Made In The USA: Patriotic Characters We LOVE

  • July 01, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Made In The USAIndependence Day.  It’s far more than just a summertime holiday that extends your weekend and gives you the perfect excuse to down a ridiculous amount of hot dogs and potato salad.  The Fourth of July is America’s holiday--the day we come together to celebrate our many freedoms, the great American dream and pay some honor to all those who made the many liberties that we enjoy possible.  The Fourth of July has many traditions that go along with it and more likely than not, you will find yourself proudly flying your American flag, attending a Fourth of July parade and perhaps even watching a local fireworks display.  Here at Halloween Express, we also think that the Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate some of the best patriotic characters out there!  Who would you add to our “most patriotic” character list? Betsy Ross-Betsy is arguably the most well known of the female historic patriotic figures, even though many of the stories surrounding her life may be more legend than verified fact.  Betsy is credited, however, with being asked by George Washington to come up with the design of the very first American Flag.  Betsy was clearly an instrumental fixture in the designing of the flag (at that time the flag had thirteen five pointed stars placed in a circle on the field of blue) as well as considering the meanings behind each of the flags components. James T. Kirk-Yes, we mean that James Kirk and yes, we know you may be surprised to see the brave Captain of the Starship Enterprise on our list of patriotic characters.  Consider this.  Captain Kirk hails from Iowa, deep in the heartland of America. Additionally, as far as the idea of an All-American cowboy goes, who could embrace the adventurous American spirit more than someone exploring the vast, deep reaches of the universe?  Exactly! Wonder Woman-Wonder Woman was originally dreamed up as a powerful female cartoon character that would hopefully help to increase the morale of women during the era surrounding WWII.  Let’s face it, back in those days, with most of the men off fighting the war, the women left back at home really did have to almost have superpowers to make things happen.  They practically did everything!  Wonder Woman represents the strength, patriotism and courage of women! Superman-We love Superman and indeed think he qualifies as a super sized patriotic character.  Superman is technically an immigrant to America, but he was raised in the heartland of America with very down-home American values and ideals.  Superman has always been well known to stand firmly on the side of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and has made his life mission affirming those ideals. Captain America-You’d be very hard pressed to find a character more patriotic than Captain America!  Just his name alone screams patriotism!  Captain America, over and over again, has proven his devotion and loyalty to his country and if ever there was a character worthy of proudly donning the red, white and blue, we think the good Captain qualifies!  Check out our how to video for some great ideas on how to put together a Captain America look of your very own! Uncle Sam-On the Fourth of July, Uncle Sam will be one of the most popular characters out strutting his stuff--but where did this legendary personality come from?  As it turns out, his beginnings weren’t quite as illustrious as his persona would later become.  A meat packer named Sam supplied meat products to the U.S. Army during the war of 1812.  The packages of meat were stamped “U.S.” but some of the soldiers started referring to the meat as belonging to Uncle Sam.  The nickname stuck and nowadays the term “Uncle Sam” is a commonly used nickname that refers to the federal government.  A cartoonist named Thomas Nast is actually the one who gave Uncle Sam his groovy patriotic image--with the white beard, tophat, and the outfit loaded up with stars, stripes and red, white and blue!  Interested in putting together an Uncle Sam look of your very own?  Check out our video with all the patriotic how-tos! George Washington-There may be other U.S. Presidents that could also be called great patriotic characters, but for our purposes, we are going with the original.  Without George Washington, there may not have ever been any subsequent presidents to even be patriots--George Washington was definitely the original.  Always considered the “Father of our country” George Washington will go down in history as the most significant person of the American Revolution. Lady Liberty-The Statue of Liberty has long stood proudly in the New York City Harbor holding her spot as one of the most well-known and iconic symbols representing the freedom and liberty of the United Stated States of America.  The statue of Liberty, officially known as “Liberty Enlightening the World” welcomed millions of immigrants that came into America, arriving at nearby Ellis Island.  The Statue of Liberty also is a functioning lighthouse. G.I. Joe-G.I. Joe could arguably be today’s most authentic and REAL American Hero.  The character of G.I. Joe represents the American soldier, and as far as we are concerned, it really doesn’t get any more All-American or patriotic than that. Finding your inner patriot is easy and dressing up as someone patriotic has never been more fun! Happy Fourth of July from your friends at Halloween Express!

Star Spangled Celebration

  • June 24, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

We're about ten days away from July 4th. Do you have any plans? I love the Fourth of July.  Independence Day really is the perfect summer holiday.  The Fourth of July brings an absolutely sublime juxtaposition of summer fun and a perfect opportunity to express our patriotism and love of our country.  Now’s the time to celebrate all those great American ideals that make our country what it is and what makes it great and have some memorable summertime fun at the same time!  To help get you into a patriotic and celebratory mood, here are some lesser known fun facts that are a part of the history of the US of A, all brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue!

A Turkey…Really?  You may not realize this, but when it came to very early discussions about which of our feathered friends should represent our country as the official bird and the flying symbol of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin actually had a different idea than the elegant and regal Bald Eagle that we are familiar with today.  Good ol’ Ben actually thought that the official bird of the United States of America should be a wild turkey!  I’m sure we are all very happy that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams outvoted Franklin on this one.

Barbecue…American Style.  What could be considered a more all-American tradition than a family style barbecue or cookout on the Fourth of July?  During the Fourth of July weekend alone, Americans will down over 155 million hot dogs…and that doesn’t even count all the burgers, chicken and potato salad that will likely be accompanying all those juicy frankfurters!  Hot Dogs were first named such by a cartoonist who was attending a 1901 baseball game.  Tad Dorgan heard various vendors selling these bun-wrapped sausages, while shouting out, “Get your Dachshund sausages while they are red hot!”  While creating a cartoon depicting the scene he was witnessing, Mr. Dorgan had no idea how to spell dachshund, so he just called the wieners “hot dogs”…the name apparently stuck and the rest, my friends, is history!

The First Flag…Thirteen Stars in a Circle:  Do you know why the very first American Flag created by Betsy Ross had thirteen white stars strategically placed in a circle on the field of blue?  The thirteen stars represented the thirteen original colonies.  The stars were purposefully arranged in a circle to symbolize the equality of the original colonies.  Other arrangements and designs of the first flag were presented in those early days, but the one created by Betsy Ross that contained the circular arrangement of the stars was the one that was ultimately chosen.  Good work, Betsy! 

The National Anthem…There’s More?  Did you know that the National Anthem actually has four verses?  Most Americans these days sadly struggle to get through just the first verse, the most well known verse of our beloved anthem.  The truth is that in the original song, Francis Scott Key had penned four complete verses that are definitely worth reading! Check out this guy belting out verse four of the Star Spangled Banner

Costume Dads: Hall of Fame

  • June 16, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

After spending Father’s Day barbecuing and honoring dad’s everywhere, now we here at Halloween Express want to pay some due homage to a few of the very special and even quirky daddy’s that we have lurking around these parts.  Dedication, devotion, humor and sometimes a whole lot of goofiness define these famous and legendary dads.  These padres have made our unique list of memorable pops because they have set the bar pretty high…at least in the areas of their own unique brand of expertise!

Mike Brady-Mike Brady became the head of the household to what could arguably be television’s most well known blended family -- THE BRADY BUNCH! Widowed, with three lively boys to now bring up on his own, Mike Brady then met Carol who had ironically found herself in the same situation with three girls.  From there can you say kismet, followed by instant big family? Mike Brady, an architect by trade, added infrastructure, calm as well as a voice of reason to his brood of young ruffians--all with a lot of seventies style class and finesse.  You could count on Mr. Brady to always look positively groovy with wide collars, mod prints and at one point, even a perfectly coifed ‘fro. 

George Jetson-This space age papa has worked his way up in the stratosphere, making his career at Spacely’s Space Sprockets, where he spends most of his day pushing buttons that make…well, sprockets.  George is a loving and mild-mannered family man but can be prone to getting stressed out when he begins to sense that he has begun to lose control of his futuristic household.

Gomez Addams-Gomez Addams has to be the hands-down favorite dad when it comes to masterfully carrying off the best-dressed, spooky chic look of the Addams Family.  Gomez, who is a filthy rich, unabashed spender, is almost always sporting a dark suit and tie, looking dashing, smashing and fashionable for his beloved Morticia, who usually is sexing up the joint herself in a clingy, cobweb-infused gown.  An accomplished juggler and knife-thrower, Gomez is also a very devoted father to Pugsley and Wednesday and is absolutely crazy about his wife Morticia. Gomez clearly loves his family madly and isn’t afraid to show it in his own completely over the top and eccentric way.

Herman Munster-Herman Munster looks a lot like Frankenstein, and claims to actually have been created by Dr. Frankenstein himself.  At some point, Herman moved to Transylvania and met Lily Dracula who became his loving wife.  Herman and Lily have one child, Eddie and are also helping raise Marilyn, who is the daughter of Lily’s sister.  Herman is basically an extremely naïve and bumbling idiot that is always finding himself in various situations that confound him as well as Lily, his levelheaded wife.  Not fully understanding the fact that many local folks are actually terrified of his monstrous appearance, Herman often brushes off these fearful reactions as something else entirely.  A devoted as well as playful father, Herman loves playing with his son Eddie’s toys almost as much as Eddie does.  For a doting dad with a flat head that looks pretty scary, this guy actually seems pretty darn human.

Fred Flintstone-Fred Flintstone is a rather obnoxious, loud-mouthed, scheming and opinionated working class guy just trying to earn a living, putting in his time as a crane operator for the Slate Rock and Gravel Company.  Fred is oddly lovable, but at the same time, he can be highly annoying and tends to be prone to immature temper tantrums.  It’s a good thing he usually has his loyal sidekick Barney around to keep him grounded as well as his devoted wife, Wilma who is always nearby to bail him out of whatever mess he has inevitably found himself in.  An avid bowler, Fred is friendly, enjoys gambling and is most known for his famous catch phrase, “Yabba Dabba Doo!”

Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) -This bayou dwelling, heavily bearded, self-proclaimed redneck and patriarch to the Duck Dynasty crew has made his vast fortune doing what he loves--making duck calls.  What grew out of an obsession for hunting, over time became a multi-million dollar enterprise, but all that money changed little in Phil Robertson’s world.  Phil has called himself a “low tech man in a high tech world” and still maintains a firm grip on his family priorities and simple way of living.

Homer Simpson-Homer Simpson absolutely takes the donut when it comes to being the most childish of our group of illustrious dads.  Forever a juvenile delinquent himself, Homer seems to make an art out of being a big kid in a grown up, frumpy body.  Homer is not only bald and overweight, but he’s crude, lazy and he drinks too much. When it comes to brains or common sense, Homer has little and is usually looking for the quickest, easiest answer involving the least amount of effort to solve any problem he may be facing.  In spite of his many flaws, however, Homer may very well be one of the most beloved dads out there.  In spite of fits of rage and attempts at strangling his only son, Bart, Homer often still enlists Bart as his best buddy and partner in crime when it comes to various Homer-fueled shenanigans.  Homer is known to do most anything for a donut and also enjoys spending hours drinking beer with his friends down at Moe’s Tavern.  You can bet that wherever you may find this yellow-skinned, bald and pudgy working class dad, he’s using all 55 points of his IQ and finding lots of reasons to exclaim, “D’oh!”

Dads.  Making the world a better place one crazy guy at a time! 

Monster Grads-Class of 2014

  • June 09, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Graduation 2014 It’s that time of the year, when all around the nation, graduates are taking that fateful march towards graduation, signifying both achievement and entrance into the next phase of life.  Well, here at Halloween Express, we know of a few elite students of our own, very hard-working (and scary) students who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in their own fields of somewhat supernatural study.  Actually, each of these overachievers is a well-known and notorious monster, but not just any ordinary monster, of course.  These monster scholars, most popular on the fright night of Halloween, are each considered being at the top of their individual monstrous class.   They’ve scared us, and while we’ve loved them, we’ve also simultaneously abhorred them.  Most certainly you can bet that when Halloween rolls around, many of us will want to closely follow in these monster’s footsteps, and this is largely because of their unsurpassed creepiness and terrifying monster skills! Let us now introduce to you the 2014 Top Graduates of the Monster Class! 10. The Succubus-This sultry and wicked female monster is especially nefarious because although she has completely mastered her dark and evil lifestyle, it’s very hard (if not impossible) for any man to ever resist her.  Although she is super creepy, at the same time the Succubus is also irresistibly sexy.   The Succubus has likely flirted her way to a lot of easy A’s, but still will earn her Bachelors Degree in Deception, because she’s a pro at using her sexual prowess to lure men toward their ultimate demise. 9. Headless Person-You should try mastering any field of study without your noggin’ attached!  This is not an easy feat, but this mindfully decapitated student has actually learned to think with a completely disconnected head.  The Headless Person not only has to work hard at exacting his revenge on the person who decapitated him, but has to do it whilst carrying around his cranium in his hands--otherwise, he’d likely lose his mind. The Headless Person will be earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Getting Ahead. 8. Mummy-The Mummy has his earned Masters degree in Corpse Preservation pretty much wrapped up! The Mummy will be unfortunately graduating, however without any honors--sadly, his heart just wasn’t in it.  His well-preserved and carefully bandaged body has been returning to life to haunt generation after generation of fright seekers.  The Mummy also has earned a simultaneous degree in Wrap Music while enjoying unwinding near the Dead Sea. 7. Frankenstein-At this year’s commencement ceremonies, Frankenstein will be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Mad Science.  Franky was brought to life after he being constructed from a bunch of scrapped body parts that were then carefully attached together and then scientifically electrified in order to become a living being.  In spite of feeling like an outcast and a loner his entire life, Frankenstein has always been considered a top achiever in his field of study and it’s even rumored that he now has a ghoul-friend. 6. Werewolf-The Werewolf will also be graduating amongst the top Monsters of 2014, earning his own Bachelors Degree in Big Teeth, Big Claws and Profuse Body Hair.  For decades the Werewolf has assimilated himself into normal humanity while simultaneously learning to channel the force of the full moon, using it’s power to transform himself into one of the ghastliest Halloween monsters out there.  This talented, but somewhat shifty character is also supremely skilled in the art of face combing. 5. Devil-The Devil will be earning a Masters degree in Dark Opposition and Psycho Pathology.  The Devil is the antithesis to truth and goodness, now giving a bodily form to the master of all death and destruction.  This proved to be a tough course of study but the devil’s fiery pursuits were this demon’s soul reason for living! 4. Witch-The Witch will be graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mysticism and Spelling.  The Witch has mastered the craft of mixing up mystical brews and offering up spells and incantations, all while performing her own brand of dark and scary magic. 3. Ghost-This graduation will find the Ghost earning his degree in Paranormal Sciences.  The Ghost, although once thought to be a lost soul that has not moved on to attain his eternal reward, has actually thought it better to linger amongst the living, making epic spooktaculars and haunted ghostly productions, including some very spirited soul music. 2. Zombie-We can all admire a monster that fully appreciates an abundance of brains!  As part of the Class of 2014, the Zombie will be graduating with his advanced degree in Post-Apocalyptic Body Decay with a minor in shuffling, which fully illustrates his extreme level of dead-ication to his decomposing field of study. 1.Vampire-The Vampire will also graduate this year taking the topmost spot amongst his Monster class of 2014, earning his degree in Vampire Studies.  The race for the number one ranking between the Vampire and the Zombie had actually previously been pretty neck and neck.   As for eventually gaining the prestigious and coveted spot at the head of the Monster class, the Vampire is very fangful that it doesn’t suck…it actually bites! Monstrous Congratulations to the Class of 2014 from your friends at Halloween Express!

Magnificent Maleficent

  • June 02, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Maleficent Disney has definitely done it again and this time, out of the shadows comes one of the darkest and most sinister Disney villainesses we’ve ever seen.  If you haven’t seen the movie, “Maleficent” yet, you’ve still likely seen the trailer.  Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) sickeningly snarls, “well, well…” and you pretty much get her point from there in an instant.  This chick is definitely up to something and it’s probably not going to be good. Most of us are familiar with the original fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, but probably very few of us remember the character Maleficent quite like she is portrayed in Disney’s latest retelling of the original fable.  Maleficent is the self-proclaimed “Mistress of all evil” and is on a mission bent on the ultimate revenge.  This film however, gives the viewer the story behind the story and explains all the reasons why Maleficent is the way she is and what drove her to be filled with so much venomous hatred. Maleficent is a vengeful and evil fairy that came to be the fiery and passionate protector of the land that she loves.  It seems that Maleficent wasn’t always so driven by darkness however, as early in her life Maleficent actually had a pretty harmonious life while living in her tranquil forest village.  Badly betrayed, Maleficent became filled with rage, Maleficent lashed out at the successor to the King by placing a cruel curse on his new infant daughter, Aurora.  Maleficent’s evil curse stated that before the sun sets on Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, causing her to instantly fall into an eternal, deathlike slumber. When it comes to portraying the very essence of evil, Maleficent’s costume gives her a lot of ammunition to work with.  Her almost demon-like, horned headdress combined with dark, flowing robes not only let her dress the part of a true villain, but perhaps even something far darker and much more sinister.  The harsh makeup, intense palette and sculpted lines of Maleficent’s face and wardrobe also add elements of horrifying drama, not to mention utter coldness. Aurora, by contrast, is dressed in soft colors while she speaks herself in the softest tones that resonate in trust and innocence.  Maleficent creeps in the shadows, following Aurora around, but Aurora doesn’t really seem to mind or understand that this is Maleficent, the one who now has a heart of stone and has issued a curse that will ultimately cause her demise. Like many good stories, the audience may be in for a few surprises.  We may discover that underneath Maleficent’s horns, the dark robes and a pretty nefarious character, there is something much deeper at play.  What will Maleficent do when she realizes that the very key to keeping her beloved forest existing in peace may very well lie within Aurora?  What if the forest kingdom Maleficent loves relies on her coming to terms with the more human kingdom that ultimately holds her legacy? Maleficent.  Now playing in a theatre near you. Don’t miss it! PS: Be sure to check out the Maleficent costumes available now.