Girl Scouts host costume exchange

Faux princesses, monsters and witches, wearing Girl Scout vests festooned with merit badges, stood on Saturday, Oct. 5, alongside an orange, six-foot-tall, inflated pumpkin on the lawn of Bedford’s old town hall.

The Scouts beckoned to drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians in into the hall, site of the Scouts’ 10th annual Halloween Costume Exchange.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 20912, mostly fourth-graders from Riddle Brook School, and Troop 10569, mostly sixth-graders from McKelvie School, hosted the event.

Leaders said the intent was to swap costumes that were usable, clean and available in a wide range of sizes. The swap enabled parents to forego the costly costumes on display at local retail stores or online.

Scouts, visitors, friends and relatives perused a table bearing mounds of sundry components for Halloween costumes. A pair of shoes encrusted with green sequins, rubbery chest plates resembling rib cages and black-velvet cloaks worthy of garbing any fashion-conscious vampire were up for grabs.

Elsewhere, costume sets, which included masks, plastic swords, magic wands and pitchforks, drew attention.

Mix and match opportunities abounded. Most participants swapped costumes. If they donated a costume upon entry to the event, they became eligible to take home their choice of costume at no charge. Those without a costume to trade could buy one for $5.

Troop leaders Allison Twite, Susan Feldman, Linda Dinforf and Vivian Lin accompanied newcomers to a big table laden with Halloween costume items.

Then, they or their designated Scouts, pointed out some upright clothing racks from which were suspended nearly 50 costumes, including some adult-size apparel. Caftans edged with embroidery, prom dresses never again to see a dance floor, bedraggled wedding gowns and some men’s apparel, such as denim duds with holes in the knees and patches on the nether regions, suddenly found new favor with Scouts and buyers.

Troop leader Allison Twite said 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity. Each year, soon after the costume swap, the Scouts confer and nominate their choice of charities. Discussion follows and the group selects one as the recipient of the funds.

“The costume swap helps families, gives the girls a chance to serve their community and raises funds for charity,” Twite said, as she adjusted the brim of a witch’s hat with a pointy tip that insisted on falling to the side.

The event was capped with face painting, crafts and a bake sale. Homemade cookies, cupcakes and scones sold like proverbial hotcakes, as did baked goods donated by Harvest Market, whose sponsorship, according to Twite, was much appreciated.

For more information on joining local Girl Scout troops in Bedford, visit Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains online at www.girlscoutsgwm.org.