When Sydney Thomson found out that some kids would miss out on Halloween fun because they couldn’t afford costumes, she was appalled.
“My dad told me they didn’t really have anything on their own and everyone needed to donate so I thought of what I could donate that they could always use to bring happiness to them,” said Thomson, 13, of Burnt Hills.
Since this was around Halloween two years ago, she came up with the idea to collect costumes and distribute them to the Albany Boys and Girls Club. She called her project Costumes for Kids.
She coordinated the project to complete the 25 hours of community service needed to get her Bronze Award for Girl Scouts and collected about 100 costumes the first year. This year, she needed 50 hours of service for her Silver Award and collected 76 costumes.
“We gave out 64 costumes to ages 6 to 12 and gave a costume to a dog,” said Thomson. “We gave [some] to a woman who was a teacher who would use the costumes for pretend play.”
Thomson gave orange fliers requesting donations to elementary school teachers in her school district, who distributed them to students.
Thomson wanted to take her project a little further and do even more for the kids at the club, so she organized afterschool workshops to give them a little festive learning and some fun.
“I read a Halloween book and we [1st- and 2nd-graders] made bracelets and ate cupcakes,” said Thomson, who has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. “I did another workshop [with older kids] where we did recyclable costumes and clay creations.”
She said she’s planning to collect costumes and expand the project again next year to get her Gold Award.
“There were a lot of kids at the workshops and they were really thankful,” said Thomson. “I hope that Boys and Girls clubs everywhere and any places where they need donations will do something like this.”
Dressing up is fun but Thomson said seeing kids trick-or-treating is her favorite part of the holiday.
“Whenever I go trick-or-treating I see all the kids all happy because they’re in their costumes,” said Thomson. “I like seeing all the kids’ smiling faces.”