After school on Oct. 18, some children and parents of Washington Open Elementary School stopped by the cafeteria for the school’s 3rd Annual WO Costume Exchange. Many dropped off costumes they no longer needed and left with new costumes another family had passed on. The instructions taped to the front of the cafeteria were clear: “Place your costumes on the table… Take what you will use and love. Tidy up where you can. Thanks for stopping in!”
“Our costume exchange is such a great opportunity to clean out your closets and get new costumes,” said Barbara Berman, principal of Washington Open Elementary School. “This is just one more example of a community working together for the benefit of all.”
“Parents have been talking for awhile about how they have so many costumes they’d they like to see reused,” said Elisha Gargiulo, costume exchange organizer and school parent. “We’re a community of parents who share and we want to be ecologically conscious, reduce waste and that’s why we hold this event. A former parent here named Lenore Sanborn de Asis started this costume exchange three years ago.”
Parents and children browsed through costumes on tables with signs labeled in spooky Halloween font the age groups the costumes should match- Infant/Toddler, 5-8, 8-10, 10-14 and Adult. Squeals of fright and delight sounded through the cafeteria as children tried on costumes and accessories. Items up for grabs included ballerina and princess dresses, superhero masks and outfits, plush animal ensembles and costumes of figures in pop culture.
“We brought my son’s old Olaf costume from last year, his Robin costume from his first Halloween as an infant and my husband’s old Dracula costume,” said Tiff Manuel, school parent. “My son really wants to be the Hulk and that was the first costume we saw here. So we packed that up. My daughter got a Merida costume—she’s from ‘Brave.’ And we also picked up a Batman costume because my son also loves the Justice League.”
“I am wearing a Jawa costume; I feel awesome in this costume,” said Matthew Heinold, 9, covered in a hooded cloak and a face mask he just found. “In Star Wars, the Jawas are small people who wear these cloaks. They drive in sand crawlers. I brought an astronaut costume and a clone trooper costume from Star Wars. They have been taken already.”