Local Businesses To Host Halloween Costume Swap

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Halloween isn't just scary - it's expensive. In fact, it's the the third most expensive holiday behind Christmas and Valentine's Day.

Spending on the holiday is expected to rise to $8 billion in the U.S. this year, which is up almost 18 percent from last year.

The National Retail Federation predicts the bigger part of people's budgets this year will go to costumes. That's why two East Lansing businesses are teaming up to host a costume swap, in order to help families save cash and help the environment.

"Especially with kids and how quickly they grow - your baby is going to wear a costume and next year wear a different one," said Stephanie White, the owner of eco-friendly baby boutique Little Green Branches. "Every year it's a different size. So unless you have multiple kids, you're using it once and that's it."

Stephanie White teamed up with Kasey Shoemaker, the owner of PLAY, an indoor play space for kids, to host a costume swap. Families can bring in gently-used costumes to either business, and get a voucher to swap for a "new-to-you" costume.

"To save that much money and still get a nice, gently-used costume is a great thing for families," said Shoemaker.

And a great thing for the environment.

"If everyone recycles half of the costumes in the US," Shoemaker explained. "It would save the equivalent of 2,500 mid-sized cars in the landfills."

The two say celebrating a "green" Halloween can be an opportunity to teach kids about being eco-friendly.

"My younger two are participating in the costume swap this year," said White. "I had them choose the costume they wanted to donate, and we talked about giving and getting."

And the more people that give, the bigger the selection to get -- making the costume swap a true community effort. Anyone who wants to participate can drop off costumes today and tomorrow at either Little Green Branches or PLAY in East Lansing. You'll get a voucher to claim a different costume on Saturday. The swap will be at PLAY from 10 a.m. to noon.

Any extra costumes, or ones from people who want to donate a costume but don't need one in exchange, will be given to local charities collecting costumes for underprivileged kids.

If people can't make it to this swap, but are still looking to save on costumes, It's a good idea to look for costumes off the beaten path, instead of going to a costume store. Stop in at Goodwill to check out their selection, and pick up accessories at the Dollar Store.

Other places you can look for deals are thrift stores, consignment shops, and even in the newspaper or on Craigslist. And the day after Halloween is a big clearance day. If you think ahead, you can purchase next year's costumes and accessories at huge discounts.

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