The Legend of the Easter Bunny

  • March 31, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

The Legend of the Easter BunnyIt’s spring…and what does springtime mean?  Bunnies!  One of the most quintessential symbols of springtime is the good old rabbit and this is with very good reason.  That wily hare has been a symbol of fertility for centuries as his amazing reproductive ability has set the bar pretty high when it comes to populating the earth with lots of hoppy little critters.  Believe it or not, the bunny can actually conceive a litter of new babies while still being pregnant with another one--now that’s taking reproduction to a whole new level! 

The Christian holiday of Easter is celebrated in the springtime, and with Easter celebrating always comes lots of bunnies.   But where in the world did the idea of an egg-laying bunny come from?  And what in the world does an egg-laying bunny have to do with the Christian beliefs about Easter?

The truth is, the idea of the Easter bunny probably started long before Christianity even came to Europe.  The pagan people of 13th century Germany actually worshipped a goddess known as Eostra who was considered to be the goddess of fertility and springtime.  The symbol representing Eostra was…yep, you guessed it, the rascally rabbit.  Why?  Well, you try and find a creature that can reproduce new young’uns at a faster pace than a good old baby making bunny rabbit.  A springtime tradition was born! (and born…and born…)

When Christianity was taught in the European countries, it brought new meaning to the people and their very old traditions.  The ancient symbols of spring and new life that they had previously used while worshipping pagan deities were now incorporated into Christianity and now came to represent and honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Eggs had also long been a symbol of springtime and fertility, but the first mention of an egg-laying rabbit came in a book that was published in the late 1600’s.  The egg-laying rabbit was a folkloric notion that became immensely popular within the German culture during the 17th century.  When the German immigrants came to the U.S. and then primarily settled in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, they of course brought with them the old customs and traditions from their German homeland.  One of these unique customs was the legend of the Easter Bunny!

Early German tradition had children building special nests for the Easter Bunny to come and lay her eggs inside on Easter morning.  Over time, these nests evolved into baskets and today on Easter Sunday, children all across America will be leaving an Easter Basket out for the Easter Bunny to fill with not only brightly colored eggs, but candy, goodies and small gifts as well. 

Be sure and visit Halloween Express’ eggs-traordinary collection of Easter costumes and accessories.  We have all the hoppy eggs-tras that you need to make your Easter something to dye for!


The Most Wanted Muppet Personality: YOURS!

  • March 24, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

Muppet's Most Wanted

Since 1955, Jim Henson’s Muppets have been entertaining generations of kids young and old with their silly antics and often-wild ‘n’ crazy shenanigans.  What you might not know, however, is that deep within your own persona, actually lurks a bit of “Muppet” personality of your own.  To get you in the mood for the release of the eighth Muppet feature film, (in theatres now) “Muppet’s Most Wanted,” we thought you might like to begin channeling a little of your inner Muppet self.  Which Muppet personality are YOU?

Kermit The Frog:  Kermit the Frog is arguably the most well known of all the Muppets. Known for his leadership skills, his practicality and his ability to pull his very eclectic group of friends together, Kermit is the hands down unsung hero of the Muppet crowd.  Quietly going about his biz, Kermit is not only the stable rock of the Muppets, but he also takes the time to quell his angst through song and pondering the great mysteries of the universe (why are there so many songs about rainbows?) and fretting over the difficulties of living life while trapped inside green skin.  Yes, it’s no so easy being green, but Kermie you still manage to do it well.  Are you a natural born leader with a somewhat soulful and thoughtful interior?  You might be Kermit.

Miss Piggy:  Miss Piggy likes to live large, because after all, the world surely must be revolving completely around her--right?  An unapologetic diva, Miss Piggy seeks after the spotlight in any and all arenas and loves to be the center of attention.  Always looking the part of the goddess of glam, you can count on Miss Piggy to be dressed to the nines and loving her self-imposed role of being perpetually fabulous.  Yes, she can be arrogant and self-absorbed, but Miss Piggy knows what she wants and how to get it.  From smothering you with kisses to karate chopping you across the room--whatever it takes, Miss Piggy is truly the center of her own universe.  If you are a driven, glamorous femme fatale destined for the limelight…you might be Miss Piggy.

Fozzie Bear:  Every group needs someone around to offer up a little comic relief and for the Muppets, this character will always be Fozzie Bear.  Fozzie Bear is a prankster that is always cracking dumb jokes and trying to get a laugh any way he can, even if he has to rely on a whoopee cushion or a well-placed banana peel to get the job done.  Once the punch line has been delivered, you can often hear him snorting, “Wocka, wocka, wocka”…as if to say, “Now that was funny!”  His gags may be annoying, but there are plenty of times he’s gonna make you laugh…or at the very least, make you crack a smile.  If you are the life of the party and the perpetual jokester of your group of pals, you might be Fozzie Bear.

Gonzo:  Gonzo, just like his name implies, is well known for being a little left of center.  Okay, maybe “weird” is a better word.  Known sometimes as “The Great Gonzo”, this fellow seems to take great pride in his peculiar nature and truly marches to the beat of his own drummer.  Give Gonzo credit for creativity, energy and a very unique ability to come up with some pretty crazy ideas. If you are a high energy individual with an ingenious, one of a kind personality, you might be Gonzo.

Sam The Eagle:  Sam the Eagle takes his role as the patriotic symbol of the nation very seriously.  Not wanting to associate himself with much of the nonsense that surrounds him due to his fellow Muppet friends, Sam the Eagle tries to take what he views as the high road, but instead is often perceived as a downright grumpy killjoy.  Although mostly appalled by the Muppets regular shenanigans, Sam the Eagle does try to keep everyone grounded.  If you find yourself often being the practical voice of reason, you might be Sam the Eagle.

Animal:  The heart of rock and roll lives on in the soul of Animal, the crazy, leather-clad, wild haired drummer that truly embodies the meaning of free-spiritedness.  Likely earning his moniker because of behavior that truly is somewhat akin to actual animals, Animal excitedly grunts mono-syllabic phrases when he needs to speak and is known to have an out of control temper that even requires some anger management at times.  He’s edgy, he’s cool, he’s wild and out of control--and truly one of the hands-down favorites of the entire Muppet crew.  If you are a very eccentric, somewhat maniacal free thinker, you might just be Animal.

The Muppet’s latest adventure, “Muppets Most Wanted” is now showing in a theatre near you!


Today We’re All Irish!

  • March 17, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, my fellow Irishmen, because today, (or so they say) we all get to be a little bit Irish!  St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional celebration of not only Irish culture, but it’s also a great day to embrace good fortune and a little bit of mischievous fun as well. 

Here’s our Top 10 list of the very best of St. Paddy’s Day…now it’s time to go out and experience some serious Irish style shenanigans. Erin Go Bragh! 

  1. Eat, Drink and be Merry--Irish Style.  There is always a lot of drinking to be done on St. Paddy’s day, so hitting your local pub for some Irish or even “green” colored beer may be one of the more popular ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Cooking up an Irish style meal is another--try some savory Corned Beef and Cabbage for starters; my personal experience is that the more beer you drink with it, the better this tastes! Make sure you have an appropriate Irish toast ready to share with your drinking buddies.  Here’s one of my favorites:  “Wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be right there with you.”
  2. Chasing Leprechauns.  One of the most long-standing traditions of St. Patrick’s Day is the setting up of appropriate traps in order to capture the ever-elusive Irish leprechaun.  Everyone knows that once captured, the magical leprechaun must grant his captor three wishes; choose wisely!
  3. Limericks.  The limerick is a very specific type of Irish rhyming poem that is generally humorous and very often a little bit off color.  St. Patrick’s Day is a great day to bring out your favorite limericks or even try writing one of your own.  Here’s an example of one I just wrote for my boss:
  4. “There once was a cool dude named Brad,
    Who was really one heck of a lad.
    He put up with the jokes,
    From us girls and the blokes--
    And never once did he get himself mad.”

  5. Go Green:  Today is THE day to wear your best green duds.  We say, when it comes to the “wearing o’ the green”--go big, or go home.  A St. Patrick’s Day costume or some great (and very green) accessories are a great place to start.
  6. Pinching.  Now we are not talking about hurting anyone here, but a gentle pinch on someone who has forgotten to wear green or is shunning the great Irish holiday at hand does seem appropriate.  Please place your pinches appropriately people, as this is not a day to be labeled as a perv no matter how much beer you’ve been drinkin’.
  7. Parade:  There will be St. Paddy’s Day parades all over the nation today, perhaps one in a city or town near you.  If you don’t have a local St. Patrick’s Day parade to attend, there really is no reason why you can’t start one of your own with some of your friends.  Which brings me to my next way to really celebrate Irish style…
  8. Irish Dancing:  St. Patrick’s Day is the best day of the year to try a little Irish style dancing.  You could try your hand at a little Irish step dancing, an Irish reel or if you are a more traditional dancing sort, you could attempt to learn a very lively Irish jig.  Don’t forget some great Irish tunes to appropriately accompany your silly Irish-style frolicking.
  9. Legends, Proverbs and Blessings:  There is a lot of great folklore and history that has been passed on from our dear Irish friends, (uh…starting with the best holiday of the year--Halloween, of course!) so that makes today a great day to share an Irish proverb or blessing with your friends and family.  One of my faves:  “There is nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse.”
  10. Good Luck:  St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a day to celebrate good luck as well as good fortune.  Count your blessings.  Wear green.  Gather up lucky charms. Look for four-leaf clovers. Chase a rainbow. Maybe you’ll find a pot of gold!
  11. Kisses:  We’ve all heard the phrase, “Kiss Me!  I’m Irish!”  This phrase likely stems from the tradition of kissing that very famous Blarney Stone, which is said to bring a person good luck and the gift of gab.  If you can’t kiss the actual stone, perhaps kissing an Irish person who has actually kissed it is the next best thing? 

    
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your (suddenly very Irish) friends at Halloween Express!


St. Patrick’s Day: Lucky Facts and Green Lore

  • March 10, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

Lucky Facts and Green LoreMarch has snuck up on us and even though it hardly feels like spring or anything remotely green at all, March does bring with it springtime and what could arguably be the luckiest day of the year, St. Patrick’s Day. Why is St. Patrick’s Day thought to be a day of such good fortune? Where did the idea of the luck o’ the Irish come from? What is up with all the green stuff, anyway?  Here are a few fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day that we thought you might like to know.

Who Is St. Patrick?  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who thousands of years ago taught Christianity to the pagan people of the Emerald Isle.  It is said that St. Patrick died on March the 17 in the year 461 A.D. after which a religious feast was held annually on that day in remembrance of him.  Nowadays, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t so much a religious celebration as much as it is a day to celebrate Irish folklore, silly superstitions, good luck and of course, the wearing o’ the green. 

Luck ‘O The Irish: Historically speaking, the Irish people weren’t exactly what anyone would dare to call lucky, so where did the saying “the luck o’ the Irish” come from?  As it turns out, during the California Gold Rush, there were many Irish prospectors that did indeed change the overall perception of Irish luck from bad to good, as many of these fortunate miners did find gold and silver at which time the “the luck o’ the Irish” phrase was duly coined.

Lucky Leprechauns: The legends surrounding leprechauns are buried deep in Irish folklore.  The leprechaun was considered to be a somewhat curmudgeonly fairy that by trade repaired the footwear of other fairies.  Leprechauns were thought to have magical powers, but sadly these powers were often used to create mischief and mayhem toward others.  These miserly, not to mention miniscule pranksters are rumored to have treasures (pots of gold) hidden away, usually somewhere near the end of a rainbow.  Trying to capture a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day is part of annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition.  If you are fortunate enough to succeed in catching the cagey little sprite, the leprechaun must then grant his captor three wishes--so good luck, indeed!

Wearing O’ The Green:  Wearing green has become pretty much mandatory on St. Patrick’s Day if you want to avoid getting pinched, a somewhat innocuous but traditional punishment for forgetting, that goes all the way back to the 1700’s in early America.  It was thought that by wearing green, you would be invisible to those crafty little leprechauns that were supposedly up to all sorts of mischief (and pinching) on St. Patrick’s Day.  Why risk a leprechaun attack or getting pinched by your co-workers when there are so many ways to wear your green for this festive occasion? A green shamrock on your lapel will do just fine or you can go much bigger with your green look by wearing a full-fledged St. Patrick’s Day costume.  Be sure and check out our how-to video for complete step-by-step instructions on how to transform yourself into your own version of a lucky little leprechaun!

 






Don’t miss your chance to get in on some of the serious fun of St. Paddy’s Day!  From green beer to green duds, on March the 17th, we definitely all become a little Irish! 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your very lucky friends at Halloween Express! 


Mardi-Party: Top 10 Mardi Gras Must Haves

  • March 03, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

Mardi Gras Must HavesLaissez le bon temps rouler!  Whether you are heading south to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, or planning some Mardi Gras festivities much closer to home, there are a few essentials that you will, no ifs ands or buts, need for your festivities.  Here’s our top ten list of Mardi Gras party absolute must-haves! 

10.  Masks:  Historically, the wearing of masks during the celebration of Mardi Gras was done in order to take away any class distinctions amongst the people.  During Mardi Gras, you could party with whoever you liked and be whoever you wanted to be--going completely incognito made this all possible.  Today wearing masks during Mardi Gras is one of everyone’s favorite parts of the celebrating; in fact, float riders are required by law to wear a mask during the Mardi Gras festivities.  From very simple masks to very elaborate and decorative ones, Mardi Gras is not Mardi Gras without a mask!

9.  Green, Gold and Purple décor:  The celebration of Mardi Gras absolutely has a color scheme to it.  The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are gold, purple and green.  Green is said to represent faith.  Gold is said to represent power.  Purple is said to represent dignity.  Whatever you are doing for Mardi Gras, you will want to use these three distinctive colors as your Mardi-party color scheme.

8. King Cake:  The King Cake is a traditional part of Mardi Gras celebrating.  The cake is named after and designed to honor the Three Wise Men who visited and brought gifts to the baby Jesus long ago.  Inside each King Cake is baked a naked plastic baby.  A Mardi Gras tradition states that whomever gets the plastic baby inside their slice of King Cake will get to be the next host of the Mardi Gras party.

7.  Feast:  No Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without a New Orleans style Cajun feast.  Favorite menu items you might want to consider for your Mardi Gras party may include catfish, Gumbo, Jambalaya, beans and rice and maybe even some Beignets (French donuts).  A Mardi Gras traditional dessert has always been Bananas Foster.

6.  Drinks:  Mardi Gras celebrations are pretty notorious for being a time to fully enjoy alcoholic beverages.  If you are looking for non-alcoholic beverage choices, consider a sweet fruit punch.

5.  Brass Band/Jazz Music:  The sound of brass and jazz music goes with Mardi Gras like peanut butter goes with jelly.  Accompanying your party with traditional Mardi Gras tunes will go a long way toward setting that perfect Mardi Gras ambience.  Songs to add to your Mardi Gras playlist might include:  “When The Saints Go Marching In” (Louis Armstrong), “If Ever I Cease To Love” (A.J. Loria) and “Iko, Iko”(The Dixie Cups).

4. Plastic Beads and Doubloons:  These traditional Mardi Gras trinkets/souvenirs have become a huge part of Mardi Gras celebrating and during the festivities, become highly sought after.  Make sure you have lots of plastic beads as well as doubloons to give out to your guests; how they earn them of course, is entirely up to you.

3. Costumes:  Mardi Gras is the perfect time to dress up in a costume and the wilder the costume is, the better.  A traditional Mardi Gras look is the “Jester” but any brightly colored dress up look created with wigs, hats or accessories will also do very nicely. 

2. Entertainment:  Mardi Gras isn’t called the world’s biggest party for nothing!  You are going to want to make sure you have some fun things for your guests to do at your Mardi Gras event.  Traditional Mardi Gras celebrations are focused on parades and floats, so consider having some scaled down party activities like a costume parade or even holding a miniature float building contest.  Face painting is another fun activity that goes perfectly with a Mardi Gras event.

1. Mardi Gras Party Attitude:  The most important part of your Mardi Gras party is to make sure that you bring a big time party attitude and spirit into your event in order to help your guests get that true Mardi Gras vibe.  From that point on, it’s simply a matter of letting the good times roll!

 

Happy Mardi Gras from your friends at Halloween Express!