Bianca Ramsey was prepared to be a kitty cat for Halloween when a random trip to the library changed everything.

Local residents browsed dozens of free kids outfits of all shapes, sizes and themes at the Kids Costume Swap on Saturday at the Southwest Library, 7979 38th Ave.

The library accepted donations of clean, gently used and store-bought children’s Halloween costumes for the past two weeks and distributed them at no cost on Saturday. Those who donated a costume received a ticket for early admission into the event.

It was the first time the library organized a costume exchange.

“Kids grow out of their costumes every single year, and it gets really expensive for the parents,” said Heather Thompson, Kenosha Public Library Youth Services Programming librarian. “It’s all about helping people in our community save money.”

Ramsey, 6, was one of many children who browsed through the costumes. She tried on a pink Power Ranger suit and an elephant costume before falling in love with a princess outfit.

“She had a hard time deciding,” said Ramsey’s mother, Karina Ramsey. “She likes superheroes and princesses and animals.

“We just came to the library to get books and movies, and we were told by the staff (about the costume swap). It’s a good idea. You spend money on a costume and the next year it doesn’t fit them anymore. I actually wasn’t going to buy her a costume this year. I was just going to improvise something with makeup.”

Bianca was gleaming as she wore her new costume out of the library.

“I like being a princess,” she said. “I’m the princess in my family. My mom is the queen and my dad is the king.”

Nicholas Drougas, 8, of Kenosha picked out accessories for future outfits. He left with a “Star Wars” retractable lightsaber and a pirate eye patch.

There were 11 people who arrived with an early-admission ticket before the general public was allowed in at noon.

“A lot of people who donated didn’t want a ticket,” Thompson said. “They just wanted to de-clutter their house, and that’s fine too.

“We ended up with a pretty decent spread of costumes. If everything doesn’t go (Saturday), we’ll store them and have a base for doing it again next year.”

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