Independence Day: Star Spangled Facts

  • June 28, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

The long-awaited Fourth of July holiday weekend is upon us.  A hallmark holiday of summer, for most of us, the Fourth of July means carnivals, parades, barbecues, picnics, and of course, lots and lots of fireworks displays.  No matter how you intend to celebrate summer’s favorite holiday, understand that there is a lot of history that goes into Independence Day.  How much do you know about the Fourth of July?  What does “Independence Day” actually mean?  Before you head out to your family cookout and fireworks show, there are a few things about the Fourth that we think you should know!

The Second of July? Technically speaking, the Declaration of Independence was voted on by the Continental Congress on the second day of July 1776.  The document took two days to draft, complete and sign, this being done on July 4, 1776.  Some of the original forefathers felt that the Independence Day holiday should occur on the day of the vote, not the date the document was complete.  Since this time, however, and in spite of any initial disagreement, the Fourth of July has been marked as the definitive birthday of America.

Let Freedom Ring!  The first Independence Day celebration was held in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.  On this remarkably important day in history, the famous liberty bell pealed for the first time, and there was a live reading of the newly created Declaration of Independence. 

Born on the Fourth of July! One President can claim the most patriotic day of the year is his birthday.  Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872. 

Go Out With a Bang!  Believe it or not, three presidents actually died on the Fourth of July.  These include John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, and James Monroe, who died on July 4, 1831. 

Bombs Bursting in Air!  Fireworks and various pyrotechnics have been an integral part of Fourth of July celebrations since 1777. These days, on Independence Day, there will be over 14,000 fireworks presentations held around the United States. 

Make it Official!  Although the Fourth of July technically has been considered a holiday since 1870, in 1941 Congress officially declared Independence Day a federal legal holiday.  The Fourth of July is one of only four national holidays that occur on the same calendar date each and every year.

Party, American-Style!  The earliest Fourth of July celebrations had a lot in common with our modern day festivities.  Parades, music, and fireworks have long been a part of patriotic holiday fun.  In the earliest days, artillery salutes, public readings of the Declaration of Independence and even mock funerals for King George were commonly a part of planned Independence Day activities.

Fun Fast Facts! Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of the Declaration of Independence, and then fifty-six people subsequently signed the document.  There is a little-known message written upside down and backward on the back of the original parchment. It reads, “Original Declaration of Independence date 4th of July, 1776.”  No one knows who wrote this message or why it there in the first place.  At the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence, there were 2.5 million people living in the United States.  Today there are nearly 320 million inhabitants in the USA! 

Happy Birthday, America!  2016 will mark the 240th birthday of our beloved United States of America. 

Happy Independence Day from your friends at Halloween Express!


Why You Will ADORE “Finding Dory”

  • June 17, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

It’s hard to imagine that thirteen years have passed since Disney’s hit animated adventure, “Finding Nemo” thrilled audiences around the globe.  Grossing over 921 million dollars, “Finding Nemo” was destined for a sequel--and now the wait is finally over!  Today, June 17, Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Studios will (finally) release “Finding Dory” and we couldn’t be more excited!

“Finding Dory” begins about six months from where “Finding Nemo” left off.  Absent-minded Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is the central character in this latest chapter of Disney's charming animated tale. Dory, notoriously forgetful, has been contentedly living in the reef with her clownfish buddies, Marlin, and Nemo.  One day, it dawns on Dory that she thinks she probably has a family--and they might even be looking for her.  This realization is where Dory’s epic adventure begins.

Dory enlists the help of her pals, Nemo and Marlin and heads to the California Marine Life Institute.  Once at the Institute, Dory meets some new friends who promise to assist her in her search to find her parents.  Dory forms friendships with Hank, a rather cranky Octopus, Bailey a Beluga Whale who is convinced her whale sonar skills are askew, and Destiny, a visually impaired Whale Shark. 

The writers of “Finding Dory” in no way use the disabilities or impairments of the central characters as a way to make fun of them.  Instead, the challenges faced by these characters are highlighted compassionately, demonstrating how each of them deals with their struggles while working hard to overcome the obstacles that they must endure as part of daily life.

“Finding Dory” has been a long time coming.  An unbelievable amount of loving detail and attention has gone into the creation of this film.  For example, the animators of “Finding Dory” spent hours at large aquariums studying and observing the behaviors of fish and other sea life.  Fish behavior was analyzed to gain accurate insights into how these mesmerizing creatures live, move and interact with other sea animals. 

Do you want to see a sneak preview of “Finding Dory”?  Here's the fabulous traile. 

Grab the kids and head to your local theater.  “Finding Dory” should be swimmingly easy!   

 

Why You Will ADORE “Finding Dory”

Independence Day: Show Your True Colors

  • June 14, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

What is your favorite summertime holiday?  If you answered the Fourth of July, you are not alone.  Independence Day is the holiday highlight of summer for a lot of reasons.  The Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate all things American and to show your patriotism.  It’s also the perfect time to gather friends and family to have a barbecue, a picnic or to watch a fireworks display. Do you want to take your Fourth of July celebration up a notch? With the Fourth of July holiday only a couple of weeks away here are some great ways to add a whole lot of red, white and blue dazzle to your holiday celebration! 

Fly the American Flag! The most obvious and straightforward way to get into a patriotic mood for this Fourth of July is to fly the American Flag.   The fourth is the day to showcase the Stars and Stripes!  Before you put that flag up, you may want to brush up on some basic flag etiquette. Showing appropriate respect for the flag and all that it represents is a huge part of being a true American Patriot!

Decorate!  There are many other ways to decorate and get your home ready for the Fourth of July that go way beyond simply hanging up a traditional American Flag.  Home décor items that make good use of stars, stripes and red, white and blue, are an excellent way to get your home ready for Independence Day.   One of our favorite (and most dramatic) ways to decorate your home for the summer months, including the Fourth of July is the use of brightly colored, red white and blue fabric buntings.  Buntings are big pieces of fabric made of red, white and blue stripes with appropriate white stars emblazoned on the blue.  These buntings are large--a full five feet long and ten feet wide.  With built-in drawstrings on each end, it’s super easy to drape one or several fabric buntings on your home for a bold, patriotic look!  Do you want to pull out all the stops?  Well, don’t’ forget to add an Inflatable Uncle Sam to your yard.  This brightly colored Air blown decoration blows up in just minutes, quickly lighting up your home with whimsy and patriotic spirit!

Red, White & Blue Recipes and Party Foods:  This is the best time of the year for brightly colored culinary delights.  There are thousands of recipes that cleverly use red white and blue in food.  This festive and fun holiday fare is sure to add some spark to all your Independence Day celebrating.  You are going to want to serve up all your Fourth of July foods and beverages with festive party gear.  For example, our practical, yet unique red, white and blue inflatable beverage cooler is the perfect way to keep your Fourth of July drinks icy cold while adding a unique piece of décor to your summer party ensemble! 

Dress Up!  (You knew we were going to say that, didn’t you?)  The Fourth of July brings with it many opportunities to wear red, white and blue--and these go way beyond just wearing a basic t-shirt.  Need a quick and easy way to spruce up your Fourth of July look?  Why not try an exciting Fourth of July accessory item.  USA-themed beaded jewelry, unusually quirky head bobbles, brightly ornamented Uncle Sam top hats, red and white striped vests and even spiffy bow ties--getting into your stars and stripes or red white and blue has never been easier.  Are you a Fourth of July dress up over achiever?  Well, you may want to check out some of our costumes that are perfect for you die-hard Patriots.  With looks such as Uncle Sam himself or even an amazing Statue of Liberty costume; you are sure to be the center of attention at your Independence Day event! 

Independence Day:  Show Your True Colors

Pearls of Wisdom: What We Can Learn from TV’s Favorite Dad’s

  • June 06, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

With Father's Day right around the corner, we have dug deep into our costume caverns to bring you some of the best fatherly advice ever given by some of our favorite TV dads. 

Homer Simpson

When you think of great father figures, you probably won't view Homer Simpson as one of the most stalwart examples.  If you look beyond Homer's general lazy ignorance, however, you can see that Homer's had moments when his heart appeared to be pure gold.  Fool's gold, perhaps, but still gold nonetheless.  For example, there was one memorable episode when Homer was told he had but one day to live.  What did Homer do?  He gave a heartfelt man-talk to his son Bart, spent time listening to Lisa play her saxophone, and even made a video message for his baby girl Maggie.  Here are a few other precious gems of advice from Homer Simpson!

 “Kids, you tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”

  “Kids are great, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate, and they practically raise themselves now-a-days, you know, with the Internet and all.”

“Marge, there's an empty spot I've always had inside me. I tried to fill it with family, religion, community service, but those were dead ends! I think this chair is the answer.”

 “Don't eat me. I have a wife and kids. Eat them.”

 “Movies are the only escape from the drudgery of work and family … No offense.”

 “It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to squeeze in 8 hours of TV a day.”

 “What do we need a psychiatrist for? We know our kid is nuts. “

 “Remember as far as anyone knows; we're a nice normal family.”

 “Well, it's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids. “

“Marriage is like a coffin and each kid is another nail.”

"I want to share something with you -- the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, 'Cover for me.' Number two, 'Oh, good idea, boss.' Number three, 'It was like that when I got here.'"

Gomez Addams

You may be wondering why Gomez Addams would ever be considered a good father.  When it comes to fatherly advice, there was no one like Gomez.  Let's face it, how many fathers out there would prefer to have their children stay home from school than have them go to school each day?  Gomez also clearly loved his wife Morticia--like no other, he's always fawning all over her, while giving his kids an up-close example of how to properly treat a spouse.  Gomez was well dressed, super wealthy, smoked a nice stogie and sported a groovy mustache to boot--so what kid wouldn't love having this quirky guy for a father?  He even let the kids play in his electric chair. Talk about letting the kids get away with murder--this TV dad likely would have encouraged it!  Gomez was a real family man and simply could not stand being away from his kids, much preferring them to be nearby learning about important things such as breeding thoroughbred spiders. 

“Isn't that sweet?  They fell in love and intertwined.  And then they choked each other.” 

Herman Munster

Herman Munster has a lot to offer when it comes to parenting.  Although his daddy style was truly his own, Herman was always very patient and loving with his children.  He also had a penchant for some very (almost embarrassing) corny jokes and used them unabashedly, usually only to his own delight. 

Wanting always to attempt to do the right thing, Herman Munster would even try his hand at firm discipline from time to time which almost never got him anywhere, yet likely scored him some big points with his son, Eddie.

“Young man, I think we're just gonna have to suspend some of your privileges. No more standing in the closet, no more sleeping in Spot's cage and from now on every night, you're going to have to go to bed while it's still dark."

Mike Brady

Mike Brady faced many challenges as a widower, the most difficult thing being blending his family of three young sons with Carol and her three lovely girls.  Always a calm voice of reason, Mike Brady was a dedicated family man who spent much of his time working from home at his architecture business.  No matter how busy Mr. Brady was, he always seemed to have a chance to offer up advice to whichever of his brood needed guidance. 

No one can forget the time Mike Brady helped Jan to calm her nerves when she had to speak in public for a school debate.  He explained to Jan that if she envisioned the audience members all sitting there, watching her in their underwear, it would make them seem less intimidating.   

“When you get up in front of those VIP's, you picture them sitting their in their underwear.”

“By tattling on your friends, you're really just tattling on yourself. By tattling on your friends, you're just telling them that you're a tattletale.”

“Exact words are hard to live by”

Fred Flintstone

Let's face it.  Fred Flintstone has been known to fly off the handle at times.  His temper tantrums are the stuff of which cartoon legends are made, but in spite of his ability to lose his cool, Fred also is a very dedicated and doting father, with his heart almost always in the right place.  For example, when Wilma was expecting Pebbles, Fred spent a lot of time practicing how he would get her to the hospital.  He also moved his family to a better neighborhood, just because he wanted young Pebbles to have the best of everything.  Additionally, no one takes more home videos than Fred Flintstone--just ask his friends who have had to watch them ad nauseum.

“Now let's get this straight, Rubble, I don't need permission from my wife to make a decision.  In my cave, I reign supreme.  Supreme! “

“Yabba, Dabba, do!” 

George Jetson

Even though George Jetson could arguably be the most futuristic of our favorite TV dads, he's also one of the goofiest.  Known for doing things like taking dance lessons just so he wouldn't embarrass his teenage daughter Judy at her upcoming party, George clearly has his priorities straight when it comes to wanting to make his family happy.   Fun loving and apparently very hen-pecked, George wants his children to have culture, civility and to learn to be industrious, just like himself, even though for the most part, they pay little attention to him except when they need money.  Even still, George manages to juggle family time with working for at Spacely Space Sprockets.  Just because he has a flying car and a household robot, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's got it easy.  Not all household problems are solvable with modern technology, and George continues to prove that old -fashioned family values combined with pure devotion often are the best solution.

“Everything, EVERYTHING you bought goes back to the store.”

“Honey, you asked me for $20 yesterday, now what did you do with that?”

“Why did you wake me? I was dreaming about sleeping.”

 

For all your favorite TV character costumes and thousands of other costume styles, Halloween Express has more selection than anyone, anywhere. 

Happy Father's Day from your friends at Halloween Express!