Fall Goodies for Halloween and Thanksgiving from Hallmark Canada

It is hard to believe that the fall is flying by. In my neighbourhood, everything is a shade of orange or amber and the Thanksgiving items have made way for Halloween decor. Just after Thanksgiving, a box of fall goodies from Hallmark Canada arrived. There were a select few fall items and some adorable Halloween ones alongside. 

At our house we decorate the house for fall ( Thanksgiving) every year the second week of September and those stay in place for a month we then decorate for Halloween with some special pieces we have collected over the year, those stay in place for a few weeks and are taken down to make room for our Christmas decor which goes up early in this house. Christmas decor is on the mantle in our home right after Remembrance Day. 

For Fall and Christmas, I love rustic decor so was delighted with the box that Hallmark Canada sent me. From an adorable placemat to measuring spoons, to a bowl full of thanks to an adorable wooden sign there is something for everyone. 

For Halloween, we often forget those that can’t have candy. In my house we have 2 little ones that won’t be trick or treating so I loved the Paw Patrol stickers that they sent. For someone who has that Halloween birthday, a special idea, a bracelet made just for the day. 

Now I love to extend the spirit of Thanksgiving so I a love that I get to give one reader a Count the Really Good Blessings Twice Wooden Sign. We loved this wooden sign and have a space for it in my country kitchen.  What an important sentiment to remember year round. 


In the comments let me know what you are thankful for? or your Halloween costume for this year. 

Want an extra entry share this post on your social media and tell me where you shared it in a separate comment. 

*Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only over the age of 18

** I have received a box of goodies from Hallmark Canada in exchange for this post and they will also fulfil the prize. All opinions are my own as always.

CONTEST ends Friday, Nov 2nd, 2018 at 5 pm. 

How to Save Money on Everything Halloween

The turkey leftovers are in the fridgeHalloween annual fall hike is done so now on minds in this house turn to Halloween. We loved decorating, making treats, shopping for candy and deciding on the perfect costume. With all of the planning and shopping though it is easy to put a strain on your wallet, it is just as easy to save money on everything Halloween.

So how can we save money on everything Halloween? Over the years I have written several posts all designed to help you save on Halloween. You can learn about keeping the money gremlins at bay and how to have a frightfully frugal Halloween.  Now many of the things we do help us save money every year.

Saving money on Everything Halloween does not have to be scary.

So how can you save every year on  everything Halloween?

  1. Year after year, I emphasis budgeting. Is Halloween a line item in your budget? It should be. 
  2. Shop your shed and closets. Get creative, think reuse, reuse, reuse as your Halloween anthem. So many things make for great DIY projects for decor and costumes.  
  3. Check for Freebies. You can often find freebies on sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. I have even seen freebies in the Facebook Marketplace and even on groups like Bunz ( Do you have the bartering app Bunz yet?) 
  4. Host a costume swap with your friends. How many costumes does your child have? I know by the age of 5 my daughter had a few. So the best thing to do was gather some friends who have kids and host a swap. 
  5. Check for coupons. Yes, I used the “c” word! If you are a crafter who loves to get creative, take advantage of Michael’s 40% off coupon that happens often.
  6. Look for deals and price match when and where you can. Remember Flipp, the app shows you all your local flyers and did you know you can price match straight from the app at several Canadian retailers. 
  7. Shopping Online? Use Ebates, it is a portal site that gives you cash back and often savings when you shop at the retailers listed. One of the retailers is Amazon! 
  8. Become Pinterest inspired. Since we love to make Halloween treats and our own costumes I have two boards you can check out here and here. 
  9. Get your pumpkin at a discount. I was at Walmart Canada this week and saw that they had a great sale and a good selection. I would grab one while you can. 
  10. Shop the day after Halloween. You can get ready for Halloween 2019 shopping ahead. Great deals can often be found on November 1st. These can be stashed away for next year.  

safe hallowen

How to Have Happy Safe Halloween

It ‘s is that time of year again. Your house is brimming with excitement if it is anything like ours. Halloween is next week, Hard to believe there is less than a week to go until the ghosts and goblins roam the street in search of Halloween treats.  This is a busy fun time of the year. Often there are multiple Halloween activities. There are the class parties, the work event. the community event and then there is the night of trick or treating. We love it all! Amongst the busyness though we need to be safe. It is great to love Halloween but we need to think about safety as well. So how do you have a happy and safe Halloween?


The Perfect Costume

When it comes to Halloween, let’s start with the basics, the costume. Make sure all costumes fit well and are labeled flame resistant. Over-sized costumes, capes, and even long tails can become hazards. When you think about what you or your child will be, think bright! It gets dark out there and you want to be seen. If you are wearing something dark, think of adding a reflective strip of wearing glow bracelets or necklaces to help you be seen.

We have a rule in our house, no masks. We use face paint or makeup. Even with face paint or makeup you want to do a patch test to ensure there are no allergies.

safe hallowen

Dangerless Decorating

I remember the first time my teen carved a pumpkin. She accidentally cut her hand. Accidents can happen. Let children paint or draw the design on pumpkins and leave the carving to a parent. You may choose not to carve a pumpkin. You may decide to decorate one instead. Pinterest has some amazing ideas.

Ever since the invention of LED candles, we do not use candles in our jack-o-lanterns. If you are using candles, never leave them unattended. Don’t have an LED candle? A small flashlight will work as well.

Make sure the outside of your home is well lit and clutter free.

Halloween candy

Trick or Treat Safely

There was once a time when it was okay to let kids go trick or treating with their friends. We no longer live in a time when that is a good idea. Make sure a parent goes with any child twelve and under. Ensure children only visit homes where lights are turned on and practice good road safety. Cross the street at corners and crosswalks. Last year, we witnessed a near accident as a child went running across the street between parked cars. Thankfully, the driver was paying attention.

When it comes to candy, eat none till you are home. Parents, check your child’s haul. If there are toys or novelty items ensure there are no choking hazards for any little ones that may reside at your house.

By following these tips you should have a safe and happy Halloween. Did I miss any tips that help your family have a safe Halloween? If so, let me know your tips.


How to Have an Allergy Friendly Halloween with the Teal Pumpkin Project

teal pumpkin project

My teen has a food allergy. She has a few, so we are always mindful of food allergies. It seems many kids these days do, so how do we have an allergy friendly Halloween? Back in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project began to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of all kids in the Halloween fun. If you have a Teal Pumpkin in front of your house, kids know you have allergy friendly treats.

We participated last year by making sure our candy treats included allergy friendly ones and even had stickers for the kids with severe allergies. There are lots of things you can be picking up as you get ready for Halloween.

There are lots of nut-free food options ( Nuts are a big allergy for many kids).  T Starbursts, Ring Pops, Chips, Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, plain chocolate bars, gold fish crackers, Mike and Ikes and lollipops were just a few of the options I saw while out shopping at Walmart this morning.

To be able to include kids with severe allergies or weird ones like my teen. One of her allergies is mint. Who is allergic to mint? This year we found temporary tattoos at Dollarama. Some of the other items you may think of might be: plastic spiders, Halloween pencils, marbles, bouncing balls, stickers, McDonalds Restaurant coupons, mini notepads, glow in the dark sticks or playdough. I am sure you can think of-of more to add to this list.

Over the years my teen has brought home quite the haul, and I have always admired parents that try to include everyone. One year when she was about five there was one house that gave away small stuffed animals, another house on the same street had a hot chocolate stand instead of treats because the kids might be getting thirsty. They also had water bottles or soda for those who wanted a choice. Another year our neighbour was a dentist so of course, they handed out small toys.  You can simply think outside the box so everyone can be included.

Let me know if you participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project




How to Have a Frightfully Frugal Halloween and Save Money on Everything Halloween

how to have a frightfully frugal Halloween and save on everything Halloween

Now that Thanksgiving is done, it is time to think about one of our favorite holidays – Halloween. Every year it seems I do a frugal Halloween post. Years ago I wrote about 13 ways you could keep the money gremblins at bay. I also wrote about frugal Halloween costume ideas here and here.  So how can you have a fun and frightful Halloween on a budget?

Set a Budget

Like every other special event you need to set a budget.  Have you set you your budget already?

favorite halloween

How to Save on Halloween Costumes

Every year we shop our closets first, Rachel’s hippie costume came from my closet, as did a pirates costumes, and so did a mummy costume. Your closest should be the first place you shop. What could you create? Need some inspiration-look to Pinterest.

The second place we visit is Value Village, it is one of our favourite places to find a great costume by mixing and matching pieces. Shop your local one extra early as people love this option especially here in Toronto.

Other years we swapped costumes with friends, Rachel’s Blue Clues costume came from an exchange of costumes. Plan a swap in your neighborhood and you will not only save yourself money but your neighbours as well.

Really want to get something new follow these simple reminders.

  • Check your flyers with an app like Flipp to find the best deals on Halloween costumes.
  • Shop early- Halloween sales are already in flyers.
  • Shopping online- check for coupon codes and special online deals.
  • Buy the day after Halloween for next year at a deep discount.

How to Save on Halloween Decor

How to Save on a Halloween Decor

Decor wise we have always believed in using what we have on hand. White and black garbage bags come in handy. We often create ghosts with markers, rolled up newspaper and a few white garbage bags cut open. A Black garbage bag can create a spooky door covering – we even created scarecrows out of old clothes from my dads closet. Headstones can be created out of heavy cardboard.

Other items that we needed like candles for our pumpkin were bought at the dollar store as were cobwebs. If buying new decor items, here too remember to check for sales on Flipp.

halloween mummy dogs

How to Save on Halloween Candy and Food

Here remember your budget and shop smart. Millions of dollars are spent every year on Halloween candy, and you want to keep as much as you can in your pocketbook. I know I do especially with me in the midst of the #Centsability challenge from Manualife. One of my two best tips for saving on candy, is check the sales first, again use Flipp and check the bulk stores like Costco. Have you checked the dollar store? Some years my candy has even come from there.

Planning a Halloween menu? I have a Pinterest board for that. As well remember to look for your loss leaders  and delegate meal duties where you can -think potluck and there are plenty of inexpensive treats that you can give a Halloween twist.

Now tonight we will be talking about how to save on everything Halloween for our #CDNmoney chat on Twitter. Join us for some frightful fun talk about all things Halloween. Christa Clips and I will be there so be sure to join us.

#cdnmoney chat






13 Ways to Have a Frugal Canadian Halloweeen

frugalhalloweenThere are gremlins that come each and every holiday, that are seeking out the dollars that are in our wallets! So how do we keep those money gremlins at bay at Halloween. How do we have a frugal Canadian Halloween?

I have 13 ways you can keep those gremlins at bay:

1. Plan your spending like your would any other expense. Have you budgeted for Halloween?

2. For costumes check for freebies: take advantage of sites like Freecycle, Craigslist, and Kijiji. Start looking at these sites in November for next Halloween. Keep your eyes open for freebies.

3. Shop your closet! When I was young we always made our costumes from things that existed at home. Some of my best memories are in those costumes.

4. Thrift It: Value Village, Salvation Army, or your local thrift store are great places to concoct great costumes.

5. Decor wise: reuse, recycle, thrift or dollar store it. We reuse our past supplies, and grab the few new musts (cobwebs is a new buy every year as are candles both for us) come from a local dollar store. Gravestones were made from cardboard, and past decorations are used.

6. With a little bit of time you can plan a costume swap in your neighborhood. Each year your child our grows their costume so why not set up and neighbourhood exchange and your kids can get something that fits them?

7. Talking of costumes what is the cheapest one I can think of? After seeing so many Zombies walk by me downtown this weekend I was quickly reminded how quick and easy it is to assemble one. Got something old in your closet, something that is ready for the donation pile, tear it up a little and there you got your zombie.

8. Are you a crafter? Check for coupons for your favorite craft store. I know Michaels had a 40% off coupon on one item this week. Definitely would help if you are the creative sort.

9. Dig the deal sites? I have even notices some of them have had Halloween deals. I love sites like that aggregate the deal sites. Deliver the Deals is just one site that does this.

10. Like to have a Halloween menu ..check out some of these creepy items your can find on Pinterest.

11. Check for coupons and sales when it comes to candy. I love sites like Grocery Alerts where I often check for coupons and sales here.

12. Make pumpkin carving an event. Some of my best memories are of carving together.This is an old fashioned staple that every family loves.

13. Shop the after sale. Don’t forget after Halloween you can get some of the best deals for next Halloween.


My Favorite Halloween: A Nestle Contest

favorite halloween
Halloween in the late 70’s with our homemade costumes

Do you have a favorite Halloween? I don’t I have many. My favorite Halloween were those of my childhood. I loved Halloween as a kid. Every year we had to get creative to make costumes. There was no such thing as buying a costume. Nope they had to come out of what was in the house. I remember well my grade 2 costume. I was a robot. We created it out of cardboard boxes. i was often a ghost (my mom’s poor sheets) or whatever i could think of that year. As you can see as a kid I always trick or treated with my sister. I loved this costume of hers. Tinsel and sheets, and a hanger..yes we had it all in the house!

We love Halloween and yes being a Muslim most don’t celebrate this holiday but in my house my daughter is not Muslim and we do. We love decorating the house. Shopping for candy, and who doesn’t give out chocolate bars? We love the whole month of October as it is the lead up to a night of fun. We love Halloween. Could you imagine my neighborhood if I had $2,000 of Nestle Candy to give away. I think I would be the neighbor the kids love!

If your share your favourite Halloween pictures, it could be you that wins $2,000 worth of Nestle chocolate for your street this Halloween. You can enter the contest on  the Smarties, Aero or KitKat Facebook pages and enter using the My Favourite Halloween app.  Share your favourite photo, caption it then tag your friends so they can check it out on the interactive gallery.   The Deadline in October the 8th, so don’t be late or who knows you just might be a pumpkin.

Once all the entries are in judging panel (comprised of Nestlé, Colour and Influencers) will select from the photos 10 finalists who will be showcased in a finalist’s gallery. Then it is up to us to vote!  The picture that gets the most votes wins the grand prize Oct 24th, 2012.

There are also random prizes being given away daily and weekly like the red box of chocolates.  win one of the daily and weekly random prizes being given away, goodies like Nestle favourites red box of assorted chocolates.  Sounds pretty sweet to me!

* – “I am participating in the Nestle program by ShesConnected.  I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Getting Ready for the Holidays without Breaking the Bank

gift-ideas-from-shopzilla © by j.patrick.1@verizon.net

Well it is that  time of the year, Halloween and Eid are around the corner and Christmas is not far behind.  The holidays are here! So how does one get ready for all these holidays and not break the bank?

For us it has never been about the amount of money we spend. It has been about creating time honored traditions and looking for opportunities to serve others.

For us it is about being smart with our dollars:

For Halloween:

  • we make costumes or shop at thrift stores
  • we do not over decorate
  • we give simple candies no big bags of treats here

For Eid:

  • set a budget
  • think what we can make- a coupon book makes a neat gift
  • make it about prayer and family
  • for the meal go potluck
  • think clothes as gifts

For Christmas

  • Again we set a budget
  • Shop with a list
  • Make sure we keep reciepts and if buying right before Christmas check for reduced prices within 2 weeks of purchase, often they will give you the sale price.
  • We set limits
  • Again we go potluck

We also look for chances to serve. In past years we have participated in food drives and sorted food and toys at local food banks, prepared shoes boxes to send to children overseas, chosen to adopt a child from overseas, adopted animals, cleaned up a neighbours yard, and shovelled snow for those who couldn’t. There are many ways that you can find to serve and often time is the best gift you can give.

When it comes to Christmas presents we also have a time honored tradition: it is called a cash Christmas. I have never bought on credit when it comes to presents. For my daughter she knows that Santa has a budget after all he has so many children he needs to prepare for. She has never gone overboard on her list. In some years I havegiven gifts that I got for free. I had collected icoke points and shopper optimum points and gave gift certificates for the movies, and bath sets that I had gotten basically for next to nothing. Here are some generic ideas that do leave cents in the wallet:

  • Homemade: one year I made soup mixes and put them in old fashion canisters I got for a $.25 each, another I made hot chocolate mixes and put them in mugs I got for $.50, another I got frames and decoratedthem with buttons and other nicknack’s.
  • Cookies with recipe card attached.
  • Git Certificates you made yourself for services you can do : ie gardening, sewing, babysitting, cooking , game time, reading, really the list is endless for this one.
  • a treasure box: get a small box at craft store: fill it with treasured notes ,etc..

So for me it just makes sense to do it  with cash and creativity, that way you really can enjoy the holiday no matter which holiday it is with less stress.

Creating the Perfect Costume

All last week I promised my 13-year-old daughter I would take her shopping, costume shopping that is. usually we have created her costumes over the years from stuff at home. Frugal, smart, maybe, cheap yes! But this year she considers it her real last year to go trick or treating so she wanted and wants the perfect costume. She saved and budgeted for it. She dreamed it, and then when her school decided that it would be turning the school into a haunted doll house for Halloween she knew she just had to be a bat queen.She says she can hang out near the roof.

I think her desire to be a bat might come from being born in Carlsbad, New Mexico where thousands of bats make a nightly flight.

So bat queen shopping we went. First store we hit market themselves as the largest costume store in Canada..as we hunted for perfection my dear daughter started to get angry with what she saw. As she tried on costume after costume, the more frustrated she got.

Can you see the issues she might be having? Everything was too short. Too sexy. My dear daughter said and I quote” Everything makes me look like a Halloween Hooker”

Since when do we even have to sexualized costumes for tweens? and I even saw some for younger kids as well? Do you, do I really need to send my daughter out the door looking like a tramp?

My dear daughter and I left store A and went to store B which was a brand new Halloween store that opened right near my daughter’s school. Again there were the Halloween hooker outfits as Rachel called them. At this store Rachel looked over to the boys costumes and said “Mom why is it that boys get decent costumes that can cover a body while us girls get garbage?”

We went on to store C a major retail chain store that is both American and Canadian and again it was more of the same.

My tween came home without a costume, and frustrated because she had this vision.

So after our morning in High Park yesterday, we headed to Value Village on the suggestion of one of my twitter friends..Again we saw the Halloween Hooker outfits but we found other options as well especially in the used area. Finally she found her perfect black dress..she then found bat wings. She now has purple and black tights, a black dress, wings, a purple necklace and a crown..so finally after much searching we were able to make her costume dream a reality.

But what is with the sexualization of our kids costumes? What do you think when you take your teen, tween or teen to get a costume these days, especially if you have a daughter. How are you able to get your daughter a costume that is decent? What have you had to do?

If young teens are noticing the sexualization of the costumes shouldn’t we as parents be saying a bit more?



frugal Halloween costume

Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas


frugal Halloween costume  Roo and I have been so busy this fall and now  Halloween is less then a week away! Lucky for me I won $90 in Gift Certificates to Value Village. I went shopping there yesterday and it was a madhouse of people trying to get ready for that big night. They say 2/3 of all Canadians will do something to celebrate that night with the average family spending at least $60 to enable them to celebrate whether that be in getting the perfect costume, or stocking up on candy, or how bout those outdoor decorations.

Roo and I were talking about how we could do a make do costume with what we have here in the house and that way we get away with a cheap Halloween. Well as we were planning my girlfriend  calls from a costume shop and tells me she is buying Roo’s Hallowen costume. So Roo was gifted a costume this year…so she will be a beautiful mermaid.

But as we planned and talked there were and are lots of ideas out there for a very frugal Halloween night.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • a bunch of grapes: An oversize dark-green shirt and green leggings are the base for a bunch of grapes. A bag of round green or purple( Roo wanted purple) balloons are inflated and pinned to the shirt. A brown hat is the stem.
  • A plain black large T-shirt is painted with “bones” to become a skeleton. Wear with black leggings
  • An artist can be made with a red beret and a paint smock, paintbrush and an artists palette can be made using cardboard and craft paint.
  • From the WIZ we thought of the the tin man using grey sweats and top, aluminum foil, and cardboard and for the hat a funnel covered in foil.
  • You could go as a tree. A large brown t-shirt and leggings becomes a tree trunk. From the dollar store, plastic vines and leaves, a stuffed squirrel, butterflies or apples could be added to the tree.
  • Last year Roo went as a pirate that we created here at home, with old jeans that we cut off, an old white shirt of mine that we cut up as well, and a bandanna and eye patch were gotten for $1 at the dollar store.

Well hope that gets you thinking about the great night ahead next week.  Are you going out? are your kids if so as what? and how are you making it cheaper then cheap?