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Halloween High Jinks For Fun And Nonprofits

Posted: October 24, 2014

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Many Americans are not scared to reuse old clothes for new Halloween costumes.

Evelyn FitzGerald, 2 months old, is in a Princess Leia — of Star Wars renown — costume made from recycled clothes by her mother Shenandoah Brettell of El Segundo, Calif.

Evelyn FitzGerald, 2 months old, is in a Princess Leia — of Star Wars renown — costume made from recycled clothes by her mother Shenandoah Brettell of El Segundo, Calif. "I made the wig out of yarn and the belt out of felt," says Shenandoah, who listens to NPR member station KPCC.

Heather Nicole Artrip — who lives in Stuart, Fla., and listens to NPR member station WQCS — dresses as Mother Earth for Halloween.

Heather Nicole Artrip — who lives in Stuart, Fla., and listens to NPR member station WQCS — dresses as Mother Earth for Halloween. "I made the head piece and toga from thrift store finds," Heather says. "It took me awhile to figure out a good way to wear the sheet and have it and expose my midsection. Then my friend painted the Earth on my big pregnant belly.

Daniel Ziembo and his art history-teaching wife, Nancy W. Cook, usually coordinate their retooled Halloween costumes. They live in Lake Villa, Ill., and listen to NPR member stations WBEZ and WUWM.

Daniel Ziembo and his art history-teaching wife, Nancy W. Cook, usually coordinate their retooled Halloween costumes. They live in Lake Villa, Ill., and listen to NPR member stations WBEZ and WUWM.

Making costumes from secondhand stuff is a part of the Halloween scene in 2014, according to Goodwill. We call it boocycling.

When we posted a story about boocycling recently, we asked the LURVers — Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers — of NPR to send us photos. They were inspired. A trio of photos accompany this story.

Like recycling, upcycling, downcycling and nicecycling, boocycling inspires people to do more with less.

Threshing through thrift stores, combing through consignment shops, resourceful revelers are concocting creative costumes all across the country. It must be that good old American Can-Boo Spirit.

"Retail sales in October make up 9 percent of our total revenues, making October the busiest sales month at Goodwill," says Goodwill spokesperson Charlene Sarmiento. "This is different from other retailers that count the December holiday season as their biggest sales month. We attribute much of the higher sales in October to people shopping at Goodwill for Halloween."

And after partygoers depart and pumpkins are pitched, what happens to the Fright Night frills and frippery? Some of the costumes will be discarded; some will be saved for another year, and some, appropriately, will be donated back to thrift stores.

Goodwill also receives post-Halloween donations of store-bought costumes. "We encourage people to donate their costumes after Halloween and would welcome more Halloween costume donations," Sarmiento says. "As people are cleaning out their closets before winter, some people will go ahead and donate their used costumes."

Some Goodwill stores will even be stocking up on new Halloween accessories — such as face paint — to sell next year along with secondhand clothes, she says, "so our customers can make Goodwill their one-stop shop for Halloween."

Making them boo-gooders.

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The Protojournalist: An experimental storytelling project for the LURVers — Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers — of NPR. @NPRtpj

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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