Last Halloween legions of mini Captain Americas knocked on doors, rescuing adults from the temptation of leftover Snickers bars. This year the kids behind the masks might have moved onto another superhero, but the costumes would be just fine for the next crop of Captain Americas. Enter the costume swap. For as long as kids have been trick-or-treating parents have been handing down costumes from one kid to another. National Costume Swap Day takes the reuse of costumes to a new level. The official National Costume Swap Day is October 13, 2012, but local swaps might take place on other dates.
The idea behind National Costume Swap Day is simple. Bring gently used costumes to a location in the community, where volunteers will organize them. You’ll receive a ticket for each costume you drop off. On the designated swap day, return with your ticket and choose a “new” costume. The details of the swap are up the local organizer, so they may vary. Also, many swaps feature activities for kids, like cupcake decorating or crafts. Local businesses often get involved by contributing to goody bags. After the swap, leftover costumes can be reclaimed by the owners, or they can be donated to a charitable organization. Make sure to read the details of the swap you’re attending so you’ll know what happens to the remaining costumes.
The benefits of a costume swap go beyond saving money. Costumes stay out of the landfills, parents beat down some clutter and kids enjoy a fun community event.
More than 50 swaps across the United States and Canada are listed on the National Costume Swap Day website already. If your community doesn’t have one listed yet, consider starting your own. You’ll find plenty of tips on the website, as well as instructions for registering your swap.