Hey, Pumpkin!

  • October 01, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Hey Pumpkin!

It happens every year about this time.  Suddenly, it’s as if we see the world through orange-colored glasses. Wherever you go these days, you can see stacks of vibrant orange pumpkins piled up in supermarkets and pumpkin patches. The subtle scent of pumpkin spice lingers in the air.  Yes, there is no doubt about it.  The fall is the season of the pumpkin, and no one seems to mind.  Since the pumpkin is clearly here to stay, here is our list of ways to fully indulge your pumpkin passion!  

Pumpkin Goodies.  Let’s get right to the good stuff.  Let’s face it; pumpkin sweets and baked goods are on just about everyone’s favorite fall fare list.  Pumpkin pies, cookies, bread, cakes, pancakes, muffins, biscuits and more--there is very little in the world of baked goods that hasn’t been adapted to incorporate the taste of beautiful pumpkin.  Coffee houses are brewing magically spiced coffees and teas that have become favorite fall indulgences.  Now is the time to try pumpkin lattes, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin cocoas, pumpkin cocktails and spicy pumpkin ales.

Pumpkin Candles.  Can’t get enough of the smell of cinnamon-ny, pumpkin deliciousness?  Burning a pumpkin candle or using a pumpkin scented air freshener or even potpourri is a great way to infuse your home with the scent of something deliciously pumpkin, all without any calories! 

Pumpkin Scented Play Dough.  Recipes are popping up all over the Internet for homemade, pumpkin-scented play dough.  Your kids will have hours and hours of fun playing and making fall creations with this fun and squishy heavenly scented dough.   Try this positively delicious smelling recipe!

Decorate!  Even if you aren’t going to be carving your pumpkin into a Jack-o-Lantern for a few weeks, pumpkins make fantastic, brightly colored fall decorations that can be the perfect accompaniment to your other Halloween décor.  If you picked your pumpkin when healthy and free of disease, it should last (uncarved) for up to 8-12 weeks when stored at mild temperatures without freezing. 

Costumes.  Pumpkin themed styles are some of the most appropriate and traditional Halloween costumes ever!  For a costume look that never goes out of style, consider dressing up in one of these vibrant, whimsical looks! 

Obviously pumpkins are good for so much more than just being a Fairy Godmother’s warped form of punishment. Fall is the time to enjoy all things pumpkin, so what are you waiting for?  These remarkable squash scream fun and opportunity.  It’s October.  It’s pumpkin time! 

Hey, Pumpkin!

Easy (But Very Messy) Ways to Make Fake Blood

  • September 24, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Halloween Bucket List

Zombies. Vampires.  Killer Clowns.  Monsters.  No matter what your most hideous Halloween costume look may be, there’s a good chance it would be made even better with a little fake blood.  There is some very realistic looking fake blood available for purchase.  These products not only are going to give you the gory look that you desire, but they are super easy to use.  We do realize, however, that there are plenty of do-it-yourselfer types out there who’d just as soon make their fake blood right in their kitchen.  For you more ambitious souls, we’re going to tell you precisely how to get the job done! 

First of all you are going to need to assemble a few ingredients to make your fake blood.  For the basic mixture you will need: 

•    Water
•    Lt. Corn Syrup
•    Red, Blue & Green food coloring
•    One of these: flour, cornstarch, chocolate syrup or maple syrup.

All scary looks are not created equally!  Some require more blood than others.  Thus, you and only you can gauge how much blood you are going to need.  Keep in mind that although fake blood is cool, it’s also messy and can (and probably will) stain things that it gets on.  You may want to keep this in mind as you plan how you are going to use this amazing effect. 

To make the fake blood, first mix the following together:

•    One part water
•    Three parts corn syrup

Add drops of red food coloring.  How much food coloring you use will depend on how much blood you are making.  Add the food coloring until the mixture begins to look bright red and like blood.  Add a drop of blue and green food coloring to get a more “realistic” blood color.  DO NOT add too much of these last two colors or you will end up with a yucky brown color and will have to start over.  You can leave your fake blood a brighter red like arterial blood, or go for a more maroon shade that resembles venous blood.

Once you have the perfect shade mixed, you will need to add a thickener.  Add some sifted flour or cornstarch and carefully whisk this into your red mixture. If you get any unsightly lumps that won’t dissolve, just strain them out with a strainer. You can also substitute chocolate syrup or maple syrup as a thickener. Adding chocolate or maple syrup as a thickening agent will darken the mixture.  Many find that the syrup addition also creates a more realistic color and texture to the mix.  Feel free to adjust the mix to your personal tastes and costume needs.  Once you have the mixture perfected, allow it to sit for about ten minutes to thicken.  Apply liberally to any areas you wish to make “bloody".  Beware!  With all this sticky stuff on, you may attract a few insects! 

To create a more gelatinous (thick) fake blood:

•    3 or 4 small bottles of glycerine
•    Red Jello
•    Powdered unflavored gelatin packet (like Knox)
•    Red, Blue, Green food coloring

Microwave the glycerine until it is warm.  Add one tablespoon of the red Jello.  Mix thoroughly.  Gently stir in about 20% of an unflavored clear gelatin packet into this mixture.  Add red food coloring until the mixture looks very red.  Add one drop of blue and one drop of green food coloring to create a darker, more realistic red shade of fake blood.  Stir well.  Your fake blood is ready to use!  Be warned that this blood will stain (permanently) so you will want to be careful how you use it.

Does all this mixing sound like a bloody mess?  You can still get the effect of fake blood without all the trouble with our amazing and realistic fake blood products at Halloween Express.  These ready to go fake blood products are easy to use, no transfusion necessary!      

Easy (But Very Messy) Ways to Make Fake Blood

Halloween Bucket List

  • September 16, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Halloween Bucket List

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be in the final 45-day countdown to Halloween.  With so many fun things to do in the fall, how in the world can we find time for them all?  Start making your Halloween Bucket List now!  Here are 45 great ideas to get you started!

  1. Have a campfire or bonfire and make S’mores.
  2. Make and eat Caramel Apples.
  3. Wear orange and black.
  4. Go to an Oktoberfest event.
  5. Find or make a giant leaf pile solely for the purpose of jumping in it and playing. Take pictures! 
  6. Decorate your home/yard inside and out with fall and Halloween themed decorations
  7. Visit a Pumpkin Patch.
  8. Drink hot Apple Cider or Hot Cocoa outside enjoying the cool, brisk air.
  9. Clean off your front porch and get it ready for trick or treater’s and Halloween with pumpkins, scarecrows or fall foliage.
  10. Eat Candy Corn.
  11. Go on a nature walk. 
  12. Go to a football game.
  13. Pick apples and make something scrumptious with them. 
  14. Decorate a Haunted Gingerbread House.
  15. Plan a Halloween Party or Costume dinner.
  16. Attend a Halloween Parade.
  17. Collect fall leaves and make leaf rubbings.
  18. Grab a couple flashlights and go on a late evening walk through your neighborhood just to look at your neighbor’s Halloween decorations.
  19. Have a scary movie night.
  20. Read some Halloween books or tell ghost stories by candlelight.
  21. Make plans for your best Halloween Costume ever!
  22. Make a special pumpkin flavored dessert.
  23. Have a Halloween themed photo shoot.
  24. Visit a spook alley or haunted house.
  25. Make Halloween crafts.
  26. “Boo” one of your neighbors.
  27. Enjoy a pumpkin-spice latte.
  28. Give someone a friendly scare.
  29. Visit a corn maze.
  30. Go for a hayride.
  31. Visit a cemetery.  Do a gravestone rubbing.  Visit family graves.
  32. Have a candlelit dinner.
  33. Make a pot of autumn themed homemade soup.
  34. Burn pumpkin/fall scented candles. 
  35. Eat Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry cereals.
  36. Make a Halloween themed playlist--dance if you feel so inclined.
  37. Drink pumpkin flavored beverages such as pumpkin ale or beer.
  38. Celebrate Dia de los Muertos.  (Day of the Dead)
  39. Attend a Halloween Party.
  40. Buy Halloween Candy.  Try not to sample it too much, although we understand some quality control is necessary.
  41. Carve Pumpkins.
  42. Toast Pumpkin Seeds.
  43. Pass out candy to trick or treater’s.
  44. Take a million pictures of you and others in Halloween Costumes
  45. Trick or Treat!


Halloween Bucket List

Remember September

  • September 06, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Remember September

For hundreds of years, poets and songwriters have spun wistful musings about the month of September--and for good reason.  There is a lot to love about the glorious month that bridges the end of summer with the beginning of the autumn months. Even us ordinary Joe’s can appreciate the beauty, fun and magic found during the fall. Orchards are brimming with ripened fruit and the leaves on the trees begin to come alive with vibrant color.  In September, the days become shorter, and there is a bit of a chill in the evening air. Around Halloween Express, September comes with a level of excitement that is simmering like a bubbling witch’s caldron. Once the calendar rolls over into September, we officially begin our annual countdown to Halloween!   So, without further ado, here are some of the best reasons we can think of to get super stoked about September! 

New Fall Television:  The new seasons of many of your old television favorites will be starting soon, and additionally, there are some very interesting new shows that will premiere this fall.  Some of the ones we are anticipating include, Minority Report (Fox 9/21), Supergirl (CBS 10/26) and The Muppets. (ABC 9/22)

Football season!  Are you ready for some football?  This time of the year is what diehard football fans live for, and for everyone else, this is the time to get into the game or get stuck feeling left out.  Are you one of the 73% of men who watch NFL Football? Or are you a Fantasy Football devotee?   Or perhaps you are a high school or college football super fan. When it comes to football, in the fall there’s plenty of this sport to go around.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day: (9/19) Talk Like a Pirate Day is a unique occasion that is often forgotten about until it’s too late to make the most of it.   Make a plan now to get into the spirit of what has to be one of the silliest, great ideas ever concocted.  (Arggggh.)  Get your pirate costume gear ready and start now practicing your best pirate-speak.  Avast me hearties--do you need a little help with your pirate lingo? 

Oktoberfest:  Don’t let the name fool you because this festival begins very soon.  On September 19 precisely at noon, the mayor of Munich will tap the first barrel marking the official opening of the Oktoberfest season.  Dust off your Lederhosen and start looking for your local Oktoberfest festivities.

Harvest Moon 2015:  This year’s Harvest Moon is going to occur from September 27-28. The 2015 Harvest Moon is not just any "run of the mill" full moon, either.   This year’s Harvest Moon qualifies as a “supermoon” because the moon turns full about one hour before the moon reaches its closest point to earth!  What does this mean for you?  The full moon may seem larger than normal.  There is also the possibility that a few werewolves may be out and about--just saying. 

Fall Decorating:  September is the time to start bringing the rich tones of brown, gold and orange into your home, along with other fall elements of nature such as pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and pinecones.   By month’s end, it will be time to haul out the Halloween décor as well.  And speaking of our favorite holiday….

It’s Time to Get Ready for Halloween!!!  There is no time like the present to start thinking about Halloween.   We promise, it is never too early.  You know that the kids LOVE this holiday, but we’re pretty sure that YOU love Halloween, too.  Let this year be THE YEAR you put together that ultimate costume look you’ve been dreaming of forever.  Wait too long and things tend to get sold out.  Why not save yourself that giant headache of having to put together a last minute costume (remember what that was like?) and make your Halloween game plan early.

Remember September

Labor Day Weekend: What Superheroes Really Do

  • September 02, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell
Labor Day 2015

You can’t be awesome ALL the time.  Even the mightiest of superheroes need to take an occasional break from all that heroism.  Labor Day weekend, the traditional “au revoir” to summer, is a great time to go on a mini-vacation or to do a bit of catching-up, even for superheroes. Here are some of the activities that the most popular comic book champions have planned during everyone’s favorite end of the summer weekend.

Green Lantern-The Green Lantern will be using his power of the green to power up ON the green this Labor Day weekend.  The Green Guardian loves to golf and will be spending his time playing a gutsy, incognito round of eighteen holes.

Wolverine-Logan is taking the long weekend to head to an anger management seminar and retreat.  His weekend will include an intense anti-stress program that features yoga, relaxation, Swedish massage and lots of deep breathing.

Superman-It’s a bird. It’s a plane!  Uh…It’s. A. Bird.  Superman will be spending the three-day weekend taking some time off to explore his new hobby, ornithology, and other very exciting adventures in birding.

Batman & Robin-Holy Hang Ten!  Both Batman and Robin will be spending the Labor Day weekend far, far away from Gotham City, surfing off the coast of Costa Rica.

Iron Man-Unfortunately, Iron Man, will be stuck in the house for most of his three-day weekend, catching up some household chores that he has long been procrastinating.  Much of his time will be spent ironing.  Duh.

Thor-Thor has taken up a new hobby, putting his handy hammer to a new use.  Thor has developed proficient metalworking as well as blacksmithing skills, and these talents are starting to get noticed.  Apparently, even the God of Thunder occasionally feels a little crafty!  Thor’s favorite creations to hammer out of iron are unicorns and fairy princesses. 

Flash-When the Flash has down time, his new calling is delivering pizza for a local pizzeria. Owning the title of the fastest deliveryman in the U.S., the Flash can get you your cheesy, crusty Italian indulgence while it’s still super hot and steaming. 

The Hulk- The Hulk will be spending part of his three-day weekend at the Demolition Derby.  To decompress and because it is the most boring activity on the planet, the Hulk also finds stamp collecting to be a rather soothing hobby.  Although stamps do calm the Hulk’s frazzled nerves, once involved in some other life or death matter, he’d do most anything to avoid going back to his tedious collection.  This is true, even if it means learning to control his temper.   

Spiderman-Spiderman has planned a getaway to Dubai, where he will stay in the JW Marriott Marquis, the tallest hotel in the world.  He plans on spending his off time practicing his tall building scaling maneuvers as well as helping the locals to restring their tennis rackets.

Captain America-Captain America will be going to a major league baseball game this Labor Day weekend and afterward, he plans to organize his very large baseball memorabilia collection.  The finale to the weekend will be a traditional All-American barbecue that features hot dogs and homemade apple pie. 

From Everyone Here at Halloween Express--Celebrate Your Labor Day like a Superhero! 

Labor Day Weekend:  What Superheroes Really Do