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Halloween Is For Grownups

Once upon a time in our collective distant memory – or maybe just on TV, which is more or less the same thing – October meant apple cider, jack o’ lanterns, and small children in witch hats toting pillow cases full of candy. Now we know fall has arrived when temporary Halloween stores start popping up in every empty storefront in America – which, in these dismal times, means pretty much everywhere. Go into one of these stores and you will see costumes that can only be described as sexy (unless you prefer the more colloquial “skanky”): sexy nurse, sexy pirate, sexy vampire. On other, less fishnet-heavy rows, you’ll find prisoner costumes, superhero unitards, Freddy Krueger masks, and wigs. Lots and lots of wigs: hippy, Elvis, afro. A few years ago, you could even buy a Kate Gosselin wig.

Another way to know that Halloween is approaching: the newspapers (now that they’re all online, perhaps we should call them “newspapers”) will start running their adults-won’t-grow-up editorials. You know what I’m talking about. Halloween is for children. But now Halloween has become a [fill in the blank with a big number] dollar industry because adults are dressing up. And you know why adults are dressing up? Because they want to be children!

To this, I say, Pfft. Every year on one night in late October, I send my children away and throw an adults-only Halloween bash that some call the party of the year and others, on attending for the first time, tell me is the best party they’ve ever been to. You know why my party is the best? Because there’s no competition! In the darkest depths of suburbia, my Halloween party seems to be one of the few get-togethers that doesn’t involve Round Table pizza, sports trophies, or a Costco veggie tray. Months ahead of time, friends, neighbors, and… whoever else is on the guest list (which has frankly gotten a bit out of control) will ask me if I’ve set a date so they don’t schedule anything else. Sometime around August, people start finalizing costumes.

A friend once gave me sage party advice: As long as the food is good and the bathrooms are clean, nothing else really matters. The first time I threw my Halloween party, I – along with some friends armed with power tools – filled my yard with over twenty-five jack o ‘lanterns. Now I settle for two or three. (Have you ever tried disposing of twenty-five jack o’lanterns in a warm climate? Not pretty.) I’ve accumulated plenty of decorations over the years, but the real scenery is costumes. Queen Elizabeth. Andy Warhol. Kate Gosselin. Sexy pirate. Another sexy pirate. The food is always good. More to the point, the alcohol is plentiful. One time a cub scout leader dressed as Courtney Love stayed in character for the entire evening. Another year a baseball coach disguised as Richard Simmons led an exercise class. “Richard” felt embarrassed after the fact. “Courtney” did not.

 

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Halloween Traditions – Old and New

The commercialization of Halloween in the United States did not start until the 20th century, beginning perhaps with Halloween postcards (featuring hundreds of designs) which were most popular between 1905 and 1915. Dennison Manufacturing Company, which published its first Hallowe’en catalog in 1909, and the Beistle Company were pioneers in commercially made Halloween decorations, particularly die-cut paper items. German manufacturers specialised in Halloween figurines that were exported to the United States in the period between the two world wars.

There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in the United States or elsewhere, before 1900. Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s, and trick-or-treating did not become a fixture of the holiday until the 1950s.

In the 1990s, many manufacturers began producing a larger variety of Halloween yard decorations; before this a majority of decorations were homemade. Some of the most popular yard decorations are jack-o’-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, orange string lights, inflatable decorations (such as spiders, pumpkins, mummies and vampires), and animatronic window and door decorations.

Halloween is now the United States’ second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating; the sale of candy and costumes are also extremely common during the holiday, which is marketed to children and adults alike. According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular Halloween costume themes for adults are, in order: witch, pirate, vampire, cat and clown. Each year, popular costumes are dictated by various current events and pop culture icons .On many college campuses, Halloween is a major celebration, with the Friday and Saturday nearest October 31 hosting many costume parties.

The National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of American adults planned to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, and that 93 percent of children planned to go trick-or-treating.

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Halloween History And Christian Life

The word comes from an abbreviation of “All Hallows Eve.” This is the night before All Hallows (All Saints) Day, when the Church honors the past (dead) Christians. All Saints Day is also known as the day Martin Luther nailed his protest of the Catholic Church and began the Protestant movement. There have been different dates for All Saints Day. It’s commonly believed that November 1st was chosen to coincide with pagan celebrations and festivals in order to more easily assimilate these cultures into the Church, just like the dates for Easter and Christmas celebrations. It’s this assimilation of festivals that makes Halloween a confusing holiday.

When All Saints Day and the pagan festivals were combined, the rituals and customs were also combined. Wearing costumes, ghosts, witches, carrying lighted ornaments to represent spirits, the whole trick-or-treat thing, harvest parties, etc. got combined over the centuries with what had been a somber event in the Christian calendar. Some of these rituals had been sacrifices to pagan gods before the pagans were Christianized. And there’s the rub! Christians, who have no problem with the Christmas Tree or Easter Egg (pagan rituals), seem to draw the line when it comes to the Halloween pagan rituals and customs…particularly those involving the dead.

Actually, All Saints Day and Halloween share the idea of honoring the dead…they just differ on the methods. Many of the pagan rituals include tributes to the dead. That’s probably why ghost costumes and tombstones have become Halloween classics. I don’t understand the discomfort many Christians have with the idea of spirits being everywhere, or of spiritual life beyond physical death…it’s the cornerstone of Christianity as taught in the Bible. Why would we be so frightened of what’s on the other side of death? Many are so afraid, they keep their children from participating in the fun of Halloween.

Once, early in my Christian walk, I believed it was a sin to have anything that had represented a belief in any power but God. I got rid of 4 leaf clovers, horseshoes, totem poles…symbols of pagan gods…so these things would have no power over me. After I grew a little in Christ and read the Bible a little more, It hit me…nothing has power over me because Christ is in me. In fact, by thinking these things had power, I was giving them the very power I opposed.

It’s the same with Christians and Halloween. Carving pumpkins, setting up witch statues, wearing ghost costumes, going to people’s doors to collect treats…all of these rituals are mere games as long as we don’t make anything more out of them. As a Christian, the most powerful being in all eternity lives within you. There is no power that can harm you. I’m not denying that evil spirits exist but when we Christians live in fear of them, we’re giving them power they don’t have.

 

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Evaluating and Selling Jewelry

I’ve been working in the pawn broking industry for a bit now, and as part of my everyday
job I have to evaluate and Cheapest Christmas costumes. With that in mind, I’ll be giving you an idea of
what you can expect from pawn shops, as well as reasonable charges when selling
privately.

(You’ll also learn how much you may have gotten ripped off when you bought your
girlfriend that “gold” necklace last Christmas.)

Precious Metals: What they’re worth to the world
The mainstay of the jewelry industry is precious metals: gold, silver, and platinum being
the most popular. All have their own benefits and all have their respective drawbacks.

Before we start, you should know that many websites, sellers, and buyers price metals
by the Troy Ounce, and I’ll be referring to value by the gram, since most jewelry isn’t
going to weigh more than a few grams. For ease of reference: 1 Troy Ounce = 31.109
grams.

Silver is a beautiful metal, strong for settings and full pieces alike, and is relatively
cheap compared to the other metals. A quick way of identifying silver is to look along the
inside of a ring, or along the clasp/end of a necklace or bracelet. What you’re looking for
is a little number like “.925” or “.999.” This is the percentage of silver versus other
metals that are in your item. Sterling silver, one of the most common types, is made up
of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

Current prices for silver are at about $0.18 per gram. I would expect to sell a weighty
silver chain necklace (about 30 grams) for about $10 if you’re being fair. Since we know
that stores aren’t fair, you can usually get away with selling them for about 2.5 to 3 times
that amount. As a pawn broker I tend to avoid buying silver at all, mainly because I can’t
sell it as readily, and also because I can’t give the customer enough money to make it
worth their while.

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Easter In England – A Family Affair

Easter is the most important event in the Christian calendar but in the multicultural society of England it is appreciated by both Christians and non-Christians for the two day Bank holiday it brings. Unlike the two days our government allows us in which to celebrate Christmas, the Easter holidays never bring us a disappointing mid-week break, they always provide us with a four day weekend. A cause for celebration indeed!

Easter arrives quietly, no fanfare, no three month long advertising campaign like the one preceding Christmas costumes. We aren’t urged to eat too much, drink to much, party too much, or do anything at all too much. We are permitted to relax and enjoy family life. There is no pressure to overspend on gifts for everyone from our nearest and dearest to the neighbour’s dog. Compared to the excesses promoted in the name of Christmas, the consumption of chocolate eggs seems a small indulgence.

In England, Easter is the official start of the gardeners’ year and also the time when all DIY enthusiasts, as if driven by some primeval urge, embark upon ambitious projects. If you are not interested in gardening or DIY, you have four whole days free to enjoy as you wish.

Easter is really too early for gardeners to be chancing the lives of tender plants but it is hard to resist the lure of the first real sunny days after the long grey winter. Amateur gardeners take bedding plants from the hothouses and thrust them into soil that’s far too cold to encourage growth. The experienced gardeners won’t gamble on frost free conditions and content themselves with planting the less decorative but frost-proof seed potatoes and onions. Gardening at Easter is an anxious time because the English weather is reliably unpredictable and even the most dedicated gardener is likely to encounter showers heavy enough to dampen his enthusiasm and drive him indoors for a chocolate egg break.

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Sherratt’s All Hallows Art Fest brings spooky artists to Petaluma

“I’m a Halloween nut, I admit it,” says Stephanie Sherratt. “My husband is really into Christmas, and I’m really into Halloween. My mom was obsessed with Halloween, too. Every year, she always made it special for us kids. For me, Halloween is a warm, wonderful thing, a nostalgic feeling that I keep alive in my own house, and also through the Halloween art show.”

That’s why, around Petaluma, Sherratt has become known as “The Halloween Lady.”

It’s a nickname she delights in. She’s certainly earned it.

Sherratt, a Petaluma resident since 1998, is the owner-operator of All Hallows Art Fest, a reincarnation, of sorts, of the Petaluma-based Halloween-inspired art and collectible showcase formerly known as Halloween and Vine. That supernaturally popular show, held for 22 years every September at Hermann’s Sons Hall, has been co-owned for five years by Sherratt and another owner, who, according to Sherratt, sold her share to a pair of new owners — who elected to split from their partner, and are now operating their own show in the South Bay.

“There’s always been confusion about the name,” Sherratt says. “A lot of local people didn’t know quite what it was. People thought it was some sort of winery event. ‘All Hallows Art Fest’ is a lot clearer. This show is about two things — Halloween and the work of amazing artists inspired by Halloween.”

Speaking of those artists — many of them ranking among the top hand-craft artists in the country — Sherratt is quick to point out that one thing that has not changed is the line-up of national art-makers who annually come to Petaluma to show off and sell their latest one-of-a-kind creations.

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Wholesale Dealers – Find Out Why Selling Seasonal Products is Always a Profitable Investment

The industry of e-commerce continues to generate countless of profits for more sellers and re-sellers who invest in it. Who would have thought that seasonal products are worth investing? After all, it is during the season of Thanksgiving to New Year that auction sites such as eBay get the most number of sales in a given year. Looking at Christmas, this is when most shoppers around the world buy countless gifts online. In fact, there is even an application now that allows people to come up with their PayPal wish list, Christmas gift lists and Holidays celebration supplies list.

With all the holiday celebrations preparations that everyone has to accomplish, the idea of buying their gifts and supplies online is becoming a top option for most people. Imagine they will not have to contend with the black Friday mob or the crowded malls and bazaars. With just one click of a their mouse at the comfort of their own homes, they can buy whatever they need without worrying for parking space.

If you look at last year’s trends, then you will be able to at least predict where the market is heading for holidays 2009. Observe what items were bestsellers from last year’s holidays then combine this list with the new releases from this year to spice up variety to the buyers’ options. The important thing about selling seasonal items is getting ahead of the competition. You have to be able to offer these items ahead or at least before any of the scheduled holidays.

Some items that sell hot like pancakes during the holidays are Christmas or Santa related items. This list includes Christmas decorations such as tree ornaments, wreaths, candles, gift tags, Christmas wrappers, stockings, candies and even Christmas themed kitchen items. Before Easter, try selling baskets, eggs, decorate your own easter eggs/basket kits, or accessories such as bunny headbands and rabbit costumes. For Fathers or Mothers Day, offer cards, flowers, chocolates or jewelry items with names. For Fourth of July, sell liberty plates, American flag buttons and historic memorabilia items. For Halloween, offer stickers, face paint for costumes, trick or treat accessories such as devil’s pitch fork, capes, pumpkin baskets, headbands, scary masks and many more. For Valentine’s Day, anything with a heart, anything red or anything themed with love, this is a long list of all possible items for sale, not to mention flowers, cards, chocolates and even jewelry items. Of course for New Year’s eve, make bottles of wine, firecrackers and desk, pocket, digital or wall calendars available.

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Charity Auctions and Halloween Themes

Halloween always sparks many peoples’ creativity for wild themed costumes and fun creative parties. Wanting to break the mold of the traditional charity auction? Consider “Halloween 2.0”. Your charity auction could incorporate a costume party or just celebrate Halloween all over again at another time of year, just like Christmas in July. 

However, don’t get “tricked” out of a good charity auction by not planning ahead. Included in the theme can be neat ideas for the food, a costume contest, the ideas are endless! You may consider memorable clips from Halloween-type movies such as Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin, Fat Albert’s Halloween Special, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.

Make sure that all your staff, and even the auctioneer, agree to come to the event in costume. I am sure you have a Halloween enthusiast who works or volunteers for your organization. If you choose a themed-costume party, consider hiring actors or performers that promote the theme in a dramatic way. A local acting school or high school drama club may agree to do this at no charge. The musical entertainment can also contribute to the theme with style and look. Keep in mind that people tend to spend more money when they are talkative, excited, and upbeat. Having an overly peaceful, relaxed atmosphere is not the best choice for a fundraising mood. For a more cost-effective option, consider purchasing several movie soundtracks that support your theme.

A word of caution – do not let your theme detract from the focus of fundraising. Keep the program scheduled to ensure that guests are focused on the silent auction and the live auction at the appropriate times.

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The Growing Trend of Halloween Decorating

Throughout this guide, you will be introduced to the growing trend of Halloween decorating. In today’s market of decorations created to add to the appeal of certain holidays, Halloween is considered to be a rival to the popular Christmas decorations and decorating activities that individuals indulge in.

Marked by technological advancement, innovation, and sophistication, the decorations that we use to enhance the appearance of our lawns, our home, and our businesses are rapidly gaining in popularity when it comes to implementation at Halloween.

Individuals that purchase these decorations may choose from standard decorative items, electrical embellishments, inflatable ornaments, and even battery operated adornments! Ghosts can now be seen flying across the dark, ominous night sky. Zombies are now fully animated with movements, and evil sounds. Frightening fog emerges from the depths of evil. It is true – Halloween is now in the forefront as a leader in growing trends when it comes to spooktacular decorative items!

Despite the fact that there are many technological advancements when it comes to Halloween Cheapest Christmas costumes , many of the original, or “Vintage” decorative items are being sought after. Ornamental items that were commonly seen in and around homes from the 1920s to the 1960s are in an unusually high demand this Halloween. One of the main reasons that individuals seek out these items is because that is a challenge in itself. It is actually considered to be quite rare to uncover such decorations as the pumpkins designed in the honeycomb shape constructed of tissue paper, or the basic skeletons and witches carved from standard cardboard. However, many people thoroughly enjoy the search. These rare adornments were created in such a way that they brought fear upon those that laid eyes on them.

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How to Shop Online During the Holiday Season

The months before Christmas are one of the most profitable times for businesses in North America. Millions are made every year from special shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There’s almost no store that doesn’t have a discount during this time of the year, as they’re all trying to compete for your valuable dollars. One of the biggest methods that companies are using to sell their product is the use of the Internet. Companies are providing huge incentives to get costumers to shop on their websites. This includes free shipping deals, major discounts and future purchase Christmas costumes.

There are a few ways in which you can find deals on the Internet for online shopping. Blogs are a huge resource of coupon codes and discounts, as they offer the reader a cheaper product and provide the blogger an affiliate commission. For example, my blog has quite a few deals posted right now, ranging from Black Friday electronic sales to tea set discounts, all of which give me a commission and save my readers hundreds of dollars.

There has been increasing debate recently over the legitimacy of deals that are provided by bloggers because of the fact that they receive a percentage of the money paid to the retailer. Critics have suggested that bloggers who post these coupon codes are spammers and are fraudulent. It’s important for the costumer to realize though that this is not the case, that just because an affiliate link is posted on a blog doesn’t mean that the blogger is trying to rip off the costumer. It’s exactly the same way that salesman make money in electronics stores or a car dealership; by selling you the product and receiving commission for that particular sale.

Coupon search engines have become increasingly popular as of late. These search engines crawl through the Internet looking for discounts, then compile them into a nice orderly list for the costumer to browse through. These search engines can really save countless hours amounts of time when shopping, as you don’t need to browse from site to site looking for the best deals. So if you’re looking for coupons on a particular product using these search engines can minimize the hassle and time you waste browsing to different sites. A coupon search engine that I’d recommend is lover-beauty.com/. This search engine provides immediate and accurate results to some of the webs largest coupon code discounts.