From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, the streets of Hilliard will be filled with children dressed in Halloween costumes collecting candy as they celebrate Beggars' Night.

Some parents and children likely spent hours making a costume, and others used but few minutes on line ordering a costume. Some outfits will be traditional such as princesses, pirates and firefighters; others will showcase the latest trends in pop culture.

Ned Stark and Kylo Ren might need to introduce themselves at some doors.

But the myriad of costumes often are vanquished to the recesses of a dark closet or basement until next year and many will never be used again as children outgrow the costume or even more likely, they become "so last year."

But the founder of Create Happy Moments hopes families will give the costumes a new life in another country.

Mayra Betances, 37, a Hilliard resident, founded Create Happy Moments in 2009.

She collects new and used Halloween costumes to send to schools in her native Dominican Republic.

Last week, she visited Hoffman Trails Elementary School to tell third-graders about her project.

Amy Onifer, a teacher at Hoffman Trails, said the students' participation in the charity is raising their awareness.

"Create Happy Moments has provided our students with an opportunity to think globally and learn more about another culture. Students have enjoyed hearing Mayra's stories about what is like as a child growing up in the Dominican Republic and how that compares to their lives here in Hilliard," Onifer said.

"Part of the Chase Life program instills the importance of giving back to others. When students bring in new or gently used costumes, they are delighted to know that their costume will be worn by a child in need. This has been a powerful project our school has participated in the past two years and we are happy to help."

The costumes are sent for children to wear not for Halloween but for the Dominican Republic's Carnival and Independence Day celebration on Feb. 27.

The Dominican Republic gained its independence from Haiti in 1844.

The country has carnivals each Sunday in February culminating on Independence Day, which includes children wearing costumes and parading at schools, Betances said.

"We made our own costumes when I was a child. ... We could not afford to buy costumes," said Betances, one of seven children.

While living in New Jersey in 2009, Betances observed a Halloween parade and pondered the fate of the children's elaborate and colorful costumes. She expected many were simply discarded or perhaps a few given to a charity.

Betances said she wrote a letter to the principal of her children's New Jersey school and collected 78 costumes.

She bought about another 50 costumes at a discount after Halloween and shipped the costumes to two schools in Santo Domingo, the nation's capital.

"It was a way for more kids there to have costumes and enjoy the parade even more," said Betances, who chose the name Create Happy Moments based on her own memories of the parades.

For several years after her initial campaign, she was unable to continue it as she and her family moved several times.

After Betances and her three children settled in Hilliard, she registered Create Happy Moments as a nonprofit organization in 2015.

Its board of directors includes two of Betances' cousins who live in the Dominican Republic and coordinate the donation of costumes to different schools in Santo Domingo.

To further its costume drive, the organization will be host to its second Create Happy Moments Gala from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Heritage Golf Club, 3525 Heritage Club Drive.

Tickets are $40 and proceeds also will benefit hurricane relief in the Caribbean.

Tickets are available at createhappymoments.org and at the door.

The organization also holds monthly "storytelling" events at various businesses to further its broader goal of sharing childhood memories among different cultures, Betances said.

The next event is from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 at Coffee Connections, 4004 Main St., in Hilliard.

The scheduled guest speaker is Hilliard police Chief Bobby Fisher.

To learn more about Create Happy Moments or make costume donations, visit createhappymoments.org

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo