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Need A Free Halloween Costume? Try Costume Swapping

Darcy Snuck brought in these two costumes -- a puppy and a princess -- to Sucarcup Trading in Oak Park as part of a Halloween costume swap set for Oct. 15, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

Darcy Snuck brought in these two costumes — a puppy and a princess — to Sucarcup Trading in Oak Park as part of a Halloween costume swap set for Oct. 15, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) – Consumers are expected to spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes this year. If you’re looking to keep some of that money in your pocket, there’s a way to get this year’s costume for free.

CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker reports on a national “costume swapping” trend that promises consumers a free treat for the spooky holiday.

Darcy Snuck paid $30 for a puppy costume last year and another $45 for her daughter to be a little pink princess.

This year’s costume will be free, because Snuck is joining a swap meet at Sugarcup Trading an Oak Park children’s store where kids are encouraged to bring in old clothes or toys to trade for points that can be swapped for items that other kids have brought in.

“In a tough economy, why not?” she said. “Bring your costumes that are used, in good condition and have someone else benefit greatly from it and then we can swap and get a new costume that someone else gave back.”

Store owner Michelle Vanderlaan will be collecting costumes all week and expects about 200 people on Saturday. She pointed out that Halloween costumes can be an expensive purchase for something kids will use only one day.

“They’re not going to wear it the next day or the next month,” she said. “It’s a one-time event. So this is really saving families, across the board, a lot of money.”

The event in Oak Park is part of a national swapping movement sponsored by greenhalloween.org. Its purpose is not only to save money, but to promote recycling.

Consumer advocate Andrea Woroch said “something like 6,500 pounds of costumes go to waste.”

Woroch also recommended online sites where parents can make a swap and get a costume for $5, plus shipping.

Since adults spend billion dollars a year on their own costumes, Woroch suggested an office swap for grown-ups.

“Find out if everyone can bring in their last year’s costumes – those accessories like cat ears or witch hats – and then just swap everything so that everyone can be resourceful and share last year’s items that they’re not wearing this year,” Woroch said.

At this point, Saturday’s costume swapping event at Sugarcup Trading appears to be the only such event in the Chicago area this year, but new events pop up all the time.

To find out more about Green Halloween, click here.

For more about Saturday’s costume swap, click here.