Ecards

October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween

Filed under: eCards, halloween ecards — Tags: , — ecards @ 4:28 pm

Happy Halloween! We at GotFreeCards.com have produced many different products to help you wish your friends and family a safe and happy Halloween. So we thought it would be best to list it here so you (our readers) can easily find them.

Halloween Links

  1. Free Halloween Ecards – Email animated ecards without registration or download
  2. Printable Halloween Cards – Print a card at home
  3. Halloween Photo Ecards Upload your photo, choose Halloween frames and send it out with Halloween themed animations
  4. Halloween Photo Cards for you to create your own invitations with your own photos

Do let us know what you liked the best.

October 27, 2009

Have a Green Halloween

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Halloween is as good a time as any to think about the biggest scare on our planet. It’s not our jobs or the swine flu, but how much our collective actions are affecting the earth’s delicate balance. Wait! Don’t leave. I’m not going to talk about depleting oil resources, melting polar ice and global warming. But I do hope you’re giving your actions and your carbon footprint some thought in view of all this.
Now, we may not always do everything we can to make sure that we minimize waste and use resources wisely and responsibly. But an occasion like Halloween gives us the opportunity to reconsider our choices. Why commit the same mistakes over and over when this year, we have the chance to change the way we do things?

Total Halloween spending is expected to be decline this year down to $4.8 billion from last year’s $5.8 billion. Whoa! That’s still a lot of money to be spending on plastic pumpkins, non-recyclable costumes and candies. Can we really afford to look the other way?

When I sat down and thought about how I could go green this Halloween (the very first time we will be actually celebrating Halloween with our 3 year old), I was surprised at how simple it is to make greener choices. Besides, these options save us a lot of money that we would otherwise have spent on things that would only be thrown away.

So, to go green this Halloween,

  • Send e-invitations for your Halloween costume party. Use twitter invites or photo cards as invitations.
  • Send free Halloween ecards to greet (and spook) your friends and family. If you must get greeting cards, check out our free printable Halloween cards section. Print your own cards at home, using both sides of the paper, or better still, recycled paper.
  • Reuse or recycle an old costume costume, or even better, make your own costume using natural, earth-friendly material like burlap, or reuse old sheets, curtains and leftover fabric.
  • Before you buy Halloween decorations or accessories, find out if they’re made from sustainable materials and in an ethical manner. Would you really be willing to pay for and wear a mask that was made by a starving 6 year old in horrible working conditions for a meager pay? Look for retailers and vendors who offer greener alternatives
  • Instead of buying plastic pumpkins, come up with creative alternatives – a straw hat, an old bag, or wicker basket, a fruit bowl with a handle. With a little accessorizing, it will look just perfect! Tell your child why her candy basket is unique and special, so she doesn’t succumb to ridicule from her friends. It’s never too early to teach kids the value of conserving resources and preserving our planet.
  • For your Halloween party, use reusable plates, cups and spoons instead of paper or plastic.
  • Use a reusable cloth bag for treats. Personalize the bag with the child’s name or initials embroidered or painted on it.
  • Serve healthy food and snacks, preferably obtained from a local farmer’s market. Look up recipes for dishes you can prepare with seasonal fruits and vegetables Fresh, locally grown food tastes better and is packed with nutrition.
  • Finally, if possible, walk around your neighborhood, instead of driving, as you take your kids trick-or-treating.

…and when it’s all over, consider donating or recycling some of the costumes, decorations and accessories instead of discarding them. See? It’s not as hard as we think it is.

Do you have tips to share for a greener Halloween? Please share them with us.

Have a Happy and Green Halloween. And don’t forget to send free and green Halloween ecards!


October 25, 2009

Halloween Checklist – Strike it off before you set off trick-or-treating

Have you ever paid double for a Halloween costume you hate just because you are left with little choice at the last minute? Or opened your door on Halloween night to a bunch of little ghosts and witches, only to discover that the candy jar is empty?

Halloween is a few days away. But now is the time to make your Halloween checklist and start crossing things off, so you are ready for the big night. Do your best to ensure that this Halloween is all fun and no disappointment for your little trick-or-treaters. These tips will help you celebrate a smoother, spookier Halloween this year.

Before Halloween

  • Get the Halloween costume ready in time. Whether you’re buying a new one, recycling an older sibling’s, borrowing from a cousin or making your own, don’t wait until October 31 to get it all ready. If the costume is a used one, make sure it is clean, altered to the right size and has all tears or stains fixed a few days before Halloween. If you’re buying a new one, do it at least a week before, so you don’t end up with the last costume in the store that nobody wants.
  • Put candies on your shopping list. This one’s easy to forget. Even easier to remember. Simply add it to your list when you go to the grocery store or do your warehouse shopping this week.
  • Buy Halloween supplies and accessories. Don’t forget the pumpkins for your front porch and the pumpkin to hold the treats. If you have one saved from last year, get it out and dust it off a few days ahead. Remember to take it along for the trick-or-treating trip!
  • Plan the route you will take. If you plan to go trick or treating in a group, discuss the streets you will cover and the time you will leave home with the other parents.
  • Send free Halloween Ecards to friends and family.

On Halloween

  • Have a hearty meal before starting out. This goes for you and the kids.
  • Pack supplies. Don’t forget snacks, pumpkins to hold candies, umbrellas, coats, flashlights, sanitizing wipes, tissues and water.
  • Carry your cell phone.
  • Ensure your car has enough gas, if you’re going trick-or-treating on wheels.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. The night could get cooler by the end of your trick-or-treating trip, so make sure everyone wears layered clothing. Carry extra jackets for all the kids, especially if you’re planning to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Set rules. Remind your kids about not talking to strangers, not going inside homes without you, not getting into strangers’ cars, holding hands while crossing streets and not eating any of the candy until you have had a chance to check them.
  • Fill the candy jar at home before leaving. Inform the person who’s staying behind at home where the candy jar is, so the kids who visit in your absence don’t go disappointed.
  • Remember to leave your porch light on.
  • Take your camera along. It won’t be long before your kids outgrow Halloween and you’ll want memories of every trick or treating trip you have ever been on. Besides, pictures of you with the kids in costume would make great Halloween photo ecards or to add to your Halloween ecards for next year!
  • Halloween cards – Print out and take along printable Halloween cards for your friends and neighbors.

October 22, 2009

Halloween Spending- Has the Economy Spooked You Out of Spending?

Halloween

Halloween

For many people, the real scare this Halloween may have nothing to do with ghosts or spirits. If only unemployment, rising healthcare costs and piling bills would simply go away from your doorstep as if they were kids dressed in costume. But the fact is, these scares are very much real.

And this has affected the way people celebrate holidays, including Halloween. This is evident from this survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. According to this report in Bloomberg.com, shoppers plan to spend an average of $56.31 on this year’s Halloween, down from $66.54 in 2008. Total Halloween spending is predicted to decline 18 percent to $4.8 billion from $5.8 billion last year, according to the NRF.

(Source : http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a0EG93b6ksdg)

Which means people may end up spending lesser on costumes, candies and decorations. Some of us probably won’t even be able to go trick or treating with our kids, because of the additional shifts we work.

Have you made changes to your Halloween spending? Tell us.

In the meantime, it’s interesting to see that some families aren’t letting the economy spoil the fun for them and their kids. I spoke to a few women about how much they spend on their kids’ costumes and candies every year and whether this year would be any different. Surprisingly, many of them said this year wouldn’t be any different. When I dug deeper into their answers, I discovered that this may be due to the fact that they already had a tight budget and knew a smart way to spend it. Their answers also had some useful tips that all of us can use to cut back on Halloween spending without cutting back on celebrations.

Shanti, mother of two girls, for example, says she spends about $25 on Halloween costumes for each of her kids. But since she reuses costumes for younger siblings and cousins, she usually ends up spending lesser than budgeted. Priya, another mom shares the same view. She reuses the costume until her daughter has outgrown it and then passes it on to her friends.

Vimala, who has a young daughter, doesn’t spend anything on costumes. She makes her own Halloween costumes from leftover fabric or from her little girl’s existing dresses. She spends about $10 on candies.

Kavitha, who also has a young daughter, says she and her friends swap costumes every year. So when her daughter outgrows a costume she passes it on to a friend with a younger child and she in turn borrows a costume from another friend. This way, not only do she and her friends save on expensive Halloween costumes but they also end up pleasing their kids who end up with a different costume every year.

Julie, who has three boys, says she encourages the kids to come up with a theme and gives them a combined budget for costumes. They are free to spend the amount any way they like. Sometimes they end up buying one full-fledged costume and a few accessories, which they all take turns wearing. Each kid gets to wear the costume for about an hour. Other times, each of them buys elaborate accessories and masks and don’t really buy a costume. This way, they still get dressed up in costume for Halloween, but since they’ve pooled their money and come up with a theme, they really know the value of every dollar spent.

So, there are many ways to celebrate Halloween without being spooked out of your wits by the expense it will bring.

And regardless of whether you save on costumes or candies, there is one aspect of the holiday where you won’t have to spend a dime. And that’s sending Halloween Ecards.

Check out our selection of free Halloween Ecards and pick one you like. Or send a Halloween Photo ecard for a more personal touch. And if you’re the type that prefers traditional Halloween greeting cards, then our Free Printable Halloween Cards section is for you.

Go ahead and send one. Or ten. It will still be free. Now, that’s one Halloween treat that comes with no tricks attached.

Have a Happy Halloween!

October 19, 2009

Happy Halloween With Photo Ecards

Filed under: halloween ecards — Tags: , , — ecards @ 4:05 pm

Spook your friends with photo ecards

Going trick or treating in a scary costume is not the only way to celebrate Halloween. Why reduce the occasion to just an evening of fun, when you can get into Halloween spirit (pun unintended) days, if not weeks, ahead.

Yep! Although it’s only October, it’s Halloween that officially sets us in holiday mood. Regardless of the status of your job, the economy, swine flu and other issues, celebrating occasions and holidays is a great way to keep yourself motivated and positive.

Everyone knows that Halloween customs were initially adopted as a way to scare away spirits that visited the earth. Whatever the true reasons may be and whatever version of the story you like to believe in, a little fun never harmed anyone. Besides, going trick or treating with our kids once a year may be the only opportunity for some us to even meet our neighbors.

The interesting thing about Halloween is, everybody expects you to be dressed in a costume on Halloween night. You expect to see ghosts and ghouls and witches and vampires at your doorstep on Oct 31. That anticipation shaves off a little bit of the fun associated with scary Halloween surprises. You open the door, you see a ghost, you smile and head for the candy tin. Where’s the fun? The element of shock? The surprise?

So this Halloween, try something different. How about a harmless prank played on your neighbor? (harmless being the operative word!) Maybe his newspaper disappears mysteriously a few days in a row and in its place he finds a …let’s see….a picture of a skull? Ok, maybe that’s lame, but you can definitely come up with something cleverer.

The point is to let the fun begin a few days ahead, in preparation for Halloween.

And one terrific way to do that is with Halloween Cards. Our selection of Halloween ecards are great for reminding people of the upcoming holiday and to send a little spook their way. But even better are free photo ecards or halloween printable cards. You can’t possibly make it to every costume party at your friends’, colleagues’ or relatives’ places. But you certainly can send a photo card with a picture of you in a costume to everyone. And for that, you don’t have to wait until Oct 31. You can start today. Simply get into a costume, get yourself photographed and you’re on your way to sending your friends and family a free Halloween photo ecard.

Try it. And let us know how your friends liked it.

October 15, 2009

Happy Diwali to our readers

Filed under: About GotFreeCards, diwali cards — Tags: , — ecards @ 2:39 pm

We at GotFreeCards have many different Diwali cards so here are some quick links to help you navigate easily

Here’s wishing all our readers happy, safe and prosperous Diwali!

October 14, 2009

Diwali Fireworks – not your typical fireworks display

Filed under: about holidays, diwali cards — Tags: , — ecards @ 10:18 am

Diwali

Diwali

The first time I witnessed a Fourth of July fireworks display, I was completely blown away by the grand scale of the event, the crowds, the parade, the tempo and celebrations around me. It was truly an exhilarating experience as I sat atop a hill overlooking a park, with hundreds of others and watched the spectacular display of fireworks against the backdrop of the beautiful summer skies of North Carolina.

As memorable as this experience was, and as much as I enjoy watching the July 4th fireworks year after year, it doesn’t really compare to the Diwali fireworks I enjoyed as a child in my very own backyard – the fond memories of which I carry to this day. I may be far away from my family and having fireworks in my porch or backyard may be out of the question here in the US, but every year, as Diwali approaches, my thoughts wander down memory lane.

In India, the approach of Deepavali, the grandest festival of the year, is marked by the sights and sounds of fire crackers and sparklers, that are seen and heard days ahead of the actual festival. Although I like the idea of an entire town or neighborhood gathering in a park to view communal fireworks, as is the practice in July 4th celebrations in the US, it took a little getting used to initially. You see, Diwali is an occasion when children and adults alike participate actively in the bursting and display of fire crackers. ‘Rockets’, ‘Pencil crackers’, ‘Floor Chakra’, ‘Fountain Crackers’ are some of the varieties of fire crackers that we enjoyed as kids. Each had its unique feature and appeal.

Children laid out the fire crackers to dry in the sun days before Diwali. We compared each other’s collections and secretly eye another’s more exotic variety. The actual bursting of crackers began a few days ahead. Unable to contain our excitement, we would begin bursting our fire crackers one after another. As Diwali neared, box after box of fire cracker and sparkler was opened. When Deepavali finally arrived, it was a grand finale to the weeks of celebrations. Friends and family came together at someone’s terrace or courtyard to partake in the joyous event. We shared our fire crackers and enjoyed each other’s displays. Healthy competition ensued between neighboring streets or communities as to which display was grander or lasted longer. Children, dressed in their finest, holding sparklers in their little hands were truly a sight to behold. From toddler to octogenarian , there was a fire cracker to suit everybody’s taste and style – from the simple, hand-held sparklers to the loudest of ‘bombs’ to the most complex, nested rockets.

There’s something about that kind of chaotic and casual, friendly fireworks display that is missing in the extremely well-orchestrated displays we are used to today. Although viewing a sophisticated fireworks extravaganza in the skies above is an enthralling experience, it somehow is not the same as participating first-hand in the bursting of fire crackers with family and friends in one’s own backyard.

Which is why I will certainly be going to the Diwali fireworks display in my city. The Hindu Temple of Atlanta organizes a fireworks display in which children and adults can actually participate. And that’s an event I won’t be missing. I want my three year old daughter to experience, at least in some form, the thrill of Deepavali fire crackers first hand. If you’re looking for a similar experience, be sure to join the Diwali celebrations in your city. Just warn your kids though that it’s going to be a different kind of fireworks display! Maybe not as sophisticated as July 4th, but probably a lot more action than they’re used to!

To give them a hint as to what they might expect to see, send them this free Diwali Ecard which captures beautifully the essence of Diwali fireworks.

Editors Note:

For our complete list of Diwali ecards click here

For diwali celebrations in your area click here

October 11, 2009

How to pick a Halloween Costume

Filed under: halloween ecards — Tags: , — ecards @ 12:09 pm

Kids’ favorite time of the year is back. Seeing all the Halloween costumes on display in stores led me to wonder- how exactly do you pick a costume when there’s so much to choose from? How do you decide on a Halloween costume for your kids (or yourself, for that matter?)  Do you simply pick the one that’s most attractive? Or do you go with the year’s most popular choice? Do you shop by price?
This will be the first year I will be actively shopping for a Halloween costume for my 3 year old. And these are some of the ways I’m considering shopping.

Browse around: If I’m going to spend approximately $30 on a costume that will most likely be used just once, maybe twice, I’m going to spend some time and effort looking for the best value. Consider looking at options in at least three different stores before you decide on a costume. Browsing around lets you compare variety, prices and quality. You don’t have to set aside a date and time to do this – just keep your eyes open when you go shopping for something else or to the mall. You can start this preliminary research in late September or early October.

Discuss your budget and costume ideas with your kids: If you leave costume shopping until the last minute, you’re sure to end up spending an exorbitant amount on costumes which may not even be your kids’ first choice. Planning a little ahead is helpful, especially with older kids. Sit your kids down a few weeks before Halloween and let them know what your costume budget is for the year. Make sure they understand that any costume they pick has to be within that range.  Then, ask them if they have any particular characters or costumes in mind. So when you go window shopping, you know what you’re looking for. Encourage them to be flexible with the costume or character idea.  Keep a few backup costume ideas handy in case the one they want is out of stock or beyond your budget.

Decide on a theme: You could decide on a Halloween costume theme as a family. Come up with a theme that you all can agree on – say, for example, you all dress up as a family of witches. Be creative and come up with original themes. Your family could dress up as green vegetables – one of you could be spinach, another broccoli, a third lettuce and so on. You could go trick or treating as a salad plate!! Or maybe you could be characters from Harry Potter. You don’t have to stick to traditional Halloween ideas. Together, you can come up with a costume theme that is fun for everyone and you may be able to save on accessories when you buy them in bulk.

Look for costume’s future potential: Another aspect to keep in mind when picking a Halloween costume is whether you can reuse it. If a school play is coming up where you child plays a certain character, you might consider buying a costume that could work for both occasions. Or maybe a sibling or cousin could use the costume the following year. Halloween costumes usually have short life spans. But, if you can stretch their value a little more than usual, it’s savings you could certainly use.

Make your own costume: This is my favorite way to get a Halloween costume.  Whenever possible, I prefer reusing and recycling things at home rather than buying something off the shelf. While the finished product may not look as professionally made as the store-bought one, the pride and joy of making something, the learning experience and the time spent together as a family are far more valuable. This goes for birthday gifts, homemade gift wrappers, free halloween printable cards and yes, Halloween costumes as well. There’s a lot you can do with a piece of fabric, an old pillow cover or towel, cotton wool, brown paper, cardboard, cereal boxes and other things you’ll find if you just looked around you.

This could be a great craft project for kids and a fantastic money saver for parents. Not to mention a super-fun family time.

Tell us about how you go Halloween costume shopping!

October 8, 2009

Update on – What are we working on?

Halloween

Halloween

A few weeks back we talked about how to Indian Festivals will kick off our busy season. Obviously Christmas and New Year is going to be the play offs. But these days we are working on diwali ecards and Halloween ecards do check them out. Also do not forget free printable Halloween cards here you can find cards to color. This is an awesome project for kids and since they are free you can print out a bunch so that they can distribute  to their classmates. The other fun feature here is that you can even add a class photo and make it even more personal.

Do not forget we have recently added printable photo cards perfect to create birthday invitations right at home. We are also working to add more photo frames that will be halloween themed. So be sure to re-visit us soon or join our newsletter.

October 6, 2009

Free Ecards for Diwali – How do you pick a favorite?

Filed under: diwali cards — Tags: , , — ecards @ 8:27 pm

Nothing symbolizes Diwali better than an image of children enjoying fireworks, dressed in their finest, new clothes. Which is why this is one my favorite Diwali ecards this year.

Something about the colors and joyous expressions on these kids’ faces puts me in Diwali mood already. It reminds me of all the Deepavalis I celebrated as a child. Although the anticipation of the festival set in weeks earlier, the real highlight was the arrival of gifts and firecrackers. The heavenly aroma of sweets and savories would start wafting through our home a few days before Deepavali. One evening, a few days before Diwali, my dad and uncles would bring home huge boxes of fire crackers and sparklers for all of us kids to enjoy. Friends, relatives and neighbors would drop in with boxes of sweets and gifts. Grandparents would narrate tales associated with Diwali. Every year, they would introduce us to an aspect of a story or character that was new to us.

Another of my favorite rangoli Diwali ecards (has the delicate fingers of a lady adorning her home with the traditional Rangoli – a design made on the floor with rice flour and colored powder. It is an art I have not managed to master yet, but every time I see an intricately created Rangoli, I can’t help but stop to admire it. There are many different styles of Rangolis in India. In Tamil, they’re called Kolams. A kolam is a meticulously created geometric design that adorns the front of a home or the entrance to a shrine. The more auspicious the occasion, the more ornate the design. In North India, Rangolis  – as the name suggests (Rang = Color) – are colorful designs, usually of flowers or other auspicious symbols, as seen in this free Diwali ecard.

During Diwali, the kolams and rangolis are adorned with beautiful Diyas or earthen lamps. The glow of the lamps further enriches the artistic designs, highlighting the best parts. Some rangolis are also decorated with colorful flowers and leaves.

And of course, how can one forget Lord Ganesh? On Diwali, and any other auspicious occasion, Hindus invoke His blessings before beginning any of the celebrations. So, it’s only natural that He is featured in some of these free ecards. If you have never sent out a Diwali ecard before and are not sure of which one to pick, one of these is sure to be a good choice.

Enjoy all of them and pick the ones you like the best. Go ahead and send as many as you wish. They’re all free, animated and easy to send.

Do stop by and tell us which free ecard or printable diwali cards you like best and why.

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