Goodwill of Southern California is THE Halloween Headquarters!

Goodwill’s Halloween BOO-Tique Has it All!



Friends, there’s only a month left before Halloween!

Did you know Halloween retail spending exceeded $9 billion last year?

According to the National Retail Federation, an average of $86 was spent per person in 2017.

The most expensive part of Halloween? The costumes.

 I contemplated a Joker costume while visiting Goodwill Southern California Halloween Boo-tique at Fletcher Square.

I contemplated a Joker costume while visiting Goodwill Southern California Halloween Boo-tique at Fletcher Square.

This year, I partnered with Goodwill Southern California

because I’m trying to encourage a more practical lifestyle.

Instead of spending an average of $340 for our family costumes, why not save some of that money and apply it toward a more meaningful cause? Plus, why buy more new stuff when we can get creative with pre-used items, then donate those again for someone else to use, don’t cha’ think? Lastly, Goodwill Southern California is a tax-exempt organization whose mission is to Transform Lives Through the Power of Work.

They serve individuals with disabilities and disadvantages by providing education, training, work experience and job placement services. Every purchase made is applied toward that mission.


I visited the Goodwill Store at Fletcher Square

(in Atwater Village) and left home with absolutely everything needed to create unique, one-of-a-kind costumes for the entire family at a fraction of the cost!

I’ll start by sharing that many Goodwill Southern California locations have dedicated entire store areas to their Halloween BOO-Tique displays.

This means that an entire section of racks featuring costumes and other clothing items such as dresses, shirts, jackets and accessories are placed in a single area to give customers instantaneous Halloween costume ideas.


There are also

new items available for purchase. like masks, a variety of hats and other Halloween costume “extras” to accessorize a unique look:


After spending some time

looking through many fun pieces and envisioning a good family Halloween theme… I started narrowing down our options. This year, I wanted to pay homage to my Mexican roots by dressing up as the iconic “Raton Vaquero” or Cowboy Mouse, that was brought to life in a children’s song by the famous Mexican composer, Gabilondo Soler.

I found everything I needed at Goodwill Southern California to bring my idea to life!


When I checked out,

I was surprised and very proud that the total for our costumes, including accessories, vests, hats and other fun props came out to less than $75…

That’s less than $20 per costume!


I can’t wait to share our Halloween costumes!

I encourage you to visit a Goodwill Southern California store (there’s approximately eighty in Los Angeles County— use the Goodwill Locator here to find the store nearest you) and share your own creative costume ideas.

Thanks for reading, friends!


-Anabel M.

This is a sponsored partnership with Goodwill Southern California. All opinions are my own.

Giant Valentine's Day Box of Chocolates

Cake-sized Chocolate!


A fun way of delivering Valentine's Day cake treats!

Every year I try to recreate something that is representative and iconic of Valentine's Day. I do it because it's fun and my boys love it when I surprise them with treats.
Last year, for example, I made Conversation Heart Cheesecakes!
This year, I created a giant construction paper heart box to look like the ever-so popular heart-shaped chocolate boxes that we've all received.
I think it's a fun way of presenting cupcakes on Valentine's Day to relatives, co-workers or  classmates.
For this project, I used one box of chocolate cake mix and baked the batter using an assortment of cake and cupcake pans. It yielded about 20 individual cakes.
Here's how I made the giant chocolate box:



2 Large white cardboard project sheets (cut into large hearts) | Scissors | Gold Foil Gift Wrap/Tissue Paper | Clear pink or red cellophane wrap | Glue | Gold Ribbon | Red Glitter Paper


I started by covering one of the hearts with red foam glitter sheets. The sheets have adhesive on the back which made it easy to stick and cut around the edges. | I covered another large cardboard heart with the gold foil (which will serve as the base for the chocolate cakes)

Next I wrapped the heart covered in red glitter foam with the pink cellophane wrap. Once this step was complete, I wrapped a gold bow around this piece.

When the cakes were ready, I decorated some of them with chocolate frosting and others with white vanilla frosting. I also used chopped peanuts and all the different designs gave it a "chocolate variety" look.


As you can see, I cut part of the cake into squares, hearts and rectangles

I placed the cakes over the gold foil covered heart and arranged them neatly. Then I glued a strip of white construction paper on the edge of the heart to give it the appearance of a real box of chocolates.

Moments before the big reveal:


I must say, having kids brings a whole new meaning to Valentine's Day for me. I'm not sure if my hubby and I will have a date night on Valentine's Day. What I do know is that I already had my dose of chocolate for the month!


I hope you enjoyed and I look forward to seeing your Valentine's Day Projects and ideas!


-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Zebra Head Christmas Tree Topper Tutorial

Merry Christmazebra!


A Wild & Fun Zebra Tree Topper

For our "Wild and Fabulous" zebra-themed Christmas, I thought it would be appropriate to make a zebra head Christmas Tree topper.
The project went on a little longer than I intended but it finally got done tonight.
It's all just a matter of gathering all the materials and having lotsa' patience, especially if you have kids who want to be involved but don't quite have a grasp on crafting projects that are a bit more complicated than preschool crafts (hehe).


1. Newspaper
2. Masking Tape
3. An old book
4, Modge Podge
5. Paint brushes
6. Sponge brushes
7. Paper towels
8. cardboard
9. Scissors
10. Black paint
11. Flour
12. Water


1. This is how I started my project: Just newspaper and masking tape. I made two balls out of newspaper (one slightly smaller than the other one, which would become the zebra's muzzle)

2. Once you have the shape of the head with the newspaper balls connected with masking tape, you can mold the paper with your fingers so it takes on the desired shape.

3. For this project, I made a pot full of homemade paste. In Spanish it's called "engrudo". I boiled three cups of water and added a cup of flour to the boiling water and three tablespoons of sugar and mixed the ingredients until it reached a creamy consistency.

4. This is what it looked like when it was done. It lasts up to a week before mold starts growing out of it, so make sure you time your projects accordingly:


5. I cut pieces of paper towels and dipped them in the homemade paste and basically started covering the newspaper zebra head with the wet paper towels.

6. I cut a piece of cardboard paper to glue to the back of the zebra head for support.

7. The next day, once the homemade glue had dried, I bunched up strips of newspaper and taped them to the top of the animal head to create the zebra's mane.


8. I also rolled up smaller pieces of paper towel to create small rings for the zebra's nostrils and eyelids.

9. I cut small pieces of cardstock paper into triangle-like shapes for the ears and taped them right above the eyes.


10. Once the ears were taped, I added another layer of paper towels with homemade glue all over the zebra.

11. Once the glue was dry, I found a very old book (a thesaurus) and cut small pieces from its pages. This was done to give the zebra a more artsy black and white look, before painting the stripes. The pieces of paper from the book were Modge Podged throughout the zebra head.

My little helper loved this part of the project, he would dip the sponge brush and lather heavy coats of Modge Podge (eek!)


12. The printed pieces took about two hours to dry. Once they were done, I started painting the zebra's features. I used black acrylic paint.

13. The stripes were the fun part. They look a bit messy because I couldn't find a better brush but you get the point!. I created random lines and patterns around the eyes and down the neck.


And here is my final product. It's ready to sit atop of our Christmas Tree:


It's certainly not a masterpiece but it's a very inexpensive project to complete.
Thanks for reading!


-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez