Halfway to Halloween 2015

  • April 29, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Halfway to Halloween 2015

We don’t do anything halfway in these parts.  Except when it comes to counting down the days to our most favorite holiday--Halloween, of course!  Every year on April 30, we just have to stop and take the opportunity to celebrate.  As part of what seems like the eternally long countdown down to October 31st, May 1st officially marks the day that we are Halfway to Halloween!  So, what’s the most awesome way to celebrate “Halfway to Halloween?”  By getting scared half to death, of course!  Need some ideas?  Here are a few great ways to spend your “Halfway to Halloween” weekend!

Watch Scary Movies:  Horror flicks are not just for October!  There is nothing like a great thriller to get your blood pumping and your heart racing.  Curl up with a bowl of popcorn and get scared!  Our top horror picks?  The Shining, The Exorcist or Psycho.

Visit Someplace Haunted:  Nearly every town has one of those creepy places where very strange and paranormal things are rumored to happen.  Whether it’s an old abandoned house or maybe a local cemetery--take a walk through and see how long it takes for the hairs on the back of your neck begin to stand up.

Throw a Halfway to Halloween Party!  There’s no better excuse for a costume party than Halfway to Halloween!  Gather your friends for a spooky dress up event that they will not soon forget! And if you need some ideas on how to throw a Halloween party, here are some Halloween party tips

Visit a Ghost Town or Do a Ghost Tour:  If you are lucky enough to live near an old abandoned mining town or similar historic site, Halfway to Halloween is the perfect time to pay a visit.  You never know what old ghosts you might resurrect! 

Plant a Pumpkin Patch!  Not generally a super scary activity (unless you garden like I do) but there’s no time like the present to plant some pumpkin seeds and start growing those jack-o-lantern perfect pumpkins for the fall. 

Spike Your Adrenaline:  Halfway to Halloween is the perfect time to have an adrenaline-filled adventure such as taking a ride in a hot air balloon, trying some sky diving or perhaps even bungee jumping.

Tell Ghost Stories:  The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer.  Sitting outside under the stars during the evening hours creates the perfect setting for telling spooky ghost stories. 

Costume/Photo Contest:  There’s no time like the present to gather your friends together for a dress up party and costume contest.  Why should Halloween dress up be reserved just for Halloween?  Now is the perfect time to hold a mid-year costume party.  Pick a theme that may be different than you would use for Halloween (like a fiesta or a luau) or just have a costume free for all.  Don’t forget to take pictures of your event and post them on social media! 

Happy Halfway to Halloween from your friends at Halloween Express!

Halfway to Halloween 2015

Mom’s the Word: Understanding Mom-Speak

  • April 27, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Understanding Mom-Speak

Mother’s have been covertly doing it for years.  They have a code--a secret language if you will, that only other mom’s can understand.  Thankfully, as the mother’s of the world go about their dutiful mommy biz while talking their mom-speak, most of the time the kids are completely clueless!  In honor of upcoming Mother’s Day, we’ve put together a few of mom’s favorite phrases along with their actual meanings.  But, you might want to keep this info on the down low. Even your mom will be the first to tell you, what goes around, sooner or later, comes around! 

“Because I said so, that’s why!”  Translation:  I’m way too tired to be a good mom right now; you just need you to get out of my face.

“Are you kidding me?”  Translation:  I seriously cannot believe you just did that.

“So, I guess the maid is just supposed to clean this up?”  Translation:  Clean up after yourselves, you pigs!!

“Can we talk about this later?”  Translation:  Please forget about this conversation as soon as possible because there really is no later.

“Let me think about it.”  Translation: Hell will freeze over before that happens.

“Where in the world did you hear that?” Translation:  Give me your source youngster, and I will immediately deal with them in my own way.

“You don’t have a fever.”  Translation:  Get your butt dressed and go to school, faker.

“You have some food on your face.”  Translation:  Let me see what my saliva and finger can remove this time.

“It’s wherever you left it.” Translation:  I am not helping you find your stuff this time kid--you are on your own.

“Wow, that is some outfit!”  Translation:  That outfit is truly hideous.

“Mmmm hmmm.  Yes.  Oh…wow.  Mmmmm.“ Translation:  I’m not listening. 

“Ask your dad.”  Translation:  The answer is no, but it’s dad’s turn to be the bad guy.

“Don’t you have any homework?”  Translation:  Turn off the stupid TV!

“Do you think that’s wise?”  Translation:  That is the stupidest idea, ever.

“We’ll see.”  Translation:  It’s never, ever going to happen.
“In a minute!”  Translation:  I’m super busy and am not coming until you pitch a fit.

“I love you.”  Translation:  I love you with all my heart.  Being your mom is the best job in the world. 

Happy Mother’s Day from your friends at Halloween Express!
Mom’s the Word: Understanding Mom-Speak

Cinco de Mayo: The Loco Truth

  • April 20, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays that many of us enjoy celebrating, but most of us don’t have a clue about what the real meaning is behind all the festivities.  Of course, who doesn’t want to party?  And what’s not to love about a holiday focused on eating delicious Mexican food, sipping frozen margaritas and, in general, having a raucous, Mexican-style great time?  Well for those of you who want to know a little of the back history of this favorite south of the border celebration, here are some fun Cinco de Mayo facts that are likely going to surprise you.  As it turns out, Cinco de Mayo has a lot more to do with United States history than you might think!

The Basics: For those of you who may need a little help with your basic Spanish, Cinco de Mayo translates to mean “May 5th” in English.

Cinco De Mayo is Not Mexican Independence Day.  Cinco de Mayo marks a battle victory that took place in Puebla, Mexico in 1862.  An ill-equipped, somewhat scrappy and undermanned Mexican army defeated a brigade of elite French forces that were attempting to take over the government of Mexico.  This unexpected thrashing of the French troops obviously rallied and shot some life into the exhausted Mexican army and got them very pumped up.  This victory also may have changed the course of history forever, altering the outcome of a major conflict that was happening concurrently in the United States--the Civil War.

Mexicans wanted Freedom.  For many years, the citizens of Mexico had been fighting to obtain democracy, freedom and racial equality.  As the Civil War raged in the United States, many Latinos identified with the ideals of the Union. Concerns were growing about the Confederacy, which was clearly determined to secede from the Union in order to preserve the legality of slavery.  When the French army invaded Mexico, part of the agenda of Napoleon III was to force a treaty on the citizens of Mexico.  This treaty would also support the growing Confederacy, offering them much-needed aid.  Had the battle of Puebla not been won by the Mexican forces on that historic 5th day of May, it could have resulted in a significant boon to the Confederacy.  Thus, the Cinco de Mayo conquest in Mexico can indeed also be considered a victory for the United States of America.  This triumph gave the Union more time to regroup and reorganize themselves against the growing Confederacy, enabling the North to fight more effectively against the burgeoning southern forces. 

Cinco De Mayo-As American as Apple Pie.  Latinos that lived in the West during the time of the Civil War created the celebration we now know as Cinco de Mayo.  No wonder the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is vastly more popular in the United States than it ever has been in Mexico! In Mexico, outside of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo celebrations are very small, localized or even non-existent. In the US, however, most of the larger US cities will hold Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  The popularity of this holiday in the states is not an accident.   Once you know the historical significance behind Cinco de Mayo, you will come to understand that there are a lot of reasons to get out and celebrate!

Random Cinco de Mayo Facts: 

  • Nearly 34 million Americans have Mexican heritage.
  • On Cinco de Mayo, Americans will consume nearly 81 million avocados.
  • Americans spend 2.9 billion dollars annually on margaritas.  Margaritas, which account for 14% of all cocktail sales, are clearly an American favorite mixed drink.
  • Many US cities hold annual Chihuahua races as part of their local Cinco de Mayo festivities.
  • Tortillas are often referred to as the bread of Mexico.  There are approximately 374 tortilla-making establishments recognized in the United States.
  • Although many US cities have Cinco de Mayo events, the largest US celebration of Cinco de Mayo is held annually in Los Angeles, California.

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to gather your friends and family in order celebrate Mexican culture, tradition and pride. Cinco de Mayo has its roots deep in US history and will always be an event that truly embraces the important values of freedom and equality, in addition to being a whole lot of fun. Cinco de Mayo gives each of us the chance to remember those folks long ago who gave up their own tomorrow’s so we could have our today.

Happy Cinco de Mayo from your friends at Halloween Express! 
Cinco de Mayo: The Loco Truth

Tax Day Trivia

  • April 12, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Tax Day Trivia

Have you done your taxes yet?  In honor of what could arguably be the most dreaded day of the year, we’ve put together a list of interesting facts and historical tidbits--all about taxes. Paying taxes isn’t fun, but learning a bit of tax trivia might be a little entertaining. Or, it might just increase your blood pressure.

  • The beginnings of the Federal Income Tax started during the Civil War.  A Revenue Bureau was set up in order to collect taxes that would support the war effort in the North.  This tax expired in 1872, but the Commissioner of the IRS and his successors have remained in place ever since.
  • The 16th Amendment, adjudicated in 1913, is the piece of legislation that gave the government its current powers of taxation.
  • Prior to instituting a Federal Income Tax, the government commonly issued excise taxes on various items in order to raise revenue.  These taxes occurred most frequently on “luxury” purchases.  Historically, some of the items that received this luxury tax were gold watches, telephones, yachts, carriages, musical instruments and pool tables.
  • The tax collected on a gold watch purchased during the Civil War Era was $1.50.
  • In 1898, a special tax was placed on the purchase of telephones in order to raise revenue for the Spanish-American War.  To this day, there remains a tax on the telephone. 
  • When it came to paying taxes, the government used to have to rely on voluntary compliance.  In order to encourage people to pay their taxes, pop culture and the media was resourcefully used.  President Roosevelt was known to appear in television commercials reminding folks to pay their taxes!
  • In Medieval days, it was not uncommon for people to be expected to pay tithing on their income.  10% of a person's income would be given directly to the church, the proceeds being used for religious purposes.  In those days, tithing could be paid in money, crops or livestock.  The funds collected were used to build cathedrals, churches, support clergy members and to assist the poor and needy.
  • In Ancient Greece, the taxman was considered to be one of the most revered and noble men in society.
  • By 1989, taxpayers in 36 states could file their taxes electronically.  In 2014, the IRS reported that 117,763,000 tax returns were e-filed.
  • According to the IRS, the error rate on paper filed tax returns is 21%.  The error rate on electronically filed tax returns is one-half of a percent.  Filing electronically dramatically reduces errors!In 1913, the tax rate was 1-7% on income above $3000.  The amount doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that the average household income in this year was only $800.
  • Do you think doing your taxes is complicated?  Apparently even, Albert Einstein agrees with you, as it is rumored that he once uttered, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.”
  • Who pays the most taxes? ExxonMobil pays about 30 billion dollars in corporate income taxes, followed by Chevron (20 billion) and Apple (14 billion). 
  • During WWII, the highest income tax bracket was taxed at 91%, the lowest at 23%.
  • Many popular songs have been inspired, written and sung about the woes of paying taxes.  Here’s what’s on our playlist of most appropriate tax day songs:

1.    Tax Man-The Beatles
2.    Money-Pink Floyd
3.    Movin' Out-Billy Joel
4.    Money, Money, Money-Abba
5.    Me and the IRS-Johnny Paycheck
6.    Taxman, Mr. Thief-Cheap Trick
7.    IRS-Guns ‘N Roses
8.    Pay Me The Money Down-Bruce Springsteen
9.    Sunny Afternoon-The Kinks
10.    Life After Death and Taxes-Relient K

“We have what it takes, to take what you have.”  (Suggested IRS Motto) 

Happy Tax Day (NOT) from your friends at Halloween Express!

Tax Day Trivia

Spring Fever: Fall In Love with a Superhero

  • April 08, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
It's Springtime!

As the weather warms up, there is a strange phenomenon that happens every year. Have you noticed it, too?  Yeah, we know that traditionally springtime is supposed to be all about love, romance and all sorts of mushy stuff.  In these parts, however, we are all about a love affair of a whole different variety.  We are falling head over heels for a whole new line up of exciting summer superheroes! Soon your local Cineplex promises to be exploding with hot new action, adventures and lots of exciting plot twists.  These heroic characters will not only save the world but may even save your summer.  Superhero love is in the air--can you feel it?

Avengers:  Age of Ultron  (May 1, 2015)

Oh, Avengers. How do we love thee?  Let us count the ways! When it comes to assembling a cast of what has to be some of the most insanely heroic characters ever, it’s hard (if not impossible) to outdo this eclectic grouping. The Avengers are arguably the most epic smorgasbord of Superheroes ever put together! Check out this line up:  Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye.  Can you say superhero nirvana?  This latest Avenger’s flick will find the Avengers taking on the world’s most nefarious threat to date--Ultron.  New characters introduced in this latest installment include Scarlett Witch and Quiksilver.  Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theatres May 1, 2015.

Antman  (July 17, 2015)

Although you just gotta believe that any Avengers movie is a hard act to follow, this summer Marvel Studios is making sure that audiences get all the superhero action they may be craving.  An entirely different sort of superhero character will be coming onto the scene, and his moniker is Antman.  Antman has the unique ability of being able to shrink himself down to the most miniscule size imaginable, yet at the same time he actually increases in his strength.  Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been carefully selected to become Antman because of his somewhat lurid past as a notorious master thief.  Now Scott must channel his inner superhero and using his ultimate burglary skills, work with his creator/mentor Hank Pym to quell an ever-growing and very dangerous threat. Scott Lang must now pull off a truly epic heist masterminded by Dr. Pym--ultimately saving the world from complete destruction.  Antman opens in theatres July 17, 2015.

Fantastic Four  (August 7, 2015)

They started out as four fairly young up and coming scientists.  Then something went horribly wrong.  An experiment in teleportation went completely awry, which resulted in some very unique, powerful and dramatic changes to each of the scientists. Now each of them has been blessed (or cursed) with their own set of strange super powers.  The “Fantastic Four” must learn to deal with their new realities along with the evolving challenges that they now must face--all while putting their new super powers to use in ways they never realized were possible.  Fantastic Four opens in theatres August 7, 2015.

This spring is the perfect time to fall in love with a superhero!  Don’t forget to check out our huge selection of superhero costumes and accessories, perfect for all your family’s heroic adventures.

Spring Fever:  Fall In Love with a Superhero

Halloween Express Summer 2015 Scholarship Contest

  • April 03, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
2015 Halloween Express Scholarship

Are you a student looking for scholarship money? Or perhaps you know a recent, or soon-to-be, high school graduate in need of extra funds for school? Bet you didn’t know Halloween Express offers three scholarships per year?  That's right. And next up is our Summer 2015 Scholarship Essay Contest. And the theme? Well, at Halloween Express we really love America. At this time of the year, in particular, there are many ways to express how much we love this land of ours, the United States of America. So our summer scholarship theme is "What Freedom Means to Me". We are giving away a $1000 scholarship to one qualified winner as part of our 2015 summer scholarship essay contest. In order to participate, each eligible student must write a 500-1000 word essay centered on the contest theme, “What Freedom Means To Me.”   For all you recent high school graduates and college students out there, this is your chance to try and win a little monetary help with some of those academic expenses.  We want to hear from you. We are very excited to hear your viewpoints about the many freedoms, privileges and liberties you get to enjoy in this great country of ours.  We also know that everyone has a personal story in this regard. We look forward to hearing about your personal journey and your experiences with American freedom!

Here’s the scoop.  In order to participate in our scholarship contest, you must be at least eighteen years old.   You must be accepted or currently enrolled in a fully accredited post-secondary undergraduate program.  (All accredited 2-year, 4-year, vocational schools; colleges or universities will meet this requirement.  Military students are strongly encouraged to apply.) All the contest details and rules can be found on our scholarship page.   The entry deadline for all essay submissions is July 10, 2015, 11:50 pm Eastern Time

Entries will each be individually judged on how well the essay developed and explored the theme, “What Freedom Means To Me.” Our panel of Halloween Express judges will then choose one deserving scholarship winner.  The $1000 scholarship award will be awarded directly to the winner. No purchase is required to participate. 

So…what does freedom really mean to you?  Start putting your thoughts together. We look forward to hearing what you have to say about how your love of country and many liberties resonate within you.  Let Freedom Ring! 

Halloween Express Summer 2015 Scholarship Contest