Costumes for Kids charity brings joy to trick-or-treaters in need

Washington Township High School sophomore Stephanie Masapollo started the charity after Hurricane Sandy postponed Halloween five years ago

Stephanie Masapollo started the Costumes for Kids charity in 2012 to help children who wouldn’t be celebrating Halloween due to Hurricane Sandy. Now, she distributes costumes to children in need throughout the tri-county area. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Masapollo)

Stephanie Masapollo was 10 years old when Hurricane Sandy struck the coast of New Jersey in late October 2012. As a result of the devastating damage, specifically to the state’s shore, Gov. Christie postponed Halloween to the following Monday, Nov. 4. Upset that her favorite holiday was being pushed back, the elementary student quickly realized many kids throughout the state would not be trick-or-treating at all. In an effort to spread happiness and joy to those children in need, Masapollo created the Costumes for Kids charity, collecting used or new costumes to distribute to families, organizations and schools throughout the region.

“Halloween is my favorite,” Masapollo said. “I just wanted to give back to people and make them feel what I feel during this season.”

What began as a collection for victims of Hurricane Sandy five years ago has annually grown to reach children throughout the tri-county area. According to Masapollo, a sophomore at Washington Township High School, the charity collected almost 1,000 costumes last year, a collection worth more than $20,000. This year, she hopes to collect even more with a goal of 1,200.

“We’re still in the grassroots stage,” Masapollo said. “It can only get bigger from where we are right now.”

Collection bins are located throughout town at Kadar Orthodontics, St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Cordasco Financial. At this time, Costumes for Kids does not accept monetary donations.

Partnered with Blackwood nonprofit The Unforgotten Haven, Costumes for Kids distributes the costumes to local classrooms, churches as well as children and families in Camden and the surrounding region.

“You wouldn’t expect it but there are a lot of areas around here that are in need of costumes too,” Masapollo said

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Masapollo and her parents will be assisting families in need of Halloween costumes at The Unforgotten Haven from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I love it; the kids get so happy, the parents are really grateful,” Masapollo said. “The feeling of giving back, you can’t explain it — you have to do it to feel the emotions I feel when I see these people happy because of something I did.”

Costumes will continue to be collected through the first week of November to allow donations to be made after this year’s holiday festivities, which will then be sorted and stored for next year’s distribution.

“Once you buy a costume and wear it for Halloween, you don’t really need it, you can just give back to your community and make someone else happy,” Masapollo said. “That’s a good enough reason to donate.”

For more information on Costumes for Kids or how to donate, visit www.stephrosesings.com/cfk.html.