HARWICH — Donations of “gently used” Halloween costumes are being sought to give to local children in the community center's annual “Boo-tique.” Now in its third year, the program has been a big success, according to Community Center Director Carolyn Carey.
“We got four costumes yesterday,” she said last Thursday.
The costumes will be displayed in the Boo-tique and children will be allowed to come in and select one to wear on Halloween.
“A lot of kids are in need of costumes,” Carey said. “They cost so much money for something people wear often only once. So this is a good re-use of them.”
The Boo-tique first opened in 2015 under the direction of the community center staff, including the recreation department and council on aging. Residents were asked to donate “gently used” costumes or dress-up accessories for a second use by kids in need.
Carey said the first year 20 to 30 costumes were given out, but by last year the number had grown to more than 100. She said people have been very generous, even going out and purchasing costumes for the Boo-tique. One of the four costumes brought in this past week still had tags on it.
“Some people have bought more than one and brought them in,” Carey said. “But all of them are in really good condition. We make sure of that.”
She said Halloween costumes with minor wear are suitable for the Boo-tique. However, Carey added, costumes with prominent stains and tears can't be accepted. A costume is supposed to help a child feel special and confident on Halloween, so it should be in good shape, Carey said.
The Boo-tique will take partial costumes or dress-up accessories as well, as long as they are in good condition. Carey said random costume parts, such as tutus, masks, or capes, can always be put to good use.
A note on the age appropriateness of donated costumes is appreciated, Carey said, along with the size and identification, such as superhero, princess, etc. She also said including the costume's original packaging or a hanger and plastic garment bag makes it so much easier to store, but good costumes without those items will still be accepted. Donations can be dropped off at the community center front desk.
The Boo-tique will be open for kids to pick costumes on Friday, Oct. 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the community center. Everything is free. Carey said she hopes to see kids dressed up in the costumes at the community center's Halloween Party, which will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 4:30 p.m. Participants will be treated to food, candy, crafts, contest prizes and the costume parade.
The community center is seeking food and candy donations for the event and will be making requests of local dentist offices to donate tooth brushes.