Tag Archives: Halloween

Halloween Thrifting 2 – Costume Ideas

Part 2 of 3. This post also appears on ShopSoCo.com. The full article can be read on October 17th in the Sonoma Living section of the Press Democrat.

A pair of old shoes can be the finishing touch to a Frankenstein costume.

There are so many ideas that can be found among the racks of clothing, ready for your creative touch.

Be brought back to life – or at least partially alive as a zombie bride. There is many a scorned bride who can’t wait to rid themselves of that fancy white dress they wore for only a few hours. What cost them hundreds of dollars or more will only cost you a fraction of that. Add a matted wig, some horrific make-up, torn up tights and scuffed up shoes, as well as a dead bouquet of flowers, and you’re set. For the young’ns, you might be lucky enough to find a confirmation or communion dress, or an old flower girl dress. Other variations are an actual bride, a runaway bride (wear your running shoes!), or the Bride of Frankenstein.

Speaking of Frankenstein, an oversized suit is key. Cut the legs so that they are too short. Find some clunky boots. And using the cut off tops from a soda bottle, make neck bolts by spray painting them silver and attaching them to a headband that can connect to the back of the neck for an eerie look of disconnect.

Maybe you have something a little more worldly in mind…and tacky. Creating a tacky tourist costume is super easy with the fine selection of t-shirts boasting the name of random unknown cities from all over. Pair it with a wildly loud Hawaiian shirt, some Bermuda shorts, and an old camera, and you’ve got yourself a costume. Kudos if you pair it with hiking boots and long white socks. Bonus points if you can locate a folded up map to make reference to periodically.

Spruce up your costume by perusing the Vintage Section.

Feeling a little storybook nostalgic? Fall down the rabbit hole in a blue dress and white apron as Alice in Wonderland. Embrace your inner madness as the Mad Hatter, wearing a long plaid jacket with a mismatched vest, a top hat, a bow tie, and some strategically placed playing cards. Don’t be late with your retro timepiece on a chain, a suit and tie, and some leftover bunny ears from Easter as the infamous worried white rabbit.

Go a little more uniform, in uniform. Nurse, Military, Flight Attendant, cheerleader, football jock… Thrift stores often carry discarded uniforms – perfect for pulling together a realistic costume!

Perhaps you’re waiting for your fairytale to come true. Transform that old prom dress on the racks into the dress of a princess, pairing it with gaudy costume jewelry and some pretty shoes. Your prince can surely wear that casted off powder blue suit that is collecting dust in the corner.

If you’re not feeling a little green with all this recycled costuming going on, you certainly will transformed as a pregnant housewife. A giant muumuu with a lumpy pillow for your belly, curlers for your hair, and an old bathrobe with cheerios glued on for effect will have you with child in no time. Strap on a few babies, and you’re suddenly OctoMom, or maybe even Angelina Jolie on an off day.

Looking for a thrift store in the area? You’re in luck, there are plenty to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:

Sacks Hospice Thrift Store
Each week there’s a different sale. Super clean store and the staff is extremely helpful. It’s especially popular for their kids’ selections.
128 Liberty St, Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 765-2228

Alphabet Soup Thrift Store
Small shop with extremely small prices, located conveniently downtown.
213 Western Ave, Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 776-4620

Goodwill Petaluma
A little bit of everything in a large store. Clothes are all organized by color, though the mix up of sizes and men’s and women’s might have you searching a little longer. Still, there is so much to find here, it’s worth it.
1000 Lakeville St, Petaluma, CA
(707) 778-7485

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Halloween Thrifting 1 – Why you should

Part 1 of 3. This post also appears on ShopSoCo.com. The full article can be read on October 17th in the Sonoma Living section of the Press Democrat.

Toddler's ladybug costume for $3 at Heavenly Treasures in Santa Rosa

It’s the treats that have kids clamoring for the perfect costume to collect candy in this Halloween. But it’s the trick of their disappearing paycheck that has parents dreading another holiday – particularly the money they are going to be parting with for a costume the kids will only wear once. The average costume search can cost hundreds to a family of four, buying useless items that will end up stuffed in a costume box that will no doubt be donated in a few years time. But there’s hope for those of us who are financially strapped, or even just sick of the payout, and it lies behind the doors of our local thrift stores that are scattered throughout Sonoma County.

Of course, mention thrift shopping, and immediately pictured is a dingy smelling room with bad lighting and items you could find in your grandmother’s attic among the cobwebs. I’m not going to lie. Some of those places do exist. But for the most part, thrift stores are actually clean shops with countless treasures just waiting to be discovered within the racks and shelves. And regardless of any odor that may or may not exist, thrift shopping for your costume can actually bring some amazing results as well as saving you a ton. That was the underlying tone among those who volunteer at thrift stores.

“It’s less expensive,” Lorrie Hawkins of Heavenly Treasures in Santa Rosa said, implying that Halloween thrifting just makes sense. “Last year I bought a child’s Halloween costume from Costco for $30!” she told me, noting that the Halloween costumes in her thrift store were less than $5 apiece. Proof was in the baby ladybug costume and the unopened Jack Sparrow costumes for only $3 apiece.

“A lot of people come in looking for costumes.” said Cynthia Rhode of Angel’s Attic in Santa Rosa. “People in theater come in, and it’s amazing what kinds of creative costumes they create,” she told me, noting the eclectic jewelry and vintage clothing they carry.

Looking for a thrift store in the area? You’re in luck, there are plenty to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:

Heavenly Treasures
From what I can tell, this is quite possibly the least expensive thrift store in town. 90% of their proceeds benefits local organizations, such as “The Living Room”, a shelter for homeless and at-risk women. Hot Tip: They have a rack in front dedicated solely to Halloween costumes, and nothing is more than $5.
576 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa
(707) 569-7448

Angels Attic
Plenty of vintage clothing, as well as favored labels (Chicos, Talbots, Coldwater Creek). A frequent stop for actors and theater buffs for their costume needs, so obviously a great choice for a creative Halloween costume.
411 E Street, Santa Rosa
(707) 284-8659

Goodwill Rohnert Park
This shop just opened up in the old Q’Zar location in Rohnert Park. It’s extremely well organized and clean, with lots of room to house hundreds of new-to-you items.
6591 Commerce Blvd, Rohnert Park
(707) 206-0715

Halloween for the divorced family

Don't bum her out this Halloween.

While Halloween is probably the least stressful of shared custody holidays, there is still the dilemma regarding who gets to see the kids all dressed up for the night, and who will be missing their kids that night.  And the parent missing out can become even more bummed by the constant ringing of the doorbell from other kids trick-or-treating. But because it’s at the start of the holiday season, this is actually a great holiday to set a precedent on how holidays will be dealt with so that the kids are happy, and for you and your ex to come to an agreement you both can live with.

How to have a successful split Halloween:

–    It’s not about you.  First and foremost, and I can’t stress this enough, is that Halloween is about the kids – NOT YOU OR THEIR OTHER PARENT. The kids want both parents involved, and that isn’t always the easiest thing to make happen. Fighting about who has the kids that night is NOT making the holiday about the kids, it’s making it about YOU. So do whatever you can to come to a quick agreement. If this is not an easy decision, make sure the kids are not around as you make it. 
–    Split up the holidays.  The most common way to split up the holidays is to do an “every other” approach. One of you gets them for Halloween, the other for Thanksgiving, then switch back for Christmas/etc, and so on. The following year, switch it up so that each parent has the opposite holiday they had the previous year. It’s straight forward, even, and fair. And there is very little discussion needed to implement this plan.
–    Dole out the responsibilities.  Share the excitement by splitting the prep work for the holiday. One parent can prepare the kids costumes, the other gets to take them out Halloween night.  On the other hand, let the parent foot the bill for Halloween if they get the privelege of trick-or-treating with them.  Saving money does make a bummer of a situation feel better….
–    Plan a party!  If it’s your ex who gets them Halloween night, plan a fun pre-Halloween party for your kids and their friends so that you get a chance to share in the festivities with them.
–    Trick-or-treat together.  If you and your ex get along (and I mean REALLY get along, not just on the surface), both of you can take them trick-or-treating. There is no steadfast rule that once broken up, you can’t do things with the kids that involves both parents. Of course, watch your behavior around each other by keeping your main focus on the kids and not on each other – if there is no chance of reconciliation between the two of you, you don’t want to give your kids false hope.
–    Trick-or-treat at your house.  Have your ex stop by your house so that the kids can ring your doorbell for candy. Or vice-versa if it’s you who has the kids. This way the kids have a chance to show off their costume to both parents.
–    Record the occasion.  If it’s impossible for one of the parents to see the kids in person, take a photo or video of them and send it to that parent, letting the kids add their own personalized message.

Things NOT to do:

–    Do not make the kids choose who they will be staying with. Think about it…  By asking them whose house they’d rather go to, you are basically asking, “Who do you like spending time with the most?” or “Who do you like best?”  Totally uncool.  This puts a heavy burden on their shoulders, deciding who they will make happy, and whose feelings they will hurt. A decision like this is only meant to boost your ego, and is completely unfair to the kids. It’s less stressful for the kids if the adults handle the decision of who gets the kids for the night.
–    Don’t stay home.  If you are the one without the kids that night and know that you will be sad about it, don’t stay home to pass out candy. Occupy your time by going to a fun adult’s only Halloween party. Hang out with a few friends. Treat yourself to a movie – scary or not. Do anything to keep you from feeling sad about not having your kids that night, and avoiding trick-or-treaters at all costs!
–    Don’t let your children know how bummed you are that they won’t be with you. Instead, amp them up by reminding them how much fun they will have trick-or-treating, taking the focus off of their not being with you. If they think you’re going to be upset, it takes away from their fun that night as they worry about you being lonely or sad.  Their Halloween’s main focus should be on dressing up and collecting the most candy, not on your feelings.

This is the rough part about being divorced – missing out on important events, like holidays with your kids.  Unfortunately, this is a reality that comes along with divorce.  And it’s a reality you have to adapt to.  But trust me when I say that, while it will never be your vision of perfection, it does get easier to handle. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Halloween Family Fun 2009!

Halloween is only a day away. Are you spooked because you still don’t know what fun things there are to do with your family on Saturday’s Fright Night? Fear no more, I have compiled a list of the best bets for some ALL DAY Halloween enjoyment!  Be sure to also check my list for best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, as well.

All events listed here are Saturday, October 31st.

Get scary on Halloween with the Red Cross   They’ll help you with the best Halloween costume ever and you can help the Red Cross! Get gashes, bruises, broken bones, poked-out eyeballs and more applied by Red Cross moulage (make up) artists. Adults and older kids welcome. Your donations to American Red Cross help people recover from life’s emergencies.
$5 – $15 per fake wound
10am – 5pm
Coddingtown Mall, Santa Rosa

Best Yard Haunt in Sonoma County  Their annual Haunted Graveyard started Oct. 3. The show features a walk through crypt, an automated execution chair, and over 100 other props that turn our yard into one of the best yard haunts in Sonoma County. The entire lighting system has been upgraded this year, and they have sequenced their lights to over 10 new Halloween songs.
Free
6:30p to 12:00a
Haunted Graveyard is at 472 Jose Ramon Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Free Harvest Party  Hope Chapel Santa Rosa presents a FREE Harvest Party complete with carnival games, photo booth, chili cook-off and costume contests for all ages! If your family’s costumes share a common theme, your family could win an incredible prize.
Free
4:30p to 7:00p
Hope Chapel (look for the big yellow barn on Sonoma Highway)
5680 Sonoma Highway in Santa Rosa.

Trick or Treating at Skyhawk Village  Come down to Skyhawk Village Market on Halloween at 3pm for trick or treating. Each merchant in the shopping center will open their doors from for early trick or treating. Skyhawk Village Market will be setting up a small Halloween tent to hand out candy in, also get your picture taken in front of the pumpkin wall.
Event is free, pizza dinner is $5 – $12.
3:00p to 6:00p
Skyhawk Village
Just ½ mile East of Calistoga Road on Hwy 12.

Chops Halloween Carnival  Come to Chop’s Halloween Carnival for an evening of safe and ghoulish fun! Activities include trick or treating, a jumpy house, game booths, face painting, costume contest, mask making, cake walk and more.
$3 per person
5pm – 9pm
Chops Teen Club
Corner of West 6th and Adams St, Santa Rosa (near Railroad Square).

Family Day of the Dead & Halloween Party  Join in on a fun filled afternoon at the museum with Halloween & Day of the Dead themed arts, crafts & goodies! Contact (707) 579.1500 x17 for more info.
Free
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sonoma County Museum
425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa

14th Annual Spooktacular Trick-or-Treating  Free trick-or-treating at Petaluma Village Premium Outlets at participating stores. Children must be accompanied by an adult Call (707) 778-9300 x 0 for more information.
Free
5:30p to 9:00p
Petaluma Village Premium Outlets, Petaluma, CA

Petaluma Downtown Trick or Treat Trail  Join your local Downtown merchants for Halloween at our annual Trick or Treat Trail. A fun and safe community environment for collecting goodies with your little goblins (for children 12 and under, please). Look for the orange & black balloons and posters in participating businesses. Merchants will be handing out candy to costumed children. Call for more information.
FREE
3:00 PM – 5:30 PM
All over Historic Downtown Petaluma
Contact Marie or Jenny at 707-762-9348

The Knack™ Free Halloween Event  
Kids Halloween Fun at Michaels
Come and get your FREE trick-or-treat pail! Plus enjoy a free coloring activity, FREE Crayola® Model Magic® Fusion™ and a Make-It Take-It Halloween frame. Children will also receive a balloon and candy. While supplies last.
Michael’s Craft Stores
Free
10 am to noon
1359 N. McDowell Blvd. Petaluma
2775 Santa Rosa Ave. Santa Rosa

Kid Friendly Ghost Hunt at the Slaughterhouse Haunted House  Bring the Lil Caspers out for facepainting, photos, and of course trick or treating! End the night with a ghost hunt through our kid friendly haunted house (ages 1-10)
15 Copeland, Petaluma (between Grocery Outlet and the Transit Mall)
707-332-6171.
5:30- 7 pm

Dr. Evil’s House of Horror Free Haunted Maze for Kids  On Halloween Night there will be a safe & free Haunted Maze for little ghouls and boys.
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
16101 Neely Road, Guerneville (J’s Amusements)

Carnival and Pumpkin Run  Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Parkpoint Health Club are hosting a Harvest Carnival and Pumpkin Fun Run for the kids at the winery! The carnival is free, and includes games, face painting, and a whole lot more. Carnival foods are available for purchase. The Pumpkin Fun Run costs $20, and includes a t-shirt and goodie bag. Sign up at http://www.runhealdsburg.com. Open to children ages 4 – 12, awards for top 3 runners in each category. Race segmented by age group. Ages 4 – 6 only run 1.8 of a mile.
Carnival 12pm – 2:30pm free
Pumpkin Run 12:30pm – 1:30pm $20 (includes goody bag and t-shirt)
300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville Ca
Take Hwy 101 to the Independence Lane Exit, go west.

For more information on what to do around Sonoma County for Halloween, be sure to check out these sites.
Press Democrat’s Halloween events
sonomaonthecheap.com
BiteClubEats.com
Sonoma.com  
santarosa.about.com

Best places for Trick-or-Treating

Want the best bets for Halloween Trick-or-Treating?  Look no further!  I have compiled a list of neighborhoods that I know of around the county that are sure to have your pillow cases overflowing with candy!  Did I miss any?  Be sure to mention your favorite neighborhood in the comments.

Jose Ramon Ave in Santa Rosa
4 neighbors put together a Halloween display close to Fulton and West 3rd that has been stated by some as the best Halloween display in Sonoma County.  Every year it gets better and better, and this year will be no exception thanks to an upgrade in the lighting system and over 100 props.  This is a must see!  It is guessed that this is going to be Santa Rosa’s new hot spot for trick or treating.

McDonald Ave in Santa Rosa
This is Santa Rosa’s favorite spot for trick-or-treating!  One of the members of this neighborhood reported spending $800 on candy, and having 1400 visitors the past Halloween! Be prepared to see live performances and spooky happenings in the neighborhood that makes Halloween come alive!

D Street, Petaluma
Each Halloween, Petaluma’s historic D Street is the place to be. Both adults and children dress in elaborate costumes and travel up and down both sides of the Victorian lined street, trick-or-treating at the many decorated homes. Ask anyone in Petaluma where to go for door to door candy pan-handling, and this is the direction they’ll point you in!

Armstrong Estates (5th Street East off of Napa St.), Sonoma
This is where the winners from HGTV won their new house. It’s also where John Lasseter of Pixar used to live. As kids, we always went through that neighborhood just to see the decorations alone. From what I hear, it’s also a great place to reap the benefits in candy!

Other neighborhoods I’ve been clued in to:
Sunshine Ave in Rincon Valley, Santa Rosa (off of Montecito Blvd)
Sonoma Mountain, Petaluma
Johnson St, Healdsburg (Mill St, left on Healdsburg Ave to Piper to Johnson)
Sunnyvale Dr, Healdsburg (Dry Creek Rd, left on Healdsburg Ave to Sunnyvale)

Any others????? Leave them in the comments.  And don’t forget your cameras so you can enter your Halloween photos in the SantaRosaMom.com contest!

For more tips on best bets for trick-or-treating, be sure to check out these great sites:
santarosa.about.com
sonomaonthecheap.com