Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cereal Cupcakes

If you've been reading the blog, then I don't have to reiterate how important cereal is to the season, but I will.  This year, we've had Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo Berry and, finally, Halloween Crunch.  They each serve their own purpose with their individual flavors, but they all provide happiness.  You'd think that there are only so many things you can do with cereal, but I'm always looking for new ways to have them enhance the Holidaze.  So, what's better than Rice Krispies Treats?  Halloween Cereal Cupcakes!!

These are super easy to make.  All you need to do is know how to make cupcakes, pick up some white icing and color it with food coloring.  I'll be honest, my girlfriend did most of the work because I probably couldn't bake half as well, but since this is my blog, I'm going to take credit for it.  Check 'em out!

First, we started with Boo Berry.  Like I said, really easy.  Just dye some white icing blue and add a few pieces of Boo Berry cereal.  Simple, yet effective!  Now, it's time to add Frankenberry into the mix.

Ah, look at that pink icing.  I can't describe the feeling I get when I see icing start to change colors.  It just looks so cool.  I know, I sound really fat right now, but just look at my Macho Man picture, I'm far from it so I can talk about pink icing and cupcakes all I want.  Don't judge.

To round out our Big Three, we have included Count Chocula!  Good ol' Chocky was the easiest to make because we didn't have to change the color of anything, we just bought chocolate icing.  If you really want to go all out, then you can make it lighter to resemble the color of The Count's skin.  I thought about it, but really don't mind the darker chocolate.  Together, with the other two, it's just perfect and they taste great with the cereal itself.

Oh, don't think we forgot about the Cap'n and his Halloween Crunch!

These are my favorite!  We made the icing green to resemble the green milk that comes with a bowl of Halloween Crunch.  Since green is my favorite color anyway, I knew these would look amazing.  They do, and they taste even better.  When you combine cereal, cake, and icing, you're going to get more than you expected.  It's like having a bowl of cereal without the milk.  You just have to make these.  When you do, then you can tell me they're not perfect.  But you won't because you'll love 'em!

Here's a few more pics for your to slobber over this Halloween :)

Only a few hours of Halloween 2011 left!! Ahh, I can't believe it's already coming to an end.  Good thing I don't consider it November 'til the Sun comes up!

Top 13 Horror Movies

I've always loved Horror Movies and I can watch them at any time of year, but they're always better during the Halloween season.  Around this time of year, I'm looking for everything to be scary.  Whether it be Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark, or Roseanne and Home Improvement, I want everything I watch to have the sense of horror.  I want the fear to run through my veins and surround me at every turn.  So, on this Halloween night, I'm bringing you my Top 13 Horror Movies!  Why 13 and not 10?  Because 13 is supposed to be unlucky and that's scarier.  Let's go!

#13 - The Omen

I've seen the original, but I didn't become a fan of The Omen until I saw the remake.  In both, that little boy freaked me out.  His blank stare and evil eyes were enough to give me chills.  But, that was it.  Besides Damien, there is nothing scary about The Omen.  However, it's still on my list at number 13 because Damien is scary enough.

#12 - Rosemary's Baby

Although it's a classic, I didn't rent Rosemary's Baby until two years ago during the Summer.  We were in the mood for a good Horror Film and we had always heard good things about Rosemary's Baby.  So, we picked it up at Blockbuster and gave it a shot.  All in all, we were pleasantly surprised by the plot.  It was more of a mind-game than it was horrific and I liked that most.  It reminded me a lot of Saw in the sense that it led you to believe one thing, dropping hints of what was to come, before throwing us a twist that leads to something else.  Then, of course, it all comes together.

#11 - The Descent

I'm usually not afraid of "creatures."  I believe in ghosts and serial killers so certain Horror Movies scare me more than others because, in my mind, they can actually happen.  However, The Descent seems so far-fetched that I didn't expect to get anything out of it.  It's like Jeepers Creepers.  Am I ever really going to come across a giant creature with wings that isn't a bird?  I'd say no and, for that reason, it's not on my list.  But, when you I saw The Descent, I found my exception to the rule.  I've never gone cave-diving and have never had an interest to do so, but I couldn't tell you what's down there.  I'd bet these abnormal beings aren't down there, but ya never know.  That ignorance, along with the jumps and startles, made this list worthy for sure.

#10 - The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs might have the best plot of any Horror Movie I've ever seen.  There is a real story to it and it has spawned additional films.  However, for me, the scariest aspect of Silence of the Lambs is Hannibal Lecter.  The first time I ever saw him eat another person and rip of that face, I was up all night.  I literally couldn't sleep without thinking that he was in my closet.  I kept picturing him with that brown muzzle, waiting for me to close my eyes so he can eat me.  Ah man, Hannibal is so freaky!

#9 - A Nightmare on Elm Street

There are a few surprises on the list and this is probably one of them.  I know there are many fans of Freddy Krueger, and I consider myself to be one too, but I've just never liked the franchise enough to rank it any higher than 9.  No doubt, it deserves to be in the Top 10, but that's it.  Freddy is one of the most iconic characters of all time, but he can only get me in my dreams and, for me, that just isn't scary enough.  I'll give props to the first and second, but after that, I simply can't watch.  In fact, I'd rather watch the remake.

#8 - Friday the 13th

Similar to A Nightmare on Elm Street, I only like a few installments of Friday the 13th.  Don't get me wrong, I love Jason!  If this were a list based on the top movie monsters, then he'd be in my top two, but it isn't.  This is about the overall collection of films and, for this franchise, it falls flat after the 2nd and 3rd.  When I was younger, I loved the fact that Jason was in Manhattan because I lived so close and thought, whoa, Jason is only a river away from chasing me all through the city.  Now, I just find it ridiculous.  Throw Jason X into the mix and now I'm just laughing.  Number 8 is right where this belongs.  However, I won't deny, Jason's hockey mask is amazing now and always will be.

#7 - Freddy vs Jason

Now we're talking!  I remember when this movie was rumored and I just kept hoping that it would one day be produced.  It had so much potential.  The thought of Freddy and Jason together, battling it out in the same movie, was just too good to be true.  Then, in 2003, it all came together in an unforgettable story.  I'll never forget going to see this in theaters.  The sound of Spineshank and falling rain as they zoomed in on Elm Street screamed horror and let me know I was in for a good time.  But, somewhere along the way, it fizzled out.  Next thing you know, Freddy is getting high as some type of worm.  If not for the few corny scenes, this would have been much higher than number 7.  However, I'd love to see another, especially if they threw in Michael Myers

#6 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Because I'm more into blood and gore than I am into symbolism, I enjoyed the new generation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre than the original, but it really doesn't matter because it's Leatherface that scares the hell out of me.  Leatherface is the reason I'm afraid to leave the city.  I couldn't imagine breaking down in some hick town and having to ask for help.  I think I would starve to death simply out of fear.  That's what this movie has done to me.  Even though I think Leatherface is way too underrated, I have to give him the credit he deserves.  If you've ever been in a Haunted House, you know what it feels like to hear that chainsaw rip.  I've seen grown men literally run away.  I was one of them.

#5 - Insidious

You might be wondering why Insidious is on my list of the Top 13 Horror Movies, but it's for personal reasons.  See, for as much as I love psycho killers, gore, blood and guts, nothing scares me more than ghosts.  I've always said, if I was to make a Horror Movie, I would base it around dead people.  I've felt, at times, that my house is haunted.  I've heard things, I've seen things out from the corner of my eye, and I've had lights flicker.  Those are the things that freak me out beyond belief and Insidious comes pretty close to doing what I never thought I'd see.  There were literally jaw-dropping scenes and imagery.  However, the movie fell flat as it progressed.  It's not the total package, but it gave me much more than I ever expected from the trailer.  If you haven't seen it, check it out.

#4 - Child's Play

Up until the Bride of Chucky, when everything becomes a joke, the Child's Play franchise is golden.  I know, you're thinking, how the hell is a killer doll not already a joke?  I guess it is, but no more than Freddy or Jason.  We all know Chucky could never truly come to life, but what if he did?  Did you ever look at a Furby looking at you?  There were countless times where I thought it was going to come to life and slaughter me.  It's the idea of Chucky that is scary and that's why I love watching the films over and over again.

#3 - Paranormal Activity

As I said earlier, nothing scares me more than ghosts.  Honestly, it's rare that a Horror Movie actually frightens me so, when it does, I know they're doing something right.  I've seen all three Paranormal Activity films now and, really, they get better each and every time.  I just went to see the most recent about two weeks ago and I couldn't believe it.  If you haven't seen the third yet, then you owe it to yourself to get out there right now.  If you haven't seen any of the Paranormal Activity films, then what are you even doing reading this blog??

#2 - Scream

I absolutely love Scream.  I've probably seen the first three well over 45 times and even that isn't enough.  At this point, I think I can have the first script memorized and can read the lines aloud along with the actors.  I'll admit, the 2nd and 3rd were a bit stale.  Having Mrs. Loomis and Sidney's long-lost brother as killers is a bit of a stretch, but they had to do something to make the trilogy live on.  However, Scream 4 came back and revived the franchise for the better.  It wasn't predictable and, even if you did figure it out, the plot was still on point.  I'm hoping that the 4th leads to even more Scream films because I truly don't think we can have too many Ghost Face killers.  I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to ask you, "What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?"

#1 - Halloween

In my opinion, there is no greater Horror Movie than Halloween.  Everything about this legendary classic epitomizes Horror.  We have the cool, crisp air, the falling leaves, a psycho killer, innocent victims, sex, violence, the perfect mask and, of course, the most amazing theme song!  The story has a few loopholes and it hasn't always been so consistent, but it's Michael Myers that keeps you coming back for more.  His mask has given me nightmares and, every year, I'm sure to play the Halloween theme song at least 10 times.  It simply isn't Halloween without it and neither is this film.  The Halloween theme song is to Michael Myers and Halloween what the Jaws theme is to Jaws and Great White Sharks.  It makes things scarier and, really, makes Halloween the total package.  However, don't watch Halloween 3.  That absolutely sucks.

Now, I'm sure many of you disagree with my list.  I've left off a few that most people love.  I'm sure many of you expected The Exorcist to be on my list, but I've never been a fan.  Sure, when it came out, it was the most terrifying thing anyone had ever seen.  The same can be said for Night of the Living Dead.  I also left off Saw and The Blair Witch Project, which some people loved for the "reality" aspect.  But if I had to pick 13 Horror Movies to watch right now, these would be it.  However, that doesn't mean I'm not open to hearing what you have to say.  If you think I disrespected a classic by leaving it off the list or have a suggestion, then I'd love to read your comments.  Give me your Top 13!

Happy Halloween!!

Wow.. Where did October go?  The entire spooky season has flown right by and I still can't believe it.  I think starting this blog added to it's quickness, but I enjoyed every second of it.  It was a great experience and I looked forward to writing new entries, especially when people actually started reading.  I've heard great things from a few of you and it's being able to connect with so many of you has been amazing.  For as much as I love Halloween, I'm upset that it's already October 31st.  I feel like we had so many things left to talk about.  For that reason, the Halloween season simply can't end yet.  We still have a few hours left before this season escapes us and I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.

First off, let me introduce you to the first pumpkin my girlfriend and I have ever carved.

As a child, I've only ever painted pumpkins.  I may have carved one or two, but I don't remember doing so.  My Mom used to paint Sesame Street characters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I loved them.  It was just so much easier that way.  You didn't have to bother with gutting it or dealing with that mess.  Besides, I thought the insides were downright disgusting.  Who wants to touch this??

I don't like the way it looks, I don't like the way it feels, and I don't like the way it smells.  But, Halloween is all about creating memories and, in 7 years, my girlfriend and I have never carved our own pumpkin.  The experience was over due and I was looking forward to seeing how it would all come out.  So, after I drew the face on, we began carving our little buddy and, in no time at all, he was alive.

Because I had very little experience in the art of carving pumpkins, I thought this was going to be a long, strenuous task.  I was expecting it to be an all-night affair that would leave us with nothing but an ugly, misshaped, Jack-O-Lantern.  To my surprise, this took less than an hour and I loved the entire process.  Okay, maybe not the gutting, but the carving itself was relaxing.  You would think, with my love for Halloween, that this part of the season would have been one of my strong points, but it wasn't.  However, it will be now.  I already have ideas running through my mind for next year.  Pumpkin Carving just picked up a new fan.  If there is a Facebook page, I'm going to like it.  If there is a Twitter account, I'm going to follow it.  Next year, I'm going to go carazy!

Of course, I can't let you go without seeing Jack lit up in all his glory!  When I saw him shine, I knew this would now be a part of my Halloween tradition.


Now, that picture was taken on Friday.  However, on Saturday, something happened...

On Saturday morning, I woke up and was pumped for the big night.  For weeks, I had planned on going to Hoboken, NJ for a night of drinks, dancing and, of course, costumes.  I had worked on a Macho Man Randy Savage costume for about two weeks and couldn't wait to show it off.  Then, I looked out the window, and saw... Snow!!?  I couldn't believe it!  We haven't seen snow in October since 1952 and, that means, not even my Parents were alive to see that!

I go to bed one night, expecting Halloween in the morning, and I wake up to find Christmas.  The kids across the street loved it, and I'm sure a few of my neighbors did too, but I was nothing but angry.  My night out was ruined.  The paint I added to my jacket would have surely run had I gone out and I wasn't going to ruin my costume.  So, instead, I took a picture of my Pumpkin and stayed snowed in.  I never though I'd be snowed in for Halloweekend, but I certainly was!

That's just not supposed to happen!  It isn't normal, especially in New Jersey!  This October, snow began to fall before the leaves did!  That led to branches crashing down on to cars and sidewalks.  Power lines came down too!  It was insane and, honestly, I never thought I'd see snow on Hallowen.  But it's out there.

After all the work I put into my costume, I had to put it on.  I had to get something out of it, so we all dressed up and threw an impromptu Halloween party!  We had cupcakes and watched Michael Myers thrash through Haddonfield.  Although, Halloween 3 is a joke.  Don't ever watch it. 

So, because I don't want this costume to go to waste, I'm going to share it here with you.  Here's the Macho Man Randy Savage.. Ohhh Yeahhh!

Now, if only I could pick up a pair of muscles and some height.  Then we'd be set!

Hey, this just in, my girlfriend is letting me put her picture on the blog, too!  She is a Fortune Teller this year.

She was the only one who predicted the October Snow Storm!

I'd love to see your Halloween costumes, especially if you made it yourself.  Follow me at @CKHolidaze and send me a picture.  Seriously, do it!

More to come on this Halloween night!  Stay Tuned, Holidazers

Thursday, October 27, 2011

McDonalds Halloween Happy Meals

When I was a kid, the country wasn't so obsessed with child obesity.  I don't know if it was a big problem in the 90s, but I know McDonalds and Burger King didn't care enough to correct their ads to be more health conscious.  Ya know what?  I liked it better that way!  Remember the Burger King Kids Club?

This gang was everywhere!  They were in commercials, graced the Kids Meal bags and boxes, and specialized in luring children to the play area.  They were awesome.  Personally, my favorite was Kid Vid and, yeah, I'll admit, he and his followers probably did encourage me to eat more fast food.  But, now those days are over.  Fast food chains advertising toward children is no longer accepted in our society, so characters like The Hamburglar are as good as gone.  What a shame.

I mean, just take a few seconds and remember how colorful things used to be.  From the commercials and toys, to the videos and holidays, everything was so much more fun.  After watching this video, I started to realize how much more I was "lovin' it" in the 90s!

Ronald McDonald and his buddies always made me happy, but what's even better about this commercial is the end.  Do you guys remember the Halloween Happy Meal Pails?  I can remember the first time my Dad brought one home to me and I just couldn't believe it.  I was in a complete state of shock and, really, moments like that are reasons why I'm so obsessed with Halloween today.  Seeing that little orange pail filled me with just as much happiness as the food inside it.  And now...

They're Back!

The McDonalds' Halloween Happy Meal Trick-or-Treat Pails are variations of what I remember and what's depicted in my video, but they're obviously related to the originals.  They come in both green and orange and you're asked to make monsters with the use of stickers.  We have eyes, noses, eyebrows, and scary teeth.  We're in control now!

I wasn't going to post pictures of the McDonalds food, because I think we all know what that looks like, but just look at those apples.  Really?  Apples?  What happened to the little plastic chicken nuggets that I can dress up like Dracula?  Now I'm stuck with a bag of stupid apples.  Oh well..

Let's get to the faces my girlfriend and I created!

From what I've noticed, there are different sets of stickers and, in the one we received with our green pail, there really wasn't much of a selection.  We did our best with what we were given, but I'm really not all the hyped up on greeny.  In this case, we have what looks to be the face of Mickey Mouse.. if he was a zombie..or going as Frankenstein this Halloween.

He's more fun.  We pretty much used the better stickers on him.  He has cross-eyes, a pig nose, one protruding tooth, freckles and band-aids.  He's obviously dumb, but he's happy with who he is.  You know you love him.

You know we had to pick up the orange pail too.  You can't have one without the other and I was not letting this Halloween come and go without decorating each color.  Thankfully, we got a different set of stickers with the orange pail.  This enabled us to create three faces on one pail and call this trip to McDonalds a complete success.  Our first, pictured above, is some type of half-dog, half-clown face.  He's smiling, but I wouldn't get too close.

The One-Eyed Beast reminds me of Mike from Monsters Inc., but I don't mind that it makes me look less creative.  I knew, once I saw that big eye on the sheet, that this monster would be created with the stickers I associated it with.  I like to think that he just ate a big meal, probably a living creature, when nobody was looking and is now just laying back with a full belly.  I like this face, but it's not my favorite. my favorite!!  Why?  I don't know why.  I just love him.  He reminds me of a cartoon character.  I can't figure out whom, but I think it might be Powdered Toast Man from Ren & Stimpy.  Something about this face makes me smile just as much as his railroad grill.  Speaking of his smile, I've decided to name him "Stitch" for obvious reasons.  Although, that is yet another Disney reference in one post and I'm probably pushing it.  I'm really much more creative than stealing from Disney, I swear..

We only have a few more days left, but I can almost guarantee you live near a McDonalds.  It doesn't matter what country your from, I know you're close enough to a McDonalds that you can go out and pick up a few Halloween pails.  Don't get me wrong, I don't expect anybody to actually use them when Trick-or-Treating, because you'll only fit about 15 pieces of candy in them, but they're still a must have.  For the price of a Happy Meal, you get a bucket of Halloween glory and an instant blast from the past.  It's completely worth it and, like carving pumpkins, provides a great face-making experience.

And hey, if I didn't sell it to you well enough already, check out this 2011 McDonalds commercial which, shockingly, reminds me a bit of the old days!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Can Be Random

Since we're only days away from Halloween, I've decided to post as often and frequent as possible during the Halloweek.  This is crunch time so every and any thing that relates to Halloween must be posted now or be locked away for another year.  So, posts like this, which were uncommon at the start of the Holidaze, might pop up once or twice more before the end of the season.  I can tell you right now, this isn't going to be the most interesting post, but like I said, all Halloween passengers must board now or be left stranded. 

I don't know about you, but where I live we all have "corner stores."  You might call it a market or even a bodega, but since I was five-years-old, I've always called them corner stores.  They're basically any store that sell groceries for 3x the retail price.  If you need milk, but don't have time to hit up a major grocery store, then you simply walk down the block and pay the extra cash for added convenience.

Surprisingly, the cupcakes pictured above were found in my "corner store."  I don't know where they were originally purchased, but these aren't something I usually find.  In fact, I don't think I've ever found anything spooky at the corner store.  Well, people don't count.

These cupcakes are very colorful, very big, and very Halloweeny.  But are they any good?  Eh, well, they weren't bad.  They were plain.  There was nothing special about them other than their decor, which was the only reason why they were purchased anyway.  It was just cool finding these at the "corner store" and I thought you'd like looking at them.  After all, that's all they're good for.

When you're in one of these "corner stores," you're always tempted by the line of scratch-off tickets staring directly into your money hungry eyes.  Normally, I can resist.  I don't have any gambling problems, even though this entry probably makes me look like a fiend.  Who talks about money hungry eyes without having a gambling problem?  Well, believe it or not, I was only attracted to the Zombies!

Pepsi and Coke can't get on board with the Halloween movement, but, of course, the New Jersey Lottery is right on track.  This is no surprise, though.  There always seems to be themed scratch-off tickets for the holidays.  I've even seen one for Kwanzaa.  No, I really haven't, but how awesome would that be?

Look at this!  Two Buckaroos for CK!  I was hoping for a heavy grand, but I'll take the two dollars.  I got my money back and was still able to share these Zombie Tripplers with the Holidaze readers.  Now I have to take my two dollars and find something Halloweeny to buy.

I know, this wasn't the best Holidaze entry.  It might have actually been the worst.  That's why I emphasized the word "random" in the title.  There was just no rhyme or reason in this one.  I just threw a burst of Halloween your way.  Take it or leave it... I'd leave it.

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