10 Halloween Fast Facts

Golden leaves are falling, pumpkin spice lattes are back, there’s a chill in the air. Fall has arrived, and so has many people’s favorite holiday of the year: Halloween!

This year, million Americans are expected to celebrate the spooky holiday, whether it’s at a costume party, trick-or-treating with friends, or sending friends and family a ghoulish greeting card!

As The Boston Globe reported last month, Halloween is indeed a card-sending holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 36 percent of Americans planned to send a Halloween card in 2014 — and that number is expected to rise significantly this year. Sending your Halloween couldn’t be easier: simply browse our Halloween cards here.

Want some more hair-raising facts? Check out these 10 fast facts for Halloween 2015:

  • Halloween comes from an ancient pagan festival, Samhain, celebrated by Celtic people over 2,000 years ago
  • Immigrants from Ireland and Scotland brought Halloween to the United States in the 1800s
  • Irish legend claims that jack-o’-lanterns are named for a man named Jack who couldn’t go to heaven or hell, and was forced to walk the earth forever with only coal to light his lantern
  • 157 million Americans are expected to celebrate Halloween in 2015
  • Total spending on Halloween will top $6.9 billion 
  • Eight in 10 millennials say they are planning to celebrate the holiday 
  • The average American will spend $74.34 on decorations, candy, costumes, and more
  • The top adult costume for 2015 is a witch, topping out at over 4 million costumes
  • The top children’s costume for 2015 is a princess, with just over 3 million costumes
  • The top pet costume for 2015 is a pumpkin

It’s September, which means it’s time for another featured artist! Each month on the Card Gnome blog, we’re featuring a Card Gnome artist to share a little history, a little background, and a lot of inspiration!

This month, we’re pleased to introduce Charrow, the artist and gouache extraordinaire (we’ll explain) behind Parade of Squirrels. Charrow is a Brooklyn-based artist who spends her time gathering inspiration from nature, fellow creatives, and of course, squirrels. Welcome, Charrow!

Charrow

Tell us a little bit about yourself: What got you interested in illustration and water color?

I had always loved to draw and used to make stationary out of lined paper using colored pencils when I was younger. I made different themed borders and pretended it was my stationary line.

As I got older, I mostly focused on drawing in pencil and had a hard time figuring out how to use color well. I took some classes in oil and acrylic, but never really loved either medium. After college, where I studied art history, I decided I wanted to go to graduate school for illustration and design. While in grad school I had a wonderful teacher that introduced me to gouache.

Gouache is an old school illustration material and was used often in illustration for advertising because it reproduces really well. I fell in love with how easy it was use and unlike a lot of artists that use it thickly, I found I enjoyed making it super watery, which is why everyone mistakes it for watercolor.

The main difference between the two mediums is watercolor is translucent and gouache is opaque because it has white in it. It scans a lot better too, which is perfect for greeting cards. I hate color correction and usually just bump up the contrast. I really love to make things, so the less grunt work I have to do, the happier I am.

I love puns and visual jokes, and illustration allows me to make art that is both amusing and endearing. I love fine art, but I’m not a very serious person and fine art often feels very buttoned up; I enjoy being much more low-brow. I also really like function, and illustration is a great way to produce something beautiful that can also be used for patterns, cards, textiles, and merchandise.

 

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work?

A lot of inspiration comes from puns or idioms. I come from a family of language nerds and punsters, so it has always been in my blood. I love silly and weird humor. I really love children being goofy and weird, so sometimes I will just play with my friends’ kids and watch what they are thinking about or imagining.

I love nature and spend a lot of time in Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for inspiration. We live in a city so often I will find some funny juxtaposition between the urban landscape and nature.

It’s so hard to not take inspiration from everything. There is always something on a given day that can be inspiring, from dogs, to squirrels, to whatever podcast I am listening to. Basically, I spend a lot of time looking at things. I also am inspired by things that drive me crazy. I like to make fun of people on cell phones, loud talkers, and of course people that dress their animals in clothing. (FYI: I do dress my pitt bull up as a cheerleader on Halloween.)

 

Do you have a favorite artist?  If so, what draws you to that person’s work?

OH, I love a bunch of people. It’s so hard with Instagram because I find new artists every day who inspire me like crazy. I love Oliver Jeffers because he is the jack-of-all-trades. He makes amazing and strange children's books, which I love; if I could write a book, it would be of the same ilk. He also is a masterful fine artist. He seems to have a lot of freedom and fearless artistic style. I am sure there is a lot of control, but he makes everything look so easy and fun. His type is also extremely expressive.

And then there are is Jay Ryan who makes great band posters with squirrels... and really I love squirrels.

There are also a bunch of artists who I love to follow on Instagram and whose art has a lot of patterns and great texture: Genine, Lisa Congdon, Julia Rothman, Claudia Pearson and Faye Moor. Basically, it’s impossible to not be inspired these days. I have to close all my programs to get work done because I become so overwhelmed.

 

Your work reflects a true love for squirrels. How'd that come about?

Well, they are like hidden little gems you have no idea how much you miss them until they are gone. In high school we went to Israel and they do not have squirrels there...it was very sad for me. But seriously, have you every seen them walk? They hop a lot, but sometimes they will walk, like they are on a coffee break from being a squirrel and its so funny to me. It’s unclear where this strange love came from, but they are the perfect balance of cute and maniacal. I love that balance between adorable and dangerous.

 

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating your cards?

I find the making of cards really easy. Sometimes I have to make cards to fill up certain categories that are light, and that’s really hard. Some categories like sympathy and new babies are hard to do. I am not a sappy person and really, if you need sappy there are a lot of cards out there for you. The hard thing is making something endearing. Sympathy is impossible because you never know what to say to someone who is suffering and really there are only a handful of ways of saying "I'm here for you" or "I'm sorry for your loss."

The other pressing issue is choosing what to print for shops that only want a small batch of cards. I have over 250 styles and I think 200 of them are no occasion cards. It’s so nice to get a weird card that the sender writes what it’s for on the inside. I think I appeal to the crowd that has a lot of inside jokes. A lot of people connect with the cards that have goats. I cannot tell you why, but seriously, slap a goat on it and you have solid gold.

Let’s start with some eye-opening statistics: Ninety percent of hiring managers say that being thanked for a job interview positively affected a job candidate’s chances. Twenty-two percent of hiring managers admit they’d be less likely to hire a candidate who didn’t send a thank you note. And only thirteen percent of these hiring managers reported receiving a thank you note. 

 

5 tips for landing a job with a thank you card

 

What do these numbers tell us? If you’re a candidate in today’s job market, you better start sending some thank you notes!

When interviewing in person, it’s considered the norm for candidates to send at least a thank-you email the same day, post-interview. But those who follow up with a snail-mail note the next day become the real standouts!

It’s clear that prospective employers appreciate receiving thank-you notes after a job interview. More importantly, they seem to notice when you don’t send one. Writing a thoughtful thank you is a key way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. 

Here are five tips for writing a sincere thank you note to a prospective employer: 

Be enthusiastic. Let the hiring manager know that you’re eager for the job, but don’t confuse enthusiasm with desperation. Keep the positivity but curb an over-eager tone. A great example of open-ended enthusiasm: “I enjoyed our discussion of the XYZ project and I’ve been thinking about how I can help move the project forward by doing A, B and C.”

Be specific. Explain what the hiring manager did to benefit you while in the interview. For example, ”Thanks so much for investing your time in our meeting. I appreciate you taking the time to explain the position in greater detail, and for being honest with my questions.” 

Sound human. Look beyond stuffy language to express yourself. Talk about why you’re appreciative and what the hiring manager’s actions mean for you, without being dramatic or long-winded.

Provide clarity. If you felt you gave a weak answer to an interview question, use the thank-you note to revisit the issue. Ever thought to yourself, ‘I should’ve said X, Y and Z!”? Now’s your chance.

Provide follow-up information. Interviews often end with a “we’ll be in touch.” Provide additional information, or inquire about information you didn’t receive. This shows you were paying attention and that you’ve got initiative. 

It is important that you remain in close contact with well-connected hiring managers, and an appropriate "thank you" is well worth the small effort it takes. Find the perfect thank-you card now.

It’s that time again! Each month on the Card Gnome blog, we’re featuring a Card Gnome artist to share a little history, a little background, and a lot of inspiration!

This month, we’re pleased to introduce Brittany Groener, the calligraphist and artist behind Creative Collection. Brittany is a lifelong artist who recently turned her creative energies toward card-making, and enjoys weaving wit and sass into her work. Welcome, Brittany!

 

Brittany Groener

 

Brittany, tell us a little bit about yourself: What got you interested in card-making? 

I've always loved cards. It takes me forever to choose cards in stores because I have to look at all my options before picking. I'm also an artist and love creating, so it only made sense for me to try out making my own cards. I created my first card about six months ago, and felt inspired to make an entire line soon after.

 

Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?

I do have a blog, but I don't keep up with it as often as I should. 

 

Do you have a favorite artist? What draws you to that person’s work?

My favorite artist is Andy Goldsworthy. His combination of sculpture and photography is simply breathtaking. The amount of effort and time he puts into his pieces—a lot of which end up getting ruined mid-process—is remarkable. I'm intrigued by his transformation of nature into something even more beautiful than it already is.

 

Where do you gather inspiration for your work?

For my cards, I like to get inspiration from witty sayings. I try to make them simple and sassy, while still creating something cute and original.

 

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating your cards?

For me, the hardest step in my card creating process is not adding too much. Sometimes, it's hard not to go overboard with designs, but in the end, I want to be sure to stick with my style.

Birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries are just the tip of the card-giving iceberg! Here, we’ve gathered an alphabetical list of 26 reasons to send a card.

 

ABCs of card giving

 

Awesomeness

Let’s face it. Sometimes, we just need to tell that special someone how awesome they are. A card is a great way to do it! 

 

Birthdays

Whether it’s on-time or belated, a real, paper birthday card is a wonderful way to wish friends and family a happy birthday! 

 

Co-worker’s new promotion 

Congratulate your hardworking co-worker on their new promotion. 

 

Dog-sitters

It takes a special person to watch your beloved Wilber. Thank your dog-sitter for taking such good care of your pooch with a sweet thank you card. 

 

Easter

Bunnies! Chicks! Easter eggs! We’ve got them all with our wide selection of Easter cards. 

 

Father’s day

Dad, you’ve been there through it all. (And you still love me!) Each June, send Dad a card for Father’s Day. 

 

Grandma loves cards

Grandma always loves to hear from you, and a card is a wonderful way to send your love through the mail. 

 

Homesick

Exploring the world is great, but there’s no place like home! Send your homesick loved one a reminder of their favorite place on earth.  

 

I love you

Everyone likes to be reminded that they’re loved. Like Lionel Ritchie crooned, “I just sent a card, to say, I love you!” Isn’t that how it goes? 

 

Just because

Which day is best for sending someone a card? Any day! Make your friend, family member, or special someone feel the love with a card just ‘cause.

 

Kids love to feel special 

First day at a new school, a major milestone, or a job well done: no matter the occasion, kiddos love to feel like they’re doing a great job. 

 

Last day of school 

School’s out for summer! Let the fun begin and congratulate your kiddo on another school year under her belt. Now, which way to the pool?

 

Mother’s Day

Mom’s been there from the beginning — quite literally. Remind Mom that there’s no one else on earth more special! 

 

New baby

Oh, baby! When friends or family welcome a bundle of joy into this world, a card is a wonderful way to send warm wishes and heartfelt congratulations! 

 

Offering an apology 

Oops. My bad. Really sorry. Sincerest apologies. However you want to say it, saying you’re sorry with a card can mean a lot. 

 

President’s Day 

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers thought it was a really great idea to send a President’s Day card!

 

Quitting your job!

How do you spell FREEDOM? I-Q-U-I-T! Celebrate your friend’s next career adventure with a celebratory card!

 

Rough times 

When the going gets rough, the rough need a card. Send your wishes for happier days and better times ahead with a heartfelt card. 

 

Sisters are the best

Sisters can be some of the best friends you’ll have, ever. Let your sister know how much she means to you with a sweet (or sassy!) card.

 

Thank you 

Danke. Grazie. Merci. However you want to say it, saying thank you can take your expression of gratitude to the next level. 

 

Unexpected mail - people love it!  

You know the feeling: opening the mailbox to see a real card with a real stamp. Send that feeling of joy to someone you know today! 

 

Valentine’s Day 

Honeybun, I love you to the moon and back, especially if it’s February 14. Show your sweetie you care (and you remembered!) with a Valentine’s Day card.

 

Wedding anniversary 

A wedding is one day, but wedding vows last a lifetime. Send your husband or wife a card to celebrate the day you pledged your love for each other. 

 

Xmas time

Hey, if Santa can visit every house in the world, it shouldn’t be any trouble for you to send a few cards to your best friends and family.

 

Your teacher rules!

Teachers have one of the hardest jobs in the world. Give your teacher a pat on the back with a meaningful card!  

 

Zany Aunt Martha beat breast cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Celebrate your family member or friend’s recovery with a card!

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