Did you know that Halloween is one of the oldest holidays? The American tradition of “trick-or-treating” dates back to the early All Souls Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The practice, referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given drink, food and money.
In Ireland, where Halloween originated, the day is still celebrated much as it is in the US. Bonfires are lit and all over the country, children get dressed up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Afterwards, most people go to parties with neighbors and friends where they bob for apples, go on treasure hunts and play card games. A traditional food eaten on Halloween is barmbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. The Halloween Brack traditionally contains various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune telling game. I love the idea of having a tradition like that!
In various parts of England there is a festival called holy day which falls on November 4th. On this night, children play tricks on adults which range from the minor to more serious such as taking garden gates off their hinges. Throughout England, as is common in much of the British Isles, children carve faces or designs into pumpkins. Usually illuminated from within, the lanterns are then displayed in windows in keeping with the night's theme of fright and horror. Before the introduction of pumpkin carving from the USA, they would carve large yellow turnips and this is still done today in some areas.
And who can forget the age old tradition of Cabbage Night? In parts of the U.S. it is known as Cabbage Night, Goosey Night or Doorbell Night and is always on the evening of October 30th . Tricks like toilet papering yards and houses, powder-bombing and egging cars, and smashing pumpkins are just a few of the tricks played by teenagers on that night. In Northern England it is also known as Miggy Night, Goosey Night, Tick-Tack night, Corn night or Trick night. In Liverpool UK, it is known as Mizzie Night. In Ireland, it is called Mischief night and is becoming so popular that teenagers get the week around Halloween off school. I remember thinking it was pretty cool to go out on Cabbage Night when I was a teenager, but now that I’m older, I’m keenly aware of when Cabbage Night is so that I make sure to pull my car into the garage, bring all the pumpkins inside, and keep all my outside lights on. Plus, I try not to go out on that night so that my car doesn’t get “egged”. So remember to watch out for yourself on October 30th because it’s Cabbage Night!
Today, the weather channel has forecasted that many storms will be brewing around the country. As I am typing this, there is thunder in the distance and the sky is black. Earlier the lights flicked on and off and the wind outside sounded eerily haunting. Our dog, who by the way weighs in at about 100 lbs, is cowering under the bed. He’s is petrified of storms and somehow he can always sense when one is coming. My son, Caden loves storms – the bigger the better. When the lights go out, he’s in his glory. On the other hand, my daughters, Olivia and Sydney hate them. At the first rumble of thunder, they’re glued to my side. Me, I’ve always loved a good thunderstorm.
Speaking of thunderstorms, I don’t think you can have a scary movie without one. It seems like in every horror film whenever someone is alone in the house, or driving on a deserted road - it’s night, the thunder is booming and lightning is flashing in the sky. Of course, what’s a scary movie without the lights going out in the house – right before the killer strikes! Whenever someone is lying in their bed alone at night it never fails that it’s storming and the tree in their yard is cracking against the window pane from the wind. What about that instant when lightning flashes in a darkened house and the killer is standing there? You find yourself screaming at the girl or guy on the screen that the killer is right behind them!
I would rather watch a scary movie in my own home once it comes out on DVD instead of watching it at a theater. That way, I can hold my pillow up to my eyes for the scary parts I’m afraid to watch, and I can turn on the lights any time I want. My nephews are just the opposite. As soon as a horror flick comes out they can’t wait to get to the theater to see it.
Wow, can you believe all the great summer movies that are out? Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer, Spider Man 3, Shrek the Third, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, TMNT, and the list goes on and on. However, one of my all time favorites is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End! It’s the third in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. I just love Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner. How can you not love those two in any movie!
What’s so nice about the Pirate of the Caribbean movies is that kids and adults of all ages love it. My children loved the whole pirate theme and who could forget Davy Jones and Bootstrap Bill? The first of the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released in 2003 bringing Captain Jack Sparrow to the forefront. It was a huge box office success. The second movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was released in 2006. That movie gave birth to the ruthless Captain Davy Jones. Jones is the captain of the ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman and roams the seas searching for souls to serve upon his vessel for a century. His most striking feature is his head, primarily a "beard" composed of octopus-like tentacles. A prominent sac bulges from under his barnacle-encrusted hat. In addition to his bearded face, he breathes through a tube located on the left side of his face. He has a claw for his left arm, a long tentacle in place of his right index finger, and the right leg of a crab. He uses his long octopus-like tentacles to move objects, play the pipe organ and as a weapon. Can you think of a better costume at Halloween? They flew off the shelves last year and are still in high demand even this year. Check out our website for all the latest Pirate of the Caribbean costumes at:
Could there be a Pirates of the Caribbean part 4?? Let’s hope so!
Did you know that Halloween is one of the most popular holidays – second only to Christmas? Every year, people are starting earlier in their preparations for the holiday. Yards are being eerily decorated on a grander scale, costume parties are more elaborate, and many families are starting their own Halloween traditions. I wanted to share with you a tradition that started in my neighborhood a few years ago. It’s called “Ghosting” and believe me your children will have a blast doing it! It usually starts the first week in October giving plenty of time for the whole neighborhood to be “ghosted”. Depending on the size of your neighborhood you can either ghost one family or two. Since our neighborhood is small, I’m giving you directions for “ghosting” one house; however just double it if you live in a neighborhood with many homes. Here’s what you do:
- On a white piece of paper (8 ½” x 11”) draw a big ghost in black permanent marker
- Fill a goodie bag or brown paper sack with treats
- Include the following poem:
You've Been Ghosted!
Late last night, we left you a treat,
the tradition is fun, one we hope you'll repeat.
Take the ghost and pin it on your door,
to let others know, you need ghosted no more.
Now it's your duty to pass on the surprise,
to another family, we must advise.
Gather some treats and deliver them soon,
within two nights, under the light of the moon.
Include a ghost with each package you give,
along with this poem for the tradition to live.
Deliver it after dark to your target family by putting it on the porch, ringing the doorbell and running. Don't get caught – you don’t want them to know who “ghosted” them.
Well, I made it through the dreaded Friday, July 13th with nothing out of the ordinary happening! I’m sure there are a few of you out there that had something suspicious happen to you, but for the most part Friday was pretty much the same old, same old for me. However, did you know that not only do a lot of people find Friday 13th loaded with superstitions, but Halloween Day as well? The dictionary defines the word superstition as, “an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious”. We all know that Halloween and fear go hand-in-hand.
Many Halloween superstitions can be interesting as well as fun. Here are some for you to think about:
- If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one watching you.
- If a bat flies into your house on Halloween, it is a sign that ghosts or spirits are near, and that they are in your home and let the bat in.
- If the flame on your candle goes out on Halloween, it means you are in the presence of a ghost.
- If you put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night, at midnight you will see a witch in the sky.
- If a black cat crosses your path it is bad luck. It was once believed that black cats were the devil, or consumed by evil spirits. Today many families own black cats and do not experience unusual bad luck. Did you know that in Britain, they believe white cats are bad luck?
- A person born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits.
The list for all the different superstitions goes on and on, but I think you get the point. My Grandmother was born on Halloween and she couldn’t see or talk to the spirits – at least she didn’t do it when I was around (thank goodness)!
Friday the 13th – could it get any spookier than that? Friday the 13th is an unlucky day in much of Western Europe, North America, and Australia. Many people avoid travel, avoid signing contracts, some won’t eat in restaurants and some people won’t even go to work. I’ve often seen in tall buildings where the floors skip from 12 to 14. Some sources say it may be the most widespread superstition in the United States. I believe it! When you see Friday the 13th on your calendar it automatically brings with it a feeling of dread. However, while the superstition is believed to be fading, it nonetheless has deep roots in Christian culture. Many Christians have long believed that Friday was unlucky because it was the day of the week when Jesus was crucified and the number 13 was believed to bring bad luck because there were 13 people at The Last Supper.
On the Halloween front – who can forget the popular slasher films started by the original movie back in 1980 called Friday the 13th? Camp Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees – that movie scared me to death! Even now, every year on Halloween night I know I’ll have at least one kid (or adult) come to my door as Jason with the trademark hockey mask on.
Check out this list of all the Friday the 13th movies in order:
Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th Part 3 3D (1982)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Jason X (2002)
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
I think just about every parent out there has had a child, niece or nephew be a “Jason” for Halloween. I know I have – my nephew is older now, but I have pictures of him as Jason on Halloween quite a few years ago. And not only kids, but adults love putting on the Jason hockey mask as well.
Hi everyone! Summer is moving right along and already the stores are having “back to school” sales. I know my kids aren’t ready to go back to school yet and actually I’m not ready for them to go either. There’s still so much swimming and vacationing we have yet to do!
Today is a big day at movie theaters all across the country. The fifth Harry Potter movie, “The Order of the Phoenix” was officially released today in the United States! In many theaters they even had midnight showings last night! Everyone wants to be the first to see it. My 15 year old niece was one of those people. She went to the midnight show with a bunch of her friends and when they got to the theater at 9:00pm to purchase the tickets ahead of time, they were already sold out! They ended up going to another theater and were able to get tickets there. She said it was awesome and that the movie theater was packed! Her older brother (my nephew) is actually coming over today to take my son, Caden to see it. He is beside himself about seeing this movie!
The story of the orphaned wizard student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, has sold 397 million copies worldwide, while the Warner Brothers movies grossed $3.8 billion. Next weeks release of J. K. Rowling’s 7th and final book, “Deathly Hallows” is the largest in publishing history – 12 million copies will be shipped to bookstores. Thousands of costumed young wizards will stake out bookstores July 20 for the midnight release. Also, there are many “witchin hour” Potter parties at bookstores and libraries across the country. So if you still need a Harry Potter robe, scarf or wand – don’t wait – here's a link to all of the Harry Potter items we have on our site: Harry Potter Costumes
This Halloween, I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of little Harry Potter’s running about trick-or-treating!
July 7, 2007
How lucky is today’s date? Lots of people do feel lucky, for one simple reason. Today is the almost numerically perfect July 7, 2007, or 7-7-07. In numerological terms, that's about as big as it gets for the superstitious. All those sevens – sevens that will be celebrated with parties, concerts, weddings and family reunions. The numerology-mined set plans for "lucky" weddings or trips to Vegas – or both! People are booking gambling junkets, casinos are offering "7" themed promotions, and about three times the normal number of couples plan to get married today.
This day is also a lucky one for the planet. The "Live Earth" concerts get underway in New York, London, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney and Hamburg. John Mayer, Bon Jovi, the Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others will be singing to draw attention to the issue of climate change.
Someone in Lisbon, Portugal has decided we need some new wonders of the world, since six out of the current seven wonders no longer exist. So today, July 7, in that city there will be an official declaration of "The New Seven Wonders of the World."
"Seven's really straight from the Bible. It has a very old and very esteemed tradition as a number of perfection," said David Frankfurter, a professor of religious studies and history at the University of New Hampshire. The Bible says it took seven days to create the world.
So here’s to 7-7-07…..”Do you feel lucky”??
I hope everyone was able to stay dry for all the 4th of July celebrations! It stormed here pretty heavily and it looked like across the map there was a lot of rain everywhere. Every 4th our house is the designated Independence Day Party spot. I have my family over for a day of swimming, games, lots of eating and of course fireworks! I have 15 nieces and nephews ranging from age 20 years old to 3 months old, so there was a constant flurry of kids running around the backyard having a great time! We were able to get in a few hours of swimming before the first storm hit, then shortly after that we were back out again for dinner and the fireworks. All the older kids get a chance to let off a few fireworks (with the help of an adult of course). It’s like a rite of passage for them!
Here are some fun facts about July 4th -
2.5 million – In July 1776, the number of people living in the colonies.
300 million – On this July 4th, the population milestone our nation soon will be closing in on.
150 million – Estimated number of hot dogs will be consumed today. That's roughly 1 dog for every two people in the U.S.
$211 million – has been spent on the importation of fireworks from China.
The next holiday is Labor Day on September 3rd and that will be here before you know it! By then our Halloween website and stores will be in full swing and busy as ever! Our kids will be back in school and looking forward to having that long weekend off. Don’t forget to check out our website for all your school play needs!
Hi everyone! Have you checked out our website for all the 4th of July Independence Day costumes and decorations? They’re great! This holiday is a great time to get together with family and friends. There are parades, backyard barbeques, picnics, games and the perfect ending to the night with a sparkling display of fireworks. Of course if you’re like me, a nervous wreck with the little ones wanting to get up close and personal with the fireworks! A great way to show support to our men and women in the Armed Forces is by proudly displaying your American Flag or tying yellow ribbons around the trees in your yard. Let them know how proud we are of them and the sacrifices they and their families are making everyday by protecting the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.
In trying to explain to my nine year old, Caden why they call it Independence Day I found a great website www.kidsdomain.com
that explained it in kids “layman’s terms”. Once Caden grasped the concept, he couldn’t wait to explain it to his six year old sister, Olivia. However, she was more interested in chasing her little cousins around the yard then listening to her brother’s version of our country’s independence! This year July 4th, Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, however, next year, in 2008, the holiday falls on a Friday. I think it makes it easier for anyone that works to enjoy the holiday even more knowing that they don’t have to get up for work the next day.
Happy 4th Everyone!!
Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost that time of the year again – Halloween! Is it just me, or has this year flown by! Even though it’s still summer, before you know it we’ll be getting our kids ready for school to start in the Fall – and with Fall comes Halloween! Let me just take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Anna and I will be your source for all things spooky this Halloween! I am the proud mom of three beautiful children - two girls and a boy. Caden is the oldest at eight years old, Sydney is next in line at the age of six and bringing up the rear is Olivia at the ripe old age of four. I have a wonderful husband that goes to work everyday so that I can be a stay-at-home mom allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved Halloween, and being a little girl with two sisters and three brothers I’ve seen both sides of the holiday. From the girly, girl princesses to the gory, bloody monsters and I love it all!
I’ll always remember Halloween at our house when I was young. Dad would decorate the outside of our house with lights, scary tombstones and music and my mom would decorate the inside of the house by draping old white sheets over the living room furniture and hanging spider webs and skeletons all over the place. I loved it then, and to this day I still love the spookiness of Halloween. Now, with so many more decorations and props with special effects to pick from, decorating the inside and outside of your home is easy and so much fun! Believe me, whether you’re doing it for yourself or for your kids, go all out and make this Halloween one you’ll always remember!