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Image of Pharrell Williams in concert.

Apple recently announced their 8th annual ITunes Festival will be held at the legendary Roundhouse in London, UK from September 1st through September 30th, 2014.  They will feature over 60 artists typically pairing an up and coming star each night with a legendary performer.

While a great live concert the real news is it is streamed live to apple devices around the world so millions can purchase online and watch live.  Here on the east coast of the United States the concerts will be broadcast with the opening acts around 2:45 pm EST with the headline artists taking the stage at approximately 4:00 pm.  It will end each night around 5:30 pm.  (Note the live performances on London time are 7:45 pm to 10:30 pm.)

Image of Adam Levine and Maroon 5 in concert.

Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform live. Photo at www.flickr.com [lunchbox lp]

Clearly Apple is going to make millions off ITunes for this event.  I did not see the exact ticket cost details.

What did catch my eye was that the young boy group 5 Seconds of Summer is scheduled to perform live on Thursday, September 4, 2014.  I just watched them this morning as they appeared on the NBC Today show with Matt Lauer before a packed plaza audience.

Fans of the Today show can remember some of the memorable live performance on the small plaza stage.  No one has appeared who created the type of fan buzz as this 5 Seconds of Summer group.  You heard it here.  Justin Bieber and One Direction move over as a new group is winning the hearts of the 14 year old girl crowd.  Never have I seen so many teenage girls all screaming at one time.

Now I am old enough to remember the Beatles US landing back in the 60′s, the Rolling Stones, and lots of groups since then.  Never have I see a crowd react as they did today.

So anyway, ITunes announced a lineup with headliners Adam Levine and Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, Blondie, Kylie, Robert Plant and more.

Here is the line up and dates announced so far.

Beck performs on Tuesday, September 2nd.
David Guetta performs on Wednesday, September 3rd.
5 Seconds of Summer takes the stage on September 4th.
Kasabian performs Friday, September 5th.
Galvin Harris takes the stage on Sunday, September 7th.
Robert Plant performs on Monday, September 8th.
Sam Smith sings on Tuesday, September 9th.
Pharrell Williams with Jungle performs September 10th.
Maroon 5 headlines the night of September 11th.
Blondie & Chrissie Hynde performs on September 16th.
Kylie announced for September 27th.

I have not seen details or announcements for other nights or performers.  Check out this video from the 2013 concert with Lady Gaga.

The Roundhouse was built in 1847 and used as a massive railroad repair shed.  It has undergone many transformations including an arts center in the 1960′s, a punk rock and pornography venue in the 1970′s and in complete disrepair for 20 years from the 1980′s.  However since the early 2000′s it has been remodeled as one of London’s best live event and fanciest theaters.

We continue at Funtober on our countdown to Halloween.  This is day 101.  Find more events such as this as we continue our search for more fun things to do this fall.  Do not miss any of our posts on the Funtober blog.

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We encourage qualified bloggers to write for us.  Guest posts are welcome at Funtober.  Please comply with our Guest Post Guidelines.  If you have a question email Wayne Melton at wayne [at] funtober [dot] com.

Funtober is about fall fun and includes information on fall activities including Halloween, seasonal food and deserts, Oktoberfest, fall festivals, haunted houses, concerts, farm agritainment, theme parks, and lifestyle.  In the last 12 months we had nearly one million visitors to Funober.  Over 50% of those readers visited during September and October.

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Image of roller coasters at HersheyPark in Hershey PA.

Hershey, Pennsylvania is a bustling little community of 14,000 people near the state capital of Harrisburg.  It is self described as “The Sweetest Place on Earth” in part because it is the headquarters town for the Hershey Chocolate Factory.  Hershey is just 14 miles from Harrisburg and 100 miles from Philadelphia.  The Hershey company makes 43% of all the chocolate sold in the USA.  If your looking for something to do this fall then this just might be the place for you.

I’ve visited Hershey a couple of times and it is a fascinating place.  The street lights resemble Hershey “Kisses” candy.  There are two exits for Hershey off the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Each exit is about 10 miles from the attractions.  During Christmas they have one of the best and longest outdoor drive through lighted displays you will find anywhere in the country.

The area is absolutely amazing and worth the visit.  For such a small town it brings in world class entertainment year around especially in the fall.

Hershey Theme Park Attraction Remains Open This Fall

Image of HersheyPark from a distance.

Hershey Theme Park in Hershey, PA. photo www.flickr.com [Michael gray]

HersheyPark is a full amusement park with lots of rides, shows, and food for the whole family.  It features over 60 rides with about 12 roller coasters, over 25 kiddie rides, a water park and much more.  In the fall for Halloween they feature “The Dark” with roller ghosters, spooktacular attractions, and the Hershey Trick or Treat Adventure.  Friday nights in October are open from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm.  Saturday’s they are open from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm.  Sunday’s they are open from 12:00 pm until 9:00 pm.   The fun begins at the Hershey Chocolate World factory store.  Not just a store but a complete attraction on its own.

Dates the Park is Open in the Fall:
August 1-31 everyday from 10 am until at least 8 pm.
September 1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1

Hershey Chocolate World Opens Everyday in the Fall

Image of entrance to Hershey Chocolate World in Hershey PA

Hershey Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. photo www.flickr.com [jim the photographer]

This factory store is really an attraction built to entertain.  Even their Times Square store in New York City can not compare to this place.  It features a ride through attraction called the Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour complete with animation and movie.  There is a create your own candy bar area, a trolley works for the grounds, a dessert creation station, a tasting adventure, and a 4D Chocolate Mystery attraction.

There are places to eat real food and of course a Hershey’s Bake Shoppe with more chocolate cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and cakes than just about anyplace in the country.  The store itself has all the Hershey candy sizes including mammoth candy bars.  We spent 5 hours in Chocolate World alone and still missed some things to do.

Chocolate World opens at 9:00 pm most mornings and closes at 11:00 pm most nights through August.  It closes at 6:00 pm most weekdays in September and October and 11:00 pm most weekends.  Check their calendar for exact hours and dates.

Concerts at The Star Pavilion at HersheyPark

Fall Concerts at The Star Pavilion outdoor concert venue include:

Jimmy Buffett on August 30th, 2014
Zac Brown Band on August 31st, 2014

Shows at The Giant Center

Disney on Ice presents Frozen nightly October 15-20, 2014 (9 shows)
Demi Lovato on October 24th, 2014
Cirque du Soleil presents Varekai: October 29, 30, 31 and November 1, 2

Fall Events at Historic Hershey Theatre

Image of fountain in front of Hershey Theatre in Hershey, PA.

Historic Hershey Theatre in Hershey, PA. photo www.flickr.com [matt chan]

Hershey Gospel Music Festival:  September 5-7, 2014
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:  September 23-28, 2014
Kevin James:  October 9 and 26, 2014
Disney Live! Mickey’s Musical Festival:  November 1, 2014
Alton Brown:  November 11, 2014

Creatures of the Night at ZooAmerica

Visit ZooAmerica for live interaction with more than 200 animals and reptiles on this 11 acre wildlife park during their nighttime walk through attraction.  This is meant to be educational and not scary.  However it takes place during Halloween times and is adjacent to The Dark at HerseyPark.  Don’t be afraid of snakes and reptiles at night.  Yeah right!

We hope you enjoy reading about the many fun things to do as we countdown to Halloween.  Today is day 103 on our countdown journey.

Image of Hershey's worlds largest chocalate bar.

Large chocolate manufacturers like Hershey and Nestle have announced as much as 10% price increases on wholesale prices this fall.  Lots of small players are in the process of raising prices to retailers.  It seems rising gas prices, wages, and unfavorable exchange rates are some factors causing the need for rising prices.

Perhaps the biggest reason is the sharp jump in commodity prices on cocoa.  El Nino, a reoccurring weather condition,  it seems might effect the West African crop causing severe shortages at a time of rising consumer demand.  Therefore it just might cause Hershey and others to pay more for the raw ingredients.  All this is speculation of course but prices probably will not jump sharply for this Halloween.

Halloween Candy Prices Probably Not Affected For 2014

Hershey is allowing current distributors and wholesale customers to buy product at the old prices until August 12th.  This will likely get us consumers through Halloween.  Most large retailers already have their Halloween and Christmas candy orders in at the old prices.

In 2015, all bets are off as to how much your favorite chocolate candy bar might rise in price.  Price increases will at some point be passed on to the consumer.

Hershey which has 43 percent of the domestic chocolate market announced sales increases of 9%.  I am glad Hershey is doing so well.  Reeces Peanut Butter Cup is my favorite followed closely by those little Hershey Kisses.  Along with Nestle and Mars it might be said that these three companies “control” the chocolate market in the United States.  Prices at the three tend to go up together.

Demand has continued to rise for chocolate products as all three major companies are moving fast into new markets such as China.

Image of the front of Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

Do you have your invitation to the October 25, 2014 Halloween party at the famed Playboy Mansion?  It only takes a little bit of money and the right connections with a VIP host like Kathy Brown.

Visiting Los Angeles this fall might be a little more exciting with some advance reservations from a VIP host.  You might just be able to attend one of the Halloween parties at the Playboy Mansion such as on October 25th.  Prices start at just $1500 for a once in a lifetime opportunity.  They go quickly and can jump to as much as $15,000 for premium seating or cabanas.  Only $25,000 begins your company’s sponsor opportunities with the Playboy brand.

This is a private party by invitation only.  The mansion has 5 acres decorated for Halloween with 2 graveyard attractions, 80 scary actors, immersive lighting and sounds, music, celebrities, and more.  Of course expect to mingle with some beautiful people.

Contact Kathy Brown, one of the VIP hosts, who for the right price just might be able to get you into this scary event.  Contact Kathy at [email protected] or call (310)-922-4642.

Hugh Hefner moved his primary residence from his original Chicago Mansion in 1974.  He originally paid about $1 million for the property that is now worth about $50 million.  Of course he has expanded and added the game room and mini mansion to the grounds.  Total improvement have been around $20 million to his 22 room mansion property.  You have seen the house in Entourage and The Girls Next Door TV shows and lots of movies including Lethal Weapon 2.  The mansion is located at 10236 Charing Cross Rd., Los Angeles, California.

Unless you are Eddie Murphy do not just stop by as you won’t be able to crash the gate.

Here at Funtober our blog: Fun Things To Do As We Countdown To Halloween, brings you more fall fun.  We are now down to day 104 on our countdown.

Image of AMC's walking dead sign for television series.

Universal Orlando was in the news this week with big announcements about their fall event Halloween Horror Nights.  The most popular haunted house attraction in the country with 360,109 Facebook “likes” was also the top haunted house on last year’s Funtober Top 100 Haunted House list.  The big news was that the Syfy channel and Universal will bring the popular horror show “Face Off” as a terrifying new street experience.  This is day 105 as we countdown to Halloween.

Last year the entire park was themed after AMC’s The Walking Dead television series with lots of zombies roaming the park.  This year The Walking Dead will return as the largest maze in Halloween Horror Nights history.  Roaming the park will be street creatures based on characters designed by the special effects artists from Face Off.

Halloween Horror Nights #HHN24 brings you 8 terrifying haunted houses, multiple scary street experiences, and outrageous live Halloween shows.  This experience is meant for adults.  Take the kids to Disney if you want mild.  Try Universal if you want screams.  Many popular rides are open at night including Transformers: The Ride 3D, Hollywood Ride Ride Rockit, Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black Alien Attack, The Simpsons Ride, and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Image of The Walking Dead zombies at Universal Orlando in the fall.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando: photo at www.flickr.com [bestoforlando]

The announcement applies only to Universal Orlando as news about Universal Hollywood has not yet been announced.

Also in case you missed it, Universal also is teaming up this year with filmmaker Robert Rodrigues and El Rey Network’s From Dusk Till Dawn television series.  Construction has been underway for months on an all new attraction with lots of rumors flying about as to the theme.  From Dusk Till Dawn is the menacing new haunted house which brings new meaning to fear at a biker bar.

Hard to believe this haunt attraction just keeps getting bigger and better each year.  Now open for 28 nights as a separate Universal event with a separate from daytime attraction ticket needed.  The new Harry Potter attraction Diagon Alley opened in July but will not be part of Halloween Horror Nights.

Single night admission tickets are $95.99.  You can add on to a regular daytime park ticket for $41.99 from Sunday through Thursday.  Friday add on tickets are $56.99.  Saturday add on tickets are $72.99.  You do not have to use the add on ticket the same night as your daytime ticket.  There are lots of packages, VIP, express options available so be sure and look around.  What ever you do, buy your tickets well in advance.

Dates Halloween Horror Nights are open in 2014:
September 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28
October 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31
November 1

Continue following the Funtober Blog as we countdown to Halloween with our Fun Things To Do.

Image of red bard at Yates Cider Mill in Michigan.

Time just keeps on rolling as the hours turn to days become months and the years go by.  I went to a wedding last weekend with my wife Dixie.  Her brother’s oldest son got married.  Everyone had a wonderful time but it did bring back some memories.  The groom is now 28 years old.  We remembered him as a baby, small child, high school graduate, and now married.  I started to think back about some of my favorite family memories.  While talking the subject of cider mills came up.

For over 20 years, my wife, two sons, and I would spend part of four or five weekends each fall going to cider mills.  I was lucky enough to live in Sterling Heights, Michigan with lots of apple orchards within a half hour drive.  Funtober has a list of apple orchards around the country.  Traditions are things that get passed down within the family.  After he retired, Dixie’s father, Sam, would read the local papers looking for festivals, events, air shows, and activities that he wanted explore.  This was long before the internet.  He got us started with weekend excursions to cider mills every fall.  He is not with us anymore yet I can still remember him, my kids, and the fun we had on his explorations.  Those memories become real special for me as I am about to become a grandfather for my first time.  Yep, early October , my youngest son and his adorable wife are expecting their first child.  My wife and I are so happy for them.

Back To My Cider Mill Stories:

My oldest son started fishing at Stony Creek Metro Park around the age of four.  He would sit on the bank for hours waiting for his bobber to move.  Sometimes that little red and white bobber would only be a foot or two offshore but he didn’t care.  He caught fish.  Lots and lots of small fish were caught right next to the shore.  While doing some research today I came across this video about someone fishing at Stony Creek.  This isn’t us but I have fished those same spots and caught exactly that same size fish.  My son and I today both laughed and remembered those times nearly 30 years ago.  Actually we fished that spot for most of 15 years.  Hope you get a feel for the area as this part of the park has not changed one bit.

Another place we fished was at a Huron-Clinton park near the intersection of Avon and Dequinder in Rochester, Michigan.  It was a about a 40 foot wide stream with fast running water.  Personally I do not think I ever caught a single fish at that place but my son just loved to fly fish there.  The fish loved those artificial flies and ignored my bobber and worm.

The reason I bring this up is Yates Cider Mill was directly across the street.  A big red barn building housed an old time cider processing plant that is now about 150 years old.  We probably fished that stream 5-10 times each year.  Sometimes in the fall we would fish it early in the morning and my wife and youngest son would come out later as we would walk across the street to the cider mill.  I was fascinated with watching how they operated the cider press.  They always sold donuts but I do not remember when they added in ice cream and the small store.  In any event I don’t think we ever bought cider from the grocery stores.  We liked the fresh stuff only in the fall.

Yates is still there and going strong.  The corner of Avon and Dequinder is one very busy intersection as more and more of the surrounding area has lots of home development.  Yates was a little different than some other local cider mills.  Blake Orchards and Miller’s Big Red both were part of working family farms and orchards.  Yates, like another local,  Paint Creek Cider Mill had their apples brought in by train and trucks.  Either way fresh pressed apple cider always seemed a little sweeter in the fall.

I did find another video of fishing across from Yates.  Note the big red barn in the background is Yates Cider Mill.  Also look at all that traffic on Avon Road.  You don’t see the intersection but it is there.  Something about fishing, cider mills, and family traditions always bring back some great memories.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Yates, but I also like Blake’s and Millers.  Blake’s had an apple strudel with ice cream and warm donuts that my wife absolutely loved.  I enjoyed the pick your own pumpkin farm and their food tent.  Blake’s also seemed to have the most fascinating cider press so I spent lots of time watching them work the press.

Now that I remember it perhaps Paint Creek has the most interesting press.  A whole lot larger than the others.  The building was rented from the city and had a fancy fine dining restaurant in part of the building.  I think that restaurant has been replaced by a snack shop.  What was unique about Paint Creek was they had train tracks and a path that ran behind the building.  We spent hours walking the tracks and seeing the sights with the kids.  There were some big houses along those tracks.  I never saw a train go by but they probably serviced some auto plants just north of there.  In any event, walking the tracks remains special to me.

Well I hope you excuse me for this little walk down memory lane.  If you are in an area that has orchards and cider mills then start some family traditions of your own by taking the family for a visit.  Keep checking out our Funtober blog as we continue to write about fun things to do in the fall.

Flobots music group play at Loveland Oktoberfest.

Now back for year four is the Loveland Oktoberfest 2014 held at Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson on Saturday, September 20th, 2014.  Northern Colorado sponsors keep making this Oktoberfest bigger and better every year.  The festivities begin at 11:00 am in the parking lot with Oktoberfest beers, foods and fun.   The music for the evening starts at 4:00 pm at the adjacent Thunder Mountain Amphitheatre.  The venue is located at 4250 Byrd Drive, Loveland, Colorado.

It was started four years ago by the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse.  Grimm’s is the oldest craft brewer in Northern Colorado and a two time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival.  Oktoberfest was a natural given the many German style Lagers and Ales served at Grimm’s.  It didn’t take long for this event to take off in size.

Clear Channel Media and Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson are but two of the sponsors for this years attraction.  Sponsors Best Western, Loveland Colorado, KissFM Colorado, Radio 94.9 and Big Country 97.9 will make sure the word is out on this event.

Beers companies include Samuel Adams, Grow Hop Brewing, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Loveland Aleworks, Big Beaver Brewing, Verboten Brewing, and Rock Bottom Brewery.  This should be a tasty event.

Loveland, Colorado is located just 45 minutes north of Denver.  It is at the foothills of the Rocky Mountain National Park.  The area has sunshine 300 days a year.  Now more than just an arts community, it features brewers and brewery tours, world class recreation, restaurants and shopping.

Loveland Oktoberfest Entertainment:

While entry into the Oktoberfest is free that nights entertainment has an $18 advance ticket price.  Featured music by the Flobots, Proverbial, and The Epilogues promise to rock the night away.  Seems strange to have an alternative rock group like the Flobots headlining an Oktoberfest.  However the environment is a big issue in Colorado so the Flobots with their environment themed social conscious agenda and music is really a perfect fit to attract a younger and larger crowd.

Image of Foo Fighters band group in concert.

So in which city would I want to celebrate Halloween weekend this year.  Now I have been to New Orleans just before Mardi Gras.  The food was amazing and the streets in the French Quarter are alive.  So lets take a look at what makes Halloween in New Orleans so special.

Foo Fighters and Outkast Headline New Orleans Voodoo Fest 2014

VooDoo Fest is the city’s second largest festival behind only Mardi Gras.  Back again at City Park is this crown jewel of fall festivals in Louisiana.  City Park is known for beautiful grounds, art works, and plays host to festivals all year.  This fall, October 31, November 1-2, 2014 the park will host Voodoo Music & Arts Experience (VooDoo Fest).  Three days of outdoor fun, carnivals, great food, fantastic art, and unbelievable live music.  It keeps growing bigger every year.

There are four stages of music in City Park called the Ritual Stage, Le Plur Stage, Flambeau, and the Carnival Stage.  While the schedule has yet to be announced the entertainers confirmed are headliners Foo Fighters, Outkast, Skrillex, Artic Monkeys, Zedd, Pretty Lights, Thirty Seconds to Marks, Slayer, Awolnation, Rise Against, and Flus Pavilion.

More music banks include Fedde le Grand, Gogol Gordello, Death From Above 1979, City and Colour, Claude Vonstroke, and at least 40 more groups.

Voodoo Fest is located at 1 Palm Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana.  You can purchase camping at the park in advance.  There are plenty of hotels in the area with excellent public transportation to the event.  Tickets for all three days start at $150.  Single day tickets are also available.  Pricing varies the closer we get to the event.  There is one single entrance.  Tickets are called “credentials” which consist of your wristband.  Note that wristbands can not be replaced if lost or stolen.  Children under 10 with identification get in free when accompanied by a credentialed adult.

VooDoo Fest showcases a number of noted artists during the three day event.  Also there are 4 main areas where restrooms are located.  Do not miss the carnival experience.  Ride tickets can be purchased.  Also there are several places in the park where alcohol can be purchased.  During the festival there is a food court, locker rental, and phone charging available.

Do Not Forget To Wear A Costume.  What would this type of Halloween party be without your costume.  Well I guess you can get in without one.  They are family friendly after all.  However, you should be aware that anything and everything in the way of costumes is being worn at this festival.  It is New Orleans.  Each night of the festival ends around midnight.  But the party does not stop in New Orleans as the bars will be open.  There is no curfew or last call at the bars in this city.

So if VooDoo and great music isn’t your thing?

Try Endless Night Festival – Experience the Vampire Culture

Father Sebastian plays hosts to the 17th annual Endless Night Festival on November 1st and 2nd, 2014.  Father Sebastian is a leading expert on the vampire subculture.  Ever see the move Blade.  Yep maybe that subculture does exist.  If not, it might be a lot of fun.  Check it out at this Endless Night Festival held at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA.

Endless Night Festival includes the New Orleans Vampire Ball

Ticket packages start at $75.  VIP and early bird discount tickets are available.  This is basically a costume festival.  Preferable steampunk or Victorian styled formal dress that you might see someone like Dracula dressed up as.  While not specifically Dracula it is noted as a vampire festival.  The attractions include a Vampire Meet & Greet, the New Orleans Vampire Court, a Vampire Theatre, the Masque Inner Sanctum, and the New Orleans Vampire Ball.  The ball happens on November 2nd starting at 9:00 pm and lasts until 4:00 am.

Oh do not forget your fangs.  Yes you heard me right.  Did I mention Father Sebastian is also known as a Fang Master and master fangsmith of Sabretooth Clan.  Fangs are a must.  Other notables include Fred Samedi, La Esmeralda, Victor Magnus, Cedric Whittaker, and a half dozen more.

So if your looking for a different vampire experience might I suggest Anne Rice’s Lestat Vampire Coronation Ball.

Vampire Ball and Undead Conference

Noted author Anne Rice will be attending this 26th annual Vampire Ball held at The Republic located at 828 S. Peters Street, New Orleans, LA.  This is the feature attraction for the local Undead Conference held from Thursday, October 30th through November 2nd, 2014.  Undead includes a meet and greet on Thursday with Anne Rice at St. Alphonsus Church.  The primary hotel is the Marriott at the Convention Center.  Friday night is the Vampire Ball.  Saturday is a cemetery picnic.  Sunday includes their good bye cocktail party.

If you want something a little less formal try these haunted houses.

Haunted Houses in New Orleans

The House of Shock at 319 Butterworth Street in Jefferson, LA hosts a nightly Halloween festival including pyrotechnics, a bar, music, and food.  The music and festival are free.  The haunt attraction tickets start around $25,

The Mortuary Haunted House at 4800 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA.  Doors open at 7:00 pm and stay open until 11:00 pm.  Tickets are $25.

New Orleans Ghost Tours

A city like New Orleans considering its voodoo culture has some fantastic ghost tours especially around Halloween time.  Major news publications call the city the most haunted place on earth.  Especially famous is the St. Louis Cemetery.  Find more information about New Orleans Ghost Tours at Funtober.  Information includes the happens at Spirit Tours, French Quarter Phantoms, Tour New Orleans, and Lord Chaz Ghost Tours.

As we get closer to Halloween I will continue to update our Halloween countdown with more haunted houses, parades, parties and fun in major cities like New Orleans.  Hope you keep reading.

Image of drive in movie theater from years past.

From August through November, Hollywood releases many of their blockbuster 2014 movies.  No one knows for sure which movies will be hits and last forever in our lexicon of popular culture.  Far more slide into oblivion taking actors, directors, and producers down with them thereby ruining careers and futures.  I am not much of a movie reviewer.  I know what I like and I like a whole lot of movies.  So here is my list of movies I can not wait to see.

Favorite Movies This Fall

Guardians of the Galaxy will be released around August 1st.  This action sci-fi hit makes my list because of its star power.  Bradley Cooper has been riding high the last 4 years with great movie roles.  Vin Diesel supplies the voice for one of the characters.  A favorite actress of mine, Zoe Saldana, is great in everything she does.  I would expect this might be the biggest hit of the year.  Time will tell if this comes true.

The Giver staring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges comes out August 1st.  Perhaps this movie will gain lots of fans because of Taylor Swift being cast in a lead role in this sci-fi drama.  Director Phillip Noyce is no strange to blockbusters with hits like Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Salt, and The Bone Collector.  Also Streep and Bridges never make a bad movie.

Gone Girl comes straight from the news headlines on October 3rd.  A wife disappears and the husband becomes the suspect.  It stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry.  If I were a betting man I think this is a can’t miss hit with this group of actors.  It will be a thriller worth watching.

The Book of Life is an animated fantasy movie coming out October 17th.  Producer Gillermo del Toro is known for darker movies but he always makes a great film.  So if the script is good then del Toro, director Jorge Gutierrez and voice actors Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, and Ice Cube should carry this film.

The Nightcrawler is a crime drama staring Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, and Ann Cusack.  It is a crime drama set in Los Angeles.  Rene Russo only stars in hit movies so I will also put my money on this one.

Birdman brings back to the big screen Michael Keaton in a comedy.  Keaton had a string of hit movies in the 90′s including playing the Batman character.  In this comedy he plays a washed up actor who once played a superhero who brings a play to Broadway.  Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it.  Anyway it also stars Zach Galifianakis and Edward Norton.  This might just be a sleeper if Keaton can reclaim his comedic talents.

St. Vincent stars Melissa McCarthy who is riding high on a string of comedy hits including her recent Tammy release.  She is back with Bill Murray, Naomi Watts, and Chris O’Dowd.  Should be lots of fun.  It comes out around October 24th.

Interstellar appears also to be a can’t miss movie.  It stars Matthew McConaughey who is on my favorite list with Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine.  Talented writer and director Christopher Nolan known for the Batman hits is back with this space adventure on November 7th.  Good directing and popular actors like McConaughey, Hathaway, and Chastain should make this a popular movie.  May not be the year’s biggest hit but should be very interesting to watch.

Dumb and Dumber To makes my list just in case I am wrong about this movie.  I found the first one just “too dumb” for me.  But I was in the minority as everyone else loved the movie.  Hard to pass on a proven formula with Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels back together after 20 years.  I think it will be funny if not slapstick.  Produced by the Farrelly brothers it has to make my list.  I am just worried that the younger audience may not find it as much fun as the original did a long time ago.  Things have changed but we will see if I am right.

Finally The Hunger Games: Mockingjay starring Jennifer Lawrence should be another big hit.  Given the box office for the previous two movies everyone is waiting to see how the trilogy ends.  Lawrence has been absolutely amazing in her acting career and should easily carry this movie.  Director Francis Lawrence has done a great job with Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Woody Harrelson.  Too bad Phillip Seymour Hoffman is no longer with us.  Anyway, this or Guardians should be this years biggest hits.  The movie should be out before Thanksgiving Day.

So you have my list of my 10 hot movies for this fall.  As there are more than 40 movies coming out with all the big name actors this list is highly speculative.  I skipped the Denzel movie “The Equalizer” and Pierce Brosnan’s “The November Man” as they appear to be Bourne take-offs.  Jennifer Aniston appears in Horrible Bosses 2 but when has she made a hit movie?

If movies and baseball are not your thing then take a look at our More Things To Do Countdown To Halloween blog for a whole variety of fall fun activities.