Old dance costumes often hold sentimental value but can quickly accumulate and take up valuable storage space. Fortunately, there are many creative and practical ways to repurpose, reuse, or responsibly dispose of these costumes. This comprehensive guide will explore various options for what to do with old dance costumes, including ideas from top sources and featuring crazecosplay.com as a resource.

Repurposing and Reusing Old Dance Costumes

1. Transform into Halloween Costumes

One of the most popular and practical ways to repurpose old dance costumes is by turning them into Halloween costumes. Dance costumes often feature elaborate designs, sequins, and unique fabrics that can easily be adapted for various Halloween characters:
  • Superhero: A colorful or sequined leotard paired with tights or leggings and a cape can transform into a superhero costume. Create your own emblem or headpiece to complete the look.
  • 80s Jazzercise: Use a colorful leotard and tights as the base, then add legwarmers, sweatbands, and chunky sneakers for an authentic 80s workout look.
  • Zombie Ballerina: Combine a ballet costume with zombie makeup for a spooky twist. Use liquid latex and eyeshadow to create a decaying effect.
  • Angel: A white leotard with a tulle skirt or tutu can become an angelic costume. Add homemade wings and a halo for the finishing touches.
  • Odile from "Black Swan": Transform a black leotard, tutu, and tights into the iconic Black Swan character with heavy black makeup, red contacts, and black feathers.
  • Catwoman: Pair black latex pants or a jumpsuit with a black leotard, add cat ears and whiskers for a sleek feline look.
  • Flapper Girl: Jazz dance costumes with fringe details make excellent 1920s-inspired flapper costumes.

2. Dress-Up Play

For families with younger children, old dance costumes can be added to dress-up bins. This not only gives the costumes a new life but also provides endless entertainment for children:
  • Encourage imaginative play with ballet tutus, jazz costumes, and tap outfits.
  • Create themed dress-up boxes (e.g., princesses, superheroes) using various costume pieces.
  • Use accessories like headpieces and gloves to enhance the dress-up experience.

3. Upcycle for New Dance Performances

Many dance studios and choreographers are open to reusing costumes for future performances. This approach can save money and reduce waste:
  • Change Components: Modify existing garments by switching out, adding, or removing design elements. For example, change pants to shorts, shorten skirts, or add/remove sleeves.
  • Add Color: Transform a costume's look by incorporating new color elements. This can be done through color blocking, adding accessories, or dyeing parts of the costume.
  • Mix and Match: Combine pieces from different costumes to create entirely new looks. This is especially effective for creating practice wear or casual dance outfits.

4. Create Memory Quilts or Shadow Boxes

Preserve special memories by repurposing costumes into keepsakes:
  • Create a quilt using fabric from various costumes, incorporating photos or embroidered details.
  • Design shadow boxes with costume pieces, photos, and other dance memorabilia.
  • Frame particularly beautiful or meaningful costume elements as wall art.

Donating Old Dance Costumes

1. Local Organizations

Many local organizations can benefit from dance costume donations:
  • Schools and Community Centers: Drama departments, after-school programs, and community theaters often welcome costume donations for their productions.
  • Daycare Centers and Preschools: These facilities can use costumes for dress-up play areas.
  • Dance Studios: Some studios accept gently used costumes to lend to students who may not be able to afford new ones.

2. Donate2Dance

Donate2Dance is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting gently worn dance shoes, costumes, and dancewear to donate to dancers in need:
  • Founded in February 2018, Donate2Dance has helped over 60,000 dancers worldwide.
  • They partner with over 250 dance programs serving inner-city children and those with special needs.
  • Donors can ship items directly to Donate2Dance or connect with local dance programs in need.

3. Other Non-Profit Organizations

Research local and national organizations that accept dance costume donations:
  • The Costume Bank: Some areas have costume banks that lend costumes to schools and community groups for performances.
  • Theater Companies: Local theater groups may accept costume donations for their productions.
  • Goodwill or Salvation Army: These organizations can resell costumes to benefit their charitable programs.

Selling Old Dance Costumes

1. Online Marketplaces

There are several online platforms where you can sell used dance costumes:
  • eBay: A popular platform for selling various items, including dance costumes.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Local selling groups often have dance-specific buy/sell/trade groups.
  • Poshmark: An app-based marketplace that's becoming increasingly popular for selling dance wear.
  • DanceCostumesForSale: A website specifically designed for buying and selling used dance costumes.

2. Consignment Shops

Some local consignment shops may accept dance costumes, especially if they specialize in children's clothing or formal wear.

3. Dance Studio Sales

Organize a costume sale through your dance studio:
  • Set up a day for dancers to bring in and sell their old costumes.
  • This can be a great fundraising opportunity for the studio or competition team.

CrazeCosplay.com: A Resource for Costume Ideas and Purchases

While not specifically focused on dance costumes, CrazeCosplay.com is an excellent resource for costume ideas and purchases that can complement or replace old dance costumes:
  • Diverse Selection: CrazeCosplay.com offers a wide range of cosplay and Halloween costumes, including some that could be adapted for dance performances or repurposed from dance costumes.
  • Inspiration: Browse their extensive catalog for ideas on how to transform old dance costumes into new characters or themed outfits.
  • Accessories: Find accessories to enhance repurposed dance costumes, such as wigs, props, or character-specific items.
  • Custom Options: For those looking to replace old dance costumes with new, themed outfits, CrazeCosplay.com offers custom-made costumes that could be suitable for certain dance performances or events.

Creative Repurposing Ideas

1. Costume Jewelry and Accessories

Transform costume elements into wearable art:
  • Create hair accessories using appliqués, sequins, or small costume pieces.
  • Design unique jewelry using beads, rhinestones, or fabric from costumes.
  • Make costume-inspired bags or purses using larger fabric pieces.

2. Home Decor

Incorporate costume elements into your home decor:
  • Create throw pillows using costume fabrics.
  • Design wall hangings or tapestries from larger costume pieces.
  • Use tutus or skirts as unique lampshade covers or table skirts.

3. Craft Projects

Use costume materials for various craft projects:
  • Make ornaments or decorations for holidays using sequins and beads.
  • Create scrapbook embellishments with small costume pieces.
  • Design costume-inspired dolls or stuffed animals.

Responsible Disposal

If costumes are too worn for reuse or donation, consider these eco-friendly disposal options:
  • Textile Recycling: Many communities have textile recycling programs that accept worn-out clothing and fabrics.
  • Craft Material Donations: Schools or community centers may accept costume materials for art projects.
  • Composting: Natural fabric pieces (like cotton or silk) can be composted if all non-biodegradable elements are removed.

Preservation and Storage

For costumes with sentimental value that you wish to keep:
  • Clean costumes thoroughly before storage to prevent staining or odors.
  • Use acid-free tissue paper to stuff bodices and prevent creasing.
  • Store in cool, dry places in breathable garment bags or boxes.
  • Avoid plastic bags, which can trap moisture and lead to mildew.


Old dance costumes need not be a source of clutter or waste. With creativity and resourcefulness, these once-cherished performance pieces can find new life in various ways. From repurposing for Halloween or dress-up play to donating to worthy causes or selling to other dancers, there are numerous options to consider.
Organizations like Donate2Dance offer structured programs for giving costumes to those in need, while platforms like CrazeCosplay.com can provide inspiration and resources for transforming old costumes into new characters or themed outfits.
Remember that each costume represents a moment in a dancer's journey. By thoughtfully repurposing, donating, or preserving these costumes, we honor the art of dance and the memories associated with each performance. Whether you choose to create a memory quilt, donate to aspiring dancers, or transform costumes into Halloween magic, you're extending the life and joy of these special garments.
Ultimately, the best approach may involve a combination of these methods, tailored to your specific situation and the condition of your costumes. By considering these options, dancers and their families can manage their costume collections responsibly while potentially bringing joy to others or creating new memories in the process.

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