The Seven Deadly Sins of Comping

 

 

As 2014 draws to a hectic close, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on the things that compers often do wrong (including me!) in their quest for the ultimate prize. So this week I have put together a list of what I regard as The Seven Deadly Sins of Comping. Feel free to add any others you think are appropriate or comment below or in the Forum.

  1. Not Reading the Terms and Conditions. I wonder how many of us actually read the (sometimes long and boring I must admit) list of Ts & Cs attached to a competition before ticking the ‘I have read and accepted the Ts & Cs’box? Not many I would suspect. However, if you deliberately or inadvertently don’t adhere to some clause in the Ts and Cs, you may not be eligible for the prize, no matter how good your entry was. Most Ts and Cs are fairly straightforward and often fairly similar, so it is possible to just flip through them and take note of the main points. These are (a) closing date (b) number of entries permitted (c) whether the competition is valid in your state (d) a list of the prizes and their values and (e) who the sponsors are (in case you need to contact them!). So always read them.
  2. Missing the Closing Date. Don’t miss the closing dates – mark them on your calendar if you are going to enter them at a later time. How disappointing, to say the least, if you have just created the perfect answer and it doesn’t count and you missed out on the prize!
  3. Going Over the Word Count in a WOL Competition. If the rules of the competition says 25 WOL or even 50 WOL or 100 WOL, make sure you stick to the word count (and always spell check as well) before you hit the ‘enter’ Even if an entry is only one word over the count it is more than likely it will be disqualified. Simple as that – and who wants the same disappointment as above.
  4. Not Making Enough Effort or Taking Enough Time in a Skills-based Competition. Skills-based competitions like WOL or photo or interactive game or question and answer require much more effort than the random draw lotteries or sweepstakes and it is generally worth the effort if you win. So take your time when coming up with the answers or looking for the right photograph or that captures the theme best. There is usually some time between when you find the competition and when it closes so use the time wisely and don’t rush it.
  5. Pestering your Family and Friends for Votes until they No Longer Speak to You. Big mistake! You will need your friends and family long after the competitions close and unless you are really sure you are likely to win, this will only cause bad vibes. If you can’t get enough votes easily, give these competitions a miss. There are plenty of others out there…
  6. Spreading yourself Too Thin. If the competitions are random draws, it doesn’t matter how many you enter as long as you get them entered in time and don’t mind all the emails that will follow chasing you to buy something. However, if the competitions are skills-based it is not  worth spreading yourself too thinly as it will be the quality of the entry that will get the prize not a whole lot of ones you enter quickly without too much thought.
  7. A big no-no. Competition promoters can see and track the names of cheaters easily – that is why they ask for so much detail in an entry and often have security codes for entering. Cheaters do come to their notice and are likely to be black-listed, so it’s not really worth it in the long run.

Free Entertainment

 

 

With the Christmas/Summer holidays fast approaching it would seem to be a good idea to try to get some free entertainment for you, your family and your friends organised for the coming months. Movie and concert ticket and heaps of DVDs and CDs are always available and in plentiful supply through competitions. One of my first wins earlier this year was movie tickets through an IGA Summer Fun promotion. All I had to do was upload a fun family photo to their FB page. Easy! Through the year I also went on to secure quite a number of DVDs (mostly Lego and Playschool ones for the grandkids) and a couple of CDs (for me). I won family tickets to a Playschool Concert(for the grandkids again, boy are they lucky) from Kidspot and just recently my daughter won a double pass to The Wizard of OZ through her local paper, The Illawarra Mercury. It wasn’t that long ago that she also won a whole collection of Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs through this paper as well. I am now waiting for my last lot of movie tickets for the year from a recent Bupa promotion.

Movie tickets, vouchers and DVDs appear to be some of the easiest prizes to win as there are so many promotions with new movies being released in cinemas and on DVD all the time. They are effortlessly obtained by businesses and websites to use as prizes for their promotions and inexpensive to post out to winners. There were actually 100 double movie passes in the Bupa competition, so they were not that hard to win, the odds therefore being extremely good. If movies are your thing, it is definitely worth subscribing to movie promotional websites and FB pages like Walt Disney Studios (for the kids) to keep ahead of the pack. And if you are interested in attending a premiere of a new release you just can’t wait to see, head over to their official website and check out any promotions there too.

As well as movie passes, there are always lots of special event and concert tickets up for grabs at any time too. Popular magazines like Mindfood, Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Style (Brisbane) are great places to find both movie and concert ticket giveaways. In fact Cosmopolitan is currently running a competition with two $400 Ticketek Vouchers as prizes. That way you can choose what you want to attend if you win.

In Queensland the Sit Down Comedy Club always has tickets and DVDs to giveaway. Warner Music (on FB) has regular competitions and free downloads as well. At the moment you could try to win a VIP Double ‘Scott Dooley’ Pass through them as there are four available.

Radio Stations are great places to find out about competitions promoting movies, music and concerts. You generally have to enter them through their websites and the concerts can range from the latest music, through rock to classical. It just depends on the radio station you are happy to listen to. For middle of the road music devotees in Sydney SmoothFM 95.3 have tickets to win to Wicked, Paddington (Premiere), Doctor Who – A Musical Invasion and a front row family pass to Live!

     Speaking of Sydney (where I am at) there is a new festival happening here next March –  Spectrum Now and there are tickets up for grabs at the moment for a Dinner and Show at The Theatre Royal as part of a promotion by Fairfax media for the festival. Watch out for more on this.

There are just way too may competitions with prizes like these to list here so I suggest you keep your eyes open (especially in your local area and local paper) if you are after free entertainment like I am. However, don’t forget that there is always plenty of free family entertainment in the summer at the beach and in local parks and at Christmas time with Christmas Carols in the Park and at New Year with light shows and fireworks displays. So sit back and enjoy!

Prize Pigs and Competition Junkies

 

 

I learned a new comping acronym the other day – WEM (thanks Tracy!). It simply means ‘winning email’, something we all hope to find each time we check our inboxes. This discovery then got me thinking about comping as a hobby. It is a strange one when you start to look at it; what with all these WEL’s and WOL’s.

Although we like to call ourselves ‘compers’ many refer to us in more derogatory terms such as ‘prize pigs’ or ‘competition junkies’. Prize Pigs are actually those compers who will do almost anything to win a prize including cheating, putting in multiple entries against the rules and buying votes: the most selfish and irritating comper to have around. Let’s hope there are not too many of these in your circle of friends or family. Competition Junkies on the other hand could possibly be a reasonably accurate description of some of us.

So, is comping addictive? Yes, it can be. According to the dictionary an addiction is “a state characterised by compulsive engagement in rewarding behaviour or compulsive use, despite adverse consequences”. This would, of course, presuppose that by entering competitions over a period of time you win enough prizes for it to be rewarding or reinforcing. Obviously without any wins at all (even if small) many would simply give up! Or do they? As for adverse consequences – I suppose like any addictive behaviour if your comping was addictive it could affect your work or relationships, but hey, its not drugs, alcohol or porn and it generally doesn’t cost anything to enter most of them, so….I’ll leave that up to you.

Is comping gambling then? The dictionary defines gambling “to stake or risk money or anything of vale on the outcome of something involving chance”. For a start with comping you don’t usually stake a wager with money (or anything else of value except your time). Most competitions are free to enter. It is only raffles, lotteries, lottos and sweepstakes that involve any cost. So they are a form of gambling but not competitions, especially those that require a thoughtful or skilful answer or entry. And you don’t really ever loose – you just don’t win!

Aside from the idea that comping can be addictive, what is it then that draws us back, day after day, to seek out competitions, enter them and then wait with baited breath for those wonderful prizes to arrive at our front door or in our letterboxes? Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Comping doesn’t cost anything which is great for those (like me) who live on limited income or at least not much spare cash. It’s a low cost hobby.
  2. Comping can be quite social if you find others who share your interest and it can be a great conversation starter.
  3. Comping can be lucrative if you are prepared to stick to it and learn how to create the best entries you can as well as many of the other ‘tricks of the trade’.
  4. Winning prizes can be a wonderful way of acquiring something you can’t otherwise afford, like a holiday or to use for a present for someone else (movie tickets are well received in my family) or in the case of food or restaurant vouchers – a free meal. The more wins you get, the more likely you are to ‘get hooked’. As I said before, it can certainly be addictive!
  5. Competitions are easy and quick to find and enter especially online these days (what did we do before the internet or iphone?). And there are so many of them, we are really spoilt for choice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on comping and what it is that engages you the most and keeps you going. Feel free to share your comments below or in the Forum.

Attribution – The Pug Father

Christmas Competitions

 

 

Watch out! It’s nearly Christmas.  I know because Christmas catalogues are starting to appear in my letterbox, Santa is arriving at my local shopping centre this week (so soon?) and last weekend the Berry Markets were full of stalls with Christmassy presents and gear and two Christmas fundraising raffles. I resisted the stalls (it’s a little early for me to think Christmas yet) but I entered the two raffles – the Gerringong Lions Club annual raffle with the prize of a box trailer full of goodies and the local Marine Rescue with a small fishing boat and trailer as the main prize. I don’t enter many raffles like these through the year but my husband always reminds me that are part of our annual charity donations and isn’t that what Christmas is about? And you never know…

There are heaps of websites are currently getting into the swing of approaching Christmas with special Christmas competitions too. And as the days get closer there will be heaps more to come from everywhere, I will wager. Here are some I found recently:

  1. At www.femail.com.au I found two excellent competitions which I accordingly entered. One was for a huge prize pack from Australia Post. The other one was a Christmas Hamper A Christmas Hamper would be happily received at my place this year so I then searched around the net for a few more to entice me.
  2. At www.familycapers.com.au I also found a Christmas Hamperup for grabs so I included this in my Christmas competition list. It’s not as big a hamper as the other one but what the… They also have a 6 foot Christmas Tree as a prize in another competition so that could be worth a go too if you don’t already have one.
  3. At www.mindfood.com.au I found a New Year, New You Luxury Gift Hamperfrom Blackmores which looked pretty good too. So another competition worth entering especially if you like natural health and beauty products or have friends and family that would like them as a gift.
  4. At www.rescu.com.au I found a Goodnessme Hamper with three different ones to choose from. I quickly chose the one that I would love (all coconutty) and entered it straight away. They all looked amazingly luxurious and I would be happy for any of them under my Christmas Tree.
  5. At www.mouthsofmums.com.au I found a competition with 10 ‘Naughty List Christmas Packs’ up for grabs. I’m not quite sure what that actually means but I entered it anyway with the best 50 WOL answer I could come up with on the spot. There I also found another competition with 5 Christmas Smiggle Packs. One of these packs would be great for any little one’s Christmas stocking in the family. At Diary of a Comp Queen– www.compqueen.com.au they are also giving away a Smiggle Christmas pack – could be worth a look.
  6. What about the guys then? At ToolHQ on Facebook there is a simple random draw prize of $500 worth of tools for the handyman in your life. If you can share through your page you can get a few more entries. My husband would surely love this one although there isn’t much room in our garage for the tools he already has at the moment!

Of course, there are heaps and heaps of other competitions out there and at Christmas it doesn’t really matter what you win, as almost anything can be kept, given away, sold on Ebay or Gumtree or your local Buy, Sell and Swap site or even donated to a local charity or put under a Wish Tree (these are often put up in local department stores like K-Mart). The most important thing is to just have fun entering them and enjoying what you win!

More Winning Ways

 

 

“The measure of true success is how many times you can bounce back after failure”.

Stephan Richards

Most successful people will all agree with this hint – celebrate wins, and learn from your losses. But comping is a little different from other competitive activities or gambling as you don’t really lose anything, just a little time and energy (which of course still matters, but can be a lot of fun). It is important though to remember to always celebrate your wins, no matter how small as these will keep you going until you hit the bigger ones. Then after your celebration, sit down and contemplate how you can put in better entries next time. Review all your entries that didn’t win. Did they:-

  1. Answer the question the best way you could have with a little more thought and time?
  2. Contain more than the stipulated word count and where they entered before the closing date?
  3. Come across as interesting, heartfelt or interesting enough to attract interest from the judges?

“Keep on the lookout for novel ideas that others have used successfully”.

Thomas Edison

Competitions are everywhere these days. So don’t just rely on Facebook or online searches and websites. Constantly keep a lookout for novel competitions in local papers, at your supermarket; on billboards along the roadside; in magazines; in promotional material in your letterbox; at your local club; on labels of goodies in your pantry and on television and the radio. Although you won’t necessarily want or even have the time to enter all of them, you will gradually come to see which ones are worth entering and have the kinds of prizes you are after. Then keep an eye out for novel ways others use to enter them. The more ideas you have to play with the better. Some of the best ones to enter might include:-

  1. Those with as many prizes as possible (this, of course means you have much better chance of winning a prize even if small). Small can be good too.
  2. The more obscure (novel) ones, possibly local only to your area (this of course then means less people entering).
  3. Ones that involve a bit more energy and effort to enter than just your name address and phone number (because apart from the fact that these are probably being used just to collect contacts for promotions of their products, less people are also more likely to enter them).

“To succeed one must be creative and persistent”.

John Johnson

In the terms and conditions of many competitions these days requiring a skilled answer it is the ‘most creative entry’ (according to the judges of course) that is destined to win the big prize. But what exactly constitutes a ‘creative entry?’ Here are a few points to consider:-

  1. Is the answer, photo, or caption included in your answer unique? Is it funny? Is it quirky? Will it stand out from all the other entries?
  2. How much time have you put into the entry? Sometimes creative sparks come with a flash of inspiration while you are doing something else, like walking the dog or having a soak in the bath. Sometimes you may need to ‘sleep on it’ before the inspiration comes. Take your time if you have to.
  3. Run your answer by your partner, kids or best friend before entering it. See how they react. Is this the reaction you want from the judges?

Finally, be persistent – keep going no matter what – and good luck! 

Attribution: deeplifequotes – www.livelifehappy.com

Winning Ways

 

 

“Whenever you wan to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed?.
Paul Coelho

Like any job, hobby, sport or project to achieve the best results it is imperative to throw yourself wholeheartedly into it and stay focused. This is easier for some than others depending on other commitments but it is definitely true. It is not so much the amount of time spent on it (although it does help) it is more about the commitment. To win the sort of prizes you are after you need to focus on:-
1. The particular types of competitions with the prizes you are after
2. Putting together the best entry you can by taking time to think about your answer and always giving it your best shot
3. Not giving up too soon as everything takes time and your skills will get better the more you try (and don’t forget there is always that element of luck in it)

“We’re so busy watching out what’s just ahead of us, that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are?.
Bill Waterson

If anything, no matter how great is was when it started, becomes a chore and you are not getting any joy out of it, there is little chance of success. Your comping efforts need to be fun, you must enjoy it or it is not going to happen for you. To enjoy yourself:-
1. Choose competitions that are fun to enter. More and more Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and other online competitions are becoming fun to enter. The best ones involve all kinds of games, quizzes or uploading funny photos, creative comments or jokes.
2. Ask yourself occasionally “am I still enjoying this?
? If not, take a well earned break.
3. Treasure your prizes and wins. Pat yourself on the back for such a good effort that was obviously rewarded.

“Sharing is good and with digital technology, sharing is easy?.
Richard Stallman

There is nothing more enjoyable than sharing your fun. Doing anything as part of a group enhances the pleasure but also enables you to learn tricks and tips form other like-minded people. To share your fun:-
1. Join comping forums and post your wins on your Facebook or Instagram Pages or other social media websites.
2. Why not set up your own Comping Club with friends, family and neighbours. Maybe you could meet up once a month or so and share ideas, competitions and celebrate each other’s wins.
3. Use your prizes as gifts and presents for friends and family. Not only will this save you a heap of money (as long as you are winning) but it is a great way of sharing and using your comping skills.

Writing Competitions

 

 

Most of the time I remember the competitions I enter and the prizes I am after but as I don’t always keep a regular record of them, occasionally I am surprised when an unexpected parcel arrives at the front door. I am also delighted, mind you. This happened the other day when I was greeted by a courier who handed over a vey large parcel in which I found a DeLonghi Dehumidifier worth about $500. It took a little while to twig but eventually I realised it was a prize for writing a letter to my Sunday paper. The letter, which took me about 10 minutes to write and email, won the best letter for September.
This wasn’t the first time I had won this monthly competition. The last time was about 16 months ago when I won my Nokia Smartphone and a 6 months free unlimited phone and data plan from Amaysim. The prizes for this letter writing competition are always good, well worth winning and not that difficult. It is just a matter of keeping it short, snappy and to the point, written from the heart and addressing an issue that the magazine might see as having interest for the readers. Use your 25 WOL skills but make the letter a bit longer. Count the number of words in the letters already printed – that should give you a clue to the ideal word count.
Entering writing letter writing competitions and other writing competitions may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it occasionally works for me so I thought I would take some time here to share a few hints and tips and a couple of current ones that might be worth entering. There are plenty around at any given time and some may appeal more than others. Here are a few:-
1. Positive Words Magazine. Each month this magazine runs a mini writing competition based on a specific topic but the entry is restricted to around 100 words. On top of this each year they also run an end-of-year competition for short stories (around 500 words) and poetry (maximum of 20 lines). It costs $4 per entry but you can pay with the equivalent in stamps. I won a year’s subscription to this magazine a few years ago and it certainly boosted my writing confidence immensely. For more information visit www.positivewordsmagazine.wordpress.com/about/.
2. Reader’s Digest – 100 Word Competition. Do you think you could write a compelling story in just 100 words? Well if you can, Reader’s Digest is offering a $1000 prize to for the best one and $250 for two runners-up. All three will then be published next year. The story needs to be exactly 100 words and the competition closes on 31st December. Why not check it out at www.readerdigest.com.au.
3. Short and Twisted. This is not a competition but an opportunity to get a story into print and a free copy of the anthology when it is published in June next year. It is a collection of stories, poems and illustrations with a twist at the end submitted by mostly amateur writers. It is run each year by Celapene Press and everything you need to know and more is on their website www.celapenepress.com.au.
4. Dear Monica Competition. This last one is being run by Penguin Books Australia. It involves writing a letter to Monica McInerney (the author of Hello from the Gillespies) about a favourite family memory in less than 1000 words. The prize for the best entry is a whopping $5000 with ten runners-up receiving a copy of her book. It is easy to enter online at www.penguin.com.au/dearmonica. However you need to get it in before November 17th.
That’s it for now and for all those who are going to give any of these a try. Good luck and happy writing!

Extra Cash for Christmas

 

 

Won plenty of prizes this year and have them tucked away safely to use as Christmas presents? I hope so but if not there is still a bit of time and maybe you could also think about some other ways of lightening the financial load in the coming months. Below I have put together a few ideas that could add a little extra cash to your wallet in time for Christmas or to spend through the holiday season with your family and friends.

1. Sell your unwanted prizes or pretty much anything that is cluttering up your space and you don’t really need. There is always Ebay but why not hold a garage sale? It is the peak time for garage sales and heaps of people are getting about on Saturdays looking for bargains. If you are quick and can organise yourself (and a few friends or neighbours as that adds a bit of fun to it) by Saturday 25th October you can join the annual Australia-wide Garage Sale Trail. To get all the information you need to join; hints and tips on running a garage sale and how to register go to www.garagesaletrail.com.au.

2. Join some Survey Sites. Doing surveys can be a fun way of earning extra cash or vouchers if you don’t mind ploughing through a load of questions (some of which can be a little tiresome). Depending on the number of successful surveys you complete, it is possible to build up enough credit to exchange for cash or vouchers or to go into a prize draw. The earlier you start in the year the more you may be able to accumulate for Christmas. I don’t enter that many any more but in the past I have been able to cut sown my grocery bills each week using vouchers. One time I even won a $200 voucher from a prize draw after completely a survey (which was quite an easy one too compared to many others). Some survey sites are better than others but it often depends on your particular interests, family size and available time to complete them. Here are a few to get you started – Valued Opinions (www.valuedopinions.com.au); Rewards Central (www.rewardscentral.com.au); Your Voice (www.yourvoice.com.au) and Toluna (http://au.toluna.com).

3. Use Rewards Points. Another fairly easy way to cut down on your Christmas costs is to build up rewards points though the year and use them to buy presents, party goodies or for some of your holiday expenses. The most common ones are Flybuys and Everyday Rewards but many businesses have their own versions of them too. I use my Flybuys to buy summer clothes (as the points value double with clothes purchases) or vouchers that reduce my grocery bills when I am a little short of cash. In the past I have bought gifts with them too. My Visa Card also has a reward programme and although it is not as rewarding as Flybuys I have been able to use it from time to time for gifts as well.

4. Become a Mystery Shopper. You won’t make a lot of money by doing Mystery Shopping assignments as the payments can range from $5 to $20 but you will be reimbursed for any purchases made which can come in handy as small gifts or for lunches or dinners (usually fast food outlets or hotels). The ideal Mystery Shopper can write clear and detailed reports; do the assignments professionally and have their reports in (online) on time. Mystery Shopping can be a fun way of making a little extra cash for Christmas if you have the spare time and enjoy shopping. While these are not recommendations here are a few companies you could check out – Gap Buster (www.gapbuster.com); Mystery Shopper (www.mysteryshopper.com.au) and Hoed (www.hoed.com.au).

Finally don’t forget to enter the weekly Guessing Competition on this site (there’s real cash up for grabs) and have a go at getting to the top of the Leader-board (lots of people are enjoying their wins from this each month too).

Instant Wins

 

 

The other week I noticed a comment in the Forum asking whether anyone ever has had any luck with instant win competitions. I thought that was a good question.
The most common instant win competitions are the Instant Scratch-its. My father loved Scratch-its and for just about any family gathering would but a heap of them and give them out to everyone. Some of us won small prizes from time to time but I think it was more about the anticipation of a prize that made it fun. We all got to love that family tradition.
The odds of winning a prize with an Instant Scratch-it are about 1:4 but that doesn’t mean that if you buy four tickets you will win with one of them although if you are going to indulge in buying them, buying a few of one kind will certainly increase your chance of a small prize. The odds of winning one of the top prizes however can be quite different. This can range from 1 in 700,000 to 1 in 1,500,000 or more depending on the size of prize, which means in broad terms, you are probably more likely to win an Olympic medal (1 in 662,000) or date a supermodel (1 in 88,000) or have your car stolen (1 in 340 cars) although I am not sure whether these statistics are accurate as I am not sure where they came from.
When all is said and done there is nothing much you can do to increase your chances of winning with Instant Scratch-its except by buying more than one ticket. If you do buy tickets, buy the cheap ones as you are then more likely to at least win a prize, even if it is a small one. Instant Scratch-its, like Lottery and Lotto tickets are simply ways of raising money for the government; other instant win competitions are more about raising brand awareness or increasing product sales. I fondly remember nagging my parents into buying Streets paddle pops as a child in order to uncover instant prizes printed on the wooden sticks, although I don’t remember actually winning anything of note.
So what about some instant win competitions being run at the moment? PayPal just recently ran a “Win a Million Cents” competition and I know a couple of people who won small prizes. I didn’t. It simply involved watching a promotional video and entering through your PayPal account. It’s closed now but I am sure we are likely to see more like these in the future as they certainly attract a good following.
McDonalds Monopoly Game runs until the 21st October so if you are interested and like McDonalds you still have a week or so to try your luck to win a number of prizes including a holiday, a car, a home entertainment system or a million or so food prizes. The only hitch is that you have to get a game ticket by purchasing particular McDonalds meals. According to their promotional material and terms and conditions, there are 1 in 5 chances of winning something. By collecting property sets (i.e. by buying even more maccas) you can also try your luck at winning one of the top prizes but you will also need to register the tickets and create an account. Here is the best place to go to get all the information you might need if this appeals to you – www.maccasplay.com.au.
When looking around for more instant win competitions and scratch-its, don’t forget that like a lot of other competitions out there in cyberspace, some are simply scams. The more outrageous the promises of big wins the more likely they are not legitimate. So take care. Don’t be fooled into giving away over too many personal and financial details to untrustworthy sites or individuals and always take steps to keep your computer or smart-phone virus resistant.
But good luck if entering any of the real ones!

Photo Attribution – Senorhorst Jahnsen

Halloween

 

 

I can’t believe it is nearly the middle of October. This year is slipping by at a fast rate and soon we will be seeing children dressed in all kinds of weird and spooky costumes wandering the streets in search of treats or threatening to perform tricks.
Halloween (or All Hallows Eve) is an annual celebration observed in a number of countries on the 31st October, the eve of the western Christian feast of All Hallows Day. The traditional focus of All Hallows Eve revolves around the theme of using
?humour and ridicule to confront the power of death’. Apart from the trick or treating kids and pumpkin carving, people of all ages are known to hold costume parties and organise a night watching horror films.
Halloween celebrations are becoming more popular in Australia as each year passes so I thought I might look around for any Halloween-themed competitions that seem interesting enough to enter. Last year my local real state agent letterbox dropped pumpkin seeds and ran a pumpkin growing competition with some great prizes. I entered it but being restricted in my pumpkin-growing by my unit balcony, I didn’t win.
The first competition I came across this year was run by Skiddoo through their Facebook page. It had a prize of two return tickets to San Francisco flying United Airlines to celebrate Halloween in the United States. I duly entered my son into this as Halloween is one of his most favourite nights of the year. Unfortunately it closed on the 31st September but maybe they will hold it again next year.
The next competition I found was in That’s Life magazine. It involves sending in a photo of
?your little monster in their favourite Halloween costume’ with a brief story and contact details. Check it out a www.thatslife.com.au/win. There are five prizes of $100 Spotlight voucher. The closing date is 15th October so you still have a little time to get your costumes made, put them on your kids, take some great photos and enter.
While on the subject of Halloween costumes – at the moment Child Magazines is running a “That’s Mine Costume Box Halloween Giveaway” with four prizes of a $50 vouchers on offer from Costume Box. The closing date is the 13th October so you still have time to enter at www.childmags.com.au/win. Kidspot (www.kidspot.com.au) is one of my favourite websites for kid’s activities, giveaways and competitions. At the moment they also have a great section on Halloween costumes, activities and crafts. Free information is always welcomed in my home, especially if it is local, interesting and informative.
After a rather tiresome search the other night I finally found two more obscure Halloween competitions (there are heaps in the US but ones in Oz are hard to find). The first one was at Kitty’s Crumble (a kitty litter business). This involves emailing a photo of you cat in a Halloween costume with a $50 prize of kitty litter up for grabs each week until Halloween. The email address is contests@kittyscrumble.com.au. The other one was on a Facebook page – Ten Little Fingers Nail Art. You just need to register to win one of 9 sets of Haunted Nail Stickers but you need to get your entry in by 12th October.
Finally why not hold your own Halloween competition for your local neighbourhood kids and make it a creative adventure for them. Better still, why not make it an adult night with a costume party and some prizes for the best dressed and lots of nibbles and liquid refreshments. Enjoy!

P.S. The picture that I have put up today with this blog is my son Terry dressed and made up as The Joker. Pretty scary isn’t he!