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You Want Me To Go Where And Do What When?

Here is my Fall 2010 Mom going back to school class schedule.  My husband thought I needed to know where I was on what days and how much of my life was being consumed.  As if I didn’t already know.

I think I feel much worse knowing that I can only pee every other Thursday between 2:12 AM and 2:14 AM.

Did we put “Feed the Mom” on this schedule anywhere?  I should be looking good by beach season, because I don’t see food addressed anywhere on these charts…

Version 1 – College Algebra, otherwise known as Pre-Calculus

Now we come to Version 2 – Add Nutrition, Computers and Psychology. All being taken on campus. Don’t they let you take courses online these days?

Then we move to Version 3 – Move Computers and Psychology to online courses.  Apparently they DO have online courses. I haven’t been able to change the Nutrition class to an online version. Next stop, an in-person trip to the Registrars office.

Version 4 – Move Nutrition to an online course. Now this week, after a trip to the Registrars office in person, I can change to an online course. I had to go in person to change to an online course because I couldn’t change to an online course online. Make sense?

Is Eastern State Penitentiary to scary for kids?

In a word, yes.  In a few words, are you freakin’ crazy?  This is a Dad asking this question, right?  No self respecting, child loving mother would even ponder the thought.

To begin with, the place is pretty scary looking even in the daylight.  When it’s not Halloween. Even for grown ups.

Then there’s that other thing, you know the one where they say the place is haunted.  You knew that, right?  You’ve seen it on Ghost Hunters.  Twice.  Apparently there were so many ghosts, they had to visit twice to see them all.  It’s a scary place.  Even for grown ups.

An apparition captured on film at Eastern State Penitentiary

So when you add to this already frightening combination the fact that Terror Behind the Walls is rated as the number one haunted house in America, you can assume one thing.  This place is scary.  Even for grown ups.

The fright takes place in five separate haunted attractions on the 11 acre grounds of the prison.  There are live actors in terrifying situations there to make sure you scream, cover your eyes, and in some cases, require the use of the clean underwear your mother has always told you should be in your glove box.  This haunted house is not for the weak.  Tackle some small, local Halloween haunted houses before you decide to give Eastern State a try.  Even if you’re a grown up.

I will tell you, though, that the proceeds of Terror Behind the Walls all goes to the not-for-profit Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, which aims to preserve the very rich history of the prison.  That makes it even more enticing to go.  Except I’m a chicken.

So yes.  Eastern State Penitentiary – at least the Terror Behind the Walls is too scary for kids.  And even for grown ups.

But there are tours specifically geared toward children, and I highly recommend that you do one.  The history, the legends, and the stories will captivate your child.  The recommended age for the tours is 12 and older.  It is still a little bit scary.

Even for grown ups.

Visit www.easternstate.org for more information on Terror Behind the Walls and the other tours available at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Mother Daughter Halloween Costumes

Every Dad’s dream this Halloween is to have their wife and daughters all dressed alike for a memorable Halloween portrait.  Of course, with Dads being men, we know that they are rarely in their right mind, and the idea of putting women of all different ages, shapes and sizes in the same outfit pretty much qualifies that Dad for some sort of therapy.

But there I was anyway, picking out matching Halloween costumes for me and the girls.  It wasn’t pretty.  Oh, the girls were pretty – they always are.  They looked adorable all dressed up as sailors.  I could not muster adorable.  I did muster disgruntled.

For those of you that saw me at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and recognize that I was not wearing my disgruntled sailor outfit, this photo should be an indication as to why I was not.

Next Halloween, I’m making Jim dress like the girls.  Start sending your ideas in now.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 101

One of my favorite events of all time at Walt Disney World is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  The party, which takes place on select nights from September through November 1st, takes place at the Magic Kingdom.  You have to purchase a separate ticket for the event, but I always think it’s well worth the price.

So is it worth it for your family?

Here’s how it works for us.

The day of the party, we spend a leisurely morning having breakfast, lounging at the pool, or doing some souvenir shopping.  There is no wake up call, no time to be out and about.  If you are buying multi-day park passes, this saves you a day.

In years past, your party ticket allowed you to enter the theme park at 4:00 in the afternoon – even though the party doesn’t technically begin until 7:00.  This is not an advertised benefit, and it could be revoked at any time, but for my family, it has always meant going in, having a nice dinner, browsing some shops, and being ready for the fun of the party right when it begins.  You go through specific turnstiles, and you will be given a wristband and trick or treat bag – no need to bring one from home!

Once the party begins, you will usually find that due to the limited number of tickets that are sold for this event, many of the attractions are walk ons.  This is an incredible time saver!  If you go into the theme park at 7:00, by the time midnight rolls around, you could probably  have done all of the attractions you would have wanted to do, and avoided the day time crowds.  As a bonus, you may even have time to hit up a couple of the trick or treat stations.

And here’s a tip about the trick or treat stations – while the lines at the stations move very quickly, you will find towards the end of the evening, there are virtually no lines at all.  You could do all of the attractions you want to do, then go trick or treating, and still come away with a pretty good haul of candy!

There are two parades that take place during the party.  The early parade is the bigger draw, because for some families with young children (or those that spent all day in a theme park and are exhausted), they know they won’t make it to the second parade.  My favorite viewing spot for the second parade?  At the very start of Main Street, on the side by the firehouse.  I am almost always standing down there by myself, and the headless horseman and I are almost BFFs!

The fireworks for the party are not necessarily meant to be seen from in front of Cinderella Castle, so if you happen to be in Liberty Square, you’re still golden in terms of fireworks viewing.

And take it from a mom with experience – your kids won’t know if you wait until they go to sleep and swipe all of the Clark bars!  And if you eat them all before the kids wake up the next morning, you’re doing yourself a favor.  Now they won’t melt on the trip home!

I think the party is a terrific value over the cost of a theme park pass.  We get at least as much – if not more – done during the party than we do in a day at the park, and it comes sprinkled with pixie dust in the form of Smartees and Laffy Taffy!

This is a must do for us every year.