Enter Kristi Carrara, owner of the Comic Depot at the Wilton Mall, who has partnered with the Franklin Community Center (FCC) for the second year in a row to hold a Halloween Costume Drive, asking the community to donate gently-used costumes for kids whose families are working with a limited budget.
“Halloween was one of my favorite holidays as a kid,” said Carrara, “and last year was such a huge success. The response was overwhelming, so we wanted to see if we could do this again.” After all, Carrara noted, “Who doesn’t like walking around dressed up and getting a bag full of candy?”
Costumes donated to the Comic Depot by October 14 will be used to benefit children involved in the FCC’s Project Lift program, a local afterschool prevention program for children in grades 1-5, along with other struggling families in the community. The organizations are looking for both male and female costumes for trick-or-treaters as young as 2 years old and up.
“We realize that Halloween costumes are extremely expensive,” said Bo Goliber, coordinator of development and volunteers at the FCC. “So if there’s a family that’s already struggling and they have multiple children, we know that it’s one of those expenses that you don’t really budget for. Last year, when all was said and done, we served close to 300 people with Halloween costumes. It was pretty impressive for our first time out.”
In particular, the FCC and Comic Depot are seeking costumes for the tween demographic – for children between the ages of 8 and 14.
“We definitely need more of the bigger kids’ stuff, like the 8-12 year-old age group for both genders,” said Goliber.
If successful, the FCC and Comic Depot hope to present a wide variety of costumes for local children to choose from.
“Last year, we had a couple of kids whose goal it was to go find something Star Wars related,” said Goliber. “They weren’t even out of the room from grabbing their costumes and they were already wearing [Storm Trooper] and Darth Vader costumes. They were so psyched to walk in, find what they wanted and in the size that they wanted. They were beside themselves.”
Finding the perfect Halloween costume can be huge for a child who otherwise might not be able to participate in the trick-or-treating experience. But for families living from paycheck to paycheck, even making sure there’s enough food on the table can be a constant struggle. With the food pantry shelves at the FCC running dangerously low on supplies, the Comic Depot has decided to step up once again. The store will hold a Walking Dead party to celebrate the premier of the AMC television show’s first episode of season three October 14, asking that all attendees bring a canned food item for entry.
“We’ll be showing all of season two of “The Walking Dead” leading up to and including the season three premier,” said Carrara. “We’re going to hold raffles for “The Walking Dead” merchandise – the first two seasons of the show and the first two compendiums of the comic, as well as a pair of Rob Zombie concert tickets.”
The event will be held all day at the Comic Depot, with a special “Zombie Walk,” where participants dressed as zombies shamble through the mall corridors, beginning at 5 p.m.
All money and food items collected during the event will be donated to the FCC.
“We’re seeing an influx of activity in terms of people utilizing our services [at the FCC],” said Goliber. “Monday of last week, our shelves looked full of food. As of Friday, we had served 87 people in one day. So that food is going very quickly. We just can’t seem to keep [the food] on our shelves. So that is definitely our most pressing issue right now.”
Along with canned items, the FCC is especially in need of peanut butter and jelly, tuna and hearty, ready-made soups (think Progresso Soup over Campbell’s just-add-water soups).
“We always need food that will feed a family. Things like taco kits, pancake mixes – stuff that realistically, in one box, can feed a family of four,” said Goliber.
Outside of the October 14 event at the Comic Depot, food can be donated to the FCC Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at their 10 Franklin Street location in Saratoga Springs.
To learn more about the costume drive or the Walking Dead party, visit the Comic Depot website at www.comicdepotllc.com.