Eleven-year old Ryan Manriquez loves Halloween and gets a huge kick out of dressing up each year. Putting on a costume is an annual treat he feels every kid should get to experience.
So for his Rolling Hills Middle School sixth-grade community service project, the charismatic Manriquez is launching Ryan’s Rockin’ Halloween Closet to provide costumes to children in need throughout the greater Sacramento area in time for next year’s Halloween festivities.
“I came up with this idea because I have loved Halloween so much and I’ve had such great costumes. I just want to help other kids have that great experience,” said the budding entrepreneur.
Manriquez can remember every costume he’s worn since he was a baby. Many have been lovingly customized by his parents to adapt to the wheelchair he uses due to spinal muscular atrophy. “Last year I was a jailbird and my mom built these bars that were like a cage around me, it was so cool,” he said. “It’s just the greatest feeling to be able to be another person at Halloween; you get to play a role as someone else.”
With the support of local Papa Murphy’s stores, Barber John’s, Lakeview Elementary and Rolling Hills Middle School as drop-off locations, and collection bins donated by Lowe’s in Folsom, Manriquez hopes to collect dozens of clean, gently used Halloween costumes for the two-week period following Halloween.
As further incentive, Papa Murphy’s on Francisco Drive is offering a $4 off coupon to customers who bring in a costume. Owners Greg and Barbara Wellington also are helping defray costs Manriquez may have to repair, store and distribute the costumes.
Since it’s the first year of Ryan’s Rockin’ Closet, Manriquez isn’t sure how many he’ll collect.
“I don’t know what to expect,” he admitted. “But we’ll store however many we get and distribute them through a charity next year. Then we’ll let the kids choose which ones they want. It will be so great.”
For more information on the program call Ryan’s mom, Carrie Manriquez, at (916) 768-6497.