Families in our parish are eager to “be the hands and feet of Jesus” in our community and we strive to do a service project every month. We’ve worked with a local organization that provides services for victims of domestic violence and their families on an ongoing basis. We’ve collected pajamas, toiletries, and other necessities. In 2018 we wondered how we could provide something fun for the kids. We came up with the idea of a Halloween costume drive. Why shouldn’t these families in distress be able to enjoy this holiday the way that kids in our parish enjoy it? We reached out to the organization and they were excited to offer a Halloween party for their clients!
Organizing Our Costume Collection
We started asking folks to save their outgrown costumes in early September. Our older elementary kids made “Halloween Costume Drive” signs that were placed around the church, and we posted details across all our social media platforms.
Folks were invited to bring gently used or new costumes and leave them in bins placed around the church. We started with families within the church and then invited folks from the community to put costumes in a bin outside our red doors. We got the word out to the community via the local parents’ Facebook groups, and some parents shared within their neighborhood or schools. Everyone was eager to help!
We chose a Sunday when the youth group would sort the costumes by size. They carefully assembled all the pieces to costumes that were separated and packed everything up to be delivered to the organization. The kids had a blast doing this – reminiscing about their own costumes from childhood and imagining how much fun the costume recipient would have wearing the costumes.
Tips for Hosting Your Own Costume Drive
- Identify an organization that serves families and someone within the organization who will be your point person.
- Start early so there is enough time to work with the organization’s timeline for planning.
- Involve the young people in your parish by asking them to make signs, sort costumes, and tell their friends about the costume drive.
- Provide ideas for popular costumes for adults without kids who may want to contribute but aren’t sure what to get. Shopping for Halloween costumes is fun for everyone!
- Bins, bins, bins are needed for collecting and storing the costumes until it’s time to distribute.
- Shopping bags are the best way to deliver costumes to the organization, so there is no need to arrange to return the bins.
The response from within our parish and the surrounding community was overwhelming. After just two years, 2018 and 2019, we became known in the community as “the church that does the costume drive.” We are looking forward to re-starting this tradition in 2022. Best of all, when the costumes were delivered to the organization, the caseworkers were so excited to be able to offer something to their clients outside of the usual necessities. They had tears in their eyes as we carried bags and bags of costumes into their facility.
Images provided by author.