Newcastle family wins Hallmark Halloween card competition

October 26, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

Tina Palmer’s photo from Halloween 2008 of her daughter Kate, left, and son Jack, right, won Hallmark’s Scare Up Some Fun competition this year. By Tina Palmer

Being a parent can be hard, as any mother or father will tell you. Newcastle resident Tina Palmer got a reminder of that Oct. 31, 2008, when she had her then-3-year-old son Jack and 1-year-old daughter Kate put on their costumes and sit next to each other on the front porch for a photo.

It didn’t go so well, and Kate began to yell. As she screamed, Jack covered his ears.

“I was like, ‘Come on, guys. Can’t you just sit normal for a second?’” Palmer said.

She captured a photo mid-scream, and entered the photo with a caption to Hallmark’s Scare Up Some Fun competition this year, which invited customers to create their own Halloween cards with an offer to print the best entries.

Hallmark chose Palmer’s card to be one of 23 customer-created cards sold online and 16 sold in stores across the country.

Palmer first posted the photo on Facebook and her friends, including Spokane resident Darby Van Gordon, loved it.

“It was a laugh-out-loud moment,” Van Gordon said. “I normally don’t have that kind of reaction to photos, but it was hysterical.”

In October 2009, she submitted the photo to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when it called for funny Halloween photos. Not long after, Palmer received a call from a friend on the East Coast exclaiming that the photo of Jack and Kate was just on the show, albeit for a matter of seconds.

Tina Palmer

In March, Van Gordon received a notice from Hallmark about the upcoming Scare Up Some Fun competition, and she e-mailed it to Palmer, as she said it instantly made her think of Palmer’s priceless photo.

Palmer submitted the photo as well as text to appear on the front and inside of the card. For the front, she wrote, “I wanted to be the pirate this year!” For the inside, she wrote, “Hope your Halloween is a ‘roaring’ good time.” Hallmark handled the design.

“I thought it was a total long shot,” Palmer said. “I didn’t think there was an inkling of a chance for me to win.”

However, in May, she received a call from Hallmark notifying her that her card was to be sold online and that she would receive a $250 check, although no royalties.

“I was ecstatic,” she said. “I was shocked, but I was so happy.”

In July, she got an e-mail notifying her that her card was to be sold in stores. With the grand prize, she received an additional $250 and an 11-by-14-inch print of the final design signed by the contest’s judges.

Jack and Kate are now 5 and 3, respectively, and Jack began kindergarten at Newcastle Elementary School, which is in the Issaquah School District, in September. She said both children have seen the card, but neither yet understands the significance of being featured on a Hallmark card sold nationwide.

Palmer said it was the sometimes-adversarial brother-and-sister relationship that fueled the reaction she captured in the photo.

“They just weren’t happy,” she said. “They’re friends, but they really don’t like to sit next to each other.”

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or Comment at

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