Costume drive allows kids to come as children and leave as mermaids, Batman and vampires

Christy Cochran was a single mother and struggling to afford even the barest of Halloween celebrations for her young son.

“I was living paycheck to paycheck and didn’t have the means,” Cochran recalled of that time nine years ago.

Unable to afford a new costume, she went to Goodwill and cobbled one together.

Years later, when Cochran saw success as a real estate agent, she wanted to pay it back. She realized there are few charitable events for Halloween, and many parents don’t have the time to assemble costumes for their kids.

She pitched the idea of a costume drive and giveaway to her Windermere business associate, Brittney Shafer.

The first year’s event was a hit. The pair held their third annual costume giveaway on Saturday.

This year, they partnered with Martha Davis, the director of Tacoma’s Toy Rescue Mission. Davis and her group vetted recipients for need.

On Saturday, 180 families filed through the small foyer of the Mission. Volunteers expected to hand out close to 600 costumes.

Rahmonn Wiley of Tacoma brought two of his kids to the event.

“I’m really blessed and happy right now,” Wiley said as his son and daughter looked over ninja, Spider-Man, Disney princesses and hundreds of other costumes. “It’s giving me a chance to get them what they need and enjoy the holiday.”

Every family got a candy container or Halloween-themed pillowcase, candy, pencils, spider webs, hand warmers and coloring pens.

Fazema Beasley of Tacoma brought son Jordan, 7, daughter Sophia, 5, and son Mason, 2, to the event.

“Can I be a shark, Mom?” Jordan excitedly asked his mother while placing a furry fish head over his.

“What about Minecraft?” Sophia asked Jordan who was by then trying unsuccessfully to scare Mason.

The 25-year-old Mission provides gifts for needy kids at Christmas time, birthdays and other holidays, serving 12,000 kids a year, Davis said. It also provides services to seniors.

“I just got so many hugs this morning,” Davis said. “That’s the best payment ever for me; When a little child comes up and gives me a hug and says thank you.”

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Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.