Costume swap offers ‘green’ twist on Halloween

October 4, 2011

By Sebastian Moraga

Dana Verhoff and her children, all decked out for Halloween. Verhoff supports an eco-friendly costume swap for this year’s Halloween. Contributed

Spider-Man still would do whatever a spider could. Tinkerbell would still grant you three wishes. They would just save their moms a few bucks while at it.

Three Issaquah businesses have helped organize a costume swap for Halloween. The swap encourages parents to trade in their children’s old costumes for used ones, instead of buying new ones each year.

The swap will occur Oct. 8, all across the country, including in Issaquah and eight other spots in Washington.

Dana Verhoff, co-publisher of the online newsletter Snoqualmie Valley Macaroni Kid, said the website for Green Halloween,, inspired her to bring the costume swap to Issaquah.

The idea for a green Halloween started in Issaquah in 2007, with Lynn Colwell and her daughter Corey Colwell-Lipson.

“My daughter was taking her kids around for Halloween,” Lynn said, “and she noticed the kids seemed to be more interested in bubbles and stickers than in candy.”

That led Colwell-Lipson to create Green Halloween, which brings an eco-friendly tone to every aspect of Halloween.

In 2010, mother and daughter began National Costume Swap Day. Within two weeks, 70 places across the nation had swap spots. This year, the campaign has more than 100 U.S. spots and two in Canada.

“We had great success this year, and this year is getting even bigger,” Colwell said.

The swap’s success intrigued Verhoff, who said Corey contacted her to bring a swap spot to Issaquah.

“As a mom, the idea of what example we are setting for our children really connected with me,” Verhoff said. “Kids can start thinking about how ‘I don’t really need a new costume every year.’”

This year, the swap happens at Small Threads for Kids, a clothing store.

If you go

National Costume Swap Day

  • 8-10 a.m. Oct. 8
  • Small Threads for Kids
  • 1480 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 3

“We are a green store anyway, that’s what we do,” owner Dixie Bair said. “It’s just an opportunity to encourage people to recycle and reuse what they have.”

People may drop off costumes anytime between now and Oct. 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.

Customers will get a voucher for every costume they drop off, Bair said.

Participants will receive a 20 percent, swap-day-only discount at Small Threads.

“You drop the swap costume, and then you shop at Small Threads” to get the discount, Verhoff said.

Lastly, a neighbor of Small Threads, Adventure Kids Daycare, has offered a free hour of daycare the day of the swap.

Colwell said the success of Green Halloween has changed people’s perception of her.

“They used to call me cheap,” she said. “Now they call me green.”

The battle for a greener Halloween continues, she said. People, she said, should:

  • swap Halloween décor instead of buying new each year
  • give less candy away so less goes to waste
  • try harder to buy local and handmade than from big box stores.

And that’s just Halloween. People should go green on every holiday, she added, doing things like wrapping in cloth instead of paper.

Above all, she said, people should plan ahead.

“Waste happens when we don’t plan,” she said. “You go, ‘Oh my gosh, I need a table cloth’ and you buy the first thing you see.”

Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or Comment at

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One Response to “Costume swap offers ‘green’ twist on Halloween”

  1. Tara on October 5th, 2011 11:24 am

    Great article! Every holiday should be green! I work at a company that also does this. I work at which is a place where parents can swap clothes, books and toys with one another online. if you’d like to check it out!

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