Fifteen Fun Things To Do This Labor Day

  • September 01, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

Labor Day is a holiday that always feels just a little bittersweet. On the one hand, what’s not to love about another wonderful three-day weekend?  The flip side is that Labor Day has always been the symbolic end to summer and if your kids haven’t gone back to school yet, surely Labor Day marks the last hurrah before they do.  The great news is that there is plenty of fun to be had this Labor Day, which means great memories to be made…so get out and enjoy!  Here are some ideas to get you going!

  • Stay-cation. You really don’t have to go very far from home to get the feeling that you are really getting away from it all. Make some plans, and then go see your own hometown through a tourist’s eyes. Go visit some of the local sites that you probably have taken for granted, and perhaps even drive by on a regular basis. Want to take your Stay-cation one step further? Book a room at your local hotel--it will make you feel like you are really on vacation, even if you are just minutes from home.
  • Have a Beach Day. Head to the ocean if you can. The weather is still hot and fabulous; take the opportunity to get your toes in the sand one more time before the summer is over.
  • Find a Park. Whether you head to your local state park or even just to a local neighborhood park--Labor Day weekend is a great time to pack a picnic and get outdoors for some serious family fun.
  • Take a Dive. There are some activities that are always going to be much more fun when the weather is hot and steamy. Get to your local watering hole or swimming pool and make the best of it while you still can!
  • Bike Riding. Explore your locality via bicycle. Your community likely has bike paths or trails that you may not even have known about!
  • Dining. There is something both romantic and sexy about summer dining, especially when you can enjoy delicious foods outdoors on a breezy patio while watching the sun go down!
  • Movies. Are there still some of those summer blockbusters that you haven’t seen yet? There is no time like the present to head to an air conditioned theatre for some exciting cinematic entertainment!
  • County Fairs. Many local county fairs are still going on in full throttle. Head to the local county fair to see animals, go on a few crazy rides and experience the local delicious summertime fare.
  • Art Festivals. If you are into the arts, check into nearby art festivals that may be running through the Labor Day weekend. Local artisans will display their wares and perusing the artwork is an activity any art lover will not want to miss!
  • Outdoor Concerts. Music under the stars is a summertime activity that should not be missed!
  • Cookouts. One of the most traditional activities of summer is the tried and true family barbecue. Hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken--grab the kids and send summer off with a Labor Day feast!
  • Sporting Events. Tennis, Golf, NASCAR, fishing, baseball and even rodeo. Need we say more? Labor Day weekend is a great time to catch your favorite athletes in action.
  • Wine and Cheese. Check out your local winery or wine bar for a Labor Day wine tasting event they may be sponsoring. It’s a great way to try new wine varieties and when enjoyed with friends, these events can be a great way to have some serious fun.
  • Explore Astronomy. Summer’s clear and warm nights create the perfect opportunity for novice star gazers to get out and look deeply into the nighttime sky. Go someplace out of the way where there is less interference from city lights. Bring something warm to wear and don’t forget to bring your binoculars or telescope!
  • Shop for Deals. Labor Day has all the makings of shopping paradise. Great deals abound as retailers are trying to get rid of the last of summertime gear to make room for fall and winter merchandise. 

No matter what you choose to do this Labor Day, make it memorable and make it fun. Bidding a final adieu to summer doesn’t have to be painful! 

Happy Labor Day from your friends at Halloween Express! 

Back To School Horror Films Make The Grade

  • August 26, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

For some kids, going back to school may actually feel like something out of a horror movie.  The truth is, going back to school probably isn’t THAT bad.  Even still, you can’t really argue that school has been the primo setting for some of the most epic and scary horror films ever made.  Just in time for your trip back to class, we’ve compiled our top ten list of school themed horror favorites, that not only made the grade, but also passed the horror test--with honors!

10.  I Know What You Did Last Summer-Late one dark summer night while out driving around, four carousing teenage students accidentally hit and kill a pedestrian.  Assuming the worst and trying to avoid major problems for themselves, the teens try and cover up the accident by throwing the poor man’s body into the sea.  What happens next…well, it’s is the stuff the worst student nightmares are made of.

9.  The Faculty-The teachers at this high school begin to behave very, very strangely, causing some of the students to suspect that the educators are actually aliens.  (I’m pretty sure we all have felt that at least once, right?)  These freaky teachers may have different designs on the student body than giving them a proper education.

8.  Final Destination-A grisly premonition foretelling an airplane crash is followed by another life saving premonition, saving many from reaching an untimely and tragic end--or did it?  It seems that death is determined to take those supposedly lucky survivors anyway-- who now in turn desperately try to avoid what appears to be their gruesome destiny.

7.  Prom Night-The prom is supposed to be the highlight of your high school experience, right?  Well in this horror movie classic, prom night turns out to be a nothing less than a bloody nightmare.

6. Graduation Day-It was just supposed to be a track meet…but then the entire event took a very deadly and unexpected twist, leading to an entire series of horrifying events.  A star high school runner suddenly drops dead from an apparent heart attack at a school track meet.  Soon after, each of the deceased’s friends becomes a target for murder.

5.  Sorority Row-A sorority prank goes very, very wrong, leading the group sister friends to decide that the accidental death must be covered up.  Months later, a serial killer is now coming after them…is this some kind of macabre revenge?

4.  Return To Horror High-After a series of mysterious murders takes place on campus, Crippen High School shut down its doors for good.  When a film crew decides to make a movie about the horrific events that happened at the now abandoned school, truly hideous things begin to happen.  Could history be repeating itself?

3. Nightmare on Elm Street-Can someone kill you while you are dreaming?  A group of teenagers begin to be stalked by a long-clawed murderer named Freddy Kruegger, who only comes after them when they are sleeping, while in the midst of their dreams.  Is this a really bad nightmare or a much more sinister plot based on murderous revenge?

2. Scream-A teenage girl becomes the target of a killer one-year after her mother was murdered.  Could the two events be somehow related? Revealing who is behind the ghost face mask becomes the most important clue that will ultimately lead to revealing the identity of the killer.

1.  Carrie-Our number one pick when it comes to back to school horror is the classic 1976 film, Carrie.  Super shy and uber awkward Carrie becomes the target of some pretty nasty, not to mention cliquish, high school teasing.  Carrie somehow manages to get asked to the prom and is seemingly unaware of the circumstances involved around the invitation.  Just as Carrie begins to trust someone a little and gain some new confidence, tragic events begin to unfold and the true horror really begins.  Carrie unleashes her newfound telekinesis in a rage-filled fury directed at those who had tried to humiliate her.  You really didn’t want to mess with this girl…did you?

Happy Back to School from your friends at Halloween Express! 

Surviving The Back To School Blitz

  • August 19, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

It has been called the most wonderful time of the year; at least it certainly is for exhausted parents who are weary from keeping their kids busy all summer long.  As the days of summer begin to wind down and the kids are forced to face the reality that heading back to class is likely only days away, you really can’t help but feel a small pang of sadness thinking about another summer coming to an end.  Back to school time has some legitimate good things that go along with it, however, so you can go ahead and smile again as you face the back to school blitz with a great attitude.  Here are ten reasons for you and the kids to get stoked about back to school!

  • Buying School Clothes-Back to school is one of those traditional times of the year where kids everywhere get to freshen up their wardrobe with some new duds, and stock up on new socks and underwear.  What’s not to love about that?
  • School Supply Shopping-Buying new school supplies is an annual ritual that could arguably be the most favored by kids that are heading back to class.  There is something about new, freshly sharpened pencils, an unused box of crayons and a brand new blank notebook that feels so promising.
  • Getting into a Routine-Summertime can bring with it a more relaxed pace, but it also jolts families out of their routines, which can make life a little more chaotic at times.  There is a certain degree of comfort to be found in the old routine of going to school everyday and getting back into the groove of school year life.
  • Reconnecting With Friends-Ask any kid what he is most looking forward to about going back to school and you are likely to hear that he is excited about reconnecting with all the friends he hasn’t seen all summer long. 
  • Sleep Schedule-Sometimes summertime can mean getting off track when it comes to our sleep schedules, too.  The long summer days can often mean getting to bed late and family vacations can throw everything completely out of whack.  Back to school forces us to reinstitute a bedtime schedule that works!
  • Fresh Start-A new school year can mean a much needed fresh start.  New teachers, new friends and sometimes even new schools can give kids an opportunity to start anew with a clean slate.
  • Books and Reading-Maybe you and your kids have been reading voraciously all summer long, devouring engaging tales starring all your favorite characters--or maybe you haven’t cracked a single one!  In any case, getting back in class almost guarantees that your kids will once again have their head in a book!
  • Fall is Around the Corner-Although the weather is traditionally still very summerlike for most of us when school actually starts, back to school time usually is something we associate with the fall, which itself has many things about it to look forward to, including television’s new fall lineup, yay!!!
  • Goal Setting and Getting Involved-Back to school time is a great time to set some new goals for you to achieve, both in and out of the classroom.  Getting involved in new extracurricular activities, clubs or sports is another great way to feel like a part of your school experience.

The Countdown to Halloween Begins-You didn’t think we’d forgotten, did you?  For us in these parts, back to school just means that we are one step closer to what we consider the best holiday of the year.  Do you think we are getting excited about Halloween?  You bet we are!

It’s Shark Week

  • August 11, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Shark Week 2014

Laugh if you want, but when it comes to putting together a list of the most terrifying real and/or imagined monsters, (something that around here we think about a lot) there is nothing more frightening than sharks.  Yes, we realize that Mr. Shark is a majestic part of nature.  Yes, we also realize that the shark was a part of the picture here on this planet long before any of us humans ever were.  And yes, we (kinda) also know that us humans are (supposedly) not part of the sharks prescribed diet and that in fact, most shark attacks are a case of mistaken identity and therefore a big “whoops.”  Even with all that said, there is still something so scary about the simple thought of coming face to face with a shark that there are always going to be those of us that can’t go into the ocean without the theme song from Jaws playing in the back of our minds.  Since 1987 in cable TV’s longest running special event, the Discovery Channel has featured the shark with an entire week’s worth of programming that focuses solely on this mesmerizing creature. 

It's Shark Week! Yes, we are talking about Shark Week!  In honor of what could arguably be one of the definitive television highlights of the summer, here are some fun facts about Shark Week and sharks in general that you definitely want to know! 

  • There are more than 400 species of sharks that are out there swimming around in every single ocean of the world.  There is really no such thing as a shark-free zone in the ocean. 
  • The most dangerous (and potentially deadly to man) sharks are the Great White shark, the Tiger shark, the Bull shark, the Hammerhead shark and the Mako shark. 
  • Contrary to popular folklore and rumor, humans are generally not part of the preferred diet of the shark.  Most of the time when a human is attacked it is a case of mistaken identity because sharks confuse a person for a marine animal or fish that he would much rather enjoy eating. 
  • Sharks have often been rumored to be blind, but the truth is that sharks can see quite well, however they are completely colorblind.  This color blindness may be the cause of some shark attacks as it may be difficult for a shark to clearly differentiate a human swimmer from other forms of more palatable marine life.
  • Sharks actually have been inhabitants of the earth for nearly 450 million years.   Sharks were around long before even dinosaurs existed!  No wonder the shark has evolved into a nearly perfect oceanic predator! 
  • One of the most notorious parts of the shark are his teeth.  In ancient times, shark teeth were used to fashion man’s earliest rudimentary tools and weapons.  The shark has about 45 teeth in his mouth and as these teeth fall out, new teeth will grow in as replacements.  Over a shark’s lifetime, he will have over 30,000 teeth!
  • Sharks for the most part are loners and generally speaking, don’t traverse the sea with other sharks. 
  • Sharks do not have a single bone as their bodies are supported by cartilage only. 
  • Because sharks do not get cancer, the cartilage of the shark has been under careful study by scientists, in hopes that one day it may offer a potential cure for cancerous diseases.
  • Shark Week has been hosted by a wide variety of celebrity hosts, including Peter Benchley, the author of the novel, “Jaws.”  “Shark After Dark will be hosted this year by comedian Josh Wolf.
  • The Megaladon series has historically drawn the biggest viewership of the entire Shark Week.  Both “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” and “Megalodon: The New Evidence” have been watched by a record-setting number of viewers (53 million in 2013) around the globe.  This year’s Shark Week promises to bring the latest information, along with new and exciting, not to mention shocking footage that hopes to prove that this prehistoric, enormous, serial killer shark might actually still exist.

Our fascination and intense curiosity about the mysterious shark has parlayed Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” into one of the most celebrated cable TV events of all time.  Don’t miss out on the eye-popping action and this year’s set of cataclysmic as well as memorable moments spent with these always fascinating and awe-inspiring creatures of the sea. 

"Frozen" Fun. Add Some Chill to HOT Summer Days

  • August 04, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

We are in love with Disney’s latest animated adventure “Frozen” and we know you are, too.  What’s not to love about another truly epic Disney story that is filled to its icy brim with amazing characters and an inspiring adventure?  You will also have to admit that all that glorious ice and snow found in “Frozen” looks very appealing right now as our summer temperatures soar.  With all this in mind, we thought it would be super fun to put together some cool “Frozen” style crafts and activities for your kids that will not only take the heat off, but this kind of frosty fun is sure to kill off any summer boredom, too!

Ice Block Rescue:

Frozen Fun!

What You Will Need:  Small “Frozen” action figures or any other small plastic toys and medium to large plastic containers to freeze water in.

How To’s:  Simply freeze the designated action figure or toy inside a block of ice.  You can use any plastic container you like to make the ice block.  Once the ice block is frozen solid, take the ice out of the plastic container and place it someplace safe outside where it can melt safely- preferably on the ground.  Give your kids water guns to shoot at the ice block in order to “rescue” their favorite characters that are frozen and trapped within the ice block.  Don’t be surprised if they spend quite a bit of time trying to “rescue” one another as well!  It’s fun to have races to see who can rescue their character first.

Frozen Glitter Painting:

What You Will Need:  Shaving cream, neon blue food coloring, blue and iridescent glitter, muffin tin. 

How To’s:  Put the can of shaving cream into the refrigerator for several hours or overnight so that the shaving cream becomes icy cold.  Once the shaving cream has been thoroughly chilled, fill each compartment of a muffin tin with the shaving cream.  Add one or two drops of neon blue food coloring to some of the shaving cream compartments, mixing the color in thoroughly.  Leave the shaving cream white in some of the compartments if you like.  Partially mix in the food coloring in some of the other compartments for a groovy “swirled” effect.  Add glitter as desired to the shaving cream mixtures.  Let your kids finger paint with these mixtures.  It is fun to use on paper but why stop there?  This chilly paint is very fun to use in a plastic pool outside and it also makes a very fun bathtub paint, too--just use your imagination and by all means, have fun!

Ice Painting:

What You Will Need:  Cornstarch, water, food coloring.

How To’s:  Mix about ½ c. cornstarch with ½ c. water.  Add whatever color of food coloring to this mixture that you desire--might we suggest a vibrant shade of “Frozen” blue?  Pour this mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until the cubes are solid.  Pop the cubes out to use as pieces of “Frozen” sidewalk chalk!  This “Frozen” chalk will give your kids hours of ice cold as well as artistic playtime!

Frozen Slime

What You Will Need:  One bottle of Elmer’s washable glitter glue in blue and 8 oz. of liquid starch. 

How To’s:  Refrigerate the glue and the liquid starch for several hours or overnight so that they are very cold.  Squeeze the glue into a bowl.  Add the liquid starch and mix until you have the right slime consistency--you don’t want your mixture to be too thin.  The idea is to end up with a batch of glittery, icy cold, blue slime that your kids will have hours and hours of cool, “Frozen” fun playing with!

Frozen Fun!

Frozen Play Snow

What You Will Need:  2 large boxes of baking soda, ½ bottle of regular lotion, blue and iridescent glitter, “Frozen” action figures or other “snow” appropriate small toys or cookie cutters.

How To’s:  Mix together the baking soda and lotion in a large plastic bin, gradually adding the lotion until you have the desire consistency.  You want your end “snow” result to be moldable and malleable but not too wet, so add the lotion a little bit at a time until you get it just right.  This mixture can be placed covered and well sealed in the plastic container into the refrigerator to make it really cold.  Your kids will have lots of fun playing with their “Frozen” toy friends in this snowy environment.

Snow Dough: 

What You Will Need:  2 c. cornstarch, 1/3-1/2 c. vegetable oil, glitter.

Mix the above ingredients together until you have the consistency of moldable dough.  This play dough can be used to create anything your child can imagine! 

Have some good “Frozen fun while cooling down and getting into the spirit of Disney’s latest animated feature! Be sure to check out our exciting selection of “Frozen” costumes and accessories that are sure to add even more ice cold thrills to all your summertime adventures.