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Monthly Archives: August 2012


I haven’t done much with sports here at Funtober yet. But it is a HUGE part of Fall. October is the heart of the college and NFL football season. AND October contains the Major League Baseball playoffs as well. While I won’t be able to cover these sports to the extent that I would like this year, I expect that sports coverage will pick up in future years. It will never be ESPN. But there’s no way that I can focus on fall fun and completely ignore sports.

The next week will be a pretty big football week for me. It starts tonight with my fantasy football draft. I’ve got the first pick. SWEET!

Although college football starts tonight too, it’s Saturday’s Michigan vs. Alabama game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium that I’m excited about. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in preseason polls and they go head to head in the first week! Oh. Did I mention that I went to law school at the University of Michigan? GO BLUE! It will definitely be a tough game for the Wolverines, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be rooting for the Maize & Blue.

Michigan Football on any Saturday

The NFL Football season starts Wednesday, September 5th. The defending champion N.Y. Giants play divisional rival Dallas Cowboys. I still can’t believe that Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings.

Thread the Needle

We’ll have four weekends of football in October. So I ask you: Are you ready for some football?

Look what followed me home from the grocery store. The Best of Martha Stewart: Halloween Handbook. More than 150 enchanting ideas for costumes, decor, tricks and treats. It cost me a pocket emptying $9.95 at Whole Foods.

I think a giant conspiracy led me to buy it. First, my mom handed me a copy of Halloween: Food & Fun from Best Recipes last weekend.

Then, I came across a post about Halloween with Matthew Mead. So when I spotted the Martha Stewart handbook, I couldn’t resist.

Here’s my quick question for Martha Stewart before I get on with the post: Did you recycle the book completely from 2010? I realized it when I searched for Halloween Handbook while researching this post. Same cover photo. Same number of ideas listed. Some of the tutorials from the 2010 edition look eerily similar. And … just went to the URL listed in my version for the templates and it forwards me to the 2010 version of the templates. Oh, Martha! The letter from you says that it is “reprinted”. I can’t be sure, because I don’t own that copy, but I’m now curious how other people would feel if they bought what they thought was a recent publication when it turned out it might be previously recycled ideas. I honestly wouldn’t have bought it if I suspected it wasn’t all new this year. It looks like past issues have always been unique.

Anyway … Moving along …

There will be a ton of Halloween craft posts on the web in October. In fact, they’ve already started. While I plan to bring you tutorials for some Halloween crafts here, I’ll also link out to worthy posts from others. So here are some to get you started in case you are itching to go:

Heaps of Halloween Ideas – PaperVine
Halloween Wreaths Roundup – One Pretty Thing
Beware Halloween Banner – Crafts Unleashed
21 Halloween Party Favor Ideas on HGTV – The TomKat Studio
Fall Think Of You Card – Kittie Kraft


So I had my first Lowenbrau Original last Sunday. After I bought the Munich beer last month, I plunged into work on Funtober and never got a chance to enjoy it. Seriously. Zero. I blame it on my parents.

In my twenties, I would tell people that I didn’t like beer. It was the truth. Given the choice, I would always choose wine or liquor. But it really was that I didn’t know anything about beer. My only real introduction to beer had been drinking Miller Lite. It wasn’t until I moved to Philadelphia five years ago that I realized I was surrounded by craft beer snobs and I had better learn something about beer. So I set about trying more of it to figure out what I liked. And now I appreciate it much more. My beer knowledge is still woefully inadequate. Probably always will be. But I’m learning. And laughing about it. I think that’s the point: I’m having fun.

I popped my head in to my local beer distributor this weekend as I was walking home from the grocery store and took a look at a few cases of fall seasonals that they had on the shelves. I knew then that I had to start trying the beer that I bought. I figured that I could no longer use the fact that it was summer to stop me from drinking the beer in my refrigerator. And I was a bit worried that if I didn’t get started now, it would be November or December and I’d be laughing about the missed opportunity. So:

As I’m sure you know, Lowenbrau is one of the Munich breweries that pours at Oktoberfest. It started serving at Oktoberfest in 1810 and its beer is still brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot. It was brought to the United States through a licensing deal with Miller for some time. But it is now brewed by Lowenbrau again and imported from Germany into the United States. Of course, Lowenbrau is now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. It’s not quite the same as the Lowenbrau Oktoberfest. But that’s really neither here nor there. Because you can enjoy a good beer in a variety of situations.

The real question is whether I enjoyed my Helles. And I did. It wasn’t the best beer that I’ve ever had. I doubt I’ll buy it again. But I finished it quickly. So that’s two thumbs up. Since my beer review / tasting post is lacking the typical lingo of a beer drinker, I figured I would link to some more professional reviews of Lowenbrau Original. And also link to some guys with the funniest semi-serious video review of Lowenbrau Original that I could find:

I need to meet some beer bloggers here in Philadelphia. So that they can show me how to do a proper beer review. And also pour the beer into my mug properly. Ahhh. The joys of my first beer review. I can’t wait until it comes time to play bartender and make some Halloween drinks. If there is a beer blogger that would like to guest post in the meantime and save the world from this misery, send me an email. In that case, I’ll still drink the beer. You just won’t have to listen to me talk about it.

It’s been a few weeks since my post on August 7th about how fall foliage might peak early. I’ve seen the discussion repeated in a number of newspapers over the course of August. So here’s some links to articles with information from experts around the country for those of you planning a fall foliage trip:

New England – Jim Salge, photographer and former meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory.
Maine – Gale Ross, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Conservation.
Colorado – Jim Kravitz, director of naturalist programs at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
North Carolina – Kathy Mathews, associate professor of biology specializing in plant systematics at Western Carolina University.

Photo by ForestWander.

I discovered Emma Rae’s Halloween site this summer as I was researching Halloween content for Funtober and put it on my list of websites to mention. So when Emma contacted me to ask if she could do a guest post about an upcoming zombie run, I agreed. I hope you enjoy it. Here’s Emma:

Three Active Halloween 2012 Events to Work Off That Candy

The deliciously fun and freaky Halloween holiday brings the promise of costumes, decorations, and lots and lots of candy. According to an October 2011 article in the Huffington Post, “the average American household spends $44 a year on Halloween candy” and “the average American eats 24 pounds of candy a year, and most of that is likely consumed right around this time.”

Oh my. Kind of makes you think twice before reaching for that bowl of funsize Snickers and candy corn, doesn’t it?

Bearing that in mind, there are a few great Halloween events coming up this year to get you moving that will make for a healthier holiday. So put down the candy bowl, sign yourself up, and get out there and move!

1. Run for Your Lives

For 3.1 miles of obstacles, thrills, and evasion of zombie invasion, sign yourself up for the Run For Your Lives 5K race. You get a belt with flags that represent your lives, which the zombies will try to steal from you. If the zombies take all your flags, you guessed it–zombies win. But don’t worry; there are health bonuses hidden throughout the course that you can find to help you make it to the finish line alive. You can be a runner or a zombie or a volunteer, but no matter what you end up as, undead or alive, there’s a great apocalyptic party at the end of the race. Find more information at http://runforyourlives.com.

2. Thrill the World

Pay homage to one of the greatest artists of all time and get some sweet moves to dazzle and amaze your friends by participating in Thrill the World, “an annual worldwide simultaneous dance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’”, that has taken place every October since 2006. Thrill the World 2012 will take place on Saturday, October 27th at 7 pm GMT. If there isn’t an event near you, you can organize your own! Be a part of a world record-setting event and dance off some of those calories that come with this time of year. Find tutorial videos and event listings on their website, http://thrilltheworld.com.

3. A Halloween Run Near You

Communities throughout the nation host races of varying lengths—5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, full marathons—in October where all sorts of ghouls and creatures and characters can be seen running the course in full costumed glory. Or, if costume races aren’t your thing, you can get down and dirty with a mud run/obstacle course. After all, you’re never too old to play in the dirt. Check your community newspaper and online calendar of community events for an event near you.

While you might be tired and winded after participating in one of these activities, you’ll certainly feel better about yourself than if you stayed home and ate all that candy. Get a fun change of pace this Halloween with one of these active events.

Emma Rae Curtis is a costume, makeup and accessories expert that loves Halloween. If you enjoyed this guest post, you can follow her on her website, Twitter and Pinterest.

Photo by mebrett.

Hip Hop dance group Academy of Villains from San Francisco killed it on August 15th in a spooky performance set to Bohemian Rhapsody on America’s Got Talent in order to reach the semifinals. Here’s a brief clip:

I’m sorry I missed it the first time around. I used to watch American Idol back when it first came out, of course, but it has been quite a while since I’ve tuned in to a vote for your favorite contestant show on television. I’ve got my DVR set on Tuesday night for the next two weeks for the semifinals of AGT. I can’t wait to see what Academy of Villains comes up with this time!

Postponed a day due to Tropical Storm Isaac, the GOP hosts the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida starting tomorrow. It concludes August 30th. This post isn’t the start of some strange personal political rant on my part. There’s two reasons that it’s an appropriate topic to mention here at Funtober.

First, the vote for the Presidential election happens on November 4th. So a lot of campaigning happens during the month of October. It will dominate television news coverage and advertisements. All three Presidential debates and the one Vice Presidential debate happen in the month of October. You can get the schedule at Debates.org if you are interested. So, like sports, I can’t ignore it since it will be such a huge part of October every four years.

Second, in a Presidential election year, like this one, lots of people will choose their Halloween costume based on their preferred candidate. Political costumes are so popular that Spirit Halloween puts out a Presidential Index that it claims to be a better predictor of the people’s choice for President than polls by major newspapers. With recent polls showing a pretty close election, I expect that you’ll definitely see Democrats out in the Barack Obama mask and Republicans wearing a Mitt Romney mask. In 2008, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were incredibly popular politician costumes

And, yes, Funtober will be selling masks for both presidential candidates so that you can dress up as your favorite this Halloween.

Mitt Romney buys pie in Ashland today

Over the past week, I’ve noticed a few different news stories about haunted houses scheduling auditions for cast and crew members. If you want to spend your free time in October scaring people and having fun, be sure to contact your local haunted house ASAP and find out when they are scheduled. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to be a part of the good times. You can find their website via our haunted house directory.

Haunted House

It’s Oktoberfest time!

What? You figured Oktoberfest started in October? Well you would be wrong. The Germans decided a while back that they couldn’t wait to get trashed until October. So they moved up the Munich festival to start in September. Don’t believe everything that you red in our history of Oktoberfest – I doubt it was really about the weather!

Some of the great citizens of the United States decided that there was no need to wait until September to drink excellent beer and eat German food. So up sprung Oktoberfest in July and Augtoberfest. I’ve missed posting about several because I was busy filling the store with Halloween costumes for 2012. So if you are staring at this post in August 2013, or if you just want to know what you missed, be sure to look for the Augtoberfest parties in Buffalo Grove, Illinois; Maysville, Kentucky; Minneapolis, MN; Pasco, WA; and Santa Cruz, CA.

So, now that I’ve made a bit of amends for being so busy, here’s two festivals this weekend that you still have time to attend:

Augustoberfest in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Germania Society 42nd Annual Oktoberfest in Cincinnati, Ohio

Since next Saturday is the start of September, and also Labor Day, there’s a lot more Oktoberfest parties coming quickly. Don’t miss one in your area. Go to my Oktoberfest 2012 in the United States page and find your local Oktoberfest now!

Are you familiar with the saying? It refers to a rare event. But, in seven days, you can witness this event if you look up into the sky at night.

A blue moon doesn’t refer to the color of the moon, although it is possible for the moon to appear blue after a volcanic eruption or large fire. Instead, it refers to the second full moon in a month. The first full moon in August 2012 was on the first day of August.

According to the original definition of a blue moon, the August 31, 2012 moon wouldn’t count. The historic definition from the 1937 Farmer’s Almanac required that there be four moons in a season for the third to be called a blue moon. Because the full moon in September occurs after the equinox, it would not count as the fourth moon.

However, James Hugh Pruett noted in Sky and Telescope Magazine in March 1946 that sometimes there is an extra full moon in a year, making for 13 full moons in a year. Pruett called the second full moon in a month the Blue Moon. The Farmer’s Almanac has now adopted Pruett’s version and classified the August 31, 2012 moon as a Blue Moon.

There are a number of beliefs that surround the full moon. Werewolves transform from humans into wolves under the full moon. Ghosts and vampires are more active. Others believe that there is an increase in lunacy among people and an increase in dog bites during the full moon. While I cannot confirm them scientifically, I wouldn’t be doing justice to Funtober if I ignored them. So be careful on August 31st.