Goodwill’s 2015 Halloween Costume Contest Finalists!

To all the scary creatures, comic book heroes, pirates, fairies and other creative costume artists out there: You are fabulous! Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Goodwill Halloween Costume contest. We had a fantastic response, receiving over 30 entries that showed your creativity and individuality. All the entries were so creative, it  was really tough to narrow down the top three. Visit our Facebook Page to see all submissions.

We used two independent panels for the selection. The first panel of judges narrowed all the entries down to 11 that demonstrated the most original and creative use of Goodwill-purchased materials. Then a second panel was given those 11 from which to choose the three finalists. It was a difficult job, but so much fun! Now, you get to pick the winner! The top three costumes are:

“The Raggedy Ann & Andy Family” – submitted by Kelly W.

The Raggedy Ann and Andy Family Halloween Costume

Kelly W. made her family costume entirely from materials found at Goodwill. She purchased a bed skirt which she used to create Raggedy Ann’s apron and Raggedy Andy’s collar and hat.Raggedy Ann’s dress and hat came from Goodwill along with a red t-shirt that she used for their hair! Creative and thrifty!

“Freezer Burn Freddie” – submitted by Katie S.

Freezer Burn Freddie severed head in a freezer costume

Katie’s son, Jacob, wanted to be something scary for Halloween so the whole family worked together and created this frozen severed head. The white turtleneck was purchased at Goodill, the fridge handle was given to them by a used appliance shop and the rest was boxes and paint! Fake blood towel and handprints, along with a devilishly clever “grocery” list compete this entirely DIY costume.

“Transformer” – submitted by Kaleena T.

Transformer Grimlock costume

Kaleena used a paintball mask, lacrosse gloves and a foam mat from Goodwill, along with foam mats purchased elsewhere to build this intricate costume of Transformer Dinobot, Grimlock. She used an exacto blade to shape the pieces and a heat gun to mold them with her hands. Kaleena says that without Goodwill, this costume, which took her nearly three months to make, would have been much more expensive.

It’s time to vote for your favorite!

Vote here for the costume that you think should be the winner of our Costume Contest!

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.21.32 PM

1st prize: Apple iPad mini
2nd prize: $50 Goodwill Gift Certificate
3rd prize: $25 Goodwill Gift Certificate

Click here to view more information about our Costume Contest and the Terms & Conditions.

Voting will end this Friday, October 30th at Noon.  Be sure to tell your friends and family to vote!

Facebook Halloween Voting Ad large

20 Questions to Help You Decide to Keep It, Sell it, or Donate it

20 Questions to ask to decide whether to keep an item, sell it, or donate it

Goodwill partner Lorrie Morero, a professional organizer and author of “The Clutter Diet,” created a list of 20 questions to help you when trying to decide whether or not to keep an item. Print this list and keep it with you as you organize closets, clean out the garage, or declutter your home.

  1. Is this item valuable enough to pay someone by the pound to move it to another place?
  2. What would it cost in time and money to acquire this item again?
  3. Does anyone I know have one of these I could easily borrow?
  4. How much money could I get for selling this instead of keeping it?
  5. When is the last time I can remember using this item?
  6. How often do I use it – weekly, monthly, yearly, never?
  7. Do I already have something else that serves the same purpose?
  8. What is a scenario in which I can picture myself using this, and how likely is that to happen?
  9. Is there a use for this that doesn’t involve the phrase, “Someday when I have time…”?
  10. What is the worst thing that might happen if I donate or recycle this item?
  11. Is there an alternative way to capture the essence and value of this item instead? (i.e. digital copies)
  12. Does this item help create an environment that supports me in my goals?
  13. If I flipped a coin right now and heads was “keep” and tails was “donate,” which would I secretly be rooting for as the coin is landing?
  14. Does this item make me feel positive or negative?
  15. Does this item remind me of my past, or my future?
  16. If I were hit by a bus, would my family truly value this item, or even know what it is and why I kept it?
  17. What would my best friend say if he/she were standing here considering this?
  18. What would a professional organizer say if he/she were here with me now?
  19. Will I feel good about keeping this item the next time I run into it?
  20. Does someone else need this more than I do?

For all the items you decide to donate, we hope you choose Goodwill. When you donate to Goodwill, you can be confident that you are making a positive impact on your community and helping change lives for the better. Goodwill Industries of the Valleys sells your donations in its retail stores to generate needed revenue to operate Work and Training programs for people with disabilities and disadvantages.

To find your nearest donation center, click here.


Style Inspiration for the Whole Family

As Fall and cooler weather approach, look to Goodwill for your fashion inspiration. Good news! In addition to stylish looks for women, we now have plenty of style inspiration for boys, girls, and men too!

InspireInStyle look features Lucky Brand jeans and a long-sleeved Timberland polo shirt. Perfect for game day!Our latest men’s outfit is a casual combo of Lucky Brand jeans, a long-sleeved Timberland polo style shirt, worn over a crisp, white Alfani T-shirt. Lucky Brand mens’ jeans retail for around $99, but all three of these pieces cost just $10.75 at your Goodwill stores. Add a cool pair of kicks, and your guy is ready for game day. Bring on the nachos!

Early Autumn’s cool mornings and warm afternoons call for dressing in layers. This girls’ long-sleeved top and jeans are perfect for school days. Just add a jacket or sweater for the bus stop and she’s good to go. Both are from the popular clothing chain, The Children’s Place, and the total is only $4 at your Goodwill store!

This girls' Goodwill style inspiration comes with a cool pair of embellished jeans and embroidered t-shirt, perfect for school!

We hope you enjoy the looks that we’ve put together for the entire family! Keep your eye out for weekly InspireInStyle posts on our Facebook and Pinterest  pages. We’d also love to hear back from you. Tell us what kind of fashion content you’d like to see more of. Your feedback is important to us!

Ready to start shopping now? Visit to find your closest Goodwill location. Also be sure to share your fashion finds! Post them to our wall on Facebook or email them to

Also, in addition to more great Fall looks, we’ll soon be giving you lots of ideas for Halloween costumes. Stay tuned for spoooooky updates! Happy Fall everyone!


The Strength of a Compassionate Community

Last week was a difficult week for the Roanoke community. The murder of two bright and talented, young journalism professionals, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, knocked us to our knees. It was devastating for their families, loved ones, and WDBJ7 colleagues as well as to those throughout the region who welcomed them into their homes daily via newscast.

With hearts broken, we’ve witnessed the WDBJ7 staff fight through shock and tears to do their jobs and we are inspired by their courage.

 The showing of sympathy and support from our community’s residents is a reminder of why we are proud to call the Roanoke Valley home.

As employees of Goodwill, we are fortunate to continually witness the generosity of those who live not just in the Roanoke Valley, but in the New River, and Shenandoah Valleys as well. It is because those in our communities care so deeply about others that Goodwill is able to offer a helping hand to so many.

It is obvious to everyone that knew Alison and Adam that they were proud of their community. The outpouring of compassion in the wake of their deaths is evidence their pride was not misplaced.

 May we honor them with grace and kindness toward one another today and every day.

Alison Parket and Adam Ward

Alison and Adam dressed up for Goodwill’s 2014 Halloween costume feature

Adam Ward and Melissa Gaona

Adam with Melissa Gaona in costume for Goodwill’s 2013 Halloween promotion

Alison Parker and Chelsea Hartberger

Alison fixes Goodwill Marketing Assistant Chelsea Hartberger’s hair for the 2014 Halloween costume segment

How to Change the Life of a Child

GoodGuides youth and their mentors at the garden

In Roanoke, youth and their mentors are able to work in the GoodGuides Community Garden, which provides opportunities to learn new life skills. In May, GoodGuides had a picnic and games day at their garden that brought together people of all ages.

The Good News About Mentoring
Mentors are making a profound difference for boys and girls in Virginia who face challenges and disadvantages in their lives.

Through one-on-one time with their mentor as well as group activities, youth become empowered to to make choices that transform their lives in positive ways.

Celebrating Achievements
At Goodwill Industries of the Valleys, we have seen young people achieve goals they never would have dreamed of. Accomplishments like being the first in their family to graduate from high school, entering college, or getting a first job are just a few of the successes that GoodGuides boys and girls have celebrated.

 “My life today has really been improved through GoodGuides. It taught me a lot of things. It made me come out of my shell. Now I do theatre in school, when I really didn’t talk to anybody.” – Nari’k Page, youth participant in GoodGuides.

Giving Back
The youth also learn about volunteerism and giving back to their community. Recently they prepared packages of school supplies to contribute to a local back-to-school donation drive.

Why Should I Mentor a Child?
Through structure and supportive relationships with trusted adult mentors, youth in our community are empowered to make positive life choices to maximize their potential. Their successes in life have a positive impact on the communities in which they live.

Click here to find out how you can become a youth mentor and see the tremendous effect your guidance can have in the life of an area young person. You might find that it changes your life as well!

Shop Goodwill and Send Your Kids Back to School in Style!

This week we’re launching a new look for “Inspire In Style”, our online feature designed to inspire your inner fashionista!  The new Inspire In Style will include outfits for children and adults.  Today’s Good News?  Just in time for back-to-school shopping we will show you how to head back to school in style on any budget!

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Back to School Survey, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend about $630 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. That’s why so many parents have learned that Goodwill is a great place to find bargains on school supplies and clothing.

Your Goodwill stores have high quality clothes for kids at a fraction of what you would pay at the mall. As we were pulling kid’s outfits together at our Melrose Avenue store in Roanoke last week, some of the great brands we came across were The Children’s Place, GapKids, Mini Boden, Ralph Lauren Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, and Abercrombie & Fitch just to name a few. And as you know, Goodwill store inventory changes daily so you’ll find new selections to choose from every time you shop!

This week’s featured back-to-school outfit for girls includes a pair of red GapKids jeans, a MiniBoden embellished shirInspireInStyle draft verticalt, a Faded Glory jean jacket for those cool early mornings, and a pair of Schwinn roller blades. The entire outfit totals only $8! A similar outfit would cost well over $125 at a traditional retailer.

Does your child’s school have uniform requirements? You can find great basics at Goodwill too, like khakis, solid color shirts, and button downs.

In addition to big savings for your family, your Goodwill shopping dollars go directly to fund a wide variety of programs and services that enable people in our communities to get back to work and gain greater independence. One thing we hear frequently from people who attend our Real Goodwill Tour, which is open to the public and provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the services Goodwill provides,  is “I had no idea Goodwill did all these things!” When you donate and shop, you empower Goodwill to help people achieve their greatest potential.

Find your nearest Goodwill store here and shop today to get quality clothing and supplies for all your back-to-school needs.

Want to be inspired each week by our fashion finds at local Goodwill stores?  Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Vote for the Winners of Goodwill’s 2014 Halloween Costume Contest!

To all the pirates, zombies, and other creative costume artists out there: You are fabulous!   Today’s Good News: We’ve received over 30 entries that showed your creativity, individuality, and “thriftiness”. It was really tough narrowing it down to the final three. Visit our Facebook Page to see all submissions.

This morning the top three contest entries were chosen by a panel of Goodwill employees.  It was a hard choice, but so much fun!  The top three costumes are:

“The Flintstones” – submitted by Andrea S., Natural Bridge, VA

Flintstones - Andrea S.Greetings from Fred, Wilma, and BamBam! These outfits were created from Goodwill Stores all over the Shenandoah Valley! Fred’s costume was constructed from a fleece blanket that was orange on one side and black on the other. The blue tie is cut from a pair of blue scrubs. Wilma’s dress was altered and cut to create the classic Wilma dress. Styrofoam balls, elastic, and paint created the necklace. BamBam is sporting a precious mini cap and sash made from orange fleece pants out of the children’s section. His hair is made of white fleece. Bone accessories were made with papermache and BamBam’s club was made out of a brown suede women’s shirt. All costumes were constructed using a glue gun, iron on hem, and a sewing machine.

“Tusken Raider from Star Wars” – submitted by Cory G., Ferrum, VA

Tusken Raider - Cory G.

Cory created this costume with items found at Goodwill and miscellaneous supply (glue/thread/etc) from home. The inner and outer cloak was made from curtains and a bathrobe. The leather components (mouthpiece and belts) were made out of a jacket, and belts covered in the material from the jacket. The eyes are plastic cups and the tusks sticking out of the top of the helmet are sharpie pens and the helmet itself is made out of a pair of white jeans.

“Soft Served Ice Cream Cone” – submitted by Julie C., Cloverdale, VA

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone - JulieJulie made this costume from a number of items from Goodwill and the Goodwill Outlet. The base is a laundry basket covered in a waffle type material robe. They used a foam noodle to help add shape to the base of the ice cream. The ice cream was made from sheets stuffed with filling from a couple of pillows. The cherry hat was actually a red Christmas Ornament that was cut and had a strap added. The sprinkles came from a box of foam geometric shapes also bought at Goodwill.

It’s time to vote for your favorite!

Vote here for the costume that you think should be the winner of our Costume Contest!

1st prize: Apple iPad mini
2nd prize: $50 Goodwill Gift Certificate
3rd prize: $25 Goodwill Gift Certificate

Click here to view more information about our Costume Contest and the Terms & Conditions.

Voting will end this Friday, October 31st at Noon.  Be sure to tell your friends and family to vote!

This Halloween, Shop with Imagination at Goodwill then Enter to Win!

Do you want a fabulous Halloween costume, but don’t have much to spend? Today’s Good News . . . look no further than Goodwill! With a little imagination, you can put together a fun and affordable Halloween costume.

At Goodwill you can often find ready-made costumes for the whole family – and if you want to be a little more creative, we also have everything you need to make your own unique costume. Bell-bottom pants, princess dresses, and scrubs are just a few examples of items you can find at Goodwill. Imagine the possibilities!

Plus, when shopping at Goodwill, you always support our mission of helping people get back to work. Stay green by donating your costume back to Goodwill after Halloween!

Need a little inspiration to get started? Check out our Goodwill Halloween Recipe Book to get great costume ideas.

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Goodwill’s Halloween Costume Contest

Enter Goodwill’s Halloween Costume Contest for your chance to win an Apple iPad Mini.  We are looking for the most creative, individual, and “thrifty” Halloween ensembles you can find.

Here’s how to enter:*

  • Use your imagination and create a one of a kind Halloween costume
  • Take a picture and send it, along with your:
    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • E-mail address
    • Mailing address
    • And information regarding your costume, such as how it was created, what Goodwill you shopped, who is wearing it, etc., to
  • Only completed entries will be accepted.
  • All entries must be submitted by midnight on Sunday, October 26th

A panel will determine the top three costumes, which will be placed here, on the blog, on Monday, October 27th. Be sure to vote for your favorite costume on the blog before Noon on Friday, October 31st. Tell your friends and family to vote, too! Winners will be announced and notified on Friday, October 31st. Throughout the month of October the fun and frightening entries will be placed on our Facebook Page!

*Click here to view the Terms and Conditions of the Goodwill Halloween Costume Contest

Costume Contest Prizes
1st prize iPad Mini
2nd prize $50 Goodwill Gift Certificate
3rd prize $25 Goodwill Gift Certificate

A Costume a Day the Goodwill Way

Join us every day in the month of October, on Facebook! See ready-made costumes, as well as those made with imagination from items found in our stores. Let us know what you think! Click Here to visit our Facebook page.

Halloween Commercials

Take a look at our Halloween commercials and become inspired! A hard working housewife, a scarecrow, and even Lady Gaga – that’s how Goodwill spells Halloween fun in these spots celebrating our status as official sponsor of this real scream of a holiday. Have fun watching!

Halloween Commercial #1

Halloween Commercial #2

Fall Looks for Less With Goodwill

It’s hard to believe that Fall is right around the corner. Kids are starting to head back to school, cooler weather is on its way, and leaves will soon begin to change. Today’s Good News? Look great, while on a budget, this Fall with the help of Goodwill! We’ve teamed up once again, with fashion photographer and blogger, Angel, who is guest blogging for us, to show you great outfits you can find every day at Goodwill. . .

With fall quickly approaching, you might think all the fun summer colors have to be packed away until spring; however fall is the perfect time to get out those hearty fabrics. Wools, denims, chambray, and knits in blues, blacks, and browns are your best friend for looking stylish as the temperatures start to drop.  And don’t think you have to get fully covered up. Just look at our Goodwill models for some great examples of layering and mixing warm weather garments like shorts to make a style statement.

Get inspired with these fall looks we found at our local Goodwill Stores…then head to your local Goodwill to see what fall styles you can add to your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Create a new look by making a long skirt into a dress. Use your accessories, such as the shoes shown here, to add a touch of color to brighten the look. Total cost at Goodwill: Skirt $3.75, Cardigan: $3.75, Shoes: $3.00

You will be ready for date night or a casual day at work, with this fall look. Total cost at Goodwill: Sweater: $3.75, Button-Up: $3.75, Pants: $3.75

Create stylish, fall looks without breaking the bank or budget at Goodwill. Total cost at Goodwill: Shirts: $3.75, Sweaters: $3.75, Jeans: $4.50, Pants: $3.75, Shorts: $3.00.



About Angel

Based in the Virginia, Angel is a professional photographer and Street Style Blogger.

In addition to curating The Stylepreneur, Angel is also the Fashion editor-at-large for The Roanoker Magazine. He was the fashion columnist for The Roanoke Times from 2011-2014 and was the official street style photographer for Charleston Fashion Week  in 2013 & 2014. His work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Who Wear What,, and numerous other online and print publications.

Vote for the Winners of Goodwill’s Ultimate Upcycling Contest

To all you creative, inspirational, reusing, repurposing, and recycling fans who submitted to the Ultimate Upcycling Contest: You are fabulous! Today’s Good News: We’ve received over 100 entries that showed your creativity, individuality, and “thriftiness”.  Visit our Facebook Page to see all submissions.

This morning a committee of four Goodwill representatives narrowed the selection down to 10 entires in upcycling categories including: clothing, jewelry, furniture, and decor. These entries were voted on by a panel of ten Goodwill Employees resulting in the top four entries (there was a tie).  It was a hard decision, but so much fun!  The top four upcycling entries are:



Missy H.
Cushion and Storage Bench
How Missy made her Upcycling Project:  She sanded and painted all surfaces, screwed the end tables on top of the door, then added wheels to the bottom to make it movable.  She then made a cushion to put on top to sit on. Its perfect for shoe storage and for sitting to put shoes on. Items were purchased at the Goodwill Store on Brambelton Avenue in Roanoke.


Kimberly V.
How Kimberly made her Upcycling Project: She bought a headboard and footboard at the Goodwill on Main Street Salem near the old Lakeside.  The footboard was chewed up by a dog.  So she brought it home and used wood filler to repair the chewed up leg.  She cut the footboard in half and screwed each side to the back of the headboard.  Using the footboard as the side rails to her bench.  Than she boxed it in with 2x4s and also used 2x4s to go across the top for her seat.  She filled all holes and repaired with wood filler and put primer on the bench.  After that she painted it with three coats of rustoleum black paint.  Now to decorate the bench… she wanted bright colors.  She bought lime green indoor/outdoor fabric, a piece of foam, and plywood.  She cut out the plywood to the dimensions of the seat and staple-gunned the foam and fabric to the plywood…. Making her bench cushion.  Than to add some fun, she found fun fabric to sew two pillows for each end. She then found black material and stenciled the word “welcome” on it with colors she matched up from the end pillows. Items were purchased at the Goodwill in Salem on Main Street near the old Lakeside.

Lisa-G.-Entry-1Lisa G.
Kids Play Structure
How Lisa made her Upcycling Project: Her entry is a bookcase transformed into a play structure that is a market stand on one side and puppet theater on the other.  She removed part of the bookcase backing and lowered the shelves to create the market.  On the back she attached an empty picture frame and curtains (attached by velcro) made from a drapery panel to create the theater opening. She made puppets by glueing photos of her family members (and yarn hair) to wooden spoons.  They already had some of the play food but the potatoes and watermelons were made from large t-shirts.  The baskets turned into food bins and shopping baskets. Items were purchased at the following Goodwill Stores:  Cave Spring,  and Melrose in Roanoke, the Salem store on West Main Street near Walmart, and the Daleville location.


Wayne & Lois
Ski Bench
How Wayne & Lois made their Upcycling Project: 
These are old water skis that they found at the Westlake Goodwill store… They cut some short & left a couple long for the back of the chair. What a neat bench to go on their dock !! Items were purchased at the Goodwill Store in Moneta. 


It’s time to vote for your favorite!

Vote here for the entry that you think should be the winner of our Ultimate Upcycling Contest!


1st prize:  250 Visa Gift Card
2nd prize: $50 Goodwill Gift Certificate
3rd prize: $25 Goodwill Gift Certificate

Click Here to view more information about our Costume Contest and the Terms & Conditions.

Voting will end this Thursday, July 31st at Noon.  Be sure to tell your friends and family to vote!

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John King of Specialized Saw & Mower in Salem presented Goodwill's Nicole Ross, GoodGuides Program Manager, with the generous gift of a generator and water pump. This donation by King replaces a good portion of the $1700 worth of equipment recently stolen from the GoodGuides Youth Community Garden. #gratitude #community #heroes


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