Luna’s first Halloween just happened, and it was just as cute as I hoped it would be. Husband and I have never dressed in themed costumes together, but this seemed like the right occasion to dress the whole family together. After months of brainstorming and Pinterest searching we decided to do Ratatouille!
The costumes were super easy to put together. I (well mostly my Mom-in-law) made Luna’s costume by taking H&M baby clothing and sewing on a felt tail, felt ears and a felt belly. The whiskers were challenging to draw on a baby that never ever stops moving, but luckily, eyeliner is easily removed with a baby wipe. Good to know BTW.
Husband and I ordered our hats and chef coats from Amazon. I bought the leggings at Forever21, and we just threw in the wooden spoon and loaf of bread at the last minute. Tada! Ratatouille!
Now, I know I don’t look exactly like Colette, but I didn’t really want to wear a chef hat. Husband was irritated that I wouldn’t get an exact costume, but is it so wrong to prefer to look slightly cuter than the actual character? I also called Luna a “mouse” instead of “rat”. Mice sound much more appealing.
Halloween for us and our 9 month old consisted of visiting some family, taking photos, walking around the mall and a fancy “masquerade” dinner out. It was a day full of treats, including a special “frankenfrap” from Starbucks.
I look forward to the years Luna can excitedly tell me what she wants to be for Halloween, but until then I will thoroughly enjoy choosing a Disney character for her.
After the Boo Bash Dash last weekend we drove straight to the Nashville Zoo to watch the animals go trick-or-treating. Luna didn’t get to see any animals during the Ghouls of Grassmere event, and this seemed like a fun opportunity to actually watch the animals be active. More fun for me than her, but still…fun. We like to be festive, so we all stayed dressed up in our Halloween running attire. We are also just too lazy to drive home, shower and change.
The zoo was way more crowded than the Ghouls of Grassmere night, but not unbearably crowded. We didn’t arrive until lunchtime, so we had already missed half of the animals getting their treats (cricket-filled pumpkins). The plans was to run to the camels in time to see them eat, but we ran into the new kangaroo exhibit first and could not resist checking it out.
OMG. The “Kangaroo Kickabout” is fantastic! You can literally walk in the exhibit where they kangaroos live and walk around. You aren’t allowed off the paved path, but you are allowed to pet and love on the kangaroos if they come to you!!! We weren’t there at the best time (mid-day). The roos’ were all sleeping, sunbathing and not all interested in my affections, but that didn’t stop me from ooohing and awwwing over them. There was a Mommy kangaroo on her back and you could actually see the baby in her pouch moving around and peeking out! It was probably the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, with the exception of Luna playing with a kitten.
We did finally make it to the other animals. We saw the elephants, giraffes, meerkats, goats, antelope, camels, lions and lots of other animals “trick-or-treating”. And by “trick-or-treating”, I mean looking at carved pumpkins suspiciously. Most of the animals were not interested in eating them while we all stared on expectantly. The goats and meerkats were the most enthusiastic. Either way, the animals were out and about being cute and meandering around.
There were also a few “zoo talks” happening. I really enjoyed listening to the girl in the giraffe land. She told us about the baby giraffe that is soon going to be shipped to Animal Kingdom so that her Dad doesn’t try to mate with her. I’ll have to remember to look for her next time we go to Disney.
Our favorite section of the zoo was by far the jungle gym. Their play area is ENORMOUS. We had a blast getting lost in “the largest community built playground in the United States”. It’s 66,000 square feet! I seriously cannot wait until Luna is big enough to play in the playground. The best part is the toddler area. They have an enormous covered area that is basically a giant room covered in 6 inches of foam and it is the greatest idea. Big kids aren’t allowed to play in this area and no on is allowed to wear shoes, so it’s virtually clean. Us, along with several other parents, relaxed in the shade while our babies crawled all over each other.
Luna enjoyed her second zoo trip, as did we. The Nashville Zoo has many many other events happening, including storytime every Saturday in November at 10:30. To checkout more of their attractions, go here!
So, there is one thing that Luna has held us back from doing this year…haunted houses. They aren’t exactly baby friendly and it isn’t easy to find a babysitter, especially one who can sit until very late at night. Last year we went to 11 haunted houses, this year we finally made it to one on Husband’s 30th birthday.
We went to Nashville Nightmare in downtown after the annual Birthday dinner at the Melting Pot. As always, the lines were long, the crowds were obnoxious and 97% of them were smoking. (What is that attracts smokers to haunted houses?) Since we’re awesome we managed to entertain ourselves by being hilarious and playing Heads Up. We also began reminiscing about previous years haunted house experiences. I arrogantly began saying things like, “I wish I got as scared as I used to get….I guess I’ve just been to so many Haunted Houses over the years that they no longer frighten me…It kind of takes the thrill away.” Well, you know what happens when you’re overconfident, right? The universe come back to bite you in the butt, which is exactly what happened.
If you’ve ever been to a haunted house, you’ve probably had the pleasure of avoiding the creepy costumed people who walk around spooking everyone waiting in the long lines. I have never EVER been scared by these people, ever. But, as they say, there’s always a first time for everything. First, there was the creepy guy-in-mask who leaned on me for too long, then there was shovel-dragger, then scream-in-my-ear man and scare-me-from-behind girl…all made me jump and embarrassingly scream, but it didn’t end there. In fact, all that jumping and screaming made me one big target.
During my turn at Heads Up, I was going for a record (and you know I’m very competitive), when a zombie girl came over to try and scare me. She startled me as she snuck up from behind and whispered something creepy in my ear. I tried my best to ignore her because I was clearly trying to win the game. The zombie chick did not give up. She began panting in my ear and literally breathing down my neck. Now… you must know that I hate, absolutely HATE, strangers touching me, and breathing on me might be even worse.
I wanted to throw-up and take a hot shower after I felt her hot breath in my ear. OMG, I am reliving it as I type this and I just want to curl in a ball in cry, which, ironically enough, is what I did. I tried to move away from her quickly and continue playing the game, but the more I moved the more determined she became. She got in my face, stared into my eyes, and KEPT HEAVILY PANTING ON ME. The girl would not let up. At this point, I was close to panic mode, I began running circles around our little group and was laughing/squealing as I tried to play it cool and really did not know how to react. I guess laughing is my defense mechanism?
THEN, get this, another zombie girl sees the spectacle we are creating and decides to join in on the fun. The two of them are coming at me from all sides and my only choice is to curl into a ball in cover my face. They were touching me, breathing on me, panting, whispering and making me soooooooooooooooo uncomfortable. I was trying to yell or scare them off or something, but really I was only capable of mumbling “stop” from behind my hands. That is until, zombie chic #2 decided to up the ante and bite me.
Yes, she bit me, with teeth. I instantly stood and shouted, “OMG she bit me! That’s against the rules!” For some reason the “no one will touch you, if you don’t touch them” haunted house rule compelled me to finally shake off these creepers. I felt as if she broke a commandment. I mean, really, that one rule is what has always convinced me that I’ll be okay in a haunted house. I used to constantly go over that one rule before entering to assure myself that nothing bad could possibly happen, and this girl had the nerved to break the golden haunted house rule!
Everyone in line who wasn’t already watching the little show, was now looking at us, and I was not the only one horrified that I’d been bitten. Zombie girl #1 even felt compelled to tell me that she was not the biter. Although, heavy breathing in one’s ear isn’t much better than biting.
The 2 Haunted houses at Nashville Nightmare were good, even scary, but the creepers in line were definitely the worst part. And, I will never again say aloud that I have not been scared in a very long time.
Saturday night we went to one last haunted attraction here in Tennessee. We have been to eight haunted houses this year, but had to squeeze in one more, even if Halloween had already passed. Why? Well, who wouldn’t want to go on a haunted hayride that requires you to shoot zombies with paintball guns?! Not us. We got our friends and drove to Columbia, TN to get a glimpse of what it would be like if The Walking Dead were reality and not just one of the best things on TV right now.
MIller’s Thrillers has, unbeknownst to us, been around for 6 years. They have the Zombie Haunted Hayride, the Haunted Woods and an Entertainment Zone. We paid the $30 for all attractions and got in the long line for the hayride first. We had to wait for an hour and a half, which stunk, but wasn’t terrible. For one thing, smoking was not allowed! Yay! The lines for both attractions are in the Entertainment Zone. So, while we were waiting we got to watch their Zombie drum-line, a comedian Zombie, a juggler and an illusionist. Unfortunately, between waiting for the hayride and waiting for the Haunted Woods, we saw the show about 5 times. When things got boring, we played Head’s Up!
We saw dozens of people playing Head’s Up in line at Halloween Horror Nights a few weeks ago, so we downloaded the app and gave it a try. Turned out to be hilarious, really fun, and a good way to pass the time. You pick a category (like movie titles), put the phone on your head, titles come up and the people around you have to give you hints or act out what is on the screen. If you guess correctly, just flip the phone down and back up and another title comes up. Try it. Everyone in line wanted to play with us or download the app themselves.
Okay, the hayride was pretty cool. The concept was genius; everyone wants to hurt the scary people in haunted houses and have the chance to shoot a paintball gun without the fear of getting shot in return. The trip began with 20 of us being split into two groups: The Black Ops and Code Red. Everyone is told that their job is to save the town by killing as many zombies as possible. We were then loaded into a trailer lined with 10 guns on each side. Everyone got 75 paintballs (more if you pay extra) and the ride began! It was fun to ride around hunting for scary zombies, but it went by too fast and it would be better if their were about twice as many zombies. We will have to go back next year and see if it improves from year to year.
Back in line, we drank hot chocolate and took a bunch of ridiculous photos of us squinting into the flash. They all came out horribly…
We are all just so photogenic.
The Haunted Woods was the BEST, and I mean THE BEST haunted attraction we went to this year. Monster Mountain was cool, Dead Land Woods was cooler, but Miller’s Thrillers takes the prize. It wasn’t even the scariest, it was just so good in so many ways! First of all, it was long. I think it took us 45 minutes to walk through, (although we did stop for a while when we lost our friend Steve). The trail is amazing. It winds up and down hills, goes through huge natural rocks, swinging bridges and thick trees. It’s so nice that I want to go back and walk through it during the day. The actors and scenes were good and unique too. It was unlike any other haunted house/attraction.
*Spoiler Alert: The trail led up to a haunted building, which then led to a pitch black tunnel that opened up to a dark maze! We didn’t even realize we were in a maze at first. The maze then dumped us into a dance party room and the entire thing ended in a spinning tunnel full of lights that made all of us almost topple over. It was SO good!
Don’t you want to go???
After 4 hours at Miller’s Thrillers we had everyone over for a backyard bonfire and weenie roast. Thank God the time changed; we needed that extra hour.
It was such a good night. Husband and I felt completely hungover the next day. I, of course, drank nothing, and I’m fairly certain he had one beer. Just goes to show you that we are getting old and staying up all night is starting to take it’s toll! Oh well, it doesn’t seem to slow us down.
It’s Thursday, it’s storming, we live in the woods in what most would consider the middle of nowhere (so no trick-or-treaters) and I’m pregnant… there just isn’t a whole lot to do tonight. I’m thinking It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, a pumpkins spiced latte and American Horror Stories are in the cards for tonight.
What are your plans for tonight? Anyone lucky enough to not be stuck in a storm?
Here’s an ode to Halloween’s Past (I have SO many costume pictures that I can’t find! I’ve been Miss Frizzle, Lucille Ball, Hermoine, Tinkerbell and so much more! These will just have to do):
Our last night in Florida, and the last night of our babymoon, was spent waiting in many long lines and walking with dead. We went to Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. The theme this year was The Walking Dead, which is really appropriate considering it’s everyone’s favorite TV show. Now, I know I have reviewed a couple haunted houses lately, but the Universal house are crazy good. Not necessarily crazy scary, but they are so well put together and professionally done. We’ve been once before, and it was definitely worth returning.
Typically, the park is set up with several Haunted Houses and scare zones. The scare zones are placed on the roads throughout the park and we, the guests, must walk through them to get from attraction to attraction. It’s brilliant really, like all of a sudden you are in the middle of a haunted world when you thought you were just walking to the funnel cake stand. This year, the scare zones were different. Every single zone was a zombie zone, “the undead streets” if you will.
I was unaware of this little change and was caught completely off guard (i.e. totally freaked out) when as soon as we entered the park people started running and before I knew it a very realistic zombie was growling in my face. Keep in mind that this is not your typical neighborhood haunted house, this is Universal so their makeup and costuming is done right. It was fun/terrifying to walk around the park and all of sudden find ourselves in the middle of a scene from The Walking Dead.
One annual attraction at Horror Nights is a not scary comedy show, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. This show is basically a 45 minute crude humor show that pokes fun and brings up every possible pop culture reference you can think of. It’s funny, but not hilarious…unless you are 14 or very drunk (which most people were).
We were at Horror Nights from open to close (6:30pm-Midnight), we were there past midnight actually, and still only had time for five of the eight haunted houses. The lines were ridiculous. We waited in most for about an hour, some longer. Waiting in line sucked and there’s just no other way to put it. There was no entertainment, which I found shocking. Why can’t they project scary movies while we wait? Or provide games? Or something? Whatever, I know I’d do it again.
The houses have a constant stream of people going through, which would lead one to believe that jumping out and scaring poor innocent guests would be difficult, maybe even impossible. Somehow, Universal found a way to make this work. We (mostly Husband) were scared to the point of screaming as we held each other and inched around every corner. They were experts at popping out when you least expect them and from places were you would never expect. Ugh, if only I could have taken photos!
We walked through The Cabin in the Woods, Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City, An American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead and Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance before we were told we had to leave the park.
Other parts of the park were open too…I couldn’t ride most of the rides, but I did get to check out the new addition to the Simpson’s Land! They have added a very realistic Moe’s, Krusty Burger and more. They serve real Duff beer and a non-alcoholic drink called a “Flaming Moe”.
By midnight (well by 9pm really) my feet hurt worse than they have ever hurt before. Not that I wasn’t enjoying myself, but I was looking forward to the park closing. I don’t know when we will be able to return to Horror Nights but this was the 23rd annual year, so maybe the 25th? Only time will tell…
Clearly, Husband and I are a little nutty and have been to Disney World more times than most people would ever want to go anywhere. We just can’t get enough. However, as many times as we have been, we have never attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. So, when Husband decided we were going to Florida to celebrate his Birthday I made sure that the party was part of our plans.
During the Halloween party (and during all the Disney parties held at Magic Kingdom) the park closes early for the guest who did not purchase a special party ticket and opens (or stays open) for the guests attending the party. We were there from 7pm to midnight. About the time we arrived the sun went down and the park transformed into a not-too-spooky land fun of characters like Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas and incredible party decorations.
99% of the people in attendance are dressed in costume, like incredible costumes. Most families dressed in theme… We saw Peter Pan with Tinkerbell, Wendy and Captian Hook. There was Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and Rex. One family had Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The best part of the night may have been just people watching. Everyone was so darn adorable! We, on the other hand did not dress up… I know what you’re thinking, we are so the kind of people who typically go all out in these sorts of situations, but we were just so busy the weeks before, it just wasn’t in the cards. Don’t worry though, I have BIG plans for when our baby girl gets here.
The Halloween party is definitely set up for families with children. There are trick-or-treat stations set up around the park, dance parties with different characters go on all night and the villains even put on a special show throughout the night in front of the castle. These activities were not as fun for us non-costumed grown-ups, but there was plenty we LOVED.
For one, the “Mickey’s Boo-to-You” parade is amazing! This is the best Disney parade I have ever seen, which basically makes it the best parade ever. Some of the characters are really creepy and come right up to you, some even touch your face as they whisper “Happy Halloween”, and the choreography is much better than a typical Disney parade.
“HalloWishes” is the fireworks show shown during the night and it’s VERY good. Nothing is better than the original “Wishes”, but I do love the extra big production and the Halloween music in “HalloWishes”. We actually watched them from behind the castle, so we had a show of fireworks happening in a full circle around us.
The Haunted Mansion was phenomenal! It was surrounded by spooky lights, tons of fog and there was even a “real” ghost outside the house telling jokes to keep all of us in line entertained.
Then, there’s the food. With a pumpkin spiced waffle sundae and a candy corn flavored dole whip, you just can’t go wrong.
We had a blast. We actually got Disney exactly 2 hours before the party started so it was great to get spend the entire first night at Magic Kingdom. The lines were shorter than normal and it was fun to see Disney under a slightly spookier vibe. Next time, will be even better!
The night we flew in from NYC we were picked up by friends and taken immediately to a haunted house for a night full of terror and fun. We wasted no time during our two week vacation. A group of 7 of us drove an hour out to Lebanon, TN to check out Dead Land Woods and none of knew quite what we were headed to that night.
Dead Land has not one, but three very scary haunted attractions. It may have taken an hour to get there, but we spent over 3 hours on the premises, were scared to death and had a blast, so I say it was worth the drive. Let’s get down to the details of the night, shall we?
The first haunted attraction (not house…it was mostly outside) was The Curse. The story behind this tour is that the road we were about to travel was cursed and so are the people on it. There have been murderers and lost souls along the way just searching for more innocent people to add to their despair. It was similar to Monster Mountain, but better. There were more actors and many more scares. I think the walk through the haunted woods was longer too. The scariest part for me was when we had to enter an old haunted school house full of dead students that not only followed us, but breathed down my neck! Ugh, it was terrible!
The next attraction was The Portal: Movie Madness. This was by far my favorite! In fact, this may be my most favorite haunted house ever! It’s similar to The Curse in the sense that you have to walk through the woods and enter lots of different scenes. The difference is that each of these scenes represents a different classic scary movie. I LOVE classic horror movies. This haunted house involved walking through Pet Cemetery, Arachnophobia, Child’s Play, Scream, Freddy Krueger, Children of the Corn and many more! It was awesome and so so scary!
One movie they did not include? Halloween. I am so grateful too because Michael Myers is the ultimate scary villain in my opinion. He absolutely terrifies me.
The last attraction we did was The Maze of Screams. This is the least scary of the three, but it’s still fun and just frightening enough. They do not allow too many people in at a time which makes it more difficult and more exciting. The theme is clowns so every once in a while a creepy clown will pop out and let you know you are going the wrong direction. There’s also plenty of fog and flashing lights to keep everyone confused.
The best part of each attraction was the fact that our entire group go to go in alone. We never saw another group along the trails. The staff did an excellent job spacing people and scaring us A LOT as we came through.
The worst part was the wait times. We waited for about 45 minutes for The Curse, over an hour for Portal, and about 30 minutes for the Maze. It was worth the wait, but it was still no fun to wait around for so long, especially since SO MANY people were smoking! Cigarette smoke is the worst, especially when pregnant. Apparently, it’s the most fun thing to do while waiting in line for haunted houses.
Time for the score…even with the long lines and the smokers I am giving Dead Land Woods a 5 out of 5. Besides the fact that the attractions were great, they also had a concession stand with nachos and frozen snickers, a bonfire and a photo op. They get props for the extras.
If you are interested in checking out some scary haunted attractions deep in the heart of Tennessee then check out Dead Land Woods. Trust me it’s worth paying $30 for the bundle of all three attractions.
Have fun! (And please for the sake of all pregnant ladies and non-smokers…leave your cigarettes at home.)
I get scared very easily. We all know now that death and sickness cause me lots of anxiety, but I am also just a jumpy, scream-easily, sort of girl. One of Husband’s favorite hobbies is hiding around every corner of the house and jumping out and scaring the bejesus out of me EVERY SINGLE TIME. I have nightmares after watching Pretty Little Liars and I will not go downstairs when I am home alone at night. (Although, it’s possible this is just my clever attempt to get out of finishing the laundry.)
I get scared very easily, but I LOVE scary things. Not real scary things (like cancer or bugs), but Halloween scary things, like Children of the Corn and haunted houses. I LOVE dressing up, carving pumpkins, holding the covers around my face as I scream at Michael Myers and running blindly through dark haunted houses. I love it so much that I am dedicating several October blog posts to reviewing local (and not-so local) Haunted Houses.
My first haunted house of the season was Monster Mountain, located just north of Nashville. Before my Monster Mountain experience I should tell you a bit about the attraction. The idea is that you are walking through multiple horror movies, which makes you the “star” of each scene. You roam through “the cabin of the dead”, walk to “Voodoo Bayou 2”, find a scary side to Santa in “Krampus: Home For the Holidays” and even get a taste of the Walking Dead in “Zombie City 2”. It’s an outdoor haunted area that spans 20 acres. You must walk uphill, through some brush, over a “swamp” and through the woods. However, there are houses and shacks every 30 yards or so that house most of the actions.
*Disclaimer: Like all haunted houses, there are rules. One being, pregnant people should probably not attend. Before, I get several emails and calls from my concerned loved ones I want to make it clear that this rule is only because of tripping hazards. I am not quite to the point in my pregnancy where I am unable to see my feet and felt very comfortable walking slowly through the scary scenes. I also forced Husband and Steve to each hold an arm so there was no chance of falling. Promise.*
Now, let’s get down to business. Monster Mountain is scary, as it should be. We tiptoed around corners, ran from zombies who followed us and argued over who had to go first (never me). I have two favorite scenes. One being the first house (cabin?).
As we walked up towards the porch we seriously questioned whether or not we were walking towards a real person’s creepy front porch. Then right as we decided to keep going, the door opened and a giggly bald overweight beat-up man stood in the doorway. He appeared to be out of his mind. A second later he closed the door and when it swung back open, he was gone and the door was left opened, obviously inviting us to enter. My second favorite scene was the Zombie town. It was like walking through a combination of the wild west and The Walking Dead.
The sets were great! A lot of work went into preparing each movie scene. I especially liked that it was not just a bunch of fake cut-up bloody body pieces, there was more detail and interesting set pieces than your typical haunted house. I also like the fact that the attraction covered such a big area. It gave us an opportunity to walk through by ourselves. If we caught up with a large group in front of us we could just wait or walk slowly, allowing them to get ahead of us. Or, if a group caught up to us we could simply allow them to go ahead. Haunted Houses are so much better and scarier when you can’t hear the people in front of you getting scared by what’s to come.
I do have a suggestion for Monster Mountain: more actors. The actors they had were good, good costumes and good acting. There just weren’t enough. I am sure this is largely related to the fact that it is a large and spread-out haunted attraction. It would be difficult and expensive to hire tons of scarers, but there were a few areas that seemed lacking in that department.
There is a dance club scene that appeared to be just a dance club. There are disco balls, colored lights, great dance music, poles, a huge floor…and nothing scary. Obviously, we decided to have a 5 minute dance party and danced our hearts out until we were sweating. FINALLY, as we left a creepy monster came running out of a hole near the exit door scaring the crap out of us. I can’t believe the monster waited, crouched in that little hole as we took our sweet time partying.
The scariest part for me was the guy with a chainsaw. There are two things that scare me most in a haunted house, one is a chainsaw, and Monster Mountain has two!
I wish I had more photos to share but it’s not easy to take photos in a haunted house. “Excuse me, scary murderer holding a chainsaw, could you run out one more time, and uh look a little angrier this time, thanks!” It just doesn’t work.
Every year Husband and I carve a pumpkin for Halloween. Most times it turns into a pumpkin carving competition. In fact, most activities Husband and I do together turn into competitions. This year we picked our perfect pumpkins from Gentry Farm and we carved them while catching up on missed episodes of Dancing With the Starsand eating homemade butternut squash soup. We’re a wild couple, I know.
We made sure to save and separate the seeds because I LOVE roasted pumpkin seeds.
Duckie doesn’t understand the word “no” yet… We tried to shoo her away from the pumpkin guts, but at some point we gave up and assumed she would taste the pumpkin and decide not to eat it. We were very wrong. I guess pumpkin can’t hurt cats, right?
After cleaning, drying off the seeds (and sleeping for 8 hours…seeds take a long time to dry!), I roasted them. I tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Now for the grand finale…our pumpkins!
Mine is clearly the crooked eyed Minnie Mouse and Husband’s is from the video game Minecraft.