Random Facts You Might Not Know About Memorial Day

  • May 26, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day is traditionally the holiday that kicks off summertime.  Part of that first glorious long weekend of the summer, Memorial Day is traditionally a family holiday celebrated with picnics, barbecues and other typical warm weather fare.  Memorial Day is a holiday that should be honored with a certain degree of solemnity too, however, because the three-day weekend aside, this special day was designated to honor our soldiers who gave their lives fighting in wars in order to preserve our freedoms and way of life.  Here are some other interesting facts about Memorial Day that you might not know!

  • Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. 
  • A leader in the Veteran’s Association named John A. Logan instituted the first Decoration Day, which was held on May 30, 1868.
  • Decoration Day was initially a day designated to honor the Union soldiers who had lost their lives while fighting in the Civil War.  More lives were lost in the Civil War than any other war in history.  The southern states however, did not acknowledge Decoration Day until after WWI, when it became a day of recognition to remember all soldiers, in all wars.
  • Some southern states still have special observances in order to honor the Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War.  These states include Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
  • Decoration Day eventually became Memorial Day.  Memorial Day extended the recognition of deceased soldiers to include any military personnel who had lost their lives during any war ever fought.
  • The National Moment of Remembrance is a designated moment of silence on Memorial Day.  Americans are asked to stop and pause whatever they are doing at 3 pm local time and take a moment to reflect and remember the war veterans who lost their lives in service of their country.  In order to ensure that these fallen soldiers are never forgotten, a law was passed in the year 2000, “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.”  This act encourages citizens to give something back to their country by honoring these soldiers during a moment of silent reflection.
  • Memorial Day became an official Federal holiday in 1971.
  • The red poppy is the official symbol of Memorial Day and you may see many sporting this poppy on their lapel as an act of remembrance.

Whatever you are doing this Memorial Day, please take a moment to show gratitude to our country’s fallen soldiers.  These brave men and women gave up their tomorrow’s so we could have our today. 

What Every Superhero Needs

  • May 19, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
What Every Superhero NeedsEvery year at this time it happens.  Big time blockbuster movies start to make their appearance in theaters, and there is one thing you can pretty much bank on as part of the action.  Superheroes!  This spring is no exception with the latest installments of Spiderman and Captain America already thrilling audiences around the country, and soon the latest chapter in the X-Men saga will be doing the same.  With all you wannabe superheroes getting geared up out there, we thought we’d share with you our list of everything a good superhero needs. An Epic Suit:  Some superheroes like Spiderman have an affinity for stretchy, spandex onesies that show off their always-fabulous physiques, allowing them also to move around and fight crime with relative ease. Other heroic figures (like Iron Man) enjoy armor-like accoutrements, while still others like Superman and Batman just can’t live without an awesome cape.  No superhero costume is ever boring or understated--these crime fighters absolutely dress to be noticed. A Mysterious Identity:  Many superheroes have either a secret identity or an alter ego that they hide behind for most of their everyday life.  Their alternative selves often are a far cry from anything that seems akin to a real superhero, in fact, most of the time their second self blends into the normal human existence with relative ease. A Great Place to Hang:  From the Xavier Institute to the fabulous man haven known as the Batcave, every superhero needs a good place to hang up his suit so he can rest for a while after fighting off all those evil villains and bad guys.  These epic lairs are the stuff great comic book legends are made of and are often very enviable digs, indeed. Gadgets & Gizmos: Almost all of the superheroes have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to using ingenious gizmos and other types of cunning apparatus to get themselves out of trouble.  Batman has learned to master hand-to-hand combat in order to get his bat job done, but it’s his use of clever gadgetry that has made him legendary, especially his skill with a wide variety of Bat-a-rangs. And let’s face it, what’s not to love about Spiderman’s web-shooters or even Captain America’s virtually indestructible shield? A Huge Moral Compass:  A superhero is nothing without his over inflated sense of self, morality, truth and righteousness.  These are the qualities that drive him onward to fight another day against those evil forces that never seem to stay down, at least not for very long, anyway. Bad Guys:  Without villains a superhero would have nothing to do, thus the existence of evil and a whole cast of really bad guys to perpetuate it is an important part of the superhero’s life and mission.   Fighting off those gnarly bad guys is a huge part of any superhero’s fun, too. It’s easy to gear up in a superhero look of your very own with a truly fantastic costume from our huge collection of superhero looks and all the accessories to go with it.  Bring one of these legendary characters home for yourself to have some larger than life fun right in your very own living room.

A Fully Costumed History Lesson

  • May 12, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Civil War Ear Costume

A costume can be much like a time machine.  The simple act of putting on replica garb from another era can instantly give you a small taste of how a person living in that time period may have lived.  We’ve all been to museums and looked through the glass at displays of old clothing and tried to imagine what it may have been like to be the person once wearing those items.  What did they experience?  What did they feel?  What was their life like?  Learning the facts of history obviously gets us one step closer to answering those questions.  Wearing a costume from another era and assuming the role of a person who lived long ago will take you even one step further.

Have you noticed how popular historical reenactments have become?  Medieval and Renaissance fairs have been popping up all over the nation.  Historical sites such as the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts are also a perfect example of how history has literally brought itself to life for us to enjoy in our modern day.  At the Plimouth Plantation, actors and actresses dress up and take the roles of individuals living a typical 17th century existence in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Think you can just go talk to a person in Plymouth about your modern day woes?  These hardy and seasoned actors are true to their characters and have mastered their life in their imaginary historical existence, thus they will seem unfazed by your space-aged by comparison existence. Your 21st century issues will seemingly suddenly have no meaning and that’s where the fun begins.  It’s easy, fun and truly fascinating to imagine life in 1627; as literally everyone around you at Plymouth is dressed up and behaves just as one would expect for life as it was back in that day.  The folks of Plymouth are all too happy to tell you about their lives as well and what their daily existence consists of.  From their authentic replica homes and furniture, to the homespun look of their clothing, this place is a history buff’s Mecca, and the Plimouth Plantation is far from alone when it comes to captivating audiences through a historical reenactment. 

The Civil War era is another time period in history that continues to live on through reenactments and reliving history.   Each year many enthusiasts dress up and pay homage to the Civil war legends of old by recreating important events from the Civil War period.  Not only are there reenactments of important battles and events, but it’s also possible for fans to go and tour the significant sites and hear lectures and lessons on the important events of yesteryear, learning how these historical episodes molded life for all future generations.  A rather expansive calendar of Civil War era related events around the country is available so by all means look for exciting historical activities that may be happening in your own neck of the woods!

Renaissance Fairs are another history-based dress up affair that has completely captivated the nation.  These fairs or weekend gatherings are filled with knights and ladies, costumed entertainers, handicrafts and time period themed food--all focused around the Renaissance time period, just for the fun of it of course, and patrons can’t seem to get enough. ‘Tis most splendid and be assured, history class was certainly never this much fun! 

Can’t get out of the house for this new breed of live historical fiction?  Well, these days history-in-action can be as close as your television set.  Although not necessarily true to recorded historical facts, watching the stories of characters from a time gone by can be a great temporary escape for any television viewer.  Besides, think of the costume ideas you are getting!  Our favorites:  Game of Thrones (HBO), Turn (AMC), Salem (WGN), Black Sails, (Starz) and Vikings (The History Channel).

Of course, you don’t have to be part of an official reenactment to get into the fun of dressing up in a historical costume.  There are likely events around your local community that will showcase historical costumes nicely; plus, these looks are also a whole lot of fun for school history dress up days as well.  Take your history lessons one step further with exciting historical looks that will instantly take you and your costume comrades back to another place and time!   Happy time travel from your friends at Halloween Express! 

Costume Moms: Hall of Fame

  • May 05, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Costume Moms Hall of Fame Everyone has his or her own favorite mom. More likely than not, your favorite mama is your very own! With Mother’s day just around the corner, we are celebrating some pretty legendary mothers of our very own.  These epic mommy’s have their own place in history, being remembered as sweet, savvy, loving and perhaps even a little quirky--but when it comes to creating a memorable character, they’ve got the whole mom thing down pat. Lucille Ball:  If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine Desi Arnaz yelling “Luuuuucy!!!” as he reacts to his crazy redhead’s latest shenanigans.  Lucy always meant well; in fact, her children and family were always her primary focus.  The problem was always in the execution of her ill-fated plots, which almost invariably went very badly awry, even in spite of enlisting the help of her more reasonable friend, Ethel.  Lucy will always be a mom-favorite to the masses because in addition to her off-the-wall type of ingenuity, she always had a clear path to getting everyone laughing. Morticia Addams:  The classically cool, calm and darkly elegant Morticia has a lot going for her.  Not only is she collectedly managing her children Wednesday and Pugsley, but also she is still very much keeping a romantic spark alive between herself and her rather googily enamored husband, Gomez.  Morticia can be a little spooky, but in spite of her mildly creepy persona, when it comes to mothering, this woman is completely unfettered. Carol Brady:  Carol Brady is famous for mothering one of the most beloved blended television families of all time - The Brady Bunch!  Always loving, calm and supportive, Carol Brady is the stalwart rock as well as the voice of reason for her nearly harmoniously melded bunch of Brady’s, all the while enduring all sorts of minor family turmoil.  When it comes to giving gentle motherly advice, Carol Brady reigns supreme. Jane Jetson:  What could be cooler than a mom with a space age mentality?  Jane Jetson absolutely loves gizmos and gadgetry and uses new-fangled inventions quite effectively to make her life as a homemaker something to be envied.  Jane is a quintessential fashionista and would never be caught anywhere in space looking dumpy or frumpy--why would she when being fabulous was just one trip to Mooning Dales away? Wilma Flintstone:  This pre-historic mama makes cave life look pretty darn good.  Wilma is the grounding force of the Flintstone household and has become well known for attempting to keep her somewhat boisterous husband Fred in line.  Even if she almost always warns him about his often ill-fated plans, she is still usually the first person to bail him out once he gets in over his head--with only a little bit of an “I told you so…” Marge Simpson:  Marge Simpson has been mother of the year in Springfield, and with good reason.  Not only is she raising three very lively and notoriously rambunctious children, but also she has to put up with her inept and doofus husband Homer, who himself could make a very strong case for being Marge’s fourth child.  Marge handles some pretty gnarly situations without losing her cool, or ever having to adjust a single strand of that pretty epic blue beehive. Lily Munster:  Lily Munster is known as the matriarch of the monstrous Munster clan.  Lily herself is technically one of the undead, a vampire.  Her husband Herman is the love of her life, but she often gets very angry with him for what turns out to be mostly just his utter stupidity and as a result, often unleashes her fiery temper on him.  Lily is mother to her own son, Eddie and her sister’s daughter, Marilyn.  Lily takes motherhood very seriously and does it with great efficiency, but has been known to be prone to occasional over-meddling.  This full time homemaker can also read palms and is known for her excellent cooking skills, but her greatest passion has always been her quirky family. Happy Mother’s Day from your friends at Halloween Express!