Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celebrate Halloween with Club Penguin in the Virtual Disney Haunted Mansion - Giveaway Included

If your kids love Disney's Haunted Mansion as much as mine do, they are in for a real treat (< ----- get it?) this Halloween!

Ghosts and ghost hunters have taken over Disney’s Club Penguin, the #1 virtual world for kids, in its annual Halloween Party online. With over 6 million penguins taking part in last year’s event, Club Penguin’s Halloween Party is the biggest Halloween event online for kids.

The fun and fright continues in this year’s event, where players will need to solve the mystery of ghost-researcher Gariwald VIII’s disappearance and uncover the secrets behind his Walt Disney Parks and Resorts-inspired haunted mansion.

While solving the spooky mystery, members can turn into ghosts and haunt the Island, and all players will have the chance to become ghost hunters and catch rogue ghosts. Players can also listen to the latest Club Penguin single, “Ghosts Just Wanna Dance” and take part in two new spook-tacular scavenger hunts. The Halloween Party will begin today, October 18, and run until November 1.

Some haunting highlights of the 2012 Club Penguin Halloween Party include:

  • Spooky Island Transformation: The Island will be overrun with ghosts and it is up to players to protect it by becoming ghost hunters.

  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts-Inspired Haunted Mansion: This year’s party will feature a new haunted mansion, inspired by the Haunted Mansion attraction found at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. By exploring the 9-room mansion, fans will discover numerous nods to the infamous ride, like the maid and butler costumes worn by Haunted Mansion cast members.

  • Ghost Goggles and Ghost Lab: Once they find the Ghost Goggles hidden in the haunted mansion, players will be able to see the ghosts that are haunting the Island, as well unearth the Ghost Lab.

  • Spook-tacular Scavenger Hunts: Players can complete the “To Boo” list during two new Halloween Scavenger Hunts, giving them the chance to unlock a secret chest and earn new igloo items.

  • Brand New Song: Penguin Band featuring Cadence has released a haunting new song for Halloween – “Ghosts Just Wanna Dance,” that members can play in their igloo when throwing the ultimate Halloween party.

  • Cool Costumes: Players can dress their penguins in the coolest Halloween costumes yet – ghost catchers, ghosts, slices of pizza, ninja robots, creepy cats and more!

  • Famous Penguin Visits: Lucky players will be able to interact with Gary the Gadget Guy during the Halloween party, helping him solve the mystery of his great uncle Gariwald’s disappearance.

  • Igloo Contest: Club Penguin is holding their annual igloo contest, encouraging players to decorate with their most fearsome furnishings for the chance to win huge in-world prizes.

Penguins are invited to put on their spookiest or silliest costumes and join the fun a  

To celebrate the fun even further, Disney is offering one lucky reader of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review a fun Club Penguin prize pack that includes a limited edition "Frankenpenguin" plush doll with coin that unlocks exclusive online activities, as well as Halloween activity print-outs and a pumpkin carving template!

To enter this fun giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post stating why you'd like to win, then use the RaffleCopter widget below to complete your entry. There are additional, bonus ways to enter (follow the instructions on RaffleCopter) but the first (commenting on this post) is mandatory.

By entering, you automatically agree to all the rules and disclaimers listed here. Please also see my disclosure policy here. Deadline to enter is 12:01 a.m. EST, Tuesday, October 25, 2012. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Every Heartbeat Matters - Feel Again by OneRepublic

When OneRepublic's new video for their song "Feel Again" came out, I instantly fell in love with it. It's such a happy, uplifting song!

I recently received an email from the "Every Beat Matters" campaign informing me that "Feel Again" incorporates the heartbeats of children in Malawi and Guatemala into the song in an effort to raise awareness and funds to help save millions of children each year. Reading this made me fall even more in love with the song and OneRepublic!

A portion of “Feel Again” proceeds will benefit Save the Children’s Every Beat Matters™ campaign, which aims to bring basic lifesaving care to children around the world. Every year about 7 million children die before their 5th birthday—mostly from preventable and treatable causes, including pneumonia, diarrhea and newborn complications.

“We’re excited to team up with Save the Children to let people know we all have the power to help children survive,” said Ryan Tedder, lead singer of OneRepublic. “Feel Again is an opportunity for us to be the voices for these children. We hope the song they inspired will now inspire others to join the Every Beat Matters™ campaign.”

So not only can you enjoy such a beautiful song of life and hope, but you can help prevent and treat diseases such as pneumonia and malaria for children in need just by purchasing the song. To download "Feel Again," click here.

I'll pause for a minute and let you download the song....

Done? Good! Now watch this quick video to see how you just played an integral role in helping such a worthy cause...

Be sure to spread the word to everyone you know so that they too can help. Full information can be found at You can also follow OneRepublic and EveryBeat on Twitter, and like the Every Beat Matters page on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Come Into the Gardens If You Dare! Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Review

One of my favorite things to do every fall is get my scare on at Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream. I love the park year-round, but wow do they really do it up for Halloween!

I had the honor of being invited back to Busch Gardens' "Fright Night" in celebration of the opening of Howl-O-Scream a couple of weekends ago and had a blast as always.

This invitation from "The Lady of the Gardens" should give you a glimpse of how much creativity and fun Busch Gardens puts into Howl-O-Scream each year:

Inside of the straw nest is an old-style apothecary bottle filled with "muddy" gummy worms. I was instructed to "take one a day" until Fright Night. How ingenious and fun is that?

My husband and I arrived for the event around 4pm, about two hours before the scare officially starts. Even during the day, the decorations are so festive and lift your "spirits." (ha!)

We strolled around the park, soaking in all of the sights and imagined how they'd look even cooler when evening hit. We were summoned to dinner by The Lady of the Gardens at 5 pm and were treated to a ghoulishly delightful meal!

As we were filling our plates with delicious, fun food, the star of the evening entered the tent. The Lady of the Gardens was even creepier in person, silently sneaking up behind guests and scaring them to death. Thankfully she let us take a picture with her instead of making us all into her zombie meal!

As we were finishing our meal, the announcement came on throughout the park that Howl-O-Scream was officially beginning (it starts at 6 pm). We were told that this year, there was a traveling caravan of "scarers" who would be chasing victims in the park when and where they least expected it.

Off we went wondering when we might run into them, with me silently hoping we'd come up behind them and not the other way around! Luckily for me, that's what ended up happening, but we still had to walk through the gang of zombies and hope that our lives would be spared. ;)

The first haunted house on our path was "Bitten" and already the line was SUPER long! Howl-O-Scream is such a popular event each year that the park has had to close due to capacity, so I highly recommend Busch Gardens' Unlimited Quick Queue passes to bypass the long lines.

We were fortunate enough to have the passes ourselves, courtesy of The Lady of the Gardens and it was so awesome being able to go right to the front of each line with no waiting! Some lines can be over an hour long, so the Quick Queue Passes are worth every penny and really help you get as much fun in as possible during your visit.

Bitten was fabulous and had my heart racing! I assumed my usual position of squeezing my husband for dear life and bracing for the unexpected. If screams were dollar bills, I'd be a rich lady because I screamed a LOT! Want proof? Here it is!

Yes, that is me screaming thirteen trillion times!

Before we hit our next haunted house, we had to treat ourselves to the pretzel bites with beer mustard in Germany as well as one of our favorite traditions...face painting!

My husband scared quite a few kids with his skeleton face paint for sure! The artists do such a good job on these creations that I even won an eBay Halloween costume contest for the cat face I had done at Howl-O-Scream last year!

By the time we finished with the pretzels and face paint, the sun had set and Howl-O-Scream was in full glory! One of our favorite views at night is Dark Kastle in Germany, where we love to ride "Curse of Dark Kastle." You feel like you just stepped in to Transylvania when you see the tower looming in the darkness. So awesome!

We hit a few more haunted houses after that, then went to Scotland to catch the fabulous show "Fiends." This year's show was even better than last year's, which is saying a lot because last year's performance was pretty spectacular!

The entire audience was having a blast singing and dancing along to the music, and the two young guys next to me were definitely entertained by the gorgeous nurses! ;)

We got to meet the cast after the show, some of whom were part of last year's cast as well. The male characters are just as funny offstage as they are on, and the nurses are as friendly and sweet as they are beautiful.

We had time to go through one last haunted house after the show. "13, Your Number is Up!" was just across the way from Fiends, so we immediately headed there.

Next to "Fear Fair," "13" is my absolute favorite! And here's a video that shows you just how fabulous "Fear Fair" is!

Hard to top that, but "13" definitely comes close! In fact, two men we had chatted with after leaving "Fear Fair" earlier in the evening asked us if we had been to "13" yet.

They had no problem admitting that they had been frightened silly when they had gone. "It's REALLY scary," they warned us.

They were right! As you go through the maze, you enter numbered sections that are designed around popular phobias.

For me, the scariest part was the fear of heights section. I can be in a tall building or on a para sail, but in "13" you have to walk along what appears to be a plank over boiling water.

It's all smoke and mirrors, literally, but it really messes with your head. In fact, the line had come to a halt inside of the maze because one woman could not cross it, even though there really is no plank and it's just a flat floor. She had to be escorted back out.

I myself froze when I went to take my first step as my husband obliviously crossed it without a problem leaving me behind. I kept yelling for him but he couldn't hear me over the screams and noises inside of the maze.

When he finally turned around and saw I wasn't behind him, I made him come back and walk me across "the plank" lol. I really could not do it by myself! Funny how the mind can play tricks on you and make something seem so real that it freezes you in your tracks like that!

It was the PERFECT way to end such a fun night and we were so sad it was over! Time really does fly when you're having fun. We could have stayed for several more hours and still wouldn't be able to get enough!

Here are more pics of the fun we had and the delightfully spooky sights we saw:

"Spider" and "web" covered bridge

One spider's big meal!

"Fear Grows Here!"

Fred Escare Scott

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! We finally found him!

I snapped this while bravely walking through "Fear Fair."

For more information on Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream, click their official website here. There are links to each of the haunted houses, including fun web cams you can watch from at home as people walk through and get scared to death!

There are only four more weekends of Howl-O-Scream left, so get your tickets and get to the park faster than you can say "Boo!" And if you see the Lady of the Gardens, tell her we said hello and thank you for the fabulous time!

Disclosure: We were treated to complimentary tickets, quick queue passes, a meal and a gift bag as a thank you for participating in this social media "fright night," but as always, opinions expressed on this site are never influenced by comp products or events.
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