Halloween Blog #3 Sanderson Sisters /Mark McDaniels

Hocus Pocus, the silly, over-the-top comedy, is a Halloween classic and one of our favorite movies. The three main characters – played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker – are hilarious, campy, and wickedly funny. The witchy threesome is also the inspiration for some AMAZING build-your-own costumes created by our very own Mark McDaniels.

Mark has been with arc for over 5 years. Mark’s job is to merchandise for our stores. He is responsible for the new Halloween product buy as well as a member of the new store opening team. But Halloween is his favorite! Mark and his partner in artistic endeavors, Gerta Thompson, spend months searching the country for the most amazing Halloween costumes and décor. They attend Halloween shows every year in January to find the hottest in Halloween trends. This literally takes months and a lot of devotion. But the result is that our 30 stores are literally bursting with Halloween delights!!

When Mark isn’t ensuring that our cauldrons are stocked to ghoulish perfection, he is creating amazing Halloween costumes from items found from the aisles of arc. This year he outdid himself by designing three fabulously frightful creations based on the Sanderson Sisters, the three witches from Hocus Pocus.

“I love that Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson are so off beat,” Mark said. “I love that their outfits, and their hair and their makeup are over the top and outrageous; this makes creating Halloween costumes based on them all the more fun because I get to embrace that wackiness and really run with my imagination.”

But Mark is also a stickler for detail. Each character has definite and recognizable features (such as Winifred’s red hair, the vacuum Mary carries with her, or the capes the three sisters wear) and he’s very careful to include them.

He spent hours visiting just about every arc store along the Front Range and each of the fiendish build-outs incorporated both new and donated items. And, sometimes pieces of a costume came from unexpected places. The bodice on Winifred’s costume, for instance, was actually created from a table runner Mark found in the Domestics section of a store. Her cape was made from a donated graduation gown and a segment of drape. For her amazing hair, Mark used a new wig but then teased and styled it to look just like Winifred’s crazy mane!

Here’s the breakdown of how Mark waved his magic wand to create these lovelies!

Winifred Sanderson:

  1. Striped tights (new)
  2. Dress (donated costume)
  3. Bodice (created from table runner)
  4. Gloves (cut and designed from new spiderweb tights)
  5. Cape (from a graduation gown)
  6. Hooded cape (added to cape and made from a piece of drape)
  7. Black boots (donated)
  8. Jewelry (donated)
  9. Red wig (new, but then teased and styled)
  10. Wig cap (new)
  11. Large book covered and decorated with spooky images (embellished)
  12. Makeup palette (new)

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Mary Sanderson:

  1. Striped leggings (donated)
  2. T-shirt (donated)
  3. Vest dress (donated costume then cut and redesigned)
  4. Two flowing skirts (donated)
  5. Cape with hood (donated)
  6. Black shoes (donated)
  7. Jewelry (donated)
  8. Dark wig (new, but then teased and styled and adorned with ribbon)
  9. Wig Cap (new)
  10. Vacuum (donated)
  11. Makeup palette (new)

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Sarah Sanderson:

  1. Striped tights (new)
  2. Dress (donated costume)
  3. Scarf belt with coins (piece of donated costume)
  4. Cape (donated)
  5. Black shoes (donated)
  6. Jewelry (donated)
  7. Long blonde wig (new, then teased and styled)
  8. Wig cap (new)
  9. Broom (donated)
  10. Makeup palette (new)

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The candy’s great and everything, but to us what’s REALLY fun about Halloween is the costumes!

And, not just any old costume. At arc we have a special place in our hearts for creepy and frightfully awesome build-your-own creations, for Halloween get-ups that are inspired by the imagination!

Building your own Halloween costume – whether it’s scary or silly, based on your favorite celebrity or TV character or purely fantastical – might seem a bit daunting. But we’re here to tell you it’s really actually quite easy! It’s as simple as going to your local arc, grabbing a cart, strolling the aisles, and then letting your imagination run wild! And, the good news is that because you’ve thrifted it, it won’t scare your bank account.

Here are a few particularly great costume creations we came up with when we were at the Louisville store. And, the treat of this trick is that each one of these cost less than $25!


If the world can’t have this wonderful man with us now, at least you can dress up like him!

  1. Gray pants
  2. Belt
  3. White shirt
  4. Tie
  5. Cardigan
  6. Gray wig
  7. Wig cap
  8. Tennis shoes
  9. Dress shoes

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Mr. Rogers-11


Just because the show is over doesn’t mean you can’t fangirl all over Khaleesi.

  1. White graduation robe (sleeves turned inside)
  2. White dress
  3. Gold belt
  4. Silver high heels
  5. Black brooch
  6. Long blond wig
  7. Wig cap
  8. Toy dragon

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Khalessi-12


This master of the Happy Tree is the personification of creativity!

  1. Jeans
  2. White button down shirt
  3. Belt
  4. Tennis shoes
  5. Curly wig
  6. Wig cap
  7. Painting
  8. Paint brushes and a palette

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Bob Ross-09


Scream queens are always popular!!

  1. Pink dress
  2. Pink high heels
  3. Silver tiara
  4. Pearl bracelet
  5. Purple bracelet
  6. Crystal bracelet
  7. Long blond wig
  8. Wig cap
  9. Makeup palette

arc_Pinterest Halloween Costume Boards Zombie-10

Make sure to check out our Pinterest page to see full build-outs.  https://www.pinterest.com/arcthriftstores/halloween/diy-halloween-costumes/

Ambassador Spotlight: Donna

For the past seven years, Donna has worked in the production department racking shelves at the arc store in Arvada. She loves working in the back section of the store and hanging out with her lovely coworkers. One of Donna’s favorite parts of working at arc as an Ambassador is that she gets to take all of the Arc University classes and go on the excursions with her friends and fellow Ambassadors.

Donna was part of this year’s graduating class from the Arc University program. She attended every single class offered throughout the year and loved every minute of every class!

Donna all of the Arc University classes, but in the end, she says that the course on gardening was her favorite. Donna’s other Arc University treasured moments include a trip to the movies to see Jurassic Park and going sailing, boating, and fishing. Donna’s most memorable Arc University trip was to see money being made at the Denver Mint.

When Donna isn’t at the arc of Arvada store or on a field trip with her fellow Ambassadors, she loves to take long walks and hangout with her friends outside. If it isn’t nice enough to walk outside, Donna loves to hang inside and color in her adult coloring books.

If Donna had to pick, she would be hard pressed to decide on just one superpower. She wished to have a flying car that could drive her to and from work super-fast, and that could take her to get ice cream if she was craving something sweet. She would also like to see into the future, and because she has a positive optimistic outlook on life she knows that everything will be just fine!

“I love my job,” Donna says. “There is not one thing I do not like about it, and there is not one thing I would change about it.”

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Ambassador Spotlight: Bobby

Bobby works at the Arc of Arvada store, stocking bric-brac and moving shelves around throughout the store. Bobby has worked at arc for the past eight years after working at the Green Mountain store. He made the move to the new store because it was a much easier commute.

As Bobby stacks shelves and unloads all the intricate items, he loves to chat with customers and make new friends with the employees like his friend Donna. He recently graduated from Arc University and loves when he and his classmates get to go on a movie adventure for the day.

Bobby loves to be as helpful as possible around the store. You may recognize him working near the showcase and helping customers find exactly what they came in for. Bobby never shies away from introducing himself to a new friend or customer to see if he can make their day just a little bit better.

When asked, Bobby said that if he could have any superpower he would love to be able to fly to and from work in seconds. He would use his new-found free time to be with his friends and to take more Arc University classes.

arcs and Crafts: I Paint, Therefore I am


One of my cardinal rules when shopping at arc Thrift Stores is to take my time in the furniture department and not disregard something based on paint or wood condition at a surface level. If I see something with a great shape or great bones, I try to look past any blemishes because things can always be refinished or painted.


I found some great pieces of furniture this summer at two of my favorite arc Thrift Stores and both needed some love. One of them was a long, low dresser that had a really amazing drawers with interesting wood grain but the top was damaged.


I don’t have the skills to totally refinish furniture yet, but I know enough to fill in gouges with wood filler and then used paint over top. I painted just the damaged part and left the beautiful drawers alone. I love how the white background makes them stand out even more.


The following week I found two vintage patio chairs across town at another arc Thrift. The bases had some rust on them but I liked the shape and the brand.


Spray paint is an invaluable tool when beautifying furniture. I did a couple quick coats and these guys are good as new and ready for cushions.


Never judge a piece of furniture by some minor boo-boos. Keep an open mind at arc Thrift Stores and you will be amazed at what you find.


Ambassador Spotlight: Garret

Garret has worked for arc in the Green Mountain store for the last seven years. Garret works as a furniture assistant, but he also helps to run carts, stock shelves, and he takes and organizes donations. Garret is currently remodeling his home, so while he is sorting and organizing, he is also on the lookout for items that might fit well in his home. He recently bought a new dresser for his bedroom.

Garret loves being a part of arc because of his coworkers and supervisors who always have his back if he needs the help. He also loves being part of something that is giving back to his community every day. Garret describes himself as a people person, which is why he is the perfect employee to help customers with their furniture purchases and donations.

While Garret isn’t at work he is typically attending arc University classes, fishing, climbing, or playing sports with his friends. Garret’s favorite sports are volleyball, softball, and basketball so he always has a sport to play no matter the time of year.

In his downtime, Garret loves captivating television shows like NCIS, Hawaii 5-0, and Lost.

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Garret was recently the featured Ambassador on Denver7. Watch his appearance here.

arcs and Crafts: Baby Shower Edition


When it was time to decorate for a friend’s baby shower, I knew that arc Thrift was the place to go. In the past I have used children’s books from arc to make cute pennant garlands to hang as decorations. For this celebration, I wanted to make more of these, as well as other wall decorations made from children’s books that I get from arc.


There are tons and tons of kids’ books at every arc Thrift Store I’ve ever been to. I always look for lots of different stories so that I have a lot of different graphics to choose from.


I didn’t have a lot of time but I wanted to do something simple that would look really pretty, so I decided to make pleated flowers to hang on the walls. I started with two pages of the same size. I folded them both into pleats in stapled them together in the very center.

Then I fanned them out and stapled the different sides together so they formed a round shape. The staples are hidden among the pleats.

So easy and they look so good!


I made lots more with different size pages so that they ended up different sizes.


I strung them together in order to hang them up with varied sizes on each garland.


They turned out beautifully and looked wonderful hung around the room, all thanks to arc Thrift.

2019 Arc Graduation

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Graduating is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. That is the model the Ambassador graduates at arc Thrift Stores know well and embrace in their daily lives. Arc University Class of 2019 had 127 graduates earning eight different degrees of excellence. The evening was filled with love, joy, and a ton of fun for all that attended.

Graduation 2019 Carol Lizzie

Lloyd Lewis, president and CEO of arc Thrift Stores, provided the opening remarks, introduced the speakers and handed out the diplomas to the graduates. Carol Creech gave an emotional parent tribute and expressed her appreciation for the Ambassador opportunities provided by arc Thrift Sores and Arc University. Carol is the dedicated and loving parent of Lizzie Creech, one of our Ambassadors and a 2019 graduate.

Valedictorian Seth Weshnak, gave all the Ambassadors encouragement by telling his story of perseverance as an arc store employee and his involvement with the University and social events. He gave a moving speech about his start at arc, his accomplishments as a proud cashier, and the three goals he still wants to attain. The highlight for Seth was when Lloyd Lewis announced to the audience that he will grant Seth two of his wishes, becoming a full-time employee and one day working in donations.

Graduation 2019 Seth LL Ryan

The commencement address was given by Denver7 news anchor, and dear friend to our organization, Nicole Brady. Nicole is a tireless arc Ambassador advocate and produces monthly profiles featuring our employees. We are grateful for Nicole’s support of our mission and her love of thrift shopping.

The night was topped off by an entertaining music video of the arc Ambassadors at work, at play, in class, and more importantly, sharing the joy of life together as a very special group of friends. As diplomas were being awarded, the sense of pride and accomplishment from the graduates’ families and friends and for each other was profound.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Graduation 2019 3

Lorraine- Follow Up

Lorraine works at the JCRS store with her friends, greeting customers as they come in and out of the stores. I met Lorraine a few weeks ago and as soon as she saw me walk into the store she was excited to chat again for the arc blog.

Since we last talked, Lorraine started working with the Civitan volunteer group through arc. With this new project, Lorraine and other Ambassadors will help volunteer at places like local hospitals and animal shelters. Some of the activities Lorraine and the arc Civitan group will be working on are care packages for military families and helping to teach kids how to read. Lorraine loves volunteering in the community and helping others. She is very excited to stay active in the community and to help others who live in the Denver area.

“If I can touch one person, I did my job,” Lorraine tells me in regards to helping others within the community and arc stores.

Lorraine and her friend, Seth, who is also an Ambassador, work together most days at the store and have grown very close over the years. Lorraine remembers having lunch with Seth on his first day at arc.

In her spare time, Lorraine loves taking arc University classes through Arc University in Spanish and practicing her poetry. She is currently looking for a new house and is very excited about the change and for the chance to use her creative side and set everything up in her new home. She is also looking forward to getting a pet bunny once she moves in.

Lorraine is a valued part of arc and loves being able to great all of the customers each day with a smile on her face.


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Lorraine shows me the purple fairy she proudly wears every day, made by one of her longtime customers.


Part of the mission of Civitan is to build good citizenship by providing a volunteer organization of clubs dedicated to serving individual and community needs. At our recent meeting, the Civitan creed was introduced to our arc Ambassador Civitan Club and we learned that this creed is our guiding light as we reach out in service of others.


4.17.19 meeting 3


All of the men and women that work in the various law enforcement agencies do exactly that…reach out in service of others. As our group thought about the many risks police officers take to keep watch over our community, we decided to spend an afternoon creating big thank you posters to show them how much we appreciate their dedication. We had a magnificent time working together and being creative with our posters. One of the Civitan creeds says, “MY MIND teaches me respect for the law and the flag of my country.” We want to let law enforcement officers know that no matter how perilous their jobs can be, we recognize and appreciate the many sacrifices they make for all of us. We look forward to personally delivering our thank you posters to them.


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In addition to making the posters, our president Michelle asked for additional ideas for future projects that will help serve our community. The ideas were flying all over the room. Everyone had several really great ideas and the group is very excited to get the ball rolling for our next assignment. Elnaz, our club secretary, provided us notes from our previous meeting and studiously kept track of all the ideas presented. Club members also received their official Civitan International Club t-shirt.

Every meeting we attend going forward, we will recite the Civitan Creed to remind us of the commitment we have made to reach out in service of others.


4.17.19 meeting