Get Ready for Oktoberfest

  • September 27, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Believe it when we say that we are counting down the days to Halloween, feeling pretty giddy with excitement as we inch in on the big day.  Let's not take leave of our senses, however, as there is a wonderful fall celebration in the works that should not be overlooked--Oktoberfest!  Oktoberfest, a traditional German festival, has all the makings of fun for the entire family. Here's everything you need to know about Oktoberfest and why you should be celebrating.

Believe it or not, Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration that took place back in October of 1810.  When the Bavarian Crown Prince married Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the happy couple invited all the locals to celebrate the nuptials with them.  Oktoberfest was born.  Apparently, the event was so successful and so much fun that the festivities became an annual tradition.  We simply can't argue with great logic!

Oktoberfest, which takes place September 19-October 3, is essentially a huge German-themed bash filled with delectable German foods, music, dancing and more. Did you think that Oktoberfest was only celebrated in Germany?  The truth is, although the traditional German festival began in Munich, Bavaria back in the year 1810, Oktoberfest events are now marked throughout the world, particularly in the United States.  You certainly don't have to be German to appreciate great food, beer, merriment, beer, music, beer, dancing, oh, and beer.  Did we mention that there was beer?

Speaking of beer, it's an Oktoberfest tradition to partake only of German beer during the celebration of Oktoberfest.  In Munich, it's actually a strict requirement that only beer from German breweries will be served.  These German breweries include Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustine, Hofbrau, and Lowenbrau.  You could say that the Germans take their beer very, very seriously!

Since man cannot live on beer alone, Oktoberfest is traditionally a time a great feasting on authentic German foods, including sausages and meat, sauerkraut, cabbage, pretzels and Lebkuchen hearts.   A Lebkuchen heart is a classic heart-shaped gingerbread cookie that is often decorated with a loving message, and if not eaten, it is sometimes tied around the neck with a decorative ribbon.

Why wait for Halloween to get dressed up in a fabulous costume?  Oktoberfest is the perfect to get decked out in an impressive German styled costume.  Men, it's time to don your Lederhosen, and women, a Dirndl (a Bavarian-style dress with a tightly laced bodice) and go out and party, German-style.

Oktoberfest is sixteen days of fun.  From carnival-style games and rides to singing and dancing, you simply can't find a better way to welcome fall as well wind down the month of September and welcome everyone's favorite month of the year, October!  Oktoberfest, indeed!


Halloween Costumes 2017: What's Hot, What's Not

  • September 18, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

We know you're doing it, so it's time to fess up and get real. You're already thinking about Halloween, aren't you?  And of course, you've probably been imagining the many possibilities of "what to be" for Halloween. Halloween costumes are certainly one of the best parts of All Hallows' Eve -- but there are always some dilemmas when choosing that perfect costume that must be ironed out first.  For example, do you want to involve your friends and dress in a group-themed costume? Or do you want to go out with your significant other in couple's costumes? Or, as is often the case, are you venturing out completely your own? No matter what your Halloween costume choice is going to be, there are always a few deciding factors to keep in mind. One thing we know for sure, most folks want to choose a Halloween costume that fits their personality and sense of style and definitely doesn't scream "yesterday's news."  Halloween costumes can be a little bit like fashion trends—there are classics that never seem to go out of style--and there are costume "fads" that come and go in a year. There are also those unexpected, unpredictable and wildly popular costume trends that we never even saw coming! Here are some Halloween costume trends that have the potential of being wickedly popular this fall—and a few others that you just may want to avoid.

HOT:

  • Video Game Characters-More and more video game characters are making their way out of the video game console and into live action through Cosplay and of course, Halloween costumes.
  • Game of Thrones Characters-Seven seasons later, the characters from HBO's epic television series, "Game of Thrones" are as popular as ever.
  • Slasher and Horror Film Characters-Starring characters from horror films are always Halloween costume favorites.  This year with so many remakes and sequels in the horror genre, you can take your pick when it comes to frightful choices.  The "New for 2017" Pennywise ("IT") is one example, as well as the puppet from "Saw: Legacy" being another.
  • Fairy Tale Characters-There is something truly wonderful about recreating a classic childhood favorite storybook character for Halloween.  A couple of our favorites are Little Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland.
  • Food:  Food costumes are more popular than ever, and this year, there are more quirky food costume choices than you could ever imagine—and they all look pretty appetizing in their own silly way.  Seriously, you can find a whole smorgasbord of food items to dress up as including cupcakes, pizza, hot dogs, soda cans, hot sauce and so much more.  Bon appétit!
  • Dinosaurs-Bring a character from the Mesozoic era into the modern day with one of these fabulous costumes that look like they came straight out the Dinosaur days.
  • Donald Trump-One glance around many of the Carnival celebrations that occurred around the world this year and you would know one thing for certain—dressing up as the US President, Donald J. Trump, is as popular as ever.  If you have your heart set on this unique look, buy your wig or mask early; President Trump is likely to be a sellout.
  • Unicorns-The fantastical character known as the Unicorn has been popping up all over the place.  Being a Unicorn for Halloween is sort of like being a unicorn in general—rare, unique and truly magical.  Sounds like a great idea to us!
  • Stranger Things-This Netflix series took the world by storm right before Halloween last year, and with the second season timed similarly this year, you are likely to see lots of Elevens and Barbs at your next Halloween party.
  • 1980's-Dress up in the attire of one of the most legendary decades in history—the incredible eighties!  Grab those leg warmers, huge earrings, fingerless gloves and parachute pants—it's time to get like, totally eighties!
  • Sharks-Who knows what starts a trend—perhaps; in this case, it's the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week," which is now a pop culture phenomenon.  For whatever reason, sharks are as popular as ever!  Dressing up as a voracious and gargantuan shark is not only cool, but it's also a very novel costume idea that will surely change the tide at your next costume party.

NOT:

  • Past Presidents or Political Figures.  No one wants to see you dressed up as Hillary or Bill Clinton, George Bush or Barack Obama--and it's definitely time to put away your Sarah Palin mask
  • Harley Quinn & The Joker-This dynamic duo was one of the most popular costume looks out there—last year.  Need we say more?
  • The Sheet Ghost-Ever since 1968's "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," the sheet ghost has been the standard go-to last minute costume choice costume-seekers who are feeling desperate- emphasis on the word desperate! Avoid!
  • Playboy Bunny-We are all for sexy costumes but can we go for something a little less obvious?  Unless your date is dressing as Hugh Hefner, you should probably find a more original way to get your sexy game on.
  • "This is My Costume T-Shirt"-The last minute favorite of non-planner types—t-shirts that say," This is My Costume" have been overplayed and abused by lazy people to the point where they just aren't funny anymore.
  • Graduation Robe & Tassel-Just like the sheet ghost, this garb is easy to grab because it's often already hanging in the closet and it works for a costume…doesn't it? No, it actually doesn't, so don't be tempted to wear this to your party.
  • Scream Mask-Arguably one of the most well-known and recognizable Halloween masks on the planet, we've seen this look ten thousand times too many. The only thing to scream here is, NOOOO! 

CLASSICS. If you still don't know what to choose for a Halloween costume, these classic looks are always a hit and will never go out of style:

  • Superhero
  • Pirate
  • Clown
  • Zombie
  • Witch
  • Vampire
  • Princess
  • Fairy
  • Skeleton

The countdown to Halloween has begun.  Start thinking about your Halloween costume today!


7 Ways to Make This Halloween the Best EVER

  • September 14, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

It's never too soon to start planning for Halloween—but once the calendar rolls over to September, we consider that the final countdown to what could arguably be the best holiday of the entire year.  A few well-laid plans now will ensure that your Halloween adventures are all good ones, creating memories along the way that are sure to last a lifetime.

Decor.  Let's face it; Halloween decor has come a long way over the past few years.  It used to be that Halloween decorations consisted of a couple of freshly carved Jack-o-Lanterns and a few strategically placed spider webs.  Nowadays, decorating for Halloween is a much bigger deal.  This fall, many suburban homes will be transformed into faux graveyards, while an assortment of simulated goblins, ghouls, and monsters in every level of creep factor will temporarily move into local neighborhoods, likely even yours.  Like any other holiday, neighbors sometimes have an unspoken competition of who can out-do who when it comes to holiday decor—so, it's no wonder that decorating for Halloween has become more and more elaborate (not to mention spooky) each year.  Luckily for would be Halloween decorators, the availability of fantastic Halloween-themed trimmings is rather enormous.  From animated props and fog machines to eerie lights and air blown inflatables—decorating your home for Halloween has never been easier or more fun.  Make a plan now to decide which unique and ghostly items you will need to revamp your home into the creepy crib you've always imagined. 

Scary Movies. Horror fans, it's time to rejoice because, during the fall months before Halloween, there is often a surge of ghastly horror movies ripe to hit theaters—spine tingling films that are certain to chill you right to the bones.  This fall there are some horror doozies coming out that are sure to thrill those that are brave enough to venture to the movies. With films like "It," "Flatliners," "Saw: Legacy," and "Leatherface," if you are a fan of fright, this could be your year. 

Creepy Venues. Every year, more and more frightening forms of Halloween entertainment come to town, much to the delight of thrill seekers.  Whether it is a haunted house, a spook alley, a creepy forest or a haunted hayride—a trek through one of these scary venues is an adrenaline rush that you won't want to miss.   

Halloween Playlists. There simply is no better way to get into a spooky mood than by using spooky tunes to set the mood.  Internet radio apps such as Pandora and Spotify have special Halloween channels with Halloween-themed music lists, all ready for you to dial in.  There is also a wide range of commercially available spooky music that is the perfect accompaniment for your Halloween party, the fall season or just to get a creepy vibe for trick-or-treaters.

Plan the Perfect Halloween Party.  Start now to plan the most fantastic Halloween party ever!   Let your potential guests know when you are planning to have your Halloween party so they can clear their calendar, reserve the date and get their Halloween costume ready (of course). Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, so if you want to have your party on the weekend, you will likely have to have it on the 27 or the 28th of October. 

Candy and other Halloween Goodies. Some of the best parts of the fall are all the fun Halloween or autumn-themed goodies, party foods, and appetizers.  And then there is pumpkin; lots and lots of pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING!  From lattes and cookies to ice cream and tea, look for all sorts of fall-flavored versions of a huge variety of foods.  What is your favorite? Stock up if there is a particular item that you love because most of the pumpkin or fall flavored specialty foods are obviously of limited release.  Start now collecting recipes for fun and unique fall and Halloween themed foods you want to try. 

Halloween Costumes.  It happens at this exact time every year—Halloween Express is rapidly collecting a vast new selection of brand new for 2017 Halloween costumes.  We've worked extra hard this year so that when it comes to shopping for that perfect Halloween costume, your job is made a lot easier.  We've also added a whole new collection of how-to-videos, giving you all sorts of ideas, secrets and pro tips that are sure to set your Halloween costume apart from all the rest.


What We Love About Labor Day Weekend

  • September 06, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

Labor Day weekend is the traditional weekend in which we say goodbye to summer.  Although technically speaking the first day of the fall isn't until September the 21, the final three-day weekend of the summer is sometimes the last chance to get out and enjoy some final moments of summertime fun.  Around these parts, we don't think it's so much about saying goodbye to the summer--it's just that we are so completely giddy about the arrival of fall that we can barely contain ourselves!  Meanwhile, it's time to get ready to enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.

Chill by the Grill-Barbecuing and summer go hand in hand--so it's no surprise that Labor Day Weekend barbecues are the stuff of which good traditions are made.  Now is the time to pull out all the stops for one last barbecue as we bid the summer adieu.   Don't forget to scoop up all those great barbecue decorations and accessories that are sure to make your seasonal party extra special.  For summer party decor items that are sure to give your end of summer get together extra pizzazz, be sure to check out our unique collection of spectacular party supplies. 

Fun in the Sun-Summer never lasts forever, and if you're like most people, the summer months always seem to fly by at warp speed.  It won't be long before the days become much shorter and the chill of fall takes over.  There is no time like the present to get out and enjoy what's left of the longer days and the sunshine.  Hit the beach, the lake or the park--just get out and enjoy the sun!

Shop 'till you Drop-The end of the summer means sales and lots of them.  If you're a shopper, there is no time like the present to find some killer deals on the stuff you've been thirsting for!  There are many things to shop for on Labor Day weekend, but some of the best deals can be found on summer merchandise like grills, patio furniture, and warm weather clothes.  Also look for Back to School deals on school-related things like laptop computers and textbooks.  It's never too early to start shopping for your Halloween decor items and Halloween costumes.  In fact, since these seasonal items tend to sell out quickly, now may be the best time ever to score those Halloween-themed items you've had your eye on.

See a Groovy Movie-Which summer blockbusters did you miss?  It's not too late to head to the movie theater to see that film that everybody is talking about.  Many cool films are timed for release right around Labor Day--perfect for a long weekend escape!  Need a little nudge from your friends at Halloween Express?  Check out Labor Day weekend is the traditional weekend in which we say goodbye to summer. Although technically speaking the first day of the fall isn't until September the 21, the final three-day weekend of the summer is sometimes the last chance to get out and enjoy some final moments of summertime fun. Around these parts, we don't think it's so much about saying goodbye to the summer--it's just that we are so completely giddy about the arrival of fall that we can barely contain ourselves! Meanwhile, it's time to get ready to enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.

Chill by the Grill-Barbecuing and summer go hand in hand--so it's no surprise that Labor Day Weekend barbecues are the stuff of which good traditions are made. Now is the time to pull out all the stops for one last barbecue as we bid the summer adieu. Don't forget to scoop up all those great barbecue decorations and accessories that are sure to make your seasonal party extra special. For summer party decor items that are sure to give your end of summer get together extra pizzazz, be sure to check out our unique collection of spectacular party supplies.

Fun in the Sun-Summer never lasts forever, and if you're like most people, the summer months always seem to fly by at warp speed. It won't be long before the days become much shorter and the chill of fall takes over. There is no time like the present to get out and enjoy what's left of the longer days and the sunshine. Hit the beach, the lake or the park--just get out and enjoy the sun!

Shop 'till you Drop-The end of the summer means sales and lots of them. If you're a shopper, there is no time like the present to find some killer deals on the stuff you've been thirsting for! There are many things to shop for on Labor Day weekend, but some of the best deals can be found on summer merchandise like grills, patio furniture, and warm weather clothes. Also look for Back to School deals on school-related things like laptop computers and textbooks. It's never too early to start shopping for your Halloween decor items and Halloween costumes. In fact, since these seasonal items tend to sell out quickly, now may be the best time ever to score those Halloween-themed items you've had your eye on.

See a Groovy Movie-Which summer blockbusters did you miss? It's not too late to head to the movie theater to see that film that everybody is talking about. Many cool films are timed for release right around Labor Day--perfect for a long weekend escape! Need a little nudge from your friends at Halloween Express? Check out "Leap," set to hit theaters August 25, 2017! September 8 is the big release date for the new version of Stephen King's "IT," which promises to be a spectacular hit for the bravest horror movie fans.

Overhaul for Fall-Once the Labor Day weekend is over; it's time to start thinking about fall decor. Although you may want to hold off on the Halloween decorations for a week or two yet, (we know it's hard) it's perfectly fine to haul out all those fall leaves, pine cones, faux wheat and autumn colored flowers. Plus, we know you've been waiting for pumpkin-flavored everything--so go for it, now is the time to indulge. There's a coffee shop somewhere near you with a pumpkin latte with your name on it.

Happy Labor Day from your friends at Halloween Express!