My 4-year-old has been debating his options for Halloween costumes since the end of August. As soon as the candy and decorations hit the shelves at stores, he began discussing his options. He waffled between a construction worker, a pilot and a giant Lego. Even though I’ve never been a big fan of costumes myself, I love dressing up my kids for Halloween. We usually opt for the do-it-yourself costumes rather than the off-the-rack versions, because they’re more fun to create and much less expensive.
But I’ve read several times this season about an idea that’s even easier and cheaper than DIY: costume swaps. A recent issue of KIWI magazine gave some good tips on putting one together among your friends. The magazine said that swapping half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons–about the weight of 2,500 midsize cars! In fact, KIWI designated Saturday, Oct. 8, as National Costume Swap Day. Unless you live in a neighborhood of procrastinators, it’s likely a bit late to organize one for this season. If you’re considering a swap in your community for next year, though, here are some tips to keep it from getting scary.
- Keep it organized. Group costumes together by sizes, and if it’s possible, keep them hanging, so that everyone isn’t rummaging through costumes strewn on a table.
- Designate a changing area. Have a space where parents can take children to try on costumes. Another great idea I read was to remind kids to dress in pajamas or swimsuits to reduce the need for a private space for changing clothes.
- Plan activities. If you make it more like a party, your chances for better attendance are boosted. Have simple appetizers and drinks and plan a few games or crafts for the kids.
- Have a costume parade. After it’s all over, let the kids model their new costumes by putting on a parade.