Top 20 New Years Resolutions

  • December 30, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Top 20 New Years Resolutions2013 will soon be but a memory as it is almost time to welcome in a brand new year.  A New Year can signal a fresh start for many, thus 2014 may also come with the annual ritual of setting a few “New Year’s Resolutions.”  Whether you believe in setting New Year’s goals or have entirely abandoned the idea altogether, we thought you might like to know what the rest of the world sees in their lives that may need a little “tweaking.”  According to a poll taken by LA Fitness, here are the top twenty resolutions that were made last year.  No comments were given on how many of these goals were actually achieved!

20.  Eat Less Chocolate.  Um, this is probably the dumbest resolution I have ever heard of…in fact, I think this year I am going to set a goal to eat more of it…just saying.

19.  Get a Six Pack.  I’m assuming this means toned abs and not a six-pack of Bud Light--but who’s to really say, either is actually a pretty great goal.

18.  Try a New Hairstyle.  I would stay pretty far away from Miley Cyrus’ double topknot buns; but that’s just me.

17. Revamp the Wardrobe.  Around these parts we are true believers in capes, crazy hats and masks; these items would be an absolutely fantastic place to start.

16. Spend Less Time on Facebook.  And more time on Instagram?

15.  Leave Work On Time.  No arguments here-in fact, this one is now on my list, too.

14.  Connect the Computer to the TV.  Whoa…who did they survey, the Geek Squad?  I’m happy if I can turn on my TV…enough said.

13.  Less TV Time.  This may happen naturally if you attempt number 14, at least it would at my house.

12. Buy a Sunday Paper.  Do they still make these?

11.  Spend More Time With the Kids.  Yes, because tomorrow you are going to wake up to a houseful of twenty year olds--trust me on this.

10.  Do something charitable.  Help somebody out and it will make you feel great in the process--everyone wins here.

9.  Organize photos.  Digital photography has changed the way we take pictures--now we just take twenty times more of them.

8.  Buy a Tablet.  How can we survive without them? 

7. Sell unwanted stuff on eBay.  The online garage sale that has changed the world--the trick is to buy less than you sell there and thus attempt to come out ahead.

6.  Go Traveling.  A tropical island sounds really good…

5.  Take better photos.  Let’s start with the basics, like getting people’s heads in the shot and using the flash properly…next, getting rid of those nasty red devil eyes would be a pretty lofty goal.

4.  Redecorate the house.  Taking down the Christmas tree is a great start.

3.  Lose weight.  No New Year’s resolution list is complete without this little gem.  Ever been to your local gym in January? 

2.  Save more money.  Um... skip number eight and number four and focus heavily on number seven.

1. Read more books.  Read some books to your kids, too.  Enjoying any of these on your new tablet is also just fine.

Whether you are setting New Year’s resolutions or not, the gang here at Halloween Express loves you just the way you are. Happy New Year from your friends at Halloween Express!

Visiting Santa: Great Tips to Get the Best Pictures

  • December 23, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Santa!It’s that time of the year, when mom’s everywhere are schlepping the kids to the nearest mall or shopping center in order to visit “Santa”.  Although this experience is supposed to be fun as well as a great photo opp, for some children the experience can also be rather daunting and even a little scary.  Here are some tips to help your experience with “Santa” be a happy experience with no humbug whatsoever!

Be Flexible:  Your child may seem super excited about visiting Santa and then as soon as he/she lays eyes on him, it’s as if a wave of panic overtakes him/her.  The last thing you want to do is traumatize your child over Santa, as this is supposed to be fun, right?  If your child changes his/her mind, don’t push it.  Even if you’ve already invested an hour waiting in line to see the jolly ol’ boy, if your child suddenly is too scared to go through with it, so be it.

Beat the Crowds:  If at all possible, arrive early to see Santa, perhaps on a day of the week when it’s likely to be less crowded than others.  Getting there early will accomplish several things that will increase your chances of having a positive Santa experience.  First of all, no kid (big or small) enjoys waiting in a long line.  Long lines and waits can equate to cranky kids and even crankier mommies.  Avoid this as much as you can.  If your child is a bit nervous about meeting Santa, a long wait in line is likely to only exacerbate this whole feeling, especially if any other nearby little ones are crying or acting scared.

Find a Good Santa:  There are wide ranges of talent when it comes to seasonal Santa’s, so ask your friends which ones they have gone to visit and see what their experience was like.  Look for one that is friendly and jolly of course, and avoid any that are impatient, too blah or especially those that are creepy.  Other moms are the best source of info when it comes to finding the best Santa to visit, so asking your mom posse for the scoop is a great place to start!

Don’t Rush It:  Yes, those Santa Helper’s want to keep the line moving and all that--but when it’s finally your child’s turn for the big Santa moment, take your time and let your child approach Santa at his/her own pace.  Slowly introduce your child to Santa before just shoveling him/her onto his lap.  Start a little conversation between the ol’ guy and your kid to warm things up.  You will know if it’s going well and you are going to get that special photo--or not. 

Cover The Basics:  Talk to your child in advance about what to expect when visiting Santa so there are no surprises.  Make absolutely sure your child is neither hungry or tired as these factors can be challenging to overcome and even if your child goes through with the visit, the pictures you get may not be the best.  If your child is under the weather, save the Santa visit for another day when he/she is feeling better.  Have some good distractions in your purse/diaper bag  “just in case”--including non-messy snacks, small toys or even an app on your phone that they can play with. 

Visiting Santa will hopefully be a positive and fun experience that your child will be excited about.  Following these tips is bound to help you get that perfect picture with Santa that we know you want, too.

Toy Parade

  • December 17, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Costumes Make Great GiftsWhen seen through the eyes of a child, part of the magic of Christmas is hoping for a very special delivery from Santa Claus.  The worry, of course, may be whether or not the child feels he is worthy of being found on Santa’s “nice” list rather than amongst the “likely to receive coal” kids.  Luckily for most children, Santa has the ability to see past many childhood faux pas and tends to focus on the good.  What special toys is your child wishing for this holiday season?  Have you considered the possibility that having an imaginative and fun toy to play with on Christmas is one thing; being able to pretend to “be” the toy is quite another.  Costumes given as gifts for dress up play is a fantastic holiday solution that is sure to give your kids hours and hours of creative and fun playtime.  They might not want to take these costumes off!

Superheroes:  I’m guessing there isn’t a kid alive who hasn’t pretended or wanted to be a superhero at one time or another.  It’s one thing to makeshift a superhero cape out of your mom’s bath towel.  It’s quite another to have an official looking heroic superhero suit to don before you go out to save the world.  Trust me, kids love this stuff. 

Disney Princesses:  With so many Disney princesses to choose from, you can bet that your little girl will love dressing up as one or more of these very special young ladies.  Shimmery dresses, sparkling shoes and a tiara of course--all are sure to make your child feel like the little princess that she really is!

Barbie:  If your child is into playing with Barbie dolls, take the fun one step further and give her a chance to try out a little Barbie style fun and adventure of her own with a fabulous Barbie costume look. 

Transformers:  You know he loves the toys--now give him a chance to transform his self into one of these amazing Transformer looks.  Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Iron Hide, Megatron--all sorts of action packed adventures await!

Disney Characters:  They’ve seen the exciting Disney films; now let your kids bring their favorite Disney characters to life themselves, right in their own living room!  With fun costume characters from Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Peter Pan, Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Winnie The Pooh, Alice In Wonderland--and so many, many more--recreating your child’s favorite Disney friends is easy and so much fun!

Television and Movie Characters:  They see them every day on television; why not bring a little of that fun into their playtime?  With exciting characters from Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Thomas the Tank Engine; your child will have just as much fun getting into their favorite characters as he does watching them!

Costume fun doesn’t end with Halloween.  Dressing up is fun for kids all year round! Perhaps Santa Claus will bring a special delivery of costume dress up for your children this Christmas season.  Why play with a toy when it’s so much more exciting to BE one? 

Christmas Characters

  • December 09, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

The GrinchWhen you think of costumes, the first holiday that comes to mind is probably not Christmas.  When you start to think about it, however, the Christmas season brings with it a whole sleigh-ful of opportunities for holiday dressing up and getting into costumes.  Fun and festive seasonal costumes are perfect for many holiday gatherings you might be attending. Not only are holiday costumes going to solve many of your “what to wear” holiday woes, but they are also a great way to get you into a joyful holiday mood!  Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

Religious Pageants:  When my daughter was tiny she had the part of an angel in her parochial school’s annual Christmas play.  Being an ardent procrastinator, at the last minute I was forced into coming up with an appropriate costume for her.  I ended up putting a man’s white dress shirt on her backwards, buttoning it up in the back in order to create an angel robe.  Then I tied it off with a long strand of silver tinsel as a makeshift belt.  Admittedly, it was a little pathetic.  Halloween Express has a huge selection of religious costumes encompassing many Christmas characters (including angels) that will not only get you into your persona easily and stress free, but these lovely costumes will serve to enhance and not detract from the function they are intended for!

Santa and His Helpers:  Arguably the most popular Christmas costume out there, the classic Santa Claus suit is a holiday mainstay.  You don’t have to be a professional Santa, either, to enjoy the benefits of dressing up as this most beloved of all yuletide character.  Santa Suits are available in many different varieties and price points so that dressing as this jolly ol’ elf can be fun as well as affordable for the masses.  What would Santa Claus be without his posse of “helpers?”  From Mrs. Claus and other, very handy and super sexy Santa helpers to a whole variety of elves and snow people, getting in on the Santa act is easy!

Holiday Parades and Festivals:  Many towns and communities have Christmastime parades and local events that offer the perfect time to show off your holiday costumery.  Wearing something festive and Christmas-y is almost mandatory unless you want to be perceived as a Grinch or a Scrooge--oh, and by the way, we have costumes for those characters, too.  Wanting to create a whimsical Grinch look of your very own this Christmas?  Check out our how-to video on how to create that perfectly nasty Grinch face with makeup! He’s a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce--but he still makes a truly hilarious addition to any Christmas event!

Parties and Pictures:  Costumes add sparkle and fun to any holiday gathering.  Even if you don’t want to dress up head to toe in holiday regalia, the simple addition of a silly Christmas hat can be a very merry addition to your holiday party ensemble.  Be the life of your next holiday gathering with one of these very jolly looks!  These fun costumes and accessories are also perfect to add that little bit of extra magic and cheer to your holiday pictures!

Add a few holiday costumes to your list and suddenly you’ve got Christmas all wrapped up! 

O' Christmas Tree

  • December 02, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

O' Christmas Tree

Although the Christmas tree is easily recognized today as the centerpiece of most Christmas decorating, you may wonder who actually thought up the idea of putting a decorated evergreen tree inside the home as part of holiday celebrating.  To get to the root of this longstanding Christmas tradition, you have to go way back into history.

Before the very first Christmas was even celebrated, ancient pagan people revered the evergreen.  Because these plants were able to retain their green color even throughout the harsh winter, it was thought that they must have some kind of special power and thus the evergreen held great significance.  Many people in those days long ago brought evergreen boughs and branches into their homes as a protective decoration.  Evergreens were also hung over doors as it was thought that doing this would keep out evil forces and even illnesses.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe, the use of evergreens as decoration was assimilated into new Christian customs.  Medieval Germans brought entire evergreen trees into their homes and decorated them with apples, calling them Paradise Trees.  These trees were used to teach the story of the Garden of Eden and were left up in homes throughout the holiday season.  As time went on, in addition to decorating these trees with apples, nuts were added in addition to other sweets that would ornament their Paradise Trees.

When German immigrants came to America they brought with them their old tradition of Christmas Trees but at this time, these trees were looked upon as a foreign custom and were still very far from being considered mainstream.  In 1848, Queen Victoria encouraged her German husband to decorate a tree for the holidays as he had traditionally done when he was a boy.  This unique and very publicized Christmas tree was decorated with candles, sweets, ornaments and an angel and then was lavishly featured in a publication called Illustrated London News.  The popularity of Christmas trees subsequently soared and having a Christmas tree in one’s home for the holidays became extremely fashionable.  By 1870, German artisans were busily making special handcrafted glass ornaments made specifically to hang on Christmas trees and in 1890 Edward Johnson working under the watchful eye of Thomas Edison, created the first string of electric Christmas lights to hang on a Christmas tree.  By 1900, these Christmas lights were being used to light the Christmas trees of department stores and one of every five homes had their very own Christmas tree!

From simple apples and nuts to elaborate lights and decorations, decorating the Christmas tree has evolved quite a bit over the years.  Our modern Christmas trees can now revolve, blink, twinkle and even have Christmas trains that run through them. No matter how you decorate your Christmas tree, the iconic tradition of a holiday evergreen tree will continue to be the focal point of holiday decorating.

Be sure to check out our unique selection of Christmas decorations that will add plenty of Christmas magic to decking your halls this holiday season!