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Archive for tag: Halloween

Graveyard Pudding

The Halloween season is upon us and with that comes lots of Halloween get togethers. It’s always fun creating themed treats that kids and adults alike will enjoy. This year, I decided to put a spooky fall twist on one of my favorite desserts, dirt pudding. 

When I saw Milano cookies decorated as tombstones on Pinterest, it reminded me of how much you can do to make dirt pudding more on theme. Like adding candy worms for a summer cookout or toy shovels/trucks for a childs birthday party. 

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I wanted these treats to feel a little more high-end without a high-end price tag. Making the pudding as individual sized options instead of one big batch of pudding was the first step. This option feels more formal and is a great way to portion out the right amount for guests. As I didn’t have small matching glasses already, I headed straight to Goodwill.

Glasses

Shopping the North Canton Goodwill, I found a set of four glasses for $4 (but were the half price color of the week), a set of 6 for $2, and 2 glasses each .50¢ all the perfect size. I liked that they were all different shapes and sizes as it added the kooky feel I was going for. Plus, the different sizes allow guest to choose the portion size that best suits them.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cup)
  • 1 (5 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 an 8 oz container cool whip
  • 1 package oreos, crushed
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 Milano cookies
  • Handful chocolate chips

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INSTRUCTIONS

For the pudding:

  1. Combine evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, and pudding in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until mixture is smooth and well combined, approximately 2 minutes. Refrigerate for 5 minutes then stir in cinnamon and the cool whip. Refrigerate mixture until ready to serve.
  2. In a bowl, combine crushed Oreos and melted butter. Set aside.

For the tombstone cookies:

  1. Line the Milano cookies up on a baking sheet or wax paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave then place it in a plastic bag. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the plastic bag then push the chocolate to the corner.
  3. Use the melted chocolate to write out RIP on the top of each of the cookies. Allow to dry.
  4. To serve, layer Oreos in the bottom of the glasses. Spoon pudding to about 3/4 of the way full then finish with another layer of Oreos. Stake the Milano cookies in the pudding mixture, with the RIP on top. **This will serve different amounts depending on how big your glasses are. This will be enough for 8 juice size glasses or 4 large drinking glasses.

 Pudding

Because all the glasses are different sizes, this recipe could make a varied number of servings. I was able to create 10 individual cups which is perfect for my get together. While I was at Goodwill, I also picked up some spider web décor for $1 and some super cute Halloween pins for $2 to dress up the dessert table. All together I spent $8 to create this spooky and fun vibe that all my guests loved.

Thrift Tips for Halloween

If you are not typically a thrift shopper throughout the year, this is the season to change your ways and consider shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill for your Halloween needs.

Americans spend a terrifying amount on Halloween each year; typically $169 to $183 per person. Costumes represent 42% of that annual investment.

For those that have shopped one of the big box Halloween shops, this high price tag is no surprise. Kids costumes typically start at $30 or more and adult costumes can be $50 or more.

Thrift stores like Goodwill offer a less expensive, environmentally friendly and community supportive option for trick or treaters.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Goodwill boasts prices 50-90% off retail prices including Halloween costumes
  • Purchases made at local Goodwill stores support a network of outreach programs that helped more than 14,000 local residents last year
  • More than 12.8 million pounds were diverted from are landfills by local Goodwill stores

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All year, Goodwill stores in the Cleveland area have been collecting Halloween costumes and apparel so they can now unveil their Halloween BOO-tique for shoppers.

On a recent visit to a Cleveland area Goodwill store, there were hundreds of costumes to choose from, most priced at a fraction of the pop-up Halloween mega-stores. Sorted by theme, the Goodwill racks were overflowing with both new and used costumes, makeup and décor.

Go in with an open mind.

Although thrift stores like Goodwill offer a wide variety of costume options, keep an open mind when you are searching for your Halloween get-up. Each store has thousands of individual and unique items. Products change daily. Actually, most stores have products changing by the hour, so if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for on your first visit, stop back and you will be pleasantly surprised by the turnover of product.

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Ask for help/ideas

Most thrift stores like Goodwill have staff ready to assist you with ideas and even willing to scour the racks to help you complete your perfect Halloween costume. Found a pink dress, but not sure what to turn it into? Ask! Staff are willing to find you a tiara for the perfect princess costume or even offer suggestions of how you can zombi-fy the dress for a spookier option.

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Consider using elements from your own wardrobe

New and used products at stores like Goodwill will be far less expensive than large retailers, but you can save even more on your costume by using elements from your own closet. Use a little black dress from your work wardrobe and pair with pearls, sunglasses and gloves from Goodwill to make a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired Hepburn look. An old pair of overalls? Purchase a flannel shirt and straw hat to become a farmer or scarecrow. Bow tie? Score a pair of plaid pants, thick glasses and a pocket protector at Goodwill for the perfect nerd costume.

Make it a family affair

Thrift stores cater to adults, children and even pets. For the price of just one packaged costume from large retailers, most families can dress the whole gang at a thrift store. With lower prices and wide variety, parents can allow the little ones to be creative and choose their own costumes at thrift stores. And, yes, even the pets won’t be left out. During a visit to a local Goodwill, there was a selection of more than 20 different pet costumes all priced less than $15.

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Think thrift after Halloween

Once Halloween is over and you have devoured one too many Reese’s cups, do something good for the community by donating back any costumes you no longer want or need. Thrift stores like Goodwill depend on donations of Halloween costumes, clothing and other household goods to keep their shelves and racks stocked year round.

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Happy haunting this Halloween and happy shopping, hopefully at local thrift stores where you and your entire family can find good prices, help support the environment and help support community programs.

 

Creative Halloween Costumes

Halloween has transformed from a one-night event into an entire month celebration, and I am HERE for it! I secretly have had my house decorated since late August because I am literally obsessed with all things autumn. My house smells like pumpkins, leaves, and apples, and nearly every surface on my first floor is covered in orange and black. So if you’re anything like me, you’ve already got your Halloween costume planned, crafted, and ready to party in… But if you’re like most, and a Halloween costume is a last-minute ordeal for you, I am here to help!

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Goodwill is like the golden ticket to finding your Halloween costume. Gone should be the days of going out and buying a packaged costume for 40+ dollars when there is literally racks upon racks upon racks of hidden gems waiting to be transformed for a fraction of that cost while also supporting an organization that does so much for our community.

There are some costumes you can create with absolute certainty you’ll find a huge selection of options. Dressing in an era such as the ’80s and ’90s or dressing as a grandma or grandpa are two of the easiest. Another super easy way to shop at Goodwill for a costume is to simply look at the Halloween racks! The North Olmsted location, for example, had so many ready to wear used costumes that it takes the stress out of scouring the entire store for what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking to put together something a little more unique, I have some tips for that too.

Mary Katherine Gallagher - Superstar

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My go-to costume ideas are always either referencing pop culture or creating a throwback. Not only do I make myself laugh with them but my friends, family and coworkers usually get a kick out of them too. The biggest word of advice I can give is to have multiple ideas. I usually go in with at least 5 ideas and a small breakdown of what I need for each outfit for it to be successful. The picture above is a costume that I put together two years ago that was a combination of thrifted and already owned pieces and I had an idea of what I was looking for when I went into Goodwill.

Miss. Trunchbull - Matilda

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Miss. Trunchbull from the film Matilda was my inspiration last year. In order for this outfit to come together, I was looking for a large brown belt and gray/navy baggy pants when I went into Goodwill. The other two items I would have needed, I already had at home (a plain gray sweatshirt for me to craft the ‘1972 Olympics’ onto, and a pair of chunky work boots). The finished result cost me less than 10$ and was ridiculously easy for me to shop for. I found what I was looking for in only a few minutes.

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So this year for Halloween I came up with 4 ideas I would have been happy with and broke down what I would have needed for each. You have to go in with the mindset that not every idea is going to work out, so I usually throw in an idea that I’m guaranteed. For the sake of this post, I was actually able to find TWO of my costumes and I’m excited to share them with you now!

The first being everyone’s favorite diner owner: Luke Danes

Luke Danes - Gilmore Girls

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This was my guaranteed easy costume. I only needed two items for this costume to work and I knew Goodwill would have a plethora of options. The first was a plain T-Shirt for me to craft onto. The second was a men’s flannel. I used a pair of jeans that I already owned as well as a baseball cap from my closet. This costume cost me only 5$ for BOTH the flannel and gray T, and about 20 minutes of my time creating and ironing on the logo. I used my circuit machine to create Luke’s coffee cup symbol but you can buy iron-on transfer paper from Walmart for 4$ and you’ll achieve a very similar look.

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The second costume I found was everyone’s favorite paper salesman: Dwight Schrute

Dwight Schrute - The Office 

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I’m honestly pretty pumped over how this costume turned out and also for only 5$. I went in looking for a yellow men’s short sleeve button up and was pretty shocked when I found one in a size that didn’t look like a garbage bag on me. I also needed a tie, which goodwill has a huge selection of, so I was able to find mine for only a dollar using the colored tag of the day. I really had my fingers crossed I could find a pair of brown business pants in my size but struck out and had to use a pair of my colored jeans. The glasses are actually what gave me the idea for this costume because they are my husband’s old pair that we’ve been hanging onto for years. I knew being a hoarder would pay off one day.

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I really hope these tips and costumes inspirations have helped spark an idea for your Halloween costume this year! If you know your costume will be easy to find, be sure to search for the colored tag of the week/day so that you can save even more money, and please share your finished looks on Instagram by tagging @goodwillgoodskills and #GoodwillHaunting  – I’d really love to see what you all come up with!

Halloween Costumes to Get You Inspired

The fall season is the best time of the year.  The leaves are changing, everything is pumpkin flavored, and one of the best holidays, Halloween, is right around the corner!  If you’re like us, you’re already thinking about what crazy character you can dress up as this year.  Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you put those awesome costumes together.

The best costumes don’t necessarily have to have the most pieces.  A few items can lead to the costume of the year! 

HIPPIE

For instance, if you want to travel back in time to Woodstock, a vintage dress paired with a fringed vest will get you close.  Add a pair of shades and a floral headband and you’ll be throwing up the peace sign as this year’s best hippie. 

Pin Hippie

 

PIRATE

Perhaps you’d rather sail the seas as a pirate.  No need to run to the big box costume store.  A pirate’s cap with an eye patch and sword along with a striped shirt and boots will have you ready to walk the plank.  No matter what you desire to be Goodwill has the necessary items to have you play the part.

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PRINCESS

During the Halloween season, creativity is key!  As you walk through the aisles of your local Goodwill keep an open mind about what you might be able to create.  Where some see just a formal dress, others see a beautiful princess. Add a pair of high heels and tiara and you’ll be looking just like your favorite Disney princess for a fraction of the cost. 

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SAVING

Speaking of cost, shopping for a Halloween costume at Goodwill will get you looking the part for much less. Typically Goodwill prices are 50-90% less than your traditional retailers. Saving money on your costume will help buy more treats for the big day! 

NERD

Another costume option that is very cost effective would be a pair of glasses, a bow tie, plaid pants, and a pocket protector.  These few items from Goodwill would form a perfect nerd costume.  The amount of savings would leave the biggest number crunchers impressed.

Nerd

DONATE IT

Perhaps, you have a costume you’ve worn a few too many times and are looking to make a change this year.  There’s a reason you rocked it more than once!  Don’t just throw it away.  Consider donating the costume to your local Goodwill so someone else will have the chance to look as good.  By donating an old costume, you allow us to use our Halloween magic and bring it back to life.

CHANGE A LIFE FOR GOOD

Regardless if you are purchasing items for that perfect costume or donating old costumes, you are making a difference in your community.  By purchasing or donating items you’re helping improve the lives of people with barriers to employment. People served by Goodwill are provided the skill-building programs and services needed to find and maintain employment.  If you would like to learn more about mission services offered in your community, visit our mission services page.

DON'T FORGET ROCCO

Lastly, Halloween should be a fun time for everyone in the family, including our furry friends.  Be sure to check out our ready-to-go costumes for them, too. Because, if we’re honest with ourselves, who doesn’t want to see a dog dressed up as a bee?

Pet Costume

We, at Goodwill, wish you a fun and safe Halloween and look forward to seeing your good finds turn into great costumes! Share them with us by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and hashtagging #GoodwillHaunting.