OGDEN -- Aubrey Barton bypassed the gold-spray "centurion" footwear, the oversized Uncle Sam hat, military style garb and a box of angry-looking wigs.
Barton, 18 and a Weber State education and history major, sought something more genteel from the WSU costume sale, held annually and continuing today at the Shepherd Union Building.
Barton cradled three long dresses, two white, one sky blue, and all plain, but with a satin finish.
"I'm making a dress to go to a midnight moving opening," she said. It's for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," opening Dec. 13.
"I'm going as Eowyn, a human princess. I think I'm going to put parts of different dresses together. This was the perfect sale to set me up."
Aspiring J.R.R. Tolkien elf Ashlee Baker, 18 and a WSU vocal performance major, had less luck than her shopping buddy.
"I don't have any ideas yet, but it's always fun to come and see," Baker said. "The prices are great."
Three full-length, princess-worthy dresses went for $7 each. Bev Forsling, 70 and from West Point, paid $5 for decorative lace and fabric remnants, a jingle-bell wrist band, and a flat purse, folded and stitched from a long rectangle of leather.
"I'm going to make baby moccasins," Forsling said. "I saw some on the Internet for $60, so I'm planning to make mine for about a dollar."
Some clothes are donated to the department, but most were designed for WSU musicals, comedies and dramas.
"We had one guy come in and ask us if we had any Batman costumes," said Karrie Randall, a student and costume shop worker who helped organize the sale.
"I told him no, we hadn't done any shows with Batman as a character."
On the other hand, anyone who wanted two sets of something that looked like faux buckskin footie pajama pants would be in luck. So would any shopper seeking a giant toddler bib, painted with the avian appellation "Beaky."
Randall said some of her biggest sales are to high school drama teachers. Last year, a teacher bought a set of choral robes that resurfaced in the school Christmas show.
The annual sale is designed to free up space in the costume shop's storage racks, and to raise funds for show supplies. Last year's sale raised somewhere between $800 and $1,000, Randall said. The sale's timing, of course, is Halloween inspired.
"If I found a Halloween costume it would be great," said WSU student Dean Richards, 19, Eden. "I like a good deal, and would like to find something I could wear again. I've seen interesting pieces, but nothing is coming together for me as one big story."
This year's selection might be tamer than last year's, Randall confessed.
"Last year, we had some big moss- and vine-covered hats we were sure wouldn't sell, but they did," she said. "Moss and vines might sound pretty. These hats were not pretty."
This year's inventory, culled over a two day period, had fewer odd pieces. A rack of brazers would look appropriate in an office setting. Two sequinned tops looked cocktail party ready.
But then there was a medieval looking peasant vest with unraveling-sweater arms, a flouncy green skirt adorned with multiple rows of gold rickrack, and a broad-brimmed bridal hat that seemed to have been through an apocalypse.
Cathy Kizerian, of Murray, skipped that bride topper for a 1940s style knit hat, with drooping fabric blooms.
"I don't know if I can use the flowers, but I have a hat rack this can go on," she said. "The fabric I'm getting will be for crazy quilts, which are more like art quilting, and I sell fabric in my Etsy shop." Etsy (www.etsy.com) is an online marketplace for crafts and vintage items.
"I'm well pleased with the sale," said Kizerian, balancing her load of fabrics, laces and trims. "I would buy more, but I only have two arms."
Somewhere in the background, a frustrated shopper near a shoe bin asked no one in particular why actresses have to be so tiny, and have such dainty feet.
Layton resident Amanda Dobbs, 20, paid $3 for her fabric remnants, which included cloth in weights from thick and stiff to sheer and flowing.
"I'll use the small pieces to make clothes for my mannequin," said Dobbs, who studies costume design at Weber State. Dobbs has a half-size mannequin she uses for pattern making and for the original costume designs she photographs for her portfolio.
"Some of the larger fabric pieces may turn into clothes for me," she said. "I'm thinking about an under-bust corset from this thick cloth."
A large piece of blue fabric in her haul would have been at least $15 from a cloth store, Dobbs said.
"This is definitely a deal."
The Performing Arts Department's annual costume sale continues today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Lair, off the atrium in the Shepherd Union. WSU is at 3848 Harrison Blvd.
Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @S_ENancyVanV.