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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!!

My daughter asked me last night why the holiday is called Halloween.

I told her it's shorthand for "All Hollow's Eve". Well, duh, Mom, what does that mean? Tomorrow, November 1st, is All Saint's Day, or All Hollow's Day.

Wikipedia has a great entry about the history of Halloween. Believe it or not, Ireland is listed there as being the country where Halloween is the most popular. Given what we spend in America, I'd be curious to know just HOW it's more popular over there than over here. It does say that Ireland gives their kids a whole week off of school for "Halloween Break", so the kids never have school on Halloween (like our kids do today- right now! In school, surely not concentrating when all of that candy is waiting for them tonight!)

Yahoo! returned over 198 MILLION matches on the searchword "Halloween".

It's become big business, too. Wikipedia says that Halloween is the sixth most profitable holiday for retailers in the USA. Disneyland has had so much success with this year's Halloween Time promotion that you can bet they'll be poring more money into it next year. Our local party store? I couldn't even shove my way close to the costumes at 2pm on a weekday. Dog costumes are flying off the shelf this year (costumes... for your dog!)

OK, I'll admit, I almost bought the Yoda costume for my dog, the one we call Yoda because her ears stick out like, well, Yoda's.

But I didn't. Instead, I spent way too much on a costume for my daughter that she'll get to wear twice (once to the school carnival, once tonight for trick or treating). And I bought a costume for my daughter to wear to her birthday party this weekend (themed appropriately), also expensive.

Plus, every year I add a Halloween decoration to our ever-growing holiday collection.

How do you celebrate? How much do you spend on Halloween? Tell me about it in the comments...

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!!

* photo courtesy of

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Haze at Sunset

The sun was a shocking bright red sun this evening, with some murky smoke high in the air.

Because of this And I'm about 75 miles away from there.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the area. Please be safe, and please evacuate if you are requested to do so.

I associate late October not just with Halloween, but with the height of fire season.

Oddly, this is the three year anniversary of the Cedar Fire. The Cedar Fire, according to Wikipedia, was the second largest wildfire in the history of the USA. Damage totals- over 700,000 acres burned, over 3,600 homes lost, and 14 people lost their lives.

It was devastating, and I can tell you anyone who lived here three years ago (or worse, suffered loss from the fires), well, we're all scared right now. It could happen here again.

There are still families that are awaiting assistance, that are still homeless three years later. The stories pop up in the papers every now and again, and I wish the community was doing more for the victims. They still need our help.

I haven't forgotten them. It pains me to think of all of the hurdles and troubles they've had to go through, just to rebuild.

For some photos of the Cedar Fire in 2003, click here.

Be safe, everyone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Evolution Of Beauty

Friday, October 13, 2006

Disney's Halloweentime Celebration

We went to Disneyland this past Wednesday. Last year, we also went to Disneyland for Fall Break, and it was a nightmare of crowds. We tried to time it better this year. Despite some annoying lines (15 minutes to pay the ticket taker at the parking garage, an hour to meet some princesses for 2 minutes), most of the rides had lines that were either reasonable or nonexistent. We were able to ride most everything we wanted that day, the weather was pleasant, and the halloween decorations were very cute.

If you have the chance to go in October, you should go- the Haunted Mansion is worth the price of admission alone. It's all re-decorated inside and out with "Nightmare Before Christmas", so it's like a completely different ride. If you're unfamiliar with the film, it meshes Christmas and Halloween together.

Also, a ride that's probably not suitable for the little ones- a little scary, even with the Christmas/Halloween decorations.

Be prepared for high ticket prices- Disney recently raised prices again. We paid $40 for the four of us to eat hamburgers/hot dogs at lunch, for instance. Parking is $11 now. A single day Park Hopper ticket (adult) is $84, but we got ours for $78 at the Disney Store.

Below are some photos of things around the parks...

Town Square, Main Street. At night, the yellow sections of the pumpkin are lit up.

Jack Skellington graces a Pumpkin

Minnie Mouse

The castle

The Matterhorn, as seen from Alice in Wonderland

The hit ride of the trip, Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters

Entrance to California Adventure

Souvenir Shop

The new Monster's, Inc. ride at California Adventure

Monday, October 09, 2006

Vacation... in October

My daughter has one of these new fangled things called a Fall Break.

I first had one of those in college, a long weekend for Columbus Day, which was really just an excuse to study hard for mid-terms.

Now, my daughter's school is on a "modified year-round" calendar. She's got 2 weeks off from school!

I was more excited about this time off than she was- it was less homework, less driving, and no more alarm at 7am.

She finds it weird that a lot of her friends do not have this break, and are in school and hence cannot play.

While she doesn't have homework per se, she has things to work on, like her times tables.

I have a list of errands to complete, too, and some fun things up my sleeve.

Her birthday, though, is in a few weeks, so I've got lots of planning to do!

The weather has turned cooler, too, which is fantastic. I love Fall, it is my favorite season.

Do your children have a Fall Break? If so, what do you do to keep them entertained?