Best of the Best of Halloween Costumes

Have you seen these Halloween costumes? Here are our pick of the best and cutest Halloween costumes we have seen;

1) Gramps & Granny Kiddo

old kids

 

2) Red Riding Hood with her dog

02 cute girl with dog

3) Why so serious……

03 joker

4) Wolverine

04 wolverine

5) The Lego Kid

05 lego kid

6) Much “Halloween” Doge

06 dogeCourtesy of Scarletscribe.net

7) Dumblewh*re

07 dumblewhore

8) Microsoft’s Clippy

08 microsort helper

9) Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce

09 sriracha chilli sauce

10) “Hi ho, there neighbor”

10 hello neighbour

All images are courtesy of 9gag.com

A Haunting Halloween

Halloween is often as a ‘trick-or-treat’ episode complete with candies and treats for children or a ‘costume party’ for teenagers and youths. Millions of people worldwide celebrate Halloween without knowing its origins and myths, and these only make the holiday more interesting and fascinating. Today’s history lesson will be on how Halloween came into existence, followed by a list of 15 fun trivia facts of Halloween. Are you ready for the scare of your life?

The Origins of Halloween

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Celebrate Happy Halloween this Friday on October 31, 2014. Photo by Clink Hostels.

The word ‘Halloween‘ derived from the old words of ‘All Hallows Eve‘ because it took place on the eve of All Hallows Day which falls on November 1. ‘Hallow‘ is an old word for ‘saint‘ and because November 1 is known as ‘All Saints Day‘, thus Halloween is always celebrated on October 31. It is one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today, and one of the most popular holidays in the world, sccond to Christmas.

The Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain, and Northern Europe, over 2,000 years ago. Its roots lay in the annual feast of Samhain on October 31 to honour the dead. The feast signified the ‘end of summer’ or in this case, the starting of the month of November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge scared bonfires that marked the end of the Celtic year and the start of a new one. The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. But not all spirits were friendly, so treats were put out to pacify evil and ensure next year’s crops would be plentiful. This custom soon evolved into trick-or-treating that kids enjoy so much today!

Different cultures view Halloween differently but traditional practices remain the same. It as a time for fun, costume parties, and trick-or-treating, or as a time of superstition, ghosts, witches, and spirits that should be avoided. Just remember that celebrating Halloween is a preference, not as participating in an evil holiday. However Halloween is celebrated, there is no references tie this holiday to pagan rituals or occults.

Now we’d like to share a compilation of 15 HALLOWEEN FUN FACTS with you:

  1. Colours of Halloween: Orange because it is associated with the Fall harvest, and black because it is associated with darkness and death.
  2. Birth of Halloween: Ireland is thought to be the birth place of Halloween over 2,000 years ago.
  3. Ye Olde Jack o’ Lantern: The first Jack o’ Lantern originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep spirits and ghosts away.
  4. Significant Spiders: If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
  5. Second Best: Halloween is the second most commercially celebrated and successful holiday after Christmas.
  6. Costume Parties: As spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night, people wore masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as humans and possibly brought the idea of dressing up on Halloween.
  7. Meow Factor: Black cats were once believed to be witches’ familiars who protected their powers.
  8. Feline Frenzy: A superstitious belief of how black cats came to existence when people thought that witches would turn themselves into these black cats to avoid detection.
  9. A Scary Affair: The intense and persistent fear of Halloween suffered by an individual is known as ‘Samhainophobia’.
  10. Evolution of Trick-or-Treat: This custom evolved from the Celtic practice when treats and food were put out to pacify and placate the evil spirits who roamed the streets of Samhain.
  11. Annual Candy Revenue: Candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States during the Halloween period.
  12. Witch-nessing at Midnight: According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
  13. Asian Halloween Celebrations: Known as the ‘Festival of the Hungry Ghosts’, lanterns are lit to guide spirits back home, and food and gifts are offered to please the spirits.
  14. Hocus Pocus: The famous magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926) died on the night of Halloween.
  15. Story of Jack: Based on an Irish legend, Jack o’ Lanterns were named after a stingy man called Jack, who played tricks on the Devil several times, and was forbidden entrance into both Heaven and Hell by God and the Devil, respectively. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.

So, did you enjoy our little trick-or-treat 15 Fun Trivia Facts of Halloween today?

Asian Games 2014: The Closing Ceremony

After a grand two weeks of competition and fighting for first place, it is time for the Asian Games 2014 to come to a flourishing end. It has been a tough battle, with top athletes from all 45 participating nations strutting their stuff and showing who’s boss in each of the event category of sports that were hosted and organized in Incheon, South Korea. The closing ceremony will be held on this Saturday, October 4, 2014, at 5:00pm (South Korean time), 1:00am (Sunday, October 5, 2014, Malaysian time).

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South Korean girl group to perform in the Asian Games 2014 closing ceremony. Photo by Soompi.

The Closing Ceremony

There will be three main parts of the closing ceremony: the Welcoming Performance, Part One: The Countdown, Part Two: Remembering the Games with special feature films, and the Final Part: A Congratulatory Performance. During the Welcoming Performance, the Asian Games 2014 staff and volunteers will welcome the visitors and provide them with seat information while the Official Mascots and comedians will provide entertainment to the spectators. During the closing ceremony, famous K-pop stars such as CN Blue, Big Bang, and SISTAR will be performing live for the musical ears of the spectators.

Part One kicks off with the countdown, followed by the Korean Cultural Performances, such as the National Dance Company of Korea, Gugak Center Dance Troupe and Kukkiwon. Part Two will begin with the host nation’s flag brought forward to the venue of the closing ceremony. A special feature film will be aired for the spectators, to remember when the Games began on September 19 until the very end. Also, the Samsung MVP Award will be presented during the Part Two of the closing ceremony to the memorable and spectacular athletes who shone during the Games.

The Final Part of the closing ceremony is the Congratulatory Performance where the next host country for the Asian Games 2018 will be presented. Indonesia has won the rights to host the next Games so their flag will be brought forward into the venue. The Extinguishing of the Flame will be conducted at the end of the closing ceremony to close the celebration of diversity and sports throughout Asia.

All Eyes on Malaysia

A hearty congratulations to all the Malaysian athletes who took part in the Asian Games 2014. We may not have met the target for 8 gold medals but there is always room for improvement and we can certainly be better in the 2016 Rio Olympics and the next Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia! Below are the medals tally for our country:

  • Squash: 2 gold medals by Nicol David (singles category) and Low Wee Wern (doubles team with Nicol David and two others)
  • Karate: 2 gold medal by Lim Chee Wei (individual kata category) and Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan (kumite 61kg category)
  • Sailing: 1 gold medal by Ahmad Syukri Abdul Aziz and Mohamad Faizal Norizan (two-person dinghy 420 category).
  • The rest of the medals are 14 silver and 14 bronze.

Chee Wei’s gold medal is Malaysia’s seventh in karate at the Asian Games since 1994 after emulating the feats of R. Puvaneswaran (two), C. Muralitharan, R. Muniandy, S. Premila and Ku Jin Keat (Chee Wei’s master who ended Japan’s dominance in men’s kata in 2010). Karate is now on par with badminton as Malaysia’s joint-fourth highest gold medal contributor at the Asian Games.

Nicol David has worked hard to impress the nation and her supporters in the Asian Games 2014. She was selected as the flag bearer for the country, won two gold medals in squash, and now being nominated for the prestigious Samsung Most Valuable Player award. She is the first ever Malaysian to be awarded the nomination for the award. Now it remains to be seen whether she will lift the award during the closing ceremony. We certainly hope she does, as it looks to be her last Asiad now that the squash No.1 player has already hit her 30s.

Oktoberfest 2014: Bottom’s Up!

The time to drink and be merry has arrived once again in Munich, Germany, as the Oktoberfest kicks into full gear. The German locals as well as those who travelled far to participate in the Oktoberfest can feast on a smorgasbord of food served the traditional way, and washed down with big mugs of German beer!

The Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich for 16 days and attracts over six million people every year. About 1.5 million gallons of beer are consumed, together with 200,000 pairs of pork sausages and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens during the two-week extravaganza. My goodness, that’s a lot of food! The festival reinforces a stereotypical image of beer-loving, meat-loving Germans who dress for the occasion in dirndls and lederhosen, but most of the party-loving people are made up of visitors from all over the world. The Oktoberfest is one of Munich’s largest and most profitable tourist attractions, bringing over 450 million euros to the city’s bank books each year!

Did you know…

… that the largest Oktoberfest held outside Germany takes place annually in the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterlook in Canada? That’s the residence to a large ethnic German population.

Did you also know…

… that the largest such event in the United States is the Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati in Ohio, which boasts half a million visitors each year! Phew!

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Oktoberfest: A festival of food, fun, and frolic under the beer tents. Photo by DrinkStuff (Beer Festivals).

The Origins of Oktoberfest

The first Oktoberfest began on October 12, 1810 after the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (who became King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in Bavaria. Five days after the marriage, a large festival was held in front of the Sendlinger Tor, one of the gates leading to Munich. The festivities included horse races that eventually became an Oktoberfest custom until 1938. An agricultural fair was added in 1811, and the first carousel, two swings, and beer pubs were included in 1818 along with performers. Oktoberfest gradually became a great tourist attraction and a way for visitors to learn about Bavaria and its people. In 1887, lederhosen and dirndls became the traditional attire of the Oktoberfest attendees. Beer tents and halls set up by enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries replaced the beer stands in 1896.

The Festivities of Oktoberfest

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Horse-drawn brewer carts during the Oktoberfest parade. Photo by The Travel Republic Blog.

The festival may have begun in October, but it is now held in September as the weather is milder then as compared to October. The festival lasts for 16 days, beginning on a Saturday in late September and ending on the first Sunday in October. Oktoberfest traditionally begins with a parade before noon, which includes the participation of the mayor and other civic leaders, followed by horse-drawn brewer’s carts, bands, and the townspeople wearing their costumes. The parade ends at the oldest private beer tent, the Schottenhammel tent, where the mayor opens the first keg of beer to kickstart the festival, and the toasting begins. The opening ceremonies are usually attended by more than 7,000,000 people.

The remainder of the festival site provides the space for a funfair. At the foot of the Bavaria Statue, there are carousels, roller coasters, and all the spectacular carnival rides for the enjoyment and excitement of the public. The festivities are often accompanied by music and dancing, followed by a program of events, including the Grand Entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Costume and Riflemen’s Procession, and a concert that involves all the brass bands represented at the “Wiesn”.

The Grub and Beer of Oktoberfest

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The big mugs of beer at the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Photo by Jillian Wilson (uwishunu).

The festivities are not just the highlight of the Oktoberfest. The endless flow of beer and the wide array of food prepared for the partygoers make up the rest of the festival. The Oktoberfest beer is an amber-gold coloured lager with six percent alcohol with the addition of German hops such as Hallertau and Tettnang. Six major Munich brewers known to take part in the festival are Hacker-Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Spaten, Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner, and Paulaner. They can be found in the seven halls where live music can be heard from all throughout the day. The variety of food served during the Oktoberfest is far and wide, and includes meat such as beef, chicken, veal, and pork, as well as sauerkraut, potato salad, cabbage, onions, and pretzels.

This has been an entertaining Oktoberfest session, don’t you think? All this talk about food and drinks has made me hungry. For all the beer-lovers out there, we have posters on them as well as the country where Oktoberfest and beers originate from, and not to mention, our favourite cartoon character, Homer Simpson! He who drinks the most beer and still lives to tell his tale. Drop by our physical store at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus or our Facebook page to get your beery posters!

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17th Asian Games Incheon 2014

This Friday, the world will tune in to live telecasts of the opening ceremony for the 17th Asian Games 2014 that will be held in Incheon, South Korea from September 19, 2014 to October 4, 2014. The opening ceremony will start at 5:00pm (Malaysia time) on September 19 with the showpiece event of various performances exemplifying the elements of Korean traditional culture and their latest technologies. Athletes from all participating nations will be a part of the event, marching past their respective contingents on this very day. Even important officials from Asian countries will attend the opening ceremony.

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Official poster and three seals mascot for the 17th Incheon Asian Games 2014. Photo by India.com.

Similar to the Olympic Games, the Asian Games is held every four years and is the most prestigious event organized by the Olympic Council of Asia. The Asian Games follow a similar arrangement of the sports programme to that of the Olympics, with swimming and athletics at the core, while featuring disciplines in the diverse sporting culture of the continent, such as sepak takraw (Southeast Asia), kabaddi (South Asia), and wushu (East Asia). The first and foremost Asian Games was held in New Delhi, India, in 1951 with 11 countries competing in six sports categories. The 16th Asian Games took place in Guangzhou, China, in 2010 and featured 45 countries and regions competing in 42 sports categories. As a result, the growth of the Olympic Movement in Asia was highlighted. Now the 17th edition of the Asian Games will be held in Incheon, South Korea with 439 events in 36 sports categories and disciplines.

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The official poster of the Incheon Asian Games 2014. Photo by IAG14 (Blog).

Diversity Shines Here

The Asian Games 2014 is officially known as the XVII Asiad. ‘Diversity Shines Here‘ is the official slogan of the Asian Games which was unveiled on September 16, 2010. The official slogan represents and highlights the significance of Asia’s rich and wonderful diversity in history, cultures, and religions. Incheon was awarded the right to host the Games on April 7, 2007, after defeating New Delhi, India. It is understood that Incheon made an offer to raise USD$20 million of funds to support the countries who have yet to win a medal in the Games, as well as offering free flight and accommodation to all the participants, while India offered nothing, which led to the South Korean city to win the right to host the Games. Incheon is the third city in South Korea after Seoul (1986) and Busan (2002) to host the Asian Games.

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Other official posters depicting five games (racquet – top left corner / aquatics – bottom left corner / ball – middle / athletics – top right corner / combat – bottom right corner). Photo by IAG14 (Blog).

Malaysia is one of the 45 nations participating in the Incheon Asian Games 2014, with core focus on top local sportsmen and sportswomen like Lee Chong Wei (badminton) and Nicol David (squash). National hockey coach A. Arulselvaraj hopes his unorthodox ways of blaring Pink Floyd music on the loudspeakers will motivate, encourage, and inspire his team to a gold medal. Low Wee Wern from the national squash team hopes to have an all-Malaysian final in the Incheon Asian Games 2014 with World No.1 Nicol David. But she will have to wait and see what happens when Nicol David takes the squash courts by storm. The Malaysian Tiger footballers defeated Laos 4-0 in their second Group A match to stay afloat for their stint in the Incheon Asian Games 2014. And Datuk Lee Chong Wei will be looking to add more gold medals to his current tally as he prepares to wow his legion of Malaysian fans in the Asian Games. Chong Wei’s badminton counterpart Chong Wei Feng is relishing a left-handed battle with his childhood idol and China’s Lin Dan. No doubt everyone will be hoping for a bigger haul of medals for the nation this time. Malaysia Boleh!

Ground Zero Remembered

On September 11, 2001, two planes were hijacked by terrorists and flown straight into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The towers crumbled, crushing the occupants of the towers as well as killing scores of innocent bystanders on level ground and those who were nearby. A third plane intended for the White House changed its flight course and crashed into an open field after the passengers onboard fought back. A fourth plane was flown straight into the Pentagon. It was the darkest day for the Americans, and those who survived, lived to tell the tale that they had seen with their own eyes. Those who have gone to lend a hand to help out included the brave firemen and policemen, and while they were able to rescue others, some of them have lost their lives in the aftermath of the incident. The devastating attacks were caught on public television, shocking every other nation who tuned in to their local news channel and watched the whole event unfold before them.

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9.11.2001. The power to believe. The will to win. The strength to go on. Photo by Vicki Blackwell.

Today, we remember the brave firefighters who lost their trying to save people who were trapped beneath the rubble.

Today, we remember the courageous policemen who lost their lives trying to contain the terrorists and hijackers from attacking elsewhere.

Today, we remember those who lost their lives after being trapped in the towers as they desperately tried to escape, the innocent bystanders who lost their lives despite being outside the Towers, and the families who lost their loved ones in the horrific incident.

Today is the 13th anniversary of 9/11 (as it is fondly known as today). Today, we put our differences aside and pray for the victims and their families.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

When I was young, I used to believe that mooncakes were made in the shape of moons, and designed and coloured to look like moons. What I never found out was whether they tasted like moons. How was I to know? I never landed on the moon before. Neither did I take a bite out of the moon. So how is it possible that mooncakes are even related to the moon? Because this festival is known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival or Moon Festival. Depending on which Chinese fairytale you were told as a child.

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Plain mooncake by the Tai Thong group. Photo by SQ Lee Photography.

As the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Moon Festival, many of its legends are often related to the moon. There have been a number of ancient Chinese folklore stories that have been told time and time again to children. But there is one particular Chinese fairytale that stands out from the many stories that were told.

The Legend of Chang E

The story of Chang E is perhaps the most widely accepted tale regarding the moon and the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

During the ancient times, there were ten suns in the sky and the intense heat caused the harvest to wither and dry up, as a result, the people’s lives suffered. The Emperor ordered Hou Yi to shoot down nine of the ten suns in the sky. Owing to Hou Yi’s great strength, he shot down nine suns and became the hero of the town. Upon hearing this amazing feat and the hero who performed it, people came far and wide to learn from him. Peng Meng was among these people who came to see this spectacular hero. Later, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind-hearted woman named Chang E and lived a happy life.

One day, Hou Yi came upon Wangmu (the Queen of Heaven) on the way to meet his old friend. Wangmu presented him with an elixir that would allow him to ascend immediately to heaven and become a god. Instead of drinking the potion, Hou Yi took it home and kept it. Unfortunately, Peng Meng had seen the potion that Hou Yi had kept. He approached Chang E while Hou Yi was away and demanded that she hand over the elixir. Chang E refused and drank the elixir. Almost immediately after drinking it, she flew out the window and up into the sky. Chang E’s great love for her husband Hou Yi drew her towards the Moon, which is located nearest to Earth, and she became a goddess.

After he learnt what had happened to his wife, Hou Yi was so aggrieved that he shouted her name to the sky and was amazed to see a figure resembling his wife appearing in the Moon. He brought his wife’s favourite food and offered it as a sacrifice for her at the altar. The news spread like wildfire, and soon, the townspeople also began offering sacrifices to Chang E to pray for peace and good luck.

Story from: Travel China Guide

Thus began the custom of sacrificing to the Moon. Thus began the custom of consuming mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Have you had your mooncakes yet? Here’s a tip: Buy some and give them to your family and friends. They will reciprocate and give some back to you. Voila! Everyone has some mooncakes, and everyone can start eating their mooncakes. How’s that for a happy ending? Some people say that the Mid-Autumn Festival is also associated with lanterns, some calling it the Lantern Festival. So guys and girls, time to light up the lanterns too, and let’s all celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival tomorrow night!