places allow this, and it will help ensure you end up with the look you have in mind.
- Find out about the shop's sanitation policy. How are the costumes cleaned between rentals? Are you expected to clean your costume before returning it?
- Read the entire rental agreement before you sign. What happens if you return your costume late?
Rent or Buy?
Renting a costume can be a great way to get a deluxe outfit for an affordable price, but it's not the right choice for every situation. Keep these tips in mind to help you decide.
Compare Rental Price to Purchase Price
To determine whether or not a costume rental would suit your needs, simply compare the purchase price to the rental price. If the prices are approximately the same, it makes sense to buy the costume. If, however, there is a large disparity, a rental just might be practical. For example, if a mascot costume costs well over $1000 and you can rent the same costume for $100, that is a huge savings.
Consider How Often You'll Need the Costume
It is also important to think about how frequently the costume will be worn. If you'll need the costume once for a party or special event, renting makes sense. On the other hand, if you'll be worn several times a year, every year, it would probably be better to purchase it.
Weigh the Importance of Quality
If you have a set budget for your costume, say $100, you can either rent a very high quality outfit or buy a lower quality one. If you're interested in authenticity or want to win a costume contest, you may be better off renting. On the other hand, if you're just looking for something to wear to a small party, purchasing might save you money.
Amazing Outfit for a Reasonable Price
If you decide to rent a costume, you have many options to choose from. Whether you rent a costume from an online national store or you work with a smaller local costume shop, this is a great way to get an amazing outfit for a very reasonable price.