MillersvilleU costume shop

Costume accessories are seen on a shelf in the Millersville University’s costume shop, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. The shop has more than 25,000 costumes available for rental.

Halloween festivities and trick-or-treating in Lancaster County will undoubtedly look different this year thanks to precautions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A decades-old local source of dress-up fun, Millersville University’s costume shop has remained a place for those looking to change appearance. And though coronavirus precautions have changed its system and shop hours, it hasn’t changed what’s behind the two sets of double doors.  

Director Priscilla Kaufhold has ran the shop for 34 years. 

Pre-pandemic, the shop ran on set hours and adjusted those times to later in the night as Halloween crept closer. Now, in order to keep customers organized and safely distanced, the shop is only open by appointment only.  

Kaufhold also said that the cleaning procedure is more rigorous, adding that all the costumes get cleaned, even if a person just tries one on. Most of the pieces in the 20,000-plus costume collection need to be dry-cleaned. 

Costumes in the shop take up five rooms, Kaufhold said. Customers have a wide variety to choose from, ranging from a chicken suit, a Civil War soldier to a 1920s gangster.  

Recently, pirate costumes have been popular, Kaufhold said, mostly because of the all the customization that can go into it.  

“That’s kind of fun,” she said about pirate costumes. “You can layer it with all the belts and the swashbuckling looks and boots and stuff like that.”  

Television and movies usually impact costume popularity -- what's big in the box office is what's big in the shop. But Kaufhold said that a lot of the times, people walk through the doors with one idea and leave with a completely different costume.

That's one of the many things she said makes working at the shop fun.  

Quality in a local costume shop is a bit different from the pop-up shops, she said. It means that the costumes are going to be a bit better made because they’re made for theater, not just for one night, Kaufhold said.  

While she noted those stores are convenient and called them "awesome," Millersville University’s costume shop takes things up a level.

“This,” she said, motioning to the plethora of Renaissances-themed clothing behind her, “really takes somebody who – I don’t want to say creative – but somebody who can have fun putting things together.”  

Appointments can be made by calling 717-871-5653