Spooktacular service: New charity collects, redistributes Halloween costumes

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart Jesse and Janice Palmer set up a sign out front of their home for their haunted house, Spookville. Jesse said six weeks of tears and swears went into putting this haunted house together.

NASHUA – Jesse Palmer was searching through a closet when he came across some old Halloween costumes that his son had outgrown. It seemed a waste to throw them away, he thought, and wouldn’t it be great if someone somewhere had a stockpile of Halloween costumes?

Thus, the idea for SCARE NH, a new Nashua-based charity was born. SCARE stands for Secondhand Costume Annual Redistribution Effort, and is, according to its mission statement, “a long name for a simple concept.”

“We believe that all children deserve to enjoy the fun & magic of Halloween, but we also understand that sometimes, try as they might, families may have to prioritize essentials like food and shelter over a Halloween costume to be worn only a few times. We don’t want any child to ever feel left out.”

According to Palmer, who founded the organization, they began last October, and this Halloween was the first to distribute costumes.

Only a handful of costumes were picked up for use this year, but with roughly 250 costumes on hand, and more being collected this fall, Palmer said he is hoping that more disadvantaged families will have heard of the program for the 2018 trick-or-treat season.

“(We have) everything from infants to adults, men and women, accessories for anything you can think of,” Palmer said of the available costumes.

The process is simple.

Costumes are brought in, cleaned, borrowed, then returned and the steps repeat.

This fall, Palmer set up shop at the Nashua Public Library for people to browse at their leisure, which was a step up from previous operations, which he had been running out of his basement.

Costume “rentals” are completely free, and organizers will work with people to arrange pick up before and after Halloween. It will be “as discreet as necessary,” according to the SCARE website.

Currently, the charity is run

by Palmer, board member Rhyan Hatfield, and a group of seven volunteers, although Palmer hopes that number will grow as they continue to expand.

“I believe that imagination and fantasy go hand in hand, and it’s the one time of year when anyone, no matter who they are, can explore that and run amok with it,” he said, adding that he hopes his charity will allow children to spark their imaginations at no cost.

Palmer, who works for a Nashua manufacturing company creating data sheet, is a self-proclaimed lover of all things Halloween.

For the last several years he has constructed a haunted house, which he has named “Spookville,” for trick or treaters to wander through and receive a healthy dose of fright.

The house, complete with props and actors is located at 1 Cheshire St. in Nashua.

The haunted house is free, but Palmer said that any monetary or costume contributions will go directly to the charity.

After the candy comas have worn off, costume donations can be arranged by emailing scarenh@gmail.com, visiting the website at scarenh.org or SCARE NH on Facebook.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.