Janelle’s Lessons From the Mother Ship

Okay, so I know its been three weeks since Halloween, but I need to talk about something.  As photos from Halloween still filter in through social media posts of friends and family, I keep seeing these shared photos of children in amazing costumes depicting subculture/horror/geek characters with headings such as “parenting done right” and you KNOW that child has no clue who they are dressed up to look like and, I don’t know, call me old fashioned, but that just doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do.

ADORABLE!! Yes!!! Appropriate?? Umm.... ? No.

ADORABLE!! Yes!!! Appropriate?? Umm…. ? 

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Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.

As a child, it was all about the dressing up, the candy, the amazing Halloween cartoon specials, being creative, making people smile or getting spooked while staring at the moon and listening to the wind blow, imagining all the creepy, spooky, magical and awesome things that might be out there that I didn’t know about.

Later as I grew up, it was the spookiness, the scary tales, the parties, the orange lights and decorations, seeing a neighborhood transformed … it’s just one more reason to get creative and have a blast doing something fun just for the sake of fun and sharing that creativity with your friends and family.

Older still, Halloween became a spiritual time for me, as a practicing Wiccan.  I honored my ancestors, I cleansed and purified my home, office space, car and Self.  As it is the Wiccan new year, I prayed for renewal, casting off the negative, leaving my past behind so I could embrace my future and take hold of my true potential.  I sacrificed all that was no longer necessary so I could embrace my future.  Through my 20’s, it was customary for me to attend Halloween parties ON Halloween, but to celebrate Samhain on the actual date, which changed from year to year and was often a full week after the 31st.  On that date, I’d write down all the things I didn’t need anymore, basically making my “new years resolution” list of what I was going to leave behind, then I’d burn it in a fire while embracing all the goodness I was opening myself up to for the new year.

Around my late 20’s and once I was married, Halloween became just another busy time of year.  In my minimal time off, it became a time to watch horror film marathons or go to Scary Farm, make Halloween treats while watching 24 hour episodes of Ghost Hunters, inventing awesome costumes while decorating our apartment with as much Nightmare Before Christmas stuff as I could get my hands on.  I loved building props for decorations and creating themes for awesome get-togethers and in my early 20’s, my friends and I would turn entire houses into themed wonderlands… but now, we had small children and no money, so eventually it was bare bones and barely enough left over for costumes.  In fact, once we had kids, well… we pretty much gave up.  I would wear a Friday the 13th tee shirt and he would usually wear a Dracula one, and that was the extent of our “costumes”.  One year I wore a witch hat with a goth dress and called it a day, another year I put on a plaid shirt and put marks all over my face and arms and was Amy Pond from “The Silence” episode and last year… I honestly don’t even remember if I attempted to dress up.

Needless to say, since I’ve had children it’s been a challenge to balance my love of Halloween and the broke/child factor.  Horror movies, zombie night and paranormal hunting trips have had to battle with obligatory trick-or-treating ventures, princess costumes and bed by 9pm with absolutely no budget for any of it.

I will be honest, it’s kind of bummed me out the last few years because while there are several Halloween options for children out there, none of them are ALSO for grown ups.  There are also a TON of things to do for Halloween if you’re an adult… but you must leave your children at home.

It’s frustrating.  It feels like once we became parents, we only had one option; pretend we we didn’t have kids, or submit to a holiday of g-rated, largely Christian-based carnival games that ended in tantrums and tragedy because of too much sugar and not enough sleep.  No one really goes the extra mile to make a truly magical Halloween experience that EVERYone can enjoy.

Then it hit me – why not create what I’m looking for?  Something for both adults who love Halloween and all it has to offer, alongside their children to provide an event that could satisfy everyone.  A place where adults could have fun being crafty, showing off their costuming/prop making skills, maybe playing with make-up or building something for their front yards or learning how to make cool effects for their homes while the kids are safe and enjoying what they love about it; candy, trick-or-treating, costumes, stories and games.  Something that doesn’t cost a ton of money to get into, where you could pick and choose which event made sense for you and your family to participate in.  Somewhere where you know you are in good company with people who love their families and being creative.

If it doesn’t exist, build it.  That’s what I always tell people.  So what do you think, parents?  Would you go to a place for crafty Halloween lovers who ALSO have families?  A place where you could come in costume, geek out with others who love it just as much as you, go to Halloween prop or make-up workshops WITH your kids that were age appropriate and safe, where you could let them trick-or-treat without fear of razorblades or hallucinogenics in their candy, have a responsible glass of wine or a few beers and maybe even enter a costume contest?  If it weren’t local, would you travel to get there?

This is my early stage brainstorm brewing here, so feedback and insights are welcome, as well as ideas for how to fund a project this size.

If you read my column consistently, you know we take our children everywhere and conventions are no exception.  We enjoy sharing these experiences with our children and believe they are instrumental to their development in many ways, providing both fun and education and plan to continue to share these experiences with them for the duration of their childhood.

Some parents want to take their entire families to a convention, but have obligations like attending panels, networking, hosting events, interviewing attendees, or sitting through celebrity events on the exhibit floor and taking children along for these types of events can be arduous at best and down right miserable, leading to impossible at worst.  Hours upon hours of standing in lines and fighting vicious crowds to get the shot you need, the interview you need, the exclusive action figure you need… it can be brutal.

ComicCon has your solution and before you immediately raise your hand against the notion of ever allowing your child to leave your side in this type of atmosphere, let me just tell you about this place.


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**Updates on this story have been added at the bottom**

As many have already heard, a 20 year old adult student from Yucaipa, California has demanded four books on her English 250 reading list be given a warning for “adult content” and even banned from the curriculum and school bookstore.

The books on the student’s chopping block are as follows;

“Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel
“Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1” by Brian Vaughan
“The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House” by Neil Gaiman
“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.

I have a problem with that. Continue reading

“Take your kids to the Star Wars convention”, they said!


“They’ll have FUN”, they said!

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The internet just blew up and everyone is freaking out- I’ve seen the statement (or one similar to it) “You’ve got to be joking” about 15 times in the last hour.   Continue reading

We got them dressed.

IMG_4740IMG_4737We didn’t tell them where we were going.

Or what we would find when we got there… Continue reading

CALLING ALL STAR WARS FANS!!! There is an awesome opportunity to be part of the creation of a new toy experience that I am SURE every geek I know will want to get in on!

Do you want to be part of an amazing new Uncle Milton Star Wars toy?  Do you want your vast knowledge of the Star Wars universe to be immortalized forever in a toy that will be played with for generations of younglings, and their masters, to come?

Go to the 20Q website and play the Star Wars 20 questions game.  It’s that easy!  Share your knowledge to help create the Star Wars Holocron toy’s artificial intelligence!  -That’s right, a piece of YOUR BRAIN could help create an AI toy.  You will live forever in the form of your mighty brain full of geek wisdom!

Below is the official statement with a sneak-peek of the toy’s design.  Check it out and GO PLAY!



Uncle Milton, creator of the innovative Star Wars™ Science brand of toys, is getting ready to challenge aspiring Jedi in a different way. This time, Uncle Milton will be bringing the popular artificial intelligence game of knowledge, 20Q®, into the world of Star Wars with the Jedi Holocron. Holocrons are artifacts that hold an indeterminable amount of knowledge, so what better way to bring the Holocron into our world, than with 20Q®. Even better, Star Wars™ fans can be part of the creation of this new Star Wars™ Science Jedi Holocron! Star Wars fans are encouraged to visithttp://starwars.20q.net/play  and start playing the game! Think of any being, location, or technology based on all 6 Star Wars movies and TV series and 20Q® will try and guess what you’re thinking. See if you can outsmart the Jedi Holocron! The more times you play, the smarter the artificial intelligence of the Jedi Holocron will become. Look for the Star Wars Science Jedi Holocron on store shelves beginning in Fall, 2015.”

I will also be stopping by their booth during Star Wars Celebration 2015 to talk to them about this exciting new product.  I will post updates, interviews and photos, too!

If you have questions about this toy or any of their products, please post them here so I can ask them, but if you are going, don’t forget to stop by and check them out in person!!

Registration Waiting Room Banner


May the speed of The Flash be with your router

And it’s strength of connection be as the Bifrost bridge

May the powers of Longshot and Domino be with you

That the powers of probability be shifted to you

May the Goblin King reorder time

That the wait with the spinning blue circle not lull you into madness

May your workspace be as Mars to Dr, Manhattan

And your mind by as Jean Gray’s to keep everyone away

May the stars align, the distractions fade, the children stay quiet and the animals be calm

May the phone stay silent and the workload blessedly grind to a halt

May you see the worlds “Congratulations”! And leave the “We’re Sorry” for another

Blessed is the power of the Epic Waiting Room

May it’s favor shine upon you and give you all you desire


At long last, I found a show for my kids that I totally, completely, 100% adore and fully approve of and it’s totally for parents like us!!

Crazy, right?!  It’s called “Niko and the Sword of Light”, so far only has a pilot episode out and can currently only be seen on Amazon Prime.

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