Thursday, June 26, 2008

Halloween Costume Party

ABOVE: Jeeb's the Butler says "Welcome to the party, would you like some candy?"


ABOVE: Haunted Graveyard in front yard

ABOVE: Magick Alchemist's Lair

ABOVE: Mad Scientist's Laboratory

ABOVE: Witches' Cottage greets guests as they come through front door

Hello everyone,

Are you looking for creative ways to raise money for your next charity fitness event? My husbands birthday is October 21st. For the past two years we have hosted a Halloween Costume Birthday Party at our house in order to help us raise funds for the Leukemia Societies Team in Training program.

We find that we are more successful raising funds by hosting small events at our house, with our friends and co-workers, than trying to host large group fundraisers at a local restaurant or other public venues.

For the Halloween Party we had a suggested fund raising donation of $10 per person. Some people gave less, but many of our guests ended up donating more. We raised approximately $600 last year during our Halloween party. And we had a rip-roaring, hooting-tooting good time. WOO-HOO!!!

You could charge admission to your party, but this was also my husband's birthday party, so we didn't want people not to show up because they couldn't pay the admission fee. We setup a donation area on the breakfast bar in our kitchen. The donation area had a donation box, donation slips, pictures of our honored hero, pictures of Rob and I cycling in our Team in Training uniforms, copies of our fund raising letters, business cards I printed out with the web address for our fund raising site and our medals from the previous events we had done with Team in Training.

Throughout the night we would talk to small groups of people, or individuals, about our involvement with Team and Training and how we were helping to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Make the fund raising portion of the evening casual, no hard selling. You want everyone to HAVE FUN and not feel pressured into making a donation.

I am a Halloween nut, and probably have more Halloween decorations than Christmas decorations. I went a bit crazy two years ago, for my husband's 50th birthday party, and went and bought TONS of decorations. So now I'm one of those crazy people that starts decorating for Halloween around the middle to end of September.

We decorate the ENTIRE house, inside and out. We have a ton of decorations in front of the house, including a large cemetery area. Each room inside the house is decorated in a certain spooky theme. Last years room themes were:
  • Witches' Cottage
  • Mad Scientists Laboratory
  • Magick Alchemist's Lair
  • Victorian Parlor
  • Creepy Crawly Kitchen
I am a freelance writer, and a lot of my articles feature my own original recipes. So for the Halloween party I got really creative with food. Here is what we had at last years party.

  1. Bat Wings - chicken wings
  2. Bucket of Blood - punch bowl filled with pomegranate juice mixed with lemon/lime soda
  3. Dragon Poo - chocolate walnut fudge rolled into interesting shapes
  4. Pig Entrails - crock pot full of mini franks and baked beans
  5. Brain Salad - coleslaw
  6. Charred Bones - BBQ ribs
  7. Dried Scabs - dried cranberries and raisins
  8. Devil's Eyeballs - deviled eggs topped with an olive slice
  9. Flesh Rings - ham and cream cheese roll ups

Although most of the photographs that are included in this post were taken during the day, everything looks much scarier at night. The party started at 7:30 PM, so everyone was getting there in the dark - cool!!! We had tons of lights, strobe lights, black lights, spooky sound effects and all kinds of awesome things. Quite a few of our decorations had motion sensors on them, so they would light up, move and make noises whenever someone walked by them.

I'll be posting up information on the Girl's Club Tea Party fund raiser we hosted last year. That was a kid friendly party that took place during daylight hours. But our Halloween party was planned as an adult's only party - no kids allowed. Well, our kids, age 12 and 17, were in and out of our house during the party, but they live there.

The Halloween party was probably a bit too bawdy, for kids, and I didn't think really small kids would be too happy with some of the scary decorations we had setup. The party went from 7:30 PM to midnight. Some of our guests brought a few spirits along with them to drink, enough said. What happens at the Halloween party, STAYS at the Halloween party!!!!!

ABOVE: Fortune Telling Table

ABOVE: More decorations!

ABOVE: Festive Party Goers

Please note, the date of this year's Halloween Costume Birthday Party is scheduled for Saturday, October 18th from 7:30 PM to MIDNIGHT. Rob is turning 52 years old this year - SCARY! Ask nicely, and we just might send you an invitation!

Tour de Cure

I just spent an hour yesterday with Katie Hawken, the Manager of the south Florida American Diabetes Association. She saw my Bike Diva blog and asked if I could meet with her to talk about starting a charity bike ride, to benefit the society, in the south Florida area.

The American Diabetes Society is trying to bring a Tour de Cure ride down to the south Florida area next year. Right now they are looking at the first weekend in March. But Katie will let me know when she has a definite date. The other locations of the Tour de Cure in Florida are Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and Sarasota. They are looking to start the south Florida ride somewhere in Broward County, that way they hope to attract riders from the Miami/Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County areas.

Katie is looking for feedback/ideas from cyclists familiar with biking in the south Florida area. Once she has a tentative route for the ride mapped out, she is looking for a few cyclists to actually go out and ride the route, or at least part of it, to let her know if it is a good or bad route to ride.

Rob and I were thinking about doing the Tour de Cure in Orlando for the past two years, but just never made it up there. I’m not sure of the exact miles, but I was just looking at the Sarasota Tour de Cure which has 100, 62, 35 and 15 mile options. Fund raising minimum is $150 per person. Proceeds benefit the American Diabetes Association. You can register for the ride as an individual or form a team.

I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my daughter which puts me at risk for getting adult onset diabetes. Both my sister-in-law and father-in-law have diabetes. So I will definitely be doing this ride in order to support the American Diabetes Association. The societies mission is “to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.”

Katie is also looking for volunteers that would like to be part of the committee that will actually be planning the ride. The American Diabetes Association is a non-profit organization and needs all the help they can get to help make this a really terrific ride. You can contact Katie my emailing her at

I’ll post up more information when it becomes available.

Take care,
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Team in Training FUNdraiser

Kathleen Pacheco, a mentor for the Team in Training marathon team, is hosting a fundraiser to help raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The fundraiser takes place at Slainte Irish Pub, in Boynton Beach, on July 14th.

Here is a copy of the flyer she gave me. For further information contact Kathy at 561-373-9600.

The fundraiser will include free samples of selected cookbook recipes from the fundraising cookbook Kathy, along with co-mentor Ashley Siegel, put together to help raise funds for their event. See my May 13th post for additional information on the cookbook.

Good luck Kathy!

Bowling Fundraiser

Viviana, a member of Team in Training, is having a bowling fundraiser to help raise funds for her event. The fundraiser takes place at Don Carter Lanes, in Lake Worth, on Sunday June 22nd.

Here is a copy of the flyer she gave me. Contact Viviana at 561-445-8382 for further information.

Good luck Viviana!

Monday, June 2, 2008

TNT Stretching Clinic

On Sunday, June 1st, after our team bike ride, physical therapist Vauleia Akimenko held a stretching clinic for members of the TNT triathlon and cycle teams. The clinic was held in Bryant Park in Lake Worth where we started/ended our ride.

I've attached a copy of Vauleia's business card to the top of this post in case anyone wants to contact her. I'm also including 2 pages of cycling specific stretches from Bob Anderson's Stretching book. Many of these stretches can be performed using your bike as a support.

Vauleia mentioned that stretching before and after doing a ride is very important to help prevent injuries. Now that our rides are getting longer, a good habit to get into, is to do a few stretches at the rest stop, while our muscles are warmed up. I find that stretching at the end of the ride is helpful too, but if I forget to stretch at the end of the ride, I always try to stretch out once I get back home.

Vauleia handed out a stretching, strengthening and injury prevention workbook at the clinic, which included b/w photos of cycling specific stretches. See Jill Kieta at the next team ride, if you haven't picked up your copy of the workbook.