While Thanksgiving and Christmas are often considered the most popular holidays, Halloween is quickly climbing the ranks, especially with organizations such as 10/31 Consortium leading the way and making it an affair that everyone can enjoy.
The idea for 10/31 Consortium began over a meal between friends–Kelley Stein, Jamie Schexnayder, and Corey Tullier. Stein wanted to start a Halloween parade in the city.
Schexnayder, one of the organization’s co-founders, CFO, and this year’s Queen 13, shares, “The whole organization centered around doing a parade, but then with that came the other community aspect of trying to provide costumes and candy, and all the other assistance that 10/31 Consortium gives to the community. Back then, we did not know what we were in for, but we developed a board, and every board member brings something different to the table and all these ideas came about, and then eventually, the Halloween festival came about. So it wasn’t just a parade anymore.”
Each year, the organization hosts a parade, 5K, pub crawl, arts market, and Halloween ball, all sharing the love of Halloween in each event.
With a goal of giving back to the community and encouraging the community to get involved in one of the best holidays in the world, 10/31 Consortium provides a variety of programs to help reach this goal. The 100 percent volunteer-run organization has even donated $25,000 to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital through fundraising efforts, a huge feat for the organization.
Lance Martin, the programs director and this year’s King 13, became a member of the organization almost immediately after participating in the organization’s reverse trick-or-treat event during 2020. Since then, the programs have become his heart, and he works to help the service branch of the organization thrive.
10/31 Consortium provides trick-or-treat assistance, a free Costume and Candy Drive, and Halloween goodie bags for hospitalized children, just to name a few of the incredible programs the organization offers.
The Costume and Candy Drive often begins a month before Halloween, with the giveaway day occurring in October.
Martin shares, “We have over 20 locations around the Greater Baton Rouge area where individuals can drop off new or slightly-used costumes. On Sunday, October 22 at 4 p.m. at the Goodwood Library, we will have a slew of volunteers available to work with families that are in need of costumes, no questions asked.”
So far, the organization has been able to give out over 5,000 costumes in the time that the drive has been going on. With an average cost of $45 per costume, that averages out to over $250,000 in costumes.
One program that the organization provides that they are working to rebuild is the Kids’ Court. Martin explains, “COVID really hit us hard on that particular activity that we do, but we’re looking to reactivate that particular program right now. It’s one that gives the kids an opportunity for some growth. From six years old to roughly 16 is the age range that we look for in this Kids’ Court. The prince and princess of our organization usually comes from the Kids’ Court, and it really gives them an opportunity to get in front of groups, practice public speaking, and really become more confident in engaging with groups and individuals. They participate in the costume drive and decorate boxes for the drive and help the kids get their costumes. It teaches them about organization and working towards deadlines.”
10/31 Consortium is a community-driven organization that is truly doing something special for the families in our city, in a totally unique way. Everyone involved has a heart for children and a love for Halloween, and they’re always looking for new members to join the Halloween fun, too. It’s only $31 for the year, so if you or someone you know is looking to get involved, visit them online at 1031consortium.com.
To learn more about all of the exciting family-friendly events coming up this month, visit fifolet.com. If your child is in need of a costume this year, or if you want to learn how to sponsor another child during the costume giveaway this year, visit freecostumes.com.