11:59pm, October 31st…. Something special is happening! Yes, the prices are falling on lots of great Halloween themed items that your group can take advantage of. Stop off at your local Walmart, grocery stores, pharmacy stores (such as CVS or Walgreens), craft stores, and party supply stores, among others. Take a look around to find some good markdowns on items your group could use in the future! Why pay full price next year? Think “outside the litter box” here and get some good deals! Always look at things and ask yourself… “What could I do with this for my rescue?”
Here are some ideas to get you started….
* The BEST thing you should look for are adult costumes in your choice of rescued animals! These are perfect for your volunteers to wear during a Roadblock or begging brigades (standing on street corner asking for money), to wear in parades, or wear at other events to draw attention! There are some great outfits available for so many different animals, ranging from dogs and cats to horses, tigers, bears, and more. There are lots of tails, ears on headbands, and face paints available now as well.
* If you can’t find costumes, look for the sewing patterns and various fabrics on sale! If you ask your volunteer sewers well in advance to work on a project, they can take their time putting together some cute animal costumes for your group, rather than doing it in a rush 1 week before a parade or other fundraising or outreach event. The fur-like material is also much easier to find this time of year than any other time! The fake fur comes in a variety of colors, from spotted dalmatian styles to caramel and dark browns, stripes, and exotic prints. And, stock up on some Halloween and fall themed printed fabrics for bandanas for animals.
* Another great item are those trick or treat bags that have a paw/ claw with a hole in it for money/ candy to be put into the bag below. It looks like you’re extending a paw, and people drop money/ candy into it. These are a bit harder to find, but are still popular and incredibly useful for animal rescues and other animal minded fundraising groups. Even if the claws have purple fingernails, you can still paint over it to make the item look more animal like and match your group.
* Have an outreach event coming up? Grab some candy at the stores at amazing prices. These treats work great for all the outreach messages for spay/ neuter and adoption sayings I have listed in the Tabling section. Have these candies out at your events to attract people, draw them in for a treat and strike up the conversation! Got a chocolate tasting coming up? I attended a chocolate tasting event in February ’05 and there were lots of leftover Halloween themed chocolates for the kids to eat. Kids don’t care about packaging, and will still be excited with mini chocolate bars even if they have a ghost on them.
* Planning on hosting a fall themed event next year? Grab some decorations now! BONES are everywhere, and they even come as lights now, too! How cute for a dog rescue or dog park to have some lighted bones around their tables. Grab some of those large Airblown inflatable items such as pumpkins and scarecrows to use for next year. They are minimal in cost (between $15 and $40 depending on how big it is!), and are lightweight and easy to store since they shrink down to about the size of a shoebox.
* Who knew how popular Christmas lights would be at other times of the year? There are so many styles of lights in black, orange, purple and green now. If you find the green, stock up for Christmas for the memorial trees! Again, look for those bone lights.
* While at the craft stores, look for those fake pumpkins that are carvable. I believe the most popular brand is called Fun-kins. One fellow rescuer (Tammi) on the NeuterNeuterLand yahoo group carved a beautiful spay/ neuter message into the fake pumpkin using a Dremel tool. Now, she can use it for several years. Bountiful messages of thanksgiving for rescued pets would also be great, taking your pumpkin theme into November. October’s Adopt a Dog month would also look great on a pumpkin. This is a great decoration for your groups to work on throughout the year (when the pressure is off!), and create some amazing outreach items with spay/ neuter messages, adoption messages, images of your rescued animals, and more. And, since they’re reusable, you can use these outreach tools year after year with only a little bit of work put into it the first time.
I hope this gets those creative juices flowing for you to see the ‘other’ uses some Halloween items may have for your rescues and animal-related fundraising groups! Start budgeting now for some great sales items!
Purrs and woofs,