Playing Politics

  • September 13, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

The Halloween season has begun, but this year may be a little different than others when it comes to Halloween costume choices. Head to any Halloween store and you will see a wide array of political masks and costumes, along with a plethora of politically themed gear. What's going on here? Well, it's an election year, and when it comes to Halloween, politics can be a bit of a game changer. This year, more than others, politics is bound to find it's way into a Halloween party near you. Dressing up like a past, present or nominated President has been a popular costume idea for decades. Some of the more legendary Presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are considered impersonation staples for a wide variety of occasions. Current Presidential Candidates are popular costume choices during any election year. Let's face it when it comes to celebrities or famous people there are few recognizable personas that are more memorable or carry more costume weight than a President, or even a Presidential nominee.

Thus, because this year is an election year, Presidential candidates are not only going to be on the ballot, but they will also be showing up in droves at local Halloween festivities and parties. Why do people love dressing up as political figures and Presidential candidates? Is dressing up as a Presidential candidate funny--or is it potentially risky?

Your mother may have told you that there are two subjects to always avoid in social settings--religion and politics. However, this Halloween, mama's rules are going straight out the window as politics takes center stage. With the Presidential election just days after Halloween, the Presidential nominees are forefront on many folk's minds. Thus many people may choose to dress up as Presidential Candidate for Halloween. Dressing up as a candidate may be a light-hearted endorsement for a particular candidate or can even be a fun way of promoting your personal political viewpoints. Sometimes wearing a costume depicting a disliked candidate is an opportunity to imitate the candidate in a negative light, a not-always-so-subtle way of making fun of a particular nominee. No matter what the political agenda may be--this year, political costumes are going to be more popular than ever, and costume retailers have been getting ready.

So which political figures make for the best Halloween costumes? There is no doubt that some politicians have much more costume potential than others. A candidate who has a larger than life personality combined with unique and distinctive physical features is automatically going to be an easy target for a Halloween costume. No one wants to have to explain who their costume is--they want the identity of their character to stand out and be completely obvious.

This year the Presidential election has taken over the news, social media chatter, and undoubtedly will also find its way into Halloween. Choosing a political figure costume combines the satirical humor of the election with the fun of Halloween. If you do decide to dress up as a candidate, accept that not everyone may appreciate your viewpoint or interpretation of your character. Don't take this personally. 

Need a few ideas for inspiration? Check out our DIY Costume ideas for creating that perfect Presidential candidate look. We do not know yet who our next elected President will be, but making a choice as to which nominee comes to your Halloween party is easy!

Halloween Costumes: What Should YOU Be?

  • September 08, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

We know it's not officially fall for a couple of weeks yet, but we can feel it--can you? The leaves are beginning to change and those evening breezes are blowing a little cooler. Fall brings many things with it, including one big question that begs to be answered. What are you going to be for Halloween? Critical dilemmas sometimes need a bit of thought and consideration, and because we care, we are here to help. As you begin to ponder on what could be one of the most difficult decisions you face this fall, here are a few things you may want to consider!

What are your passions? Choosing a great Halloween costume may be as simple as taking a long, hard look at what you love. Do you have a favorite video game? Then perhaps considering a costume based on the game you spend hours with would be an appropriate idea. Have you been binge-watching television this summer? Some of the most amazing Halloween costumes out there are inspired by the top TV shows. The action packed, hilarious and awe-inspiring blockbuster movies of the past year are also an excellent source of costume inspiration.

Are you a Pop Culture Vulture? You know who you are--if it's on the cover of a tabloid, you knew about it yesterday. If you are an absolute fiend for Pop Culture, then consider dressing up as one of your favorite Pop Culture icons. Celebrities, musicians, newsmakers and even political figures all make hilarious Halloween costume choices.

Are you a bit of comedian? If you love being the life of the party and making people laugh, consider one of the hundreds of more comedic Halloween costumes. Not everything at Halloween has to be scary. Who knows? A bit of costume levity may be just what your next Halloween party needs to make it a roaring success.

Do you want to make a strong statement? Halloween can be a fun way to express your views in a non-threatening and even humorous way. If there is something on your mind that needs expression, consider using your Halloween costume as a vehicle for getting your point across.

Are you feeling nostalgic? Sometimes, the best Halloween costumes of all are repeats from the days of our childhood. Perhaps now is the time to recreate that My Little Pony or Batman look you remember from your youth.

Feeling Traditional? Classic scary Halloween costumes will always be in style. Characters such as witches, ghosts, zombies, and vampires are considered classic for a reason--because they are always going to be popular favorites. Try adding your personal twist to one of these traditional Halloween characters.

Is there a side of your personality that needs expression? Perhaps you are feeling the need to let loose a little bit this Halloween. If that is the case, Halloween is a great time to explore some of your innermost fantasies when it comes to Halloween costumes. Sexy Halloween costumes or Halloween costumes that depict unique careers or occupations are always favorite costumes to try!

Are you part of a pack? Some of the most exciting Halloween costumes out there are those that are perfect for groups. Choosing a group of characters to depict for Halloween is a great idea for families, friends or even co-workers.

No matter what you decide to be for Halloween, there is no time like the present to start brainstorming costume ideas. Like scary Halloween ghosts and goblins, this is a holiday that definitely tends to sneak up on you!

Halloween Costumes:  What Should YOU Be?

What You Don't Know About Labor Day

  • September 02, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

Most of us look at the Labor Day weekend simply as the bittersweet end to summer vacation. Another long, three-day weekend is something we all relish--but at the same time, there is often a bit of wistful sadness that accompanies summer's end. The summer months always seem to fly by so quickly. If only the winter season were as kind!

There are a few things that you probably didn't know about Labor Day. We bet you didn't know that it is so much more than a long weekend!

During the time of the Industrial Revolution, the advent of modern technology had significantly increased the demands placed on the average American worker. In factories, mills and mines around the country, it was not uncommon for employees to be working outrageously long hours. Twelve working hours (or sometimes more) per day, seven days a week was not at all unusual. Additionally, back in those days, even young children worked laboriously hard with long hours to boot. Kids as young as six or seven years old were performing whatever tasks they could manage, right alongside the exhausted adult workers.

Labor Unions formed to help improve the working conditions for the workers and to protect them from the completely unreasonable expectations of their employers.   Safety for workers was also a concern of the Labor Unions, in addition to obtaining fair pay and eliminating the abusive practice of child labor.

In 1882, a Labor Union leader named Patrick McGuire decided that the workers in New York City should have their own special holiday. Mr. McGuire thought that the workers not only deserved a day off--but that they also needed a day that rewarded their many accomplishments, achievements, and contributions to American Industry. The very first Labor Day involved these 10,000 New York City workers as they marched through the streets of New York.

In 1894, in the midst of a bitterly fought Railroad Strike, Grover Cleveland set aside the first Monday of September to officially be Labor Day from that day forward. Not only was this act set forward to appease the striking Railroad workers, but it was also an attempt to acknowledge workers nationwide, honoring and recognizing their effort as well as to giving them a much needed day off. September 1 was deliberately chosen to mark the new Labor Day holiday as it fell right between the already sanctioned holidays of July 4 and Thanksgiving. Early Labor Day celebrations included speeches, food, festivities, and rallies. During those early days, the Labor Day festivities theme centered on the American worker and important concerns such as improved working conditions. better pay and a much more realistic eight-hour work day.

Today's Labor Day holiday is far less about Labor Union workers than it is about fun, family, and enjoying some much-needed time off.   Remembering the roots of Labor Day honors those who continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes, producing products that are essential to the vitality and well being of our great country. No matter how you spend your Labor Day--with friends and family, barbecuing, picnicking, going to a parade or even a concert--it's great to know a little bit of the history behind this end of summer holiday!

Happy Labor Day from your friends at Halloween Express! 

What's Cool About School

  • August 23, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

Back to School--for kids, it's the end of summer inevitability.  For parents, it may be a long-awaited reprieve.  No matter how you view the end of summer vacation and the back to school transition, school time is nigh.  No need to feel sad or stressed at summer's end, because there is still plenty of fun to be had.  There is so much cool about school!

Sleep-Summer vacations, schedule interruptions, late nights following long days, lazy mornings that are just so perfect for sleeping in--let's face it, there are a lot of reasons why regular sleep schedules go awry during the summer months.  You and your kids may even be a little sleep deprived.  Back to school may mean getting up early again--but it likely also means a more realistic (and healthy) bedtime from which all will benefit. 

Routine-Going back to school has a rather significant side benefit that can't be overlooked.  School attendance forces the family into a routine.  Having to be in class at a particular time each day ensures that all other activities are worked around that necessity, making life both predictable and simpler from many standpoints. 

Mom Time-The kids will be at school for hours each day--whether you work in or out of the home, moms can rejoice about having time to do the things that they need to without having to stress about entertaining the kids or figure out ways to keep them busy.

Extracurricular Activities & Sports-Maybe you haven't missed attending Bobby's football games or schlepping Sally to her piano lessons --or maybe you have.  Back-to-School usually means back to extracurricular activities as well--and many of these are enjoyable events for parents and children alike.

Clothes & School Supplies-One of the major upsides of going back to class is in the gearing up process.  A new pair of shoes, a fresh new notebook, pens that work, pencils that aren't chewed into stubs and highlighters that aren't dried out--if your child can't see the bright side in much else, surely there will be a silver lining found in new school supplies and gear!  

Friends-Summer schedules are not always conducive to staying in close touch with many school friends.  Getting back into the classroom means reconnecting with many buddies that have been neglected over the summer months. 

Brain Power-Summertime often means that learning in the traditional sense is put on hold.  Between way too much television watching, hours playing video games, traveling hither and yon and engaging in a very wide range of other summertime activities, suffice it to say--it might be time to re-engage the kid's brains.  Active learning feels good, and it is good for you!

Summer is winding itself down, and soon the kids will find themselves back in a classroom.  No need to despair, as there are so many things about the school routine to look forward to.  Back to school is COOL! 

Music Festivals 101: What You Need to Know

  • August 12, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

At first glance, today's music festivals might seem very modern, trendy and like a rather new-fangled idea. The truth is, the core concept of a music festival has been around for centuries. As long as there have been human beings, there have been reasons to celebrate with music. Even during mankind's earliest social events, it certainly didn't take long to incorporate music, dance and all manner of merrymaking into the festivities. Centuries ago, many of the ancient celebrations were marked to show gratitude after the time of harvest. Other primeval cultures such as the ancient Greeks were well known for holding a wide variety of competitive games, including musical competitions to showcase the unique talents of many.

Today's modern music festivals are now a time-honored tradition, thoroughly ingrained into our current culture. Nowadays, music festivals themselves are considered by many to be almost a coming of age event. Although folks of all ages attend can music festivals, they are far and wide most densely populated by twenty-something's.

Are you ready to get your groove on and attend a summer music festival?  Here are a few tips to make your music festival experience a super positive one!

Plan Ahead: A little planning goes a long way at any music festival. Many of the larger festivals have multiple stages. It's possible for two of your favorite musical artists to be playing simultaneously, meaning you may have to make some tough decisions. If you are going to the festival with others, talk about your plans in advance and discuss very specific meeting places should your group become separated.

Map It Out: Many music festival celebrations will publish a map of the venue in advance. If you can get a hold of one, it's a valuable thing to have. Maps are often available upon arrival but many times they run out of them--so having your own is a good idea. Before you arrive, have a basic idea of where you need to leave your car, where you are going to camp and where the critical areas of the venue are located. (Stages, restrooms, food vendors, merchandise, phone charging stations, etc.)

Gear Up: Although you may be prepared to rough it for a few days, there are a few items that may make the difference between a little uncomfortable and utterly miserable. Consider adding these items to your festival packing list:

  • Phone charger
  • Comfortable shoes (you will be doing a lot of walking)
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen
  • Jacket
  • Raingear (check the forecast before you depart!)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Nutrition bars
  • Fanny pack or money belt
  • Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Ear Plugs

Dress a Little Insane: Hey, it's a music festival after all!  Now is the time to wear all those wild and crazy things that you can't wear in your normal, everyday life!  Glow sticks, unique accessories, hats, and costumes are the order of the day. Here is a list of some of our favorite music festival dress up essentials:

  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Face Paint
  • Colorful or Crazy wigs
  • Fairy Wings
  • Hats of all manner, shape and size
  • Hair Accessories
  • Opposuits
  • Skin Suits
  • Masks
  • Crazy Glasses
  • Tutus
  • Beads

Make your music festival experience as fun and memorable as possible by planning ahead and getting your gear ready. A general game plan combined with the spirit of fun loving adventure is sure to get you off to a great start.