Let’s Get Crafty! Spooky Eyes To Light Up Your Landscape

  • October 01, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

I love crafts and Halloween season seems like the perfect time for us all to get a little bit creative.   It’s so much fun decorating your home for the fall months.  The bright colors and festive themes just really get you in the mood for all the exciting things that come along with the fall.  The spooky, scary fun of Halloween adds a whole other dimension to home décor that you will not want to miss.  This craft idea is extra creepy cool because not only is it super easy and inexpensive to do but the results are super eerie, adding a really mysterious effect to your yard that is perfect for Halloween night! 

What you will need: 

  • Toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes.  (If you use paper towel tubes, cut them in half.)
  • Scissors
  • An index card or other stiff paper to make patterns.
  • 4” Glow sticks
  • Masking or Duct tape

Sketch eye patterns on an index card or other piece of stiff paper.
You don’t have to use a pattern, but this is the easiest way to make sure both of the eyes are the same size.  As an alternative to using a pattern, if you want to free hand your design directly onto to the paper roll, that’s completely fine.  Once you have your eyes drawn onto the toilet paper tube, then it’s time to carefully cut them out.  The tube itself will not show once your craft is complete and on display so don’t worry about it if you make a mistake or if the cutting is not completely perfect. 

Let's Get Crafty!

Get creative with eye shapes and try cutting several different sizes, shapes and designs. 

Let's Get Crafty! Let's Get Crafty!

Follow the package instructions for activating your glow sticks.  Most of the time, it’s just a simple matter of bending the stick itself gently until the stick makes a popping or cracking sound, which will then activate the liquid inside and make it instantly begin to glow.  Sometimes it takes a few minutes to obtain the full level of brightness. 

Pop an activated glow stick inside each toilet paper roll you have ready and cut. I used a variety of colored glow sticks but next time I might try using all yellow glow sticks instead--I think that would look very scary, too!  After the glue sticks are inside the tubes, tape off the ends with masking tape just to ensure that the glow stick stayed in place. 

Hide the glowing toilet paper rolls in your bushes or trees in a way so that in the dark the spooky eyeballs show through the foliage.  Doesn’t this look amazing?   Start saving those toilet paper rolls now so by Halloween night you will be able to fill your entire yard with creepy, glowing eyes! 


Disney Villains We Love to Loathe

  • September 23, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Maleficent Costume

There are bad guys and then there are baaaad guys.  When it comes to the really nasty, ultra vile and supremely nefarious Disney characters, the good folks over at the happiest place on earth have the worst of the worst as part of their character repertoire.  Apparently even Disney has a decidedly dark side.  In the land of colorful characters, Disney villains are some of the most corrupt cretins out there. These degenerate evil do-ers are shamelessly corrupt and when it comes to their toxic agenda, they are unabashed in their slimy sinfulness.   Here’s our list of the most flagrantly foul Disney villains you could ever hope to find--which one do you most love to loathe? 

Ursula-Master manipulator, schemer and dealmaker, Ursula the tentacle-laden Sea Witch apparently will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and this time it’s Ariel’s voice.  The thing about Ursula is that on the surface she seems almost over the top with her sickeningly sweet helpfulness--but her evil agenda ultimately trumps all as she tricks poor mermaid Ariel into giving up her lilting vocals in exchange for a pair of human legs.

Maleficent-For someone who calls herself the “mistress of all evil,” this truly sinister enchantress is sure a little oversensitive.  Miffed over not being included on the guest list to Princess Aurora’s christening, Maleficent goes wayyyy overboard with the whole revenge thing.  You know, it really does take a special kind of wickedness to cast a deadly spell on an innocent baby. 

The Evil Queen-Sometimes known by her given name, Grimhilde, the icy Evil Queen is just a tad insecure when it comes to her looks.  Obsessed with her own beauty and being the “fairest of them all,” the Evil Queen becomes insanely (and savagely) jealous when her magic mirror informs her that there is indeed a rival for her beauty--her step-daughter, the sweet and innocent Snow White.

Captain Hook-Captain Hook gave up his pitiful pirate life on the high seas for an existence now completely bent on revenge.  Captain Hook carries around a massive grudge because of a mischievous infraction committed by his lifelong nemesis, Peter Pan.  Hook’s mad because Peter Pan once cut off his hand and lovingly fed it to a hungry crocodile--imagine that!  Now, not only furious but wicked to the core, Captain Hook thinks nothing of killing a shipmate for singing off tune or just for getting on his nerves.  In spite of his utterly despicable nature, the Captain does seem to have genuine affection and an odd sense of tolerance for his clumsy sidekick, Mr. Smee.  Captain Hook tries desperately to perpetuate a vengeful image based on cruelty and evil, but this all goes completely awry when it becomes blaringly apparent how truly terrified he is of smiley-toothed reptiles--and probably with very good reason.

Jafar-When it comes to knowing how to suck up to the boss, this guy is a true rock star.  Jafar is the Royal Vizier to Hamed, the naïve Sultan who trusts his number one advisor even though Jafar would actually prefer more than anything else to see the Sultan dead.  And by the way--what in the world is up with Jafar’s truly gnarly beard?

Cruella DeVil-Can you say wicked?  This chain-smoking, wily and truly miserable monster of a woman admits freely that she lives for fashion, most importantly of course, are her furs.  When captivated by the notion that a “Dalmation” fur coat would suit her perfectly, her diabolical plan begins to unfold.  Surrounded by utter buffoons, she enlists the help of all the wrong people to assist in pulling off her cunning plan.  Is she cruel?  Absolutely.  Is she the embodiment of evil?  You could make a strong case for it.  Cruella wears the persona of complete and utter badness like a cloak--and probably a designer mink cloak at that.

Gaston-Gaston is quite simply, a chauvinistic oaf.  Although not exactly a villain in the traditional sense, once his marriage proposal is flatly rejected by the lovely Belle, his intentions rapidly turn from squirrelly and arrogant to murderous and deadly. Gaston’s rude buffoonery is rapidly taken over by a very sinister and jealous rage, as his utter narcissism really doesn’t allow him to deal with any form of rejection.

Queen of Hearts-Talk about lack of impulse control--one little misstep and this crrrrrazy queen is talking about decapitation.  Completely psychotic, this thoroughly mad queen certainly enjoys and also demands wearing the pants in her little royal family, while completely dominating her husband, the King of Hearts.  Prone to wild mood swings, the Queen of Hearts has all the residents of Wonderland minding their P’s and Q’s…not to mention their heads.


What Every Disney Princess Needs

  • September 15, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Disney Princess

It’s that time of the year again.  Soon enough, come Halloween time females both young and old will be getting in touch with their inner Disney Princess.  Well beyond any Disney-owned property, the likes of Elsa, Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Meridia will be out and about in their full resplendent glory.  Many of us have a special Disney Princess fave--and you certainly would not be alone if you too had one special Disney Princess that suited your personality to a tee-(ara). Getting ready to channel your innermost nobility? Is it officially time to let the world know how truly special you really are?  Here’s our list of what every potential Disney Princess really needs--and a nod to what she likely doesn’t.

The Garb:  Although each of the Disney Princesses definitely has their own unique sense of wardrobe and style, there are a couple of things that each of the princesses has in common.  A Disney Princess carries off her look with simple elegance and an air of refinement.  Some of the princesses are more sophisticated than others, but none of them go around looking like a hoochie mama, nor are their clothes ever rumpled, dirty or even, heaven forbid, stained.  Even Cinderella’s rags were likely clean and pressed. 

The Bling:  A proper Disney Princess values her bling.  The specifics vary from one noble chick to the next, but there is always bling involved to a certain degree.  Depending on the Princess some of the gleaming accoutrements may include:  tiaras, jewelry, wands, gloves, purses and appropriate hair clips.   

The Footwear:  Every Disney Princess knows that proper footwear is an essential element to her charming appearance.  When dressed up in her favorite gown, (and they all seem have their own version of this lovely frock) a legitimate princess knows that appropriate accompanying footwear is pretty much mandatory.  The right shoes can make or break your princess attire and if you are Cinderella, the correct slippers might even save your bacon.

The Sparkle:  When it comes to getting her Princess game on, there seems to be no limit to all that glitters and sparkles.  From head to toe a true Disney Princess uses glimmer and glitz with reckless abandon, and why not?   All that extra shimmer goes with her simply splendid radiance.  From Pixie Dust borrowed from the effective repertoire of Tinkerbell, to glitter and gleam added to just about everything, a Disney princess is nothing if she is not positively dazzling. 

The Attitude:  Typically, a Disney Princess is exceptionally refined, cultured and captivatingly vivacious.  Don’t let this package of civility fool you, however, because many a princess has also been known to be stubborn, bullheaded and downright obstinate.  Other attributes of many of the princess crew also include being adventurous, brave, loyal and unyieldingly perseverant. 

The Voice:  What is a Disney Princess without a lilting, if not nearly operatic singing voice?  A true Disney Princess not only knows how to sing, but will belt out her emotions in song like nobody else can whenever she is feeling the need. 

And what does a true Disney Princess NOT need?  Sing it, ladies….


What We Love about Fall

  • September 09, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
What We Love About Fall Cue a drum roll please, because this could be big.  With Labor Day officially behind us and September now in full swing, it's pretty safe to say that the official arrival of fall is right around the corner.  There is no need for sadness, however.  Yes, we bid adieu to the long and glorious days of summer, but fall has many of its own virtues and the truth is, we can hardly wait.  In fact, it's pretty safe to say that around these parts, we actually yearn for autumn pretty much all year long.  Here are some of our favorite things about fall...what things would you add to our list? Decorations: We love decorating for Halloween and can hardly wait to get going.  You may be asking yourself if there is a more appropriate or official time to decorate for fall and Halloween.  Based on the boss's office, you'd think that anytime was the right time to hang up those ghosts and goblins. There are really never any hard and fast rules regarding decorating for fall holidays, but here are a few general guidelines that I am basing on a totally unofficial survey of the local yokels around here. Fall decor items (apples, fall leaves, wheat stalks, etc.) can easily be put out anytime in September after Labor Day.  Halloween specific items, particularly ghouls, skeletons and the more monstrous looking stuff, should probably wait until closer to the end of September or any time after October 1st. Pumpkin Everything:  One of the best (and most delicious) parts about the arrival of fall is the sudden (and finally appropriate) use of pumpkin, pumpkin scent or pumpkin flavoring in just about everything. The distinctive scent of pumpkin and spice can be found wafting through the air in varying degrees in lots of places you will go during the fall months.  Walking into your local coffee shop and taking one big whiff of the scrumptious smell of pumpkin spice is a certain reminder that fall is finally here.  Pumpkin love can also be easily found in candles, cookies, cakes, breads, and let us not forget pies. Football:   Have you filled out your Fantasy Football Draft yet?  Watching college and professional football is absolutely one of fall's most guilty pleasures, and it's not just the guys who are into it.  These days, plenty of gals enjoy rooting for their favorite players and their hometown or favorite professional teams.  For generations, American families have been enjoying the autumn tradition of Friday Night-lights and going to watch their local boys tearing it up out on the gridiron. Television's New Fall Lineup:  Tired of summer reruns?  The fall brings with it (finally) some new episodes of your favorite television shows and many networks will be offering up brand new programs in their line up that look pretty exciting and promising. Our "not to miss" picks:  "Gotham"--(Fox, 9/22)-because we love any show that has to do with Batman and his eclectic cast of friends and enemies and "Constantine", (NBC, 10/24) a DC comics inspired show that features a supernatural detective who sets out to battle demons and other dark forces. Snuggly Clothing: There is something comforting about pulling on that soft and warm sweater when you begin to feel the chill in the fall air.  Sinking into your favorite pair of boots is also something to relish. Sandals and flip-flops are great, but there is something to be said for real footwear that's perfect for puddle jumping. Countdown to Halloween: You didn't think we'd forget the best and most obvious and exciting reason to get stoked about fall did you?  Start counting down the days, people because Halloween is rapidly on its way.  It's not too soon to start planning for your Halloween decor and most importantly, for you to start thinking about your Halloween costume.  With literally 1000's of characters to choose from, narrowing your options down might not be as easy as you think, so you may want to get started.

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!