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Halloween for everyone

There is something about picking out a Halloween costume that gets most children excited, and when they get the chance to put it on, they are usually all smiles.

From left, Maddie Swanson and Anne Broden unpack Halloween costumes Friday afternoon at St Michael's. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)
From left, Maddie Swanson and Anne Broden unpack Halloween costumes Friday afternoon at St Michael's. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

There is something about picking out a Halloween costume that gets most children excited, and when they get the chance to put it on, they are usually all smiles.

It's a feeling all children should have a chance to experience, said JoAnn Brundin, executive director of St. Joseph's Social Care and Thrift Store in Grand Forks.

"They should feel as special as everybody else," she said.

It's one reason why the organization hosts an event to give away Halloween costumes to children from low-income families. The annual event, which is in its 10th year, is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in St. Michael's School gym, 524 Fifth Ave. N.

The event started in 2006 after a local radio station contacted St. Joseph's about giving away Halloween costumes to children.

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"They asked us if we would sponsor is and give out the costumes to the kids," Brundin said.

At first, St. Joseph's gave out the costumes at its office, but it grew so fast that volunteers had to move the event to St. Michael's School.

Now the group gives out anywhere from 150 to 200 costumes to children who want to dress up for Halloween.

Families who come to the event must bring the children who will receive a costume, as they are the ones who should experience picking it out, Brundin said. There is no age limit, and older children may get a T-shirt or mask.

The families are given numbers, which will be called out when it is time for the children from those families to come on stage and pick out a costume.

While they wait, there are multiple games, a cookie decorating table and a craft area to keep children entertained. There also are snacks served at the event, and children are given a bag of treats.

When a family's number is called, the children often run up to the costumes with excitement, Brundin said.

"There are a few, especially some of the younger ones, who insist on putting it on right then and there and wearing it," she said. "The parents cannot convince them otherwise."

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Some of the costumes are donated, while volunteers may buy discount costumes from stores.

The event is free to low-income families, Brundin said, adding some children may not be able to afford costumes for Halloween.

"I just think over the years, the prices of Halloween costumes have gotten quite high," she said. "I think any kid and parents who want to take part in Halloween should have a costume and feel like all of the other kids out there walking or at different Halloween functions."

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