How to arrange a costume swap
Clear out your closet while scoring a cheap getup for your child.
Thu Sep 16 2010
Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Ariel and Harry Potter are so last year...to your kids, anyway. Their old costumes can still thrill other trick-or-treaters this Halloween. One of the easiest ways to clear out the closet while scoring a cheap getup for your own little ghoul: Stage a costume swap. Here's how:
1 Team up with at least five like-minded parents from your school, neighborhood or list-serve group, and agree on a date a few weeks before October 31.
2 On the designated day, have everyone bring at least one clean, intact costume—labeled by size for organization.
3 Small groups (say, up to 20) can meet at the host's home and start with a one-for-one exchange. Once everyone has got a costume of his or her choice, the rest are up for grabs.
4 For groups of 20 or more, consider partnering with a local venue such as a caf or art center. Hand out one coupon per donated costume, which can be used to "purchase" another during the swap. Donate leftovers to Goodwill so everybody plays fair and stays happy.
Remember, there may not be something for everyone. Park Slope Parents founder and swapping mom Susan Fox cautions, "It's important not to build high expectations since there may not be the right size or the costume that your child wants."
If setting up a swap isn't your style, no worries. The Old Stone House, the Park Slope Civic Council and Park Slope Parents (which has organized this type of event since 2006), are planning another one for their Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 17. On the same day, the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum is holding one in conjunction with its annual Halloween Harvest (the museum is actually accepting costume drop-offs in advance). And Time Out Kids is also getting in on the action. On Saturday, October 16, we'll team up with the Madison Square Park Conservancy for our annual autumn Kids Fest. Bring your child's old guise to the Shopping tent, and walk away with something "new."—Heather Swain