Peters library swap chance to recycle Halloween-ery

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A lot of time, effort and money is often spent on Halloween costumes for one night of trick-or-treating and maybe a school party. Parents may hesitate to get rid of a costume after so little wear, but what can be done with a used Halloween costume?

How about recycling it?

The Peters Township Public Library's GO Green Club is hosting its first Great Halloween Costume Swap to help patrons donate slightly used costumes in exchange for costumes that are new to them.

The club hosts a major green event every year, said Carrie Weaver, public relations coordinator and club member. Other events have included a Green Camp for children in 2012 and a Green Fair in 2011.

One of the club members saw information on National Costume Swap Day last year, she said. But it was too late for the library to become involved, so the club saved the idea until this year.

During the Great Halloween Costume Swap, community members may drop off slightly used Halloween costumes of all sizes -- for children and adults -- from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 4 at the library. Patrons will receive a token for each costume donated.

The next day, Oct. 5, they can return from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and use their token to choose a new costume.

"We will also have an accessories wall for things like wigs, swords, things like that," said Jennifer Garrett, library volunteer and club president, plans to donate a few items including a witch's wig.

The costume swap reduces packaging and waste and saves families time and money, Ms. Weaver said.

Library patrons who don't have costumes to donate are welcome to peruse the costumes after noon Saturday.

"At the end of the day, we don't want any costumes left over. Those left will be donated to Goodwill," Ms. Weaver said.

At the swap, the GO Green club also plans to hand out tips on how to have a green Halloween.

Volunteers are sought to help with the swap on both days.

The Peters swap is part of National Costume Swap Day, which was created in 2010 and is hosted by EcoMom Alliance and KIWI magazine.

More than 250 costume swaps were held last year, according to Kimberly Pinkson, founder of EcoMom, a nonprofit started in 2006 as a resource for environmentally smart parenting. "We hope for 250 to 300 this year."

The costume swap at the Peters library is the only one she knows of in Pennsylvania, said Ms. Pinkson, who lives in the San Francisco area. She said the idea was created by her friend, Corey Colwell-Lipson when she was trying to have a more earth-friendly Halloween.

"This is fun, saves money and is smart for the environment," she said.

Ms. Garrett said some communities have turned the costume swap into a bigger event that includes a community Halloween party.

"Since this is our first go at this, we never know what the turnout will be," she said. "Right now, we are focusing on getting people to participate and bring [costumes] in. We will see how that goes and maybe develop it into something bigger in the upcoming years."

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Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer:


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