LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Halloween is right around the corner, and while you plan out what you're going to wear, one New Jersey nonprofit is encouraging you to consider donating gently used or even brand-new costumes to children who may not have that luxury.
One Halloween costume, mask or crown can go a long way for a child whose family may not be able to afford it.
"This kind of hit home. When I was younger, my parents didn't have the money to buy me costumes," volunteer Lesli Camarillo said.
Camarillo spent her day sorting and folding costumes at the nonprofit Jersey Cares' Halloween donation drive, doing her part to make sure no boy or girl ever has to miss out on trick-or-treating again, or feel less than their friends.
"If they're not getting this kind of experience but see their friends getting that experience, it kind of puts them down a bit," she said.
For the 11th year, Jersey Cares is looking to solve that by collecting new or gently used costumes, masks and accessories for kids up to 14 years old.
The drive goes through Oct. 23.
The goal is to ensure every child can feel confident, feel involved and be able to participate in this age-old tradition, regardless of their family's ability to pay for it.
"To have a costume might not seem like much, but for everyone who has them sitting around in their homes from kids who have worn them for one year, never want to be the witch or dog or whatever ever again, it really makes a huge difference for these kids who don't have it," said Meagan Mulligan, Jersey Cares service events manager.
Costumes also allow them to participate in after-school activities, parties and, of course, trick-or-treating.
"There's really something to be said about the imagination and the creativity that gets involved with Halloween," Mulligan said.
At the end of the drive, everything will be donated to various nonprofits, government agencies and public schools across the state.
Last year, the organization collected just over 3,900 costumes. This year, they're hoping to surpass 4,000.
Donors have three ways to help:
- Register to host a collection site by completing the volunteer contact form on the Jersey Cares website.
- Donations may be dropped off weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 290 West Mount Pleasant Avenue, Suite 1320
Livingston, NJ 07039. Donors are asked to call (973) 533-1993 before arriving.
- Buy costumes to be donated through the AmazonSmile online drive on Amazon.com.
The organization is looking for masks, costumes, props, unused face make-up, candy pails and treat bags.
The Halloween items will be made available to 501c3 organizations serving children from newborns to age 14. See the Jersey Cares website for more information.
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