Calgary man offers 'need a costume, take a costume' rack on front lawn for Halloween

For the third year in a row, Marlborough Park resident Kevin McIntosh has taken it upon himself to set up a rack of free Halloween costumes on his front lawn. And the donations have kept coming.

Kevin McIntosh wants to help families with free exchange

Kevin McIntosh thinks it would be easy for more Calgarians to set out racks of free costumes for repurposing or trade, all across the city. (Jenny Howe/CBC)

Every year, the extra cost of Halloween costumes is a challenge for some Calgary families, so Marlborough Park resident Kevin McIntosh has taken it upon himself to help out.

For the third year in a row, McIntosh has set up a rack of free Halloween costumes on his front lawn. 

He's got everything from a homemade Ghostbusters costume, to a life-sized beaver to a Winnie the Pooh.

"I had a ton of extra costumes and I was going to drop them off at one of the stores to be resold," he told The Homestretch's Jenny Howe.

But then he thought about the struggling families trying to make ends meet.

"It was just kind of like, 'well, it doesn't make a lot of sense because these have been bought and paid for' … so it just made more sense to give them away," he said.

McIntosh started by hanging a rack outside his house with a sign that said something along the lines of "Times are tough. If you need something, take something. If you have something, leave something." And then people started bringing donations.

Marlborough Park resident Kevin McIntosh has set up a rack of free Halloween costumes on his front lawn. (Jenny Howe/CBC)

 "It was supposed to be just one year and then turned into kind of well, it's snowballed…  It's a lot bigger than it was. So, you know, I've only got 20 costumes or so, but I think by the end of the week, I'll probably be closer to 70 or 80.

This year, McIntosh is hoping to help redistribute about 500 costumes.

"It's incredible. People come by and just drop stuff off all the time," he said. "It's really, really cool."

McIntosh said the response has been so positive, he would like to see it become a regular thing all across the city.

"There should be one of these in every district, because it would take nothing to do this," he said.

"This is not much different than putting up the little bookshelves where you pick up the books. We could do that with costumes every Halloween, October 1st, October 29. Just hang some stuff outside, come and get it, because you know, we're capable of doing it."

Kevin McIntosh has an elaborate display to help guide people to the free Halloween costume rack he sets up in his Marlborough Park yard every year. (Jenny Howe/CBC)

McIntosh doesn't do it for the thank you's. He said he isn't even there to see most of the pick-ups and drop-offs, because he's gone to work.

"Most of the comments I get are over Facebook, big 'thank you's' and, you know, being a local hero and stuff. And... it almost feels like it's more than I deserve. I feel like I'm kind of reveling in someone else's giving," he said.

"So I don't have to to talk to anybody. If someone comes and picks a costume up, and walks away with it and their kids smile, and it makes it a little bit easier for that family at Halloween, that's all you need to do."

McIntosh says it's the many donors — mostly anonymous — that make it possible.

"I just want to really say thank you, because I don't get to meet everyone because people are just, you know, those hidden heroes and just kind of come in and drop off and go, and don't say a word," he said. "That's awesome."

To find out more about the Halloween costume exchange, go to McIntosh's Facebook page at yychalloweenrepurpose

With files from Jenny Howe


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