Dance Costumes: Recycling Suggestions

Those old dance costumes no longer have to accumulate in your closet. Reuse those outfits in stylish fashion.

Those who have one or more children enrolled in dance classes know that, after spending a small fortune on costuming for the year, you eventually end up with a closet full of great looking little numbers that can't be used again. Since they're purchased for the sole purpose of performing in an annual recital, you can spend hundreds of dollars for a single use. It's a little disheartening, and can be the catalyst for choosing a different activity for your child. With a bit of creative planning, however, those costumes can be recycled so that they can be of ongoing use in a number of other ways.

Generally speaking, most dance costumes are bedecked with sequins or other dazzling embellishments. These can be retrieved to be used in various arts and crafts projects. Sequins, beads, ribbons, lace - and even tulle - can be carefully removed with a stitch ripping tool in order to provide a variety of fun baubles for the kids to use when they get the urge to be a bit creative. Depending upon the amount of trimmings, this may take some time, but will be well worth the effort if you can get some use out of the costume in some way. Before you become faint at the idea of disassembling such a costly outfit, remember that it would only be taking up space in the closet, anyway, so there's no real loss if the costume is denuded.

Most kids enjoy the opportunity to play dress-up with their siblings or friends. Once dance costumes have made their recital debut and are no longer of use, these make ideal play outfits for those times when your youngster wants to do some role playing. Whether it's worn as it was designed to be worn, or recreated into something new and exciting, kids can entertain themselves for hours when they're given the right tools to work with - in this case, an old costume or two. Depending upon the number of dance classes that your youngster has taken, you may just accumulate quite a collection - especially if you have more than one child enrolled in dance school. You might even wish to set up a special "fantasy closet" for your child, for the storage of all of their role playing costumes.

When October rolls around, don't get into a frenzy when it comes time to find something to wear for trick-or-treating. This is a great opportunity to recycle old dance outfits by using them as Halloween costumes. If the outfit doesn't cover as much as you'd like it to and the evening is particularly chilly, as they often are at that time of year, simply use flesh colored tights and a body stocking underneath the costuming in order to retain heat. This, of course, won't be necessary if the costume is worn to a Halloween party or related activity that's hosted at the school or other local building - such as an indoor parade, costume contest or other such event.

There are many opportunities throughout the year to attend - or host - a costume party. Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Independence Day and Halloween are just some of the occasions that may call for such a gathering. Used dance costumes can be recycled into outfits for just such a party. Since recitals often have a specific theme, there may be something hanging in the closet that would be ideal for the particular celebration that you have in mind. For instance, if a recital had a "New York, New York" theme and one of the numbers included Statue of Liberty costuming, you may be able to reuse it for an Independence Day costume party.

In some areas, neighborhood carnivals are a part of the summer routine. Colorful costuming would really spice up the event when worn by kids who are helping with the various window games and contests. Of course, a play, musical show or series of skits can be put together for entertainment purposes, which would give you another opportunity to use the outfits. If a magic show should happen to be one of the carnival events, most dance costumes would be appropriate for use by the magician's assistant. For that matter, a number of children walking through the crowd in costumes would simply help to enliven the day, in much the same way that costumed figures roam through the crowds at major theme parks.

If there's a community theater in your area, or some other form of theater group, contact them about donating your child's dance costumes. Since this type of outfitting is so costly - as you well know - it would be an ideal gift for just such a group, since funding is often a struggle for them. Even if they can't be used outright, there are often seamstresses or tailors that are involved in the reconstruction of garments and can make necessary changes that will render the outfit more appropriate for their purposes. If neither of those scenarios are the case, they'll surely be happy to add them to their wardrobe for use at some point in the future.

There's no reason for hundreds - or thousands - of dollars worth of costuming to accumulate in your closet year after year. There's always a way to put them to use, and most of those options don't involve any real effort on your part. If you happen to have a great number of them that are already taking up space in your home, perhaps you can donate a portion of them and keep the remainder for other uses. It's worth mentioning that there are many boys' dance classes, and the same dilemma can arise. For that matter, it's not only children who may need costuming. There are plenty of adults out there who attend regular classes and participate in various recitals. Any of these options will work for dance school outfitting - whether it's for boys, girls or grown-ups.

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