Four-year old Brooke Beales may be Leaside’s tiniest little helper this Halloween. With the help of her mother Meredith Ashton Beales, Brooke has put together the Little Pumpkins Inaugural Halloween Kids Costume Drive for young families in need. When asked what inspired her to become a Halloween helper, Brooke said that when her mother told her there were kids without costumes, she said, “It kinda made me sad that some children don’t have any.”
Her mother Meredith added, “It’s never too early to start instilling in kids the importance of giving back to the community.” Halloween is special to the Beales family as they’ve had wonderful Halloween experiences in Leaside since moving here two years ago. Given that Brooke enjoys playing dress-up and loves Halloween, a kids’ costume drive seemed like a natural way to give back. Mom was right because Brooke is having fun and hopes to participate every year.
The Little Pumpkins Kids Costume Drive will be accepting new or gently used costumes and accessories in all children’s sizes until October 1st. Donated costumes go to New Circles (newcircles.ca), Massey Centre (massey.ca) and Jessie’s Centre (jessiescentre.org), which will oversee the distribution of the spooky threads. Costumes will be given to families at no charge.
A collection box will be on hand at the Leaside Rotary Club Annual Corn Roast at Trace Manes Park on September 18th for new and gently used kids’ costumes. The Leaside Presbyterian Church at 670 Eglinton Ave. and GymKats at 1659 Bayview Ave. will also be accepting donations. To say thank you, Whittamore’s Farm will donate a small pumpkin to the little helpers in exchange for each costume donation.
How can families find just the right spooky costume? According to Poppy Phioukham of New Circles, “We set up all of our donated costumes in a room, we put them on hangers and they are displayed on rolling racks – essentially it looks like a kids’ costume department. Our client families who have children 12 years and under make an appointment and come to choose their costume at that time. We have volunteers who assist families with choosing the costumes and any accessories. When they sign the costumes out, we also give some treats and a new backpack with school supplies. The kids get to keep everything they take.”
Last year’s Halloween costume drive garnered around 100 eager recipients at New Circles alone. This year, New Circles, Massey Centre and Jessie’s Centre hope to brighten up Halloween for even more trick-or-treaters.
If you have a costume donation and would like more information, email Brooke or Meredith here before October 1st.