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Snowman Ideas for a Snowy Winter

Posted by Charles On December - 19 - 2014

Snowman with Scarf

Snow is dreaded by adults everywhere. Snow means bad driving conditions, and for some people, a lot of shoveling. Bring the magic back to a fresh snowfall by wrangling up your friends and family, going outside, and doing something fun for a change: Go build a snowman! We’ll give you some ideas to get started.

Traditional snowmen are made of two to three balls of snow, with the biggest ball on the bottom and stacked until the smallest ball is on top. To decorate snowmen, people often use Frosty the Snowman’s famous song as a blueprint, including coal for eyes, a corncob pipe, a button nose, and a top hat and a scarf. Sometimes coal isn’t the easiest to come by (unless you happen to find yourself on Santa’s Naughty list every year), so rocks easily make good substitutions for eyes. If you and your family have been enchanted by Disney’s Frozen, you might know about the snowman, Olaf, and you can take a leaf from Olaf’s book and use a carrot for the nose instead of a button. Sticks can be used for arms, eyes, smiles, and even hair.

Olaf Real Snowman

You can easily break away from the boring and the traditional, and do something whimsical and fun for your snowman. One idea that’s been seen more and more in recent years is to add a splash of color with food coloring, which won’t be toxic when the snow melts and the ground absorbs it. You can create anything with the food coloring, from the basic eyes and mouth to entire wardrobes! Outfit your snowman with some outdoor equipment, like a tennis racket or a baseball bat, or even some toys like a prop guns and swords. Take it further by adding costume pieces instead of regular winter wear, like a pirate hat and an eyepatch to make your snowman a frosty swashbuckler. Build two or more snowmen and have them interacting with each other in some way, like dueling or having a snowball fight.

creative snowman ideas

The imagination is the limit with snowmen, so you can go as far away from traditional as you’d like. Build your snowman with the smallest ball on the bottom and the biggest ball on top, making it an upside down snowman. Build the snowman with a hollowed out head and fill it with bird seed to watch some wintry birds make a pit stop in your yard. Don’t build a snowman at all and opt for sculpting a snow animal instead. It’s as easy as making a two-ball snowman and sticking a small snowball on the “face” to make the muzzle for a snowpuppy or snowkitten, using food coloring and more snow to sculpt some ears and whiskers.

Star Wars Snowman

What’s your favorite idea for crafting a snowman? Share it in the comments!

 

Celebrating Kwanzaa

Posted by Charles On December - 1 - 2014

Kwanzaa candles
Heri za Kwanzaa! For those that do not speak the East African language of Swahili, the aforementioned phrase translates to ‘Happy Kwanzaa!’, and for those that do not know what Kwanzaa is, a grand, but brief history of togetherness and thanksgiving is in order, after which you will be prepared to properly celebrate your first Kwanzaa.

First of all, Kwanzaa translates to ‘first’ which coincides with the harvesting of the first fruits, similar to the traditions of many other cultures that come together in autumn to share the bounties of a communal harvest, but Kwanzaa serves as a holiday exclusively for the African-American peoples and is celebrated annually from December 26 to January 1. Activist, professor, and author Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1965 during the Pan-Africanism and Pro-Black movements of the 1960’s as a holiday embracing African-Americans and giving them their own identities, instead of African-Americans imitating and following other dominant cultural holidays. Although Kwanzaa was created for African-Americans it does not mean that you can’t still practice your own religion, so if you’re a Christian, celebrating Christmas as well is not a problem.

Woman Lighting Kwanzaa Candles
In fact, many of the principles associated with this week-long celebration encourage tolerance and humanity and before going into each principle you are going to need to wrap yourself in some traditional kente clothing, lay out some fresh fruits, and decorate your home with colorful, African-inspired objects. The first object that you will definitely need to begin your Kwanzaa festival is the kinara, which is a seven-place candle holder representing the origins of the African-American peoples. You will also need some ears of corn to represent the children of those ancestors, and gifts for each day of the celebration, to represent the rewards of hard work. If you haven’t gotten it by now, there are seven days to celebrate this holiday, seven candles , and seven principles to match.

The principles are the focal point of the entire Kwanzaa festival and if you plan on observing this holiday you are going to need to clear your mind of all outside influences because this holiday is anything but lazy. Each day a different principle is celebrated and when someone says “Habari gani”, meaning ‘What is the good news?’, you can respond with Umoja, meaning unity and uniting families, communities, and the races, beginning the Kwanzaa festival on December 26. Next, there is Kujichagulia (try saying that five times fast) which means self-determination and striving for one’s self. Ujima, the third day, stands for collective work and responsibility where you and your community build together and help work towards a common goal. Nia is purpose and calls for the people to understand why they are practicing these principles and strive for positivity. Kuumba means creativity, which is self-explanatory, and Imani means faith; the faith to believe in self and in others, and to believe in all the teachings that Kwanzaa embodies.

Kwanza for kids
Dr. Karenga may have created Kwanzaa with African-Americans in mind, but he also intended for all peoples to come together just like many other holidays of the same time period such as Hanukkah and Christmas strive for. Once you have practiced living these principles, along with gathering all of the necessary ornamentation also needed to observe the holiday, you will then be ready to properly celebrate Kwanzaa.

 

Elf on the Shelf – Cool or Creepy?

Posted by Charles On November - 28 - 2014

Elf on the Shelf Costume

When it’s time for your holiday festivities, what do you and your family do every year to celebrate?  One tradition that has become prevalent among families all over the country is The Elf on the Shelf.  “The Elf on the Shelf,” which is a children’s picture book that comes with a toy elf, was conceived by woman named Carol Aebersold as well as her two daughters who wanted to share their particular Christmas tradition with the world.  Essentially, the book depicts the story of an elf who comes to each child’s home from the North Pole so that he or she can watch over the children, starting from Thanksgiving.

 

 

Elf on the Shelf sitting by a door
Every night, the elf teleports back to Santa to report whether each child was naughty or nice; the next morning, the magical creature returns to the home in a different spot and repeats this process until Christmas Day, upon which the elf retreats back to the North Pole until the subsequent Thanksgiving.  Since its humble beginnings in 2005, this Christmas traditional has grown exponentially in popularity to become one of the most well-known holiday customs in the country; however, an increase in popularity has inevitably led to a growing voice of dissent against the little elf and his omniscient presence within the homes of America.  As The Elf on the Shelf continues to pervade our holiday culture, we must ask ourselves a pressing and necessary question: is this tradition a fun and cool addition to our Christmas celebrations, or is it just hopelessly creepy?

 Elf in Stocking

“The Elf on the Shelf” is certainly popular for a reason–children and adults alike love this mystical being for all of the holiday fun that he effortlessly provides as well as the reinforcement of good behavior that comes with his presence.  Every morning from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, the little ones will have a ton of fun searching through your home for this adorable little guy; whether you put him in a simple spot like a shelf or a table or you get more creative with his location, your children will be delighted as soon as they find him.  You can even have fun with it as a parent by constantly thinking of new and creative ways that you can present the elf to your children the next morning.  “The Elf on the Shelf” provides the additional benefit of curbing bad behavior–since he’s always watching the little ones and reports back to Santa Claus every night, you can bet that your kids are going to be extra nice this year!

Elf on toilet
The creative and behavior-policing potential of The Elf on the Shelf, however, is a double-edged sword.  There is a growing trend among parents to concoct elaborate, mischievous, and overall outrageous storylines for their elves; they even go as far as creating messes and chaos in their home before the kids are even awake just to blame it on the elf!  The deliberate destruction of your home in the name of The Elf of the Shelf is seen as a ludicrous and unnecessary tradition by many parents.  Additionally, the supposed constant vigilance of the magical North Pole inhabitant can appear quite extreme to many parents–the ubiquitous nature of the elf is reminiscent of a Nineteen-Eighty Four-esque dystopian ruler that may be better left in novels.  Taking away a toy for bad behavior may be a better way to get your children onto the nice list!

It’s up for you to decide: do you think this elf is adorable, fun, and effective in making your children behave around the holidays, or does it go way too far?  No matter what you ultimately think of “The Elf on the Shelf,” it has certainly made an impact in the country’s holiday traditions and provides countless hours of fun for so many children!

 

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Posted by Charles On November - 2 - 2014

You’ve been dreading this day for the entire month: Thanksgiving. It’s that ugly plucked turkey that mocks you every year. It comes out of the oven drier than the Sahara and the only one not slathering it in gravy to make it swallowable is the family dog. Don’t let that big bird bully you this year! We’ve got some tips to help you make your Thanksgiving turkey perfect.

After you’ve thawed your bird, remove the bag of giblets from inside the cavity, and either throw it out or cook it separately. But wait, drop that stuffing! Don’t stuff your bird before you cook it! Not only is it a health hazard, but your bird will get overcooked in your attempts to thoroughly cook the stuffing.

What you should be cooking your turkey with is herbs, spices, and other seasonings, and make sure you’re generous with them, too! You know how heavy that bird is because you had to probably lift it at some point, and a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper just isn’t going to flavor such a big bird. Rub the cavity thoroughly with your seasonings, and then salt and pepper the skin.

One of the secrets to cooking a great turkey, though, is to stick seasoning between the skin on the breast and the breast meat itself. Don’t remove the skin completely, but do separate it from the breast meat to give yourself a pocket. Pick your favorite herbs and spices, mix a little cool butter in with them, and stick it under the skin.

For added juiciness, add a little less than an inch of water to the turkey pan. The turkey will “sweat” juices when it cooks, so adding more might overflow your pan! Basting your turkey as it cooks isn’t proven to improve juiciness, but it doesn’t hurt to do so if you want to.

Use the recommended cooking times that came with your bird. If you don’t have the plastic wrappings anymore, the USDA recommends you roast your turkey in an oven preheated to 325 °F. You can find a detailed chart from the USDA’s turkey page, but cooking time can range from an hour and a half to a full five hours, depending on your bird’s weight. That’s about 20 minutes per pound. You can be sure your turkey’s good to eat by using a meat thermometer; it’s done when the thickest part of the turkey, usually the breast, hits 165°F.

Secret number two to a great turkey is to let the turkey rest when you pull it out of the oven. It’s going to smell absolutely delicious and you’re going to want to dig into it to see how well you did this year, but letting meat rest is going to help it stay juicier. The amount of time you should let it rest varies on the size of your turkey, but giving it at least 20 minutes of some alone time should do the trick. Don’t touch it, don’t look at it, and don’t even think about it during its resting period.

Now that we’ve told you some of our secrets, why don’t you share some of your own secrets? Leave us a comment below with your favorite tips and tricks for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey!

You Can Remain Anonymous on Guy Fawkes Day

Posted by Charles On October - 31 - 2014

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November…” So goes the beginning of the famous poem dedicated to the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day. On November 5th, 1605, a group of conspirators, led by Guido “Guy” Fawkes, planned to assassinate King James I and blow up the parliament building. The plan was to restore the Catholic monarch by replacing the king with his nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth. The attempt failed when Fawkes was discovered guarding thirty-six barrels of gunpowder. Once the conspirators had been tried and sentenced to death, King James declared November 5th a day of celebration. He encouraged all to rejoice by burning fires and ringing church bells. The day is also known as Bonfire Night, and is commonly celebrated in Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Canada.

You don’t have to hail from England to celebrate this illustrious event. Guy Fawkes has become quite popular over the years, especially after the movie, V for Vendetta. Many have become familiar with the Guy Fawkes Mask, and it has become a symbol for many anti-government and anti-establishment groups around the world. If you and your friends are looking for a reason to celebrate this November 5th, what better reason than honoring the infamous hero. Put on your Guy Fawkes masks and gather around the bonfire. You all can join in on the time honored tradition of burning effigies, setting off fireworks, and reciting the poems and songs associated with the event. This is the perfect opportunity to play with fire, and not have to worry about getting in trouble!

If you want to make the day awesome, have your guests create their own effigy to burn in the fire. Paper mache villains, from movies, books, and television, make great victims for your fiery pulpit, and will have everyone excited to light up their creation. Supply your friends with an assortment of accessories for them to construct fun figures to burn. Build your bonfire, and have everyone dress up to celebrate the occasion, all wearing their masks of course! Provide food and drinks, as well as other goodies, and make the experience one that everyone can enjoy. You may even start a new tradition amongst your group of friends.

The Gunpowder Plot may have been a failed attempt to blow up the House of Lords, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with a fire of your own. Do something different this year, and honor one of the lesser known holidays in November. As the poem goes, “I know of no reason/Why the Gunpowder Treason/Should ever be forgot!”

The Halloween Fundraiser Has Changed

Posted by admin On August - 21 - 2014

The Halloween Fundraiser that has on Wholesale Costume Club since 2009 is no longer operating so that the company can offer its costumers a NEW and IMPROVED fundraiser!

The Costume and Party Fundraiser is now its very own website and no longer affiliated with Wholesale Costume Club.  If you took part in this Halloween Costume Fundraiser in the past and would like to continue then you must register here and get a new promo code and customized flyer for your company. This Halloween fundraiser still has the same great selection of costume and accessories but adds over 10,000 party supplies and party kits for every occasion.

2014 FUNDRAISER INFORMATION FLYER

 

Check out Costume and Party Fundraiser and get started with fundraising today.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Recap

Posted by Charles On July - 30 - 2014

Game of Thrones Season 4 Cast

Season 4 of the American fantasy series “Game of Thrones” has come to an end and the anticipation for season 5 has reached great heights.  To recap, the season kicked off at King’s Landing where royals from all 7 kingdoms gathered for the highly anticipated union of Prince Joffrey Lannister and Margaery Tyrell.  Within minutes of the grand ceremony, the episode took an unexpected turn. Prince Joffrey was killed and his uncle, Tyrion Lannister, was accused and detained for his death – but did he really commit the crime?

Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister

From that tragic event on, the tone for season 4 was set. There were nail-biting twists and turns in the story line that kept watchers on the edge of their seats. Jamie Lannister returned home; Sansa Stark silently escaped King’s Landing during Prince Joffrey’s death; Khalessi, the mother of dragons, built an outnumbered army but lost control of her greatest weapons; the men of the Night’s Watch fought to protect the Wall; and Tyrion Lannister killed the protector of his family and father Tywin Lannister.

WARNING: VIDEO HAS SPOILERS!

With the close of season 4, the war of the five kings continues. Will the Lannister’s be protected without their father? What’s Sansa Stark’s motive now that she has escaped King’s Landing? Will Khalessi regain control of her dragons and claim what’s rightfully owed?  Unfortunately, these questions will all go unanswered, and despite the year long wait for season 5 we can assure you what’s to come is well worth the wait.

If you want to capture the drama of Games of Thrones as your Halloween costume this year then check out these creative Game of Thrones costumes.

See our Recap of Season 3: Games of Thrones’ Season Finale Excites Us For Season 3

Hypnosis is Not as Spooky as You Think

Posted by Charles On July - 22 - 2014

woman being hypnotized

Your eyes are getting heavy; you are getting verrrryyy, very sleepy…. If you have seen horror movies you probably picture the process of being hypnotized as a mad scientist with the pocket watch forcing you in a trance. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have seen a hypnosis performer you most likely think they are capable of controlling a group who are completely unaware that they are acting like clowns. Neither is true.

psychedelic image

Hypnosis is not a Halloween gag or a parlor trick. It is your own ability to harness your mind. No one can forcefully hypnotize you or make you do something you don’t want to do.

August is National Hypnosis Awareness Month. These are the facts you need to know:

  • There is no mind control involved and you are not asleep
  • Hypnosis is a natural state that occurs in us nearly every day. Daydreaming or being so consumed by a task that you block out your conscious surroundings are examples.
  • In a state of hypnosis your conscious mind gets distracted so that your subconscious mind can receive suggestions.
  • It is actually a very relaxed yet hyper aware state of being. Your focus, memory and level of concentration are all elevated.
  • It is impossible to get stuck in hypnosis. You are in control at all times.
  • Hypnosis can help you overcome fear, reduce pain, and change negative thought or behaviors. It can even improve your confidence that thereby improve your performance at work, in sports and in many other situations.
  • A hypnotist has no special powers. Anyone can do it if they know how.

Hypnosis is simply the power of suggestion. Some people are more suggestible than others which makes being hypnotized easier and the results more effective. There are tests that a hypnotist will use to determine your level of suggestibility and thus, the best method of hypnotic induction to use.

Stage hypnotists use suggestibility tests to weed out the people in the audience that are at the highest level and therefore the easiest subjects.  They are open to suggestion, want to be hypnotized and are more likely to feel comfortable in the silly scenarios that these stage performers put them in. Remember, at no time is anyone being forced to participate. If the hypnotist asks the subject to do something that they don’t want to do, the subject will simply not do it and the quick thinking performer will simply tell them to remain in the “sleep” state and move on with another trick.

Do you think hypnosis is the real deal or a bunch of hogwash? Let us know.

Harry Potter and His Birthday Celebration

Posted by Charles On June - 27 - 2014

Harry Potter Book SeriesThis month is the birthday of an unassuming boy named Harry who wears glasses, has a lightning shaped scar on his head and once lived in a cupboard under the stairs.

Harry Potter is the star of a series of books that were initially targeted at tweens, but soon became popular with adults and kids of all ages. Over the years as the series became popular, bookstores began holding events to coincide with the released date of the newest one; often they were held at midnight and attended by kids and adults alike. It became a highly successful movie series as well culminating in June of 2010 when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter came alive at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.

Hogwarts at Universal

The stories were spun by a young single mom living on welfare. J.K. Rowling created a magical realm that exists at the same time and place as our own. It begins with baby Harry being dropped off at his Aunt’s home after his parents have been killed by the evil wizard, Lord Voldemort. When we next see him, Harry is an outsider in his Aunt and Uncle’s home; they don’t even plan on celebrating his July 31st birthday. When he is 11, he learns of his background and goes off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is not until he meets Hagrid, who gives him is first birthday cake, and his soon-to-be best friends Ron and Hermione that he finally feels at home.

Voldemort not only killed Harry’s parents but tried to kill Harry as well; the evil wizard is almost destroyed in the process but is able to cling to life using his dark magic. We are left to wonder why Harry survived and we find out eventually (spoiler alert) that it was his mother’s love that saved him, something that Voldemort cannot understand and eventually leads to his ultimate demise. Love and friendship are important in the world of Harry Potter, which is one of the reason the stories resonate with so many people. As the series progresses, Harry is able to defeat Voldemort in several battles – and eventually conquer him — through the love and help of his friends and family.

Universal Replica of Diagon Alley

Hogwarts is an impressive castle described in detail by J.K. Rowling in the books and it is magnificently presented in the films. The designers at Universal worked closely with both the author and the movies’ production designers when creating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The result is a magnificent structure – both inside and out – that makes visitors feel as if they have stepped into the pages of the book or into the movie. All you are missing are Hogwarts robes, which you can order right now from us!

Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios

To get to Hogwarts, Harry had to take the train at platform 9 ¾. Muggles (the wizard term for non-magical folk) couldn’t see the platform or get on the train in the movies or books, but they can at Universal. The Hogwarts Express runs from the new Diagon Alley in Universal Studios to the previously existing Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Diagon Alley is a street that is the center of the wizarding world in London, but it cannot be seen by Muggles. At Universal, however, visitors can walk through as if it really existed. One of the main attractions is Gringotts Bank, where Harry, Ron and Hermione rode a dragon to escape from the minions of Voldemort. Visitors to the park can take an exciting roller coaster ride through the bank and its lower vaults full of tricks and traps. It’s a great place to celebrate Harry’ birthday!

If you are not going to Universal, you can immerse yourself into the world of Hogwarts with help from our Harry Potter costumes, accessories and props. Our selections include Hogwarts robes, ties and scarfs, dementor costumes, Voldemort mask and robe, wands, brooms, a sorting hat, a Hogwarts banner, a white owl and more.

How will you celebrate the birthday of the world most famous wizard, Harry Potter?

The Extraordinary Truth in the X-Men Stories

Posted by Charles On May - 23 - 2014

 

X-Men header image

The prejudice and unsubstantiated yet understandable fear of mutants are themes that have followed through in every X-Men movie to date, but the newest release, X-Men: Days of Future Past, breaks down the standard Hollywood convention of watering down source material in favor of showing a more realistic mosaic of how fear and prejudice often result in the unpredictable atrocities propagated by mankind–and in the case of this movie, mutantkind, too.

X-Men Charles Xavier

Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy) has always been a practitioner of reconciliation and open discussion between humans and mutants. He fully understands that when humans find a new source of fear and loathing, they cling to it; mutants possess abilities that are beyond understanding and, in many cases, absolutely destructive in the hands of an unstable person. Intense prejudice results in certain mutants, especially those who have an obvious physical mutation, such as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), to feel like second class citizens, which results in intense protective pride bordering on megalomania. Magneto (Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender) is Charles’ foil and he sees humanity as a previous step on the evolutionary map; for him, there is no compromise with mankind because they will never understand, far less learn to accept, mutantkind. The X-Men comics delve into a story that is riveting in its visuals and profound in its sociological exploration.

 

Wolverine Classic...Ideological differences are at the heart of this film as in any other X-Men film, and Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) finds himself as an unwilling participant yet again in the great human versus mutant question. Most of the films engage the audience by using Wolverine as the vehicle of exploration into this world, and while he is a mutant himself, Wolverine prefers a simpler life, far from Charles’ summits on human and mutant reconciliation and Magneto’s warpath toward mutant liberation. In this film, Wolverine is sent back into the past to prevent the events that result in a future where mutants are rounded up into internment camps and exterminated from the face of the earth. Rather than one primary villain, the movie shows that the main antagonist is fear, and how that fear results in the creation of the Sentinels, hulking robots programmed to wipe out mutants. This newest film ramps up the action and storytelling several folds, resulting in what will surely be an entertaining summer blockbuster with a powerful and unexpected effect of reflection on real world struggles of prejudice and ideological differences.

In preparation for the upcoming release, watch all the previous films and discover their powerful message again. Host a viewing party and dress up as your favorite mutant characters from the film and comic book series. Old favorites like Iceman, Storm, and Rogue will be reprising their appearances in the franchise along with brand new favorites like Quicksilver, Bishop, and Blink. The cast continues to grow and the question of whether mutants and humans could ever live together in peace gets far more intricate to unravel and extraordinary to explore.

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