South Charlotte

Swap costumes this Halloween

Most holidays have turned into spending more money on what we deem to be must haves and less time enjoying quality moments with family and friends.

This includes one of the most anticipated days children look forward to, Halloween.

In 2010, south Charlotte resident Jennifer Branham brought the Green Halloween Costume Swap to the community in hopes of saving families in Charlotte time and money, plus providing a more eco-friendly twist on this holiday.

"A great opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and support your local farmers and vendors," says Branham on her website of Green Halloween Charlotte, which is taking place at Atherton Mill and Market.

A national campaign celebrated on Oct. 8 in communities throughout the U.S., the Green Halloween Costume Swap gives participants a change to donate gently used or new Halloween costumes ahead of time and in turn they can come to the swap and pick out another costume.

Donate one or several costumes ranging from infant to pre-teen before the deadline and receive one ticket per costume to use on the Costume Swap day.

Branham has been focused on providing her family and the community with access to greener living since 2007. At that time, Branham, then 38, and her husband Lance, 38, had their first child, Riley now 3, she began researching how to provide her family with a more natural lifestyle.

"Just like a lot of first time moms, I found out how toxic things could be," said Branham.

She started by changing her household cleaners to eco-friendly options and their family's body products to all natural brands.

"While researching, I noticed a need for everyday items and gifts that were cute, stylish and reasonably priced yet still eco-friendly," said Branham.

In spring 2008, Branham opened Natural Luxe, an online and retail eco-chic boutique.

When Branham came across the Green Halloween Costume Swap earlier last year, she knew immediately the need to participate.

The green aspect of this swap is to not only to save money but also diminish waste by reusing costumes. Branham encourages everyone to get involved and spread the word: "whether it be with this national costume swap day or on a smaller level through your schools or neighborhoods."