Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Costume Swap

My big idea for Halloween this year was to host a costume swap- bring in old costumes and get a new-to-you one in return. The Halloween party was planned to coincide with the opening of the Costume Swap Shop, where families who had brought in costumes could come and browse the selection before turning in the ticket that they got when they dropped off their costume for a different one. I had visions of spreadsheets detailing exactly who had brought in what(I love a good spreadsheet), fancy tickets and hot apple cider. A festive shopping experience for everyone.

But a costume swap is only as good as how many costumes you can get and we only got 9. We were able to make a few matches- a mom who brought in her son's old Iron Man get-up was able to take a pumpkin costume for her infant daughter, a few fairies traded in for princesses, and someone got the cutest turtle costume I've ever seen. Seriously, I want that in my size. The leftover costumes were offered back to their original owners and then either given to library kids on actual Halloween who didn't have costumes or donated to a local non-profit pre-school that's always looking to improve its costume chest.

Along the way I figured out a few things to try if we do it again next year. I think my biggest problem is that I only advertised in the neighborhood. Next time I'll go city wide to cast a bigger net. 

The main reason I'm dedicating a blog post to the sad, sad costume swap is I don't think we talk about things that fail often enough. I like results, so when things don't work the first time I'm 1) surprised and 2) discouraged. I expect things to work like I imagine the very first time and that's just not how it goes.

Has anyone out there tried a costume swap? What did you do to increase the number of costume that came in?

1 comment:

  1. I plugged the costume swap a lot to my students because I thought it was a neat idea but a lot of them said they didn't have costumes from previous years of Halloween. I don't know if there are some informal costume swapping in their neighborhoods or if the costumes fall apart from use. I didn't really delve into the issue with them enough to get a solid answer.

    Maybe a future craft project is to show them how to make simple costumes? For halloween I was the tooth fairy. I made a pair of wings using two coat hangers and a pair of tights. The results were kind of goofy but my students were very impressed you could make costumes from scratch!