TACOMA, Wash. -- Thursday is Halloween, and for many families, that means putting the finishing touches on costumes and filling candy bowls.
However, for thousands of kids and their families in western Washington who are experiencing homelessness, costumes and candy are the last things they are thinking about.
Some in Pierce County are doing their best to help, though. The Tacoma Rescue Mission provides food and shelter to people, but they also provide costumes to children for Halloween.
A few days ago, Crystal didn't think her kids Liam and Emryn would be celebrating Halloween.
"I didn't know how I was going to afford a costume," she said.
A couple months ago, her life turned upside down.
"I was so sick to my stomach knowing I had to come to a shelter."
She said her family lost their home of nearly 20 years. She feared she would be sleeping in a car, that her kids would not be with her. She also feared what this would mean for their childhood.
"I was worried about Christmas and Halloween and how to navigate through the holiday," she said.
For six weeks, she says she's been at the Tacoma Rescue Mission, and they recently helped her family be able to celebrate Halloween.
"Last week they donated a costume and I was able to get one for each of my kids."
Lawrence Kinnaman, the family shelter manager, says a few days ago members of the community donated dozens of Halloween costumes to make sure every kid at the shelter has a happy Halloween.
"It's really incredible that they are able to have that, the blessing of people willing to give," Kinnaman said.
The rescue mission says that as temperatures continue to get lower they're focused on keeping their clients warm. They have teams canvassing areas of the city working to bring people in, and say that donations of blankets and warm clothes are helping during this time of the year.