Safe and Green Event Provides Free Costumes, Environmental Lessons

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Ricardo Rubio, 3, with his decorated pumpkin. He won 2nd place in his category.

Shopping for a costume at the fifth annual Safe and Green Halloween event near McKinley Elementary School was limited to five minutes, but you couldn’t beat the price – free.

About 600 donated costumes were given away to children whose families can’t afford them as part of the October 21 event that sends two messages to participants: Stay safe on Halloween night and take care of the environment.

The annual event is organized by CommUniverCity San Jose and supported by the university, the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace Strong Neighborhoods area, the City of San Jose and Olinder and McKinley elementary schools.

From learning the consequences of dumping litter into creeks to making your own compost for a healthy garden, volunteers at 22 booths focused on ways to protect the environment and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Even costumes can be recycled.

Carla Angeles brought her 3 year-old daughter and her two nephews to the event to trade in last year’s costumes for new ones. Then her trade-ins could be adopted by other families.

“It’s excellent,” she said of the costume exchange. “It could be very hard if you have two kids. It costs more than $40 a costume (in a store).”

Green Ninja represents SJSU environmental program.

Even the Green Ninjawho entertained the 1,000 participants with his swashbuckling moves represented a San Jose State University program aimed at “creating experiences that illustrate the connections between humans and our changing climate. “

Lina Prada was giving away samples of dark and fair trade chocolate.

“We don’t want nay kids out in the fields harvesting cocoa,” she said.

Pumpkin decorating was a popular event.

Yahina Cardenas, 8, won first space with her costume made out of taco chip bags.

The event also featured a pumpkin decorating competition and competition for the best costume made from recycled materials. Scavenger hunts and other activates led by San Jose State University students kept children busy and environmentally focused.

“It’s fun,” said Daisy Juarez, 9, who had chosen a singing Minnie Mouse costume from the hundreds hanging up on a rack under a canvass canopy. Lessons learned?

“You always need to recycle,” she said, “And go out and play five minutes.”

For more information, contact Elizabeth Figueroa at

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