National Donut Day 2015

  • May 31, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

National Doughnut Day is Friday June 5, 2015 Summertime is filled with all sorts of patriotic holidays.  But did you know that there was a holiday drenched in patriotism and Americana that is all about the beloved donut? A holiday specifically designed to celebrate donuts? Yes, I said DO-NUTS!!! It’s enough to bring tears of joy to Homer Simpson’s eyes! But like most holidays, there is a little bit more to National Donut Day than meets the eyes.  (Or the stomach, as the case may be!) 

Everyone knows that the doughnut (or donut) is one of the most longstanding American guilty pleasures.  What you might not know is the history that is behind this sweet treat and why the donut could be considered one of the most patriotic pastries.  Back during WWI and WWII, Salvation Army, and Red Cross volunteers would hand out donuts and coffee to our war-weary soldiers returning from missions.  This small act of altruism not only offered some welcome refreshment to exhausted troops, but in a small way, it also demonstrated gratitude and hope while offering the soldiers a sweet reminiscence of home.  Mouth-watering donuts were handed out to the soldiers by assorted groups of female volunteers, women who would become known as the Doughnut Girls or Doughnut Dollies.  In spite of other images you may conjure up when you think of the term “doughboy”--the belly-poking image was first used in reference to homesick soldier boys anxiously waiting for the arrival of the beloved Donut Girls and their trays of doughy, glazed pastries.

National Doughnut Day is Friday June 5, 2015 When these frontline warriors eventually came home, many reminisced and looked back fondly on the tasty donut delivery and the morale building that ensued because of this simple sweet act of kindness.  Donuts began to increase in popularity and post-war donut shops popped up all over America.  Since this time, the popular donut has long been viewed as one of the most All-American treats.

National Donut Day has been observed annually in the United States on the first Friday of June, this year falling on Friday June the 5th. If ever there was a day to eat, enjoy and indulge in the utter deliciousness of a donut, today would be that day.  In some locations, you still may find donuts being passed out for free. If you are lucky enough to have a Krispy Kreme donut shop in your neighborhood, stop on by for a free donut of your choice. Whether you have to pay for your sugary delicacy or not, National Donut Day is a great day to enjoy an All-American favorite indulgence that has become far more than just a yummy traditional custom.  Eating a donut just might make you feel a little patriotic. 

 

Ever wondered who to thank for bringing the doughnut to America?
The Salvation Army played a major role! Watch this thirty second video to learn more.

National Donut Day 2015

Patriotic Movie Picks Perfect for Memorial Day

  • May 22, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Okay, so now that you’ve spent your Memorial Day relaxing by the pool or have enjoyed a nice family picnic or barbecue, perhaps now it’s time to settle in and watch a movie.  If you aren’t hitting the theater and are looking to stay at home and curl up in the comfort of your home, here is our top 10 listing of the best Memorial Day appropriate movies perfect to watch on one of our favorite patriotic holidays.  These films are not only an epic source of great entertainment, but will inspire your inner patriot as well! 

The Patriot.  Set during the Revolutionary War, The Patriot tells the tale of Benjamin Martin, who sets up a militia to fight the Redcoats who have placed his family at serious risk.

Glory.  This inspiring film tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry; the Civil War’s first all-black volunteer unit.  The courageous infantrymen fight off prejudice as well as the Confederates. 

Apollo 13.  Apollo 13 tells the tale of one of the most exciting and terrifying Apollo space missions.  An onboard malfunction causes an explosion and immediate abortion of the mission; getting the astronauts safely home becomes the imminent new quest. Apollo 13 is not exactly a war film, but this film depicts some great moments in American history. 

Argo.  During the 1980 Tehran hostage crisis, a CIA agent concocts a somewhat far-fetched and desperate plot in an attempt to extract six Americans that have been hiding out at the Canadian Embassy. 

Captain America:  The Winter Soldier.  When it comes to epic superheroes, which could be considered more patriotic than Captain America himself?  Exactly.  This Memorial Day is the perfect time to check out the good Captain’s solo battle against evil forces, in “The Winter Soldier.”

Forrest Gump.  Decades of some the most significant events in American History are explored through the experiences of Forrest Gump, a somewhat naïve and challenged individual who ends up having some truly amazing life experiences. 

Lincoln.  This film brings to life the actual story of one of our greatest Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and his conflict between the ongoing carnage of the Civil War and his firm belief in the emancipation of all slaves. 

Top Gun.  Who can forget the amazingly talented and daring fighter pilot played by Tom Cruise?  Watch Maverick as he struggles with the real costs of being the best.

Independence Day.  Just the title alone gets you in a patriotic mood, doesn’t it?  When the world is taken over by aliens, trust a group of outstanding Americans to lead the pack in ousting the unwanted visitors.

National Treasure.  For generations, a family has been treasure-hunting a war chest that was supposedly hidden away by a group of Revolutionary War founding fathers.  When the FBI gets involved in the hunt, the heat is on to see who can unravel the mystery first.

Saving Private Ryan.  You certainly could make a case for calling this film one of the greatest movies ever made. When it is discovered that Private James Ryan is the only surviving son of the four Ryan boys who all went to serve their country in WWII, a squad is sent to find Private Ryan and return him home.

Happy Memorial Day from your friends at Halloween Express! 

Strange Facts About Memorial Day

  • May 13, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Strange Facts about Memorial Day Oh, how we love Memorial Day!  Often viewed as the official three-day weekend that kicks off summer, Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for families to spend time together while enjoying the warmer weather.  Did you know, however, that Memorial Day is actually so much more than a great long weekend?  Memorial Day has an important history behind it, one that holds great significance in our country.  There are quite a few things about Memorial Day that not many people seem to know.  Today we are going to shed some light on some of the most obscure facets of one of our nation’s most important patriotic holidays.

Name change. Prior to the late 1800’s, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day.  On Decoration Day, soldiers would visit the gravesites of their fallen comrades in order to offer prayers. Graves were decorated with flowers, evergreens, ribbons, crosses, flags and other such items.  At this time, Decoration Day was a reverent day that was dedicated to honor and remembrance, and it had little to do with the barbecues and pool parties that are now popular on Memorial Day.  It was during the latter part of the nineteenth century that Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day.

Date change.  Memorial Day is now officially marked on the last Monday during the month of May.  Monday celebrating was not always the case, however. In the earlier years of its commemoration, Memorial Day was always celebrated on May the 30th.  In 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the final Monday in May in order to give Federal employees and others a long three-day weekend in correlation with the event.   Some folks feel that this change has altered the solemnity of Memorial Day.  There are certain groups and organizations that would like the holiday to be restored to its original date to preserve the reverence associated with Memorial Day observance.

Take a moment.  Did you know that on Memorial Day, it is a legal requirement to have an officially sanctioned moment of silence to remember our fallen soldiers? 
In 2000, Congress passed a law requiring a Memorial Day moment of silence. 3 pm (local time) is the exact moment when one should pause in their activities of the day and silently acknowledge the soldiers of all wars who have given their lives while serving our country.

And the speech went on…and on.  Back on a very warm May 30 in 1868, James A. Garfield (who was not yet President) gave a famously lengthy speech to a crowd of several thousand listeners.  Although the words of the speech are indeed inspiring, the dialog today is often as remembered more for its duration than its actual contents.  Part of Garfield’s memorable verbiage includes this rather ironic passage, “If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of 15,000 men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.”

There still is a separate Confederate Memorial Day.  To this day, in several states, a separate Confederate Memorial Day is held.  Originally, many of the Confederate States did not want to acknowledge Decoration Day as they felt it was created to honor Union soldiers. Thus, they instituted the observance of a separate Confederate Memorial Day.

Traffic Jam? Over 36 million Americans will travel a minimum of 50 miles away from home this Memorial Day.  Will you be one of them?

Happy Memorial Day from your friends at Halloween Express! 
Strange Facts About Memorial Day

Finding Your Inner Patriot

  • May 11, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Finding Your Inner PatriotSummer has all sorts of patriotic holidays, and the first of the lot is just around the corner. With Memorial Day, Flag Day and then Independence Day all to look forward to, summertime seems like the perfect time to start channeling your inner patriot.  Traditionally, most of us spend our summer holidays enjoying time with friends and family.  I would encourage you to discover what the real story and meaning is behind each of these important celebrations.  I guess you could say, this blog is a plug for patriotism.

Fly the Flag.  Let’s start with the basics.  One of the easiest ways to show your patriotism and the love you have for your country is to fly the flag proudly.  In order to show our flag the respect it deserves, brush up on some basic flag etiquette to ensure you are displaying your flag correctly. In addition to proudly flying the American Flag, decorating your home with other patriotic red, white and blue décor is another way to get you and your family all geared up for these exciting patriotic holidays. 

Family Vacations.  The summer months are usually the time that families take vacations together.   Why not try a family vacation that is not only fun but also visits a patriotic location? Kids will learn amazing things by visiting these historic sites--things that they could never glean from an entire semester in ordinary history class.  Some of our favorite patriotic locales include Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Mt. Rushmore and Virginia. 

Stay Informed.  Pick up a newspaper.  Read about current events in a magazine.  Watch television news.  It is quite astonishing how many folks live in a somewhat apathetic state when it comes to what’s happening in the world around them.  Don’t be one of them.

Support Our Troops.  Upcoming Memorial Day is all about remembering those members of the armed services that have lost their lives in service of our country.   It is a wonderful thing to honor the memory of these fallen service people.  There is no reason you can’t remember and support our current military forces that are out there working hard for you right now.  Even a note of encouragement can go a long way.

Get Involved.  There are many ways to get involved in your local schools and communities.  Volunteering your time and giving something back to your town, even in the smallest way, is a great way to show your patriotism.

Celebrate.  No list of great ways to show your patriotism would be complete without an All-American party! Let’s face it, here in the good old USA; we know how to throw a celebration.  Make your patriotic holiday one to remember.  Deck your home or venue out in all things red, white and blue and serve up some great all-American fare including hot dogs, hamburgers, and Apple Pie.

Dress Up Like a Patriot.  What better way to show how much you love your country than to deck out yourself as one of your own personal favorite Patriots?  George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Betsy Ross, Uncle Sam or even Captain America--wearing something patriotic has never been this much fun.  Check out our huge collection of Patriotic costumes--Oh Say Can You See--Red White and Blue?

One flag, one land, one heart, one hand,
One Nation evermore! ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Finding Your Inner Patriot

How To Say I Love You To the Most Important Person Ever: MOM!

  • May 06, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Happy Mother's Day

In case you have been living under a rock, this coming Sunday, May 10th is Mother's Day! The relentless television commercials, emails and social media messages from companies trying to sell something are a constant reminder but you really don't need to spend much money to let mom know you care. Here are some simple (and mostly free) ideas for Mothers Day.

Breakfast In Bed-There is a reason this gift is one of your mom’s favorites.  Who wouldn’t want to have breakfast served to them in bed?  It’s a quick way to make your mom feel like royalty.  Plus, you can bet that she is going to love having her kiddos all cuddled in around her!

Family Gathering-Sometimes it takes a lot of work to get family members and relatives together for a holiday gathering.  If your house is like mine, most of the time, it’s mom who does all the planning and organizing of these events.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful surprise to have all your mom’s favorite relatives together on her special day?  This gift is made even better if she does not have to make all the plans!

Give Mom a Day Off-Let your mom know that today is “her” day and that she can take it off from all her motherly and household duties.  Take over all the tasks your mom would normally be doing so that she won’t feel that nagging pressure to step in.  Just let mom relax! 

Do Something Together-More than any other gift, in general, moms just love hanging out with their families.  No elaborate plans are even necessary, in fact; sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.  This is one of those times when your presence is the present.

Photographs & Memories-Put those old photos into an organized album for mom.  Not only is she going to be grateful for the effort (she’s been meaning to do this for years) but she will also end up with a book filled with treasured memories!

Plant a Garden or a Tree-Years from now, you can look back on the Mother’s day that you all planted a garden or tree together.  This gift is one that can continue to grow for a long time to come.  There is something wonderfully rewarding about growing things. Helping mom to get it started and planted is a wonderful gift that she will enjoy all summer long.

Picnic or BBQ-Mother’s day is the perfect day to be outside in the sunshine, enjoying beautiful springtime weather.  Cooking outdoors or having a picnic means no work for mom, and everyone can enjoy having a special meal with that most important person!

Go To The Movies-When is the last time mom got to see a movie that she wanted to see?  Most of the time, moms are busy trying to please the youngsters and often forego their first choice at the theater in order to please the family.  With a whole slew of exciting adventures in the theaters this spring, there is plenty to choose from for a great day of cinematic Mother’s Day fun!

Pamper Her-Mother’s are notorious for being so busy that they all but forget how to pamper themselves.  Giving your mom an indulgent gift that allows her to relax and sooth her soul is going to be very appreciated.  Facials, massages, and manicures are all special gifts your mom is sure to appreciate.  Even if you just give her an hour to take a hot bubble bath, giving your mom the time to reconnect with herself is a gift she is sure to love!

Happy Mother’s Day from your friends at Halloween Express!
How To Say I Love You To the Most Important Person Ever: MOM!

Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You

  • May 04, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
May the Fourth Be With You

May the 4th be with you.  I said, May the 4th be with you!! Say that a couple of times and you will get why today, May 4th, has become officially sanctioned as Star Wars Day.  For all you Star Wars aficionados out there--and even you Star Wars novices, today is the day to get your Star Wars game on.  Getting into a Star Wars groove is especially important now as we begin the countdown until the release of the latest film in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens.  Perhaps your battle cry today should be, "May the 4th Awaken.” Maybe we’re being overly silly but today, that is the point.  So, now that you know that today is THE day to celebrate all things Star Wars, what are you going to do to mark this unique occasion?  As usual, for you folks that are as confused as C3PO, we have some suggestions for you--and you won’t even have to look them up in Wooki-pedia. 

Dress Up!  Well, what did you think we were going to suggest?  We are a costume store, after all.  Even still, today is a great day to dust off that Darth Vader helmet and wear it to work--or to get together with your friends for a Star Wars themed party. Don’t forget to Star Wars up your pet--because there is something particularly cute about any dog dressed up as a wookie--just saying.  Today anything “Star Wars” is socially acceptable.  If your friends seem confused as to why you are dressed as a Storm Trooper, just utter something like, “Son of a blaster, what are you, some kind of Nerf Herder?  Stoopa.” 

Star Wars Movie Night:  It’s time to pull out those Star Wars oldie’s but goodie’s and relive the original trilogy and beyond.  Make yourself comfy because this could take awhile--which brings me to the next item.

Star Wars Party!  Since you and your friends are all dressed up like Star Wars characters, you may as well have a party.  Or you could go shopping at the Darth Maul.  It’s your decision--but we opt for the party.  May we suggest a Star Wars theme? (duh) And how about some Star Wars party games? 

  • Pass the Death Star (Just like Hot Potato, just deadlier.)
  • Light Saber Game-Use pool noodles to try and balance balloons on top.  Last balloon standing, wins.
  • Storm Trooper Knockout-Toss Styrofoam or Ping-Pong balls at Storm Trooper action figures until they get knocked over. 
  • Light Saber Duel-Play “tennis” with a balloon and light sabers.
  • Jedi Training-Make an obstacle course fit for a Jedi.  Fill your course with things to jump over, climb through, balance on, etc. 

Star Wars Food!  What kind of food should you eat on Star Wars day or serve at your Star Wars Party?  Start by setting the ultimate space-age table and then top it off with plenty of clever Star Wars themed menu items: 

  • Han Burgers or Hutt Dogs
  • Vader Taters
  • Yoda Soda or Vaderade
  • Blue Milk
  • Wookie Cookies
  • Princess Leia Buns
  • Sith-Kabobs

We’re pretty sure if you put your mind to it; you will find plenty of other imaginative ways to refuel your weary space travelers.  It is your destiny.

No matter how you spend your day, May the 4th be with you.  In true Star Wars fashion, all we ask is that you share what you have learned as clearly we have taught you well. 

Happy Star Wars Day from your friends at Halloween Express!

Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You