Happy Halloween (Wednesday, 10.31.12)

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Everyone!

It’s Halloween — time to light your pumpkins and put out the candy for those trick-or-treaters!  Have you ever wondered how those customs came about?  Well, it seems the tradition of trick-or-treating is similar to the practice of  “souling” during the Middle Ages.  Common in England and Ireland, poor folk would go door-to-door on Hallowmas or what is now known as All Saints Day begging for food  in return for prayers for the dead.  As for pumpkin carving, it is believed that it began with the celtic custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way to remember the souls held in purgatory.  As immigrants from Ireland and Scotland came to North America in the mid-1800′s, the pumpkin became a much better substitute for carving because it was softer and larger – so, happy carving and have a frightfully fun night!  A special note to all of our American Greetings’ friends and their families who continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, you are in our thoughts this holiday.

In the mood board:  Fall’s Magic Spell ecard from American Greetings

Halloween Safety (Monday, 10.29.12)

October 29, 2012

Halloween Safety

Halloween Safety

Trick-or-treat!  It’s just about time for everyone’s favorite fall holiday, Halloween!  By now you’ve probably got your decorations up, costumes ready and your candy purchased, but there are still a few last minute details to keep in mind for both you and the kids.  After all, trick-or-treating is not only an evening event, but an outdoor one, too, so we’d like to share some advice for keeping the night frightfully fun and safe.

Costume Check:  Double-check your child’s Halloween costume.  It should be visible in the dark, but if not, add reflective tape, sold at craft and hardware stores.  Have them carry a flashlight or bright glowstick, too, and if they have a mask, make sure they can see out of it clearly.  And most important, check the weather report  to make sure your little ghosts and goblins are dressed appropriately.  This year, you may need to consider an indoor back-up plan depending on the path of Hurricane Sandy–be smart!

Stick Together:  It’s best to have an adult go along for the evening, but if your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat alone, remind them to stay together with friends at all times.  It’s more fun that way, too!  Everyone should have a cell phone tucked in a safe place, and arrange for them to check in with you at pre-set times—you can even download spooky ringtones for fun.  Be sure to map out a route in advance, too, so you know where they’ll be and remind them to only go to well-lit homes.

Candy Audit:  As tempting as it might be, have your trick-or-treaters wait until they’re home to start in on the candy. Make sure all of it is wrapped and safe, and check for any food allergy issues.  Then let them have fun trading, sorting and most of all eating their goodies!

Happy Haunting, Everyone!

Halloween Quote (Friday, 10.26.12)

October 26, 2012

Shadows Lurk and Voices Whisper…

halloween quote

United Nations Day (Wednesday, 10.24.12)

October 24, 2012

United Nations Day

united nations

The idea of a global society isn’t as new as you might think. While the use of the internet has connected people more than ever, the United Nations has been unifying the world since 1945.  Today we celebrate United Nations Day, which is the anniversary of the UN Charter.

The term “United Nations” was originally coined by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in reference to our allies in  World War II.  In an effort to prevent future violence, that prevailing concept of unity for good over evil was one of the main reasons for the official establishment of the UN.

The UN also actively promotes and defends human rights, education, economic development, health and other areas essential to a peaceful society.   And at Halloween, you maysee trick-or-treaters asking for donations for UNICEF, the branch of the UN dedicated to children’s issues.

With such a great mission, the day honoring the United Nations is something worth celebrating!  Why not host a dinner featuring some international foods  or invite your friends to bring a dish from their ethnic background.  By encouraging global understanding on UN Day and every day, each one of us can promote the important goal of a peace-filled world.

Scare Up the Happy (Tuesday, 10.23.12)

October 23, 2012

Scare Up The Happy!

Time for apple bobbin’, haunted houses and goblin fun!  This festive holiday is perfect for letting your imagination go wild!   Whether you’re conjuring up costumes, carving pumpkins or surprising trick or treaters, there are lots of ways to channel your Halloween spirit.  Planning a party?  Get out your cauldron and stir up a little eye of newt, wing of bat and fresh apple cider for a brew that’s bound to be a monster hit.  And be sure to remember all the mummies and daddies, ghoulfriends and boogie men with our frightfully fun ecards today.

In the mood board:  Scare Up the Happy ecard from American Greetings

Halloween Kick-Off (Monday, 10.22.12)

October 22, 2012

Halloween Kick-Off

Boo! It’s almost Halloween, but don’t be scared if you’re still not ready to haunt. We’re here to help with these spooktacular Halloween hints:

 Creative Costumes 

It looks like some of the most popular costumes in 2012 will be inspired by the movies.  Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games, the superheroes from The Avengers and Princess Merida from Disney’s Brave are sure to make the A-list.  In addition, you will see plenty of zombies, vampires and yes, Obama and Romney look-alikes, too!

However, if you’re on a budget, start with your own closet!  For example, take a matching color shirt and pants and pair them with fun accessories: black with cat ears and a tail, red with a pitchfork and devilish add-ons, or white with a halo and wings. You can easily find the extras at a craft or costume store.

The duct tape craze is another great help for Halloween costumes, with the sticky stuff now coming in every color and pattern imaginable. Use it to make something simple like a road sign on your shirt, or go crazy and tape your way to the ultimate duct tape costume.

Devilish Decor

It’s easy to set the stage for a frightful night with homemade decorations.  Make your own gravestones out of cereal boxes, monster luminaries out of plastic milk jugs or boo-tiful ghosts out of tomato cages.  Keep some black poster board on hand to cut out those bats, cats and witches hats.  And don’t forget to download some creepy music on Halloween night to add the finishing touch to your ghoulish ambience.

Thrilling Treats:

If you want to be the favorite haunted house on the street for trick-or-treaters, be sure to stock up on the super-sized candy bars and remember, only one per little monster.  The most popular candy in 2011 was still Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and M&M’s.  If a party is on your calendar, surprise the ghosts and goblins with some Halloween concoctions so easy, even a zombie could make them — things like Monster Claws and Eyeball Tacos.  Now that’s some scary stuff!

Sweetest Day (Friday, 10.19.12)

October 19, 2012

Remember Sweetest Day!

Sweetest Day Quote

Sweetest Day is always celebrated on the third Saturday in October.  Make it a day to share some happiness with all of the special people in your life!

Happy Owloween (Wednesday, 10.17.12)

October 17, 2012

Halloween Countdown…

Halloween Moodboard

Whooo’s thinking about Halloween?  It’s just 14 days away and it’s time to wrap up your planning – stock up on that candy, put out those ghosts and goblins and make your final decision on a costume that’s perfect for this frightful night!  And don’t forget to share some of that spooky fun with family and friends.  Whether you’re having a party, going to one or simply handing out candy this holiday, be sure to send, email or post a great card to make your favorite people smile.

In the mood board:  Happy Owloween! Talking Card from American Greetings

Meet the Artist (Monday 10.15.12)

October 15, 2012

Meet the Artist…

Meet Aaron Brudvig — one of American Greetings’  bright art talents.  He’s all about the art of animation and keeping it fun!  Here’s what he has to say…

When did you first realize you are an artist? 

When I was in third grade and I couldn’t stop drawing Garfield.  I drew Garfield on everything.

What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?

My position is a Senior Creative Developer.  I design and animate digital greetings.  Early in my career I was a fine artist and did drawings and paintings for gallery shows.  I started doing more commercial work which led me to the opportunity of working in a traditional animation studio.  I learned the traditional techniques of animation and started to apply them to digital animation.  I freelanced as a digital animator for 7 years which led me to American Greetings where I’ve been for the past 4 and a half years.

Zombie Characters

Could you tell us some more about your work?

I really enjoy character animation.  I find it to be the most challenging.  Creating a character and making it come to life is really satisfying.  I tend to create animations with a humorous tone.

What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece? 

I love looking at what other artists are creating.  There are so many amazing styles that artists come up with.  The possibility of being able to inspire someone else with something I have created really makes it all worthwhile.

With Halloween approaching, what has been your favorite Halloween assignment and what inspires you about this holiday?

I really enjoyed working on the “Sweet Escape” digital greeting.  I collaborated with Kathi Fay who created all the mini sculptures for the characters.  We took photos of those sculptures and I brought them to life by animating them.  The end result has a really unique look.  Halloween is the best holiday for characters.  You can pick any character and be that character for a day.  That’s awesome!

What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you? 

Jamie Hewlett — his Gorillaz characters have so much style.  I also enjoy the work by  animator/director Genndy Tartakovsky, namely his animated series, Samuri Jack.

What inspires you to create your designs and how do you stay motivated? 

Design and animation is such an ongoing education process.  You think you know how something works and then you find that you could also do it differently.  Every animation I work on I learn something new.  That is what really keeps me going.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Animating, animating, animating!

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? 

Don’t pigeon hole yourself into one art style.  Learn to be as many different types of artists within yourself as you can.  This opens up a broader range of projects you can work on, which equals more art fun!

Graveyard and Brains

What do you do for fun?

I’m a big kid so I have toys.  I currently love building and driving hobby grade RC cars.  Taking my cars out to different locations to drive them is a great way to get away from the computer.

The Beauty of Fall (Friday, 10.12.12)

October 12, 2012

The Beauty of Fall…

turning leaves quote

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