Some Helpfull tips on how to make the most of your last few days of Halloween, and fulfill all your festive fall fantasies!!!!!

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Well folks, this is it, the last full week of 2015’s Halloween. If you haven’t yet finished up all your Halloweenie activities you still can. Here are a few last minute ideas to help you get the most our of your last week of Halloween!!!

If you haven’t yet, go out and find yourself the best possible pumpkin you can. I like to go to a local farm to get ours, you get to have warm cider, and tasty treats, plus it looks so much like fall and Halloween, you really feel the full awesomeness of the season! In the Cleveland area I like going to Mapleside Farms the have a great bakery, tons of pumpkins and a very fun section set up with kid friendly activities, not to mention rows and rows of gorgeous pumpkins to pick from!! They also have a fun Zombie Paintball activity that gives you the opportunity to practice your shot for the zombie apocalypse!!

Once you have your perfect pumpkin, you’ll need to figure out how to carve it. Whether you choose to free hand a design or use a template make sure your pumpkin fits your style and personality. I like to keep with the theme of my costume, this year my youngest and I are going as blood thirsty vampires, and since my drawing skills are lacking I have picked out one of these lovely designs to try my hand at:

Although it will probably end up looking more like this…

I’ll be satisfied if it comes out like this…

This guy looks menacing and very festive!!! If you still haven’t decided just how your pumpkin will look here’s a few fun ideas:

Or if you prefer a challenge or something creepier, try this link:

Halloween-Pumpkin-Carving-Inspiration-2

I also recommend roasting your pumpkin seeds, they taste wonderful! Whether you like them savory or sweet, it’s a great fall treat!!

After you’ve got your pumpkin picked, carved, and lit, we can move onto costume prep!!! If you STILL don’t have a costume picked out, here are a few last minute quick and easy ideas:

Bag of Jelly Beans:

Freaky Butterfly Lady:

I love this one, Spider Woman:

Or any one of these great ideas will work too!

If you’re handy with a makeup brush try something like this:

     

        

OK, so now you have your house decorated with Jack o Lanterny goodness, you’ve got yourself all creeptastically done up, now its time to go get the crap scared out of you!!!!

Everyone has a local Haunt they love to frequent, each year they always get a little bit better and each year you have to go back and see what the new theme is! In Cleveland we have quite a few Haunts to try but I have a favorite, simply because it is put on by some of Ohio’s’ most talented make up and special effects artists around!

Robert Kurtzman’s MAD FX Lab, is a must see for any true Halloween aficionado! Known for there FX and Make up work on such horror greats as Friday the 13th: Jason Goes to Hell, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Army of Darkness, and From Dusk Till Dawn, along with tons of others, these guys and gals know how to scare the pants off you!!! Set out in the middle of a very small town, even the drive up will send chills down your spine!

Since I happen to visit the Kansas City area quite often I happen to have a great Haunt suggestion there too!!!

3rd Street Asylum happens to be run by my fabulous husband‘s cousins, so you know they know how to scare!!!

(we also used this location to shoot Last Stand, and Jack the Ripper)

Whats even cooler is that the Haunt is set up in an old school building which adds about a million degrees of creep to it. Just waiting in line outside this ominous building fills you with terror, then you also have the occasional monster running up behind you to really get you in the mood!!

With Halloween fast approaching though, you really need to get to these great local attractions NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The most important thing to do is to get out an enjoy every last minute of Halloween you can before its all gone and Christmas songs are ringing in your ears!!!!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Disney’s Magic Kingdom…BEST VACATION EVER!!!! Part 2

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After the amazing adventures at Universal Studios we headed over to Epcot!! Lucky for us the Food and Wine Festival was happening while we were there, that means there was tons of tasty treats from all over the world!!

Although I thought Epcot was pretty, and my family adored the fireworks, I much more enjoy rides and attractions to shopping and eating. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE shopping and eating, but when hitting up Disney I wanted magic!!! So on day 4 of our vacation we headed off to the Magic Kingdom!!!

The Magic Kingdom did not disappoint!!! From the first sight of the happiest place on Earth I was hooked, just look at the cute Halloween welcome we received!! From top to bottom Disney was decked out for my favorite holiday and I was excited to say the least!

Just look at this super cute new obsession of mine!!! I really need to make myself one of these!!!

They even have these super cure not so scary scarecrows!!

     

But nothing prepares you for the very first time you see Cinderella’s Castle!!! You are immediately transported back to your childhood, and are overwhelmed with the reality of actually being at Disney World!!! This being our first visit it really hit me hard and I almost cried with joy!

After the shock wore off we raced over to The Haunted Mansion!!! Now the Grim Grinning Ghosts song has been a favorite of mine for years so this ride was top on my list to get to, and again it was filled with delightful surprises!!!

         

You’re greeted with a ghost horse drawn carriage, which reminded me so much of the Thestral drawn carriages in Harry Potter!!! Then they have the busts of some of the more notable deceased family members!

Bertie: An expert shot, in the end that’s what he got!

Aunt Florence: Never did a dishonorable deed, yet found face down in canary seed!

Uncle Jacob: Greed was the poison he had swallowed, he went first the others followed, his killer’s face he surely knew, now try to discover who killed who!

The Twins Wellington & Forsythia: Departed life while in their beds, with identical bumps on identical heads!

Cousin Maude: Our sleeping beauty who never awoke, the night her dreams went up in smoke!

Of course all along the path leading up to the Mansion there are tons of wonderful decorative details and many more tombstones.

               

Another fun on is the tomb of The Captain who blows bubbles and squirts water at you!!

But what even more fun are the interactive parts of the path!! Check out this dope tomb with motion activated instruments!!

On the very front side of this masterpiece is this even more magnificent skull decorated organ, which is also interactive!!!

Then, for one more treat, the right side features even more motion sensor instruments, but these ones are much creepier than the first!

As you round the corner you also come upon a lovely memorial set up that includes a poetry writing ghost who asks for your assistance with her pros!!

               

And then even more tombstones to get you ready just before you enter into the Mansion!

This section includes a very fun tombstone that watches you!!!

Inside the Mansion is everything I wish my house could look like, and the dancing ghosts were my very favorite thing!!!!

 

The end of the ride is very cute with these guys trying to hitch a ride home too!!

After this we were off and away on a great day of fun and excitement!!

We had to hit the iconic It’s a Small World ride, which I adored!!

The 7 Dwarfs mine ride was next! It also has fun interactive things to keep you entertained, like a this adorable wooden fountain with the cutest animals carved into it!!

And these cool barrels filled with gems that you spin to reveal a fun surprise!!

The ride itself is AWESOME too!!!

Once the ride is over, when leaving, stop and take a peak inside at Dopey and Snow White sharing a dance!

From Winnie the Pooh, The Mad Hatters Tea Cups, Stitches Great Escape, the Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, Ariel’s ride, the Carousel, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and on and on!! Not to mention the tons of Princess and character meet and greets we got to enjoy along with the super cool Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween party!!!!

     

      

     

Yep, Chauncey, our skeleton in the closet came along for the family vacation!!! And yes I did get in on a few of the meet and greets and you know we had to dress up for the Halloween party!!! And we HAD to get our ears!!!!!!!!!

             

           

      

            

      

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Meeting Mickey was even more magical than I could have guessed! He actually talks and his eyes and mouth move!!! My daughter was even selected to do a magic trick with Mickey!!!! I, again had tears of joy in my eyes the entire time!!!

I will never be able to properly convey just how magical it all was but I encourage, nay, I INSIST everyone go for yourself and experience the magic and wonder of Disney!!!! I am already planning our 2nd trip for October 2017!!! If anyone has tips or suggestions please share them!!!! Have a Magical day!!!!

P.S. This was our faces as we left!!!

And yes, I wore my ears the whole way home!!!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Disney’s Magic Kingdom… BEST Vacation EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Part 1

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Yep… That’s me, my youngest daughter and my husband at the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando FL!!! This was only the beginning of our fabulous adventures in FL!!

As some of you may know from my previous Harry Potter post, I am a HUGE fan of the books, and the movies, and just about every merchandised item that has come out. So when I heard about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in FL, I knew my family and I would have to make the pilgrimage some day!! Then I heard they had added onto what was originally built!!! I knew the time was now!!!! So my family and I headed south for the vacation of a lifetime!

Outside the secret entrance (via Universal Studios) we spotted Stan Shunpike and the Knight Bus!! Oh, and we also had a very fun interaction with the Jamaican shrunken head, who was quite quick witted!!

 

We also got a chance to see Kreacher sneaking a peak at all the dirty Muggles outside 12 Grimmauld Place!!

  

Before entering Diagon Alley, we decided to give the Ministry of Magic a ring on the phone. There’s a number on the dial which you use to dial up and hear a recorded message from the Ministry!!! Such a cool detail!

Upon entering into Diagon Alley my daughter could hardly contain her joy!!! Just look at the excitement on her face!!!

It was truly magical!!! No detail was over looked! Our first stop was Ollivander’s to get my little witch her first wand!! We knew about the Harry Potter Wand Experience, where a group of visitors are brought into the back part of Ollivander’s for a fabulous interactive wand choosing experience. We were in a group of about 10-12, and a younger couple was chosen to experience the magic first hand. It was so very fun the way Ollivander’s representative witch explained how the wand chooses the wizard as much the other way and they would intern learn from one another. The couple tried their hand a a couple wands with not so outstanding results. A vase of flowers were wilted away with one wayward spell, a group of books disheveled by the wrong wand. Until at last they were each paired with the right wand for them.

As we were leaving with our group Ollivander’s witch stopped my daughter, and told her she had felt very powerful magic from her. The rest of the group was now gone and my family and I were in the room all alone for the most magical one on one wand experience EVER!!! My daughter tried her hand at a couple wands before the perfect one found her! The witch at Ollivander’s was such a wonderful performer and made the experience feel as real as possible and as magical as the movie itself!!! I had tears of joy and excitement in my eyes and goose bumps the entire time!!! Just look at the fun we had!!!

Even the lights dimmed as a spotlight shone on her once the right wand was found!!! With each interactive wand comes a map of Diagon Alley and Hogsmead, detailing spots where each witch or wizard can try out their spell work. Armed with this knowledge, we quickly headed over to get a good set of robes to complete the look! Even the mirror complimented my daughter on how stylish she looked!

After shopping, we needed some much deserved libations, and what else but Butterbeer would suffice!

I wondered just how good it could be as I read a million reviews of its glory and I promise you I was not disappointed!!! I drank more Butterbeer than water while there for I knew I would not have such delectable treats back in the Muggle world!! I recommend the frozen Butterbeer over just the cold, it tastes so much more refreshing!!

We next raced over to the Harry Potter’s escape from Gringott’s ride. The detail payed to each section of this ride, even waiting in line was a thrill!! I had to do a double take on the animatronic goblins, I thought they were actors the movements were so real!!

The ride itself was just as mind blowing!! Its a combination of ride and 3D visual screen effects. You find yourself careening through the tunnels past the vaults of Gringott’s with the music from the movie building the suspense as you go! First lead by Griphook, one of the goblins, then set loose on a run away cart once your presence is detected by Gringott’s defenses. You encounter Belatrix Lestrange and even Lord Voldemort himself all while trying to escape, just like Harry, Ron and Hermione in the movie!! You feel yourself being almost toasted by a dragon, hosed down with water, and then plummeting towards your doom, only to be saved by the fabulous Bill Weasley!! This ride is so wonderfully intense and like nothing I had ever experienced before!!!! The whole family LOVED it!!!!

Once you exit Gringott’s Bank there is this awesome statue of a goblin standing atop a huge stack of gold coins:

Oh and did I mention there is a dragon on top of the bank that breathes fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was so damn cool!!!!! Even when it wasn’t breathing fire it was breath taking!

Everyone at Diagon Alley really gets into their roles as well.

And the details everywhere were astounding!! Like this super cool fountain, that happened to also offer young wizards the chance to try out their new wand skills!!

 

We caught the Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees show as well while in Diagon Alley.

We made stops at Honeydukes for some pumpkin juice and by Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes too.

You can even adopt any number of magical creatures at the pet shop as well!!!

They also had a super cool snowy owl puppet whose head would rotate!!! And outside was a giant animatronic snake, clearly a kin of Nagini’s!!

Of course we also had to take a walk on the dark side as well, and made our way through the dark winding alleys to reach Knockturn Alley!

Borgin and Burkes did not disappoint, it was filled from ceiling to floor with all sorts of dark arts memorabilia and supplies.

                

    

We even saw the vanishing cabinet Draco Malfoy used to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwart’s!!!

Again I state, no detail was overlooked when they created this magical world, and I truly felt as though I was inside J.K. Rowling’s wonderfully magical and whimsical world!!!

Once we exhausted ourselves in Diagon Alley it was time to take the Hogwart’s express over to Hogsmead and see the the Hogwart’s Castle!!!!

The streets of London wiz by as you make your way to Hogsmead! Along the way you get to hear and see other passengers walking past your door, even Harry, Ron and Hermione!!! There are also a few other surprises for those riding the train, but I’ll keep somethings a secret!! I do insist you ride the train both ways! As in real life, the trip back is always different than the trip there!!!

Hogsmead has the most quaint shops and each one is capped with snow!! It is magical to say the least!

After a stop off for some grub at The 3 Broom Sticks…

check out the dope decor!!! And the food was SPECTACULAR!!

Next we headed off to see Hogwart’s and experience all it had to offer including the Forbidden Journey ride!!!

This was another 3D super interactive mind blowing ride through the halls and secret tunnels of Hogwart’s even the quidditch field!!! But before we even got to the ride the interior was just as magnificent as you would hope!

Talking and moving pictures interact with one another and entertain all those present.

Even the Fat Lady brags about her glorious Gryffindors and their accomplishments!

You walk past the entrance to Dumbledore’s office, the Mirror of Erised, classroom doors, even Dumbledore himself, along with Ron, Hermione, and Harry! The Sorting Hat also provides entertainment!! Again with wind, fire and water, it is another memorable ride!!

In Hogsmead we caught the Singing Toads concert, along with a fabulous show of talents by the lovely Veela’s of Beauxbaton’s Academy and the hardy gents of Drumstrang!!

After the show we went over to the Flight of the Hippogriff ride!! In line you get a close up peek at Hagrid’s Hut!

   

The best part though is the super dope animatronic Hippogriff Buckbeak who sits in his giant nest bowing to all riders as they ride by.

This is a ride the whole family can enjoy too. Fast, and fun without too many steep drops, and it was just about the smoothest roller coaster I’ve ever been on!!

Be sure to stop by the Owl Post and mail yourself some super cool postcards. They even use the Hogsmead stamp on them!!!

As we made out way back to the Train Station, with joy in our hearts, we knew that some day we’d have to come back!!!

I hope this has inspired all you Harry Potter fans out there to do your very best to go and experience the magic for yourself!! From what I’ve read J.K. Rowling herself made sure each detail met her standards, so you know its the real deal!!

Remember to take pics and share them too!!! Have fun and safe travels!!!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my fabulous family vacation to Florida!!!!