Cut holiday spending with Living Wallet that runs away and screams

Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 @ 6:38 PM
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 @ 6:38 PM

Just in time to save you from yourself this holiday season, a Japanese website is promoting something it calls a "Living Wallet" that can thwart your efforts to spend money you don't have.

The wallet can be synched to a mobile banking application and behave in particular ways based on your account balance.

If you are beyond your spending limit, the Living Wallet has the ability crawl away from you and evade your efforts to pick it up. If you catch it, the wallet then screams for help. And, if all else fails, the wallet will then place a call for help to your mother.

If you are fortunate enough to have some major fundage in your bank account, the wallet switches to "consumption mode" and encourages you to buy something by reading out Amazon's popular products rankings. 

Too outrageous to be true? Yeah, we thought so, too. Several websites have reported on the Living Wallet as if it were real, but, sadly, it appears to only exist as a prototype.

Well, even if it only exists as a prototype, it's still fun to watch the wallet in action. Just don't expect to find the Living Wallet at your local Walmart any time soon.

As one commenter noted, "It's cute, but ironically, a waste of money I think."

Trick-or-treating: Top Halloween safety tips

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 6:35 PM

No Tricks, Just Treats: How to Have a Safe Halloween

Halloween should be about treats, but some tricks such as dangerous situations can quickly ruin the fun. The following trick-or-treating safety tips can help you and your kids avoid issues.

COSTUME SAFETY

Costumes and other components can create hazards if you’re not careful. The following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Safety Council will help you make sure your child’s disguise doesn’t cause any hazards:

  • Look for light-colored, flame-resistant costumes
    Look for masks, wigs, costumes and other components that are labeled as flame-resistant or made of flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon. Also choose light-colored costumes when possible since they’re easier for drivers to spot at night.
  • Look for a proper fit
    Make sure all masks, shoes and other parts of your child’s costume fit well. He or she should be able to see well and walk without tripping over a costume that drags the ground or because of shoes that are too large. 
  • Take care with makeup
    Buy only nontoxic Halloween makeup, and always test it in a small area first, the CDC recommends. Remove it before bedtime to help prevent irritation.
  • Use safe accessories
    Use swords, knives and other accessories made of soft materials that won’t cause injury if your child falls on them.
  • Make your child more visible.
    The CDC suggests adding reflective tape to your child’s costume and treat bag to make him or her more visible.
  • Protect their eyes
    Skip wearing decorative contact lenses to avoid injuring your eyes, and don’t let your kids wear them.

ROAD SAFETY

Drive carefully and keep your kids safe as they navigate neighborhood streets with the following tips:

  • Slow down and be cautious
    If you’re driving on Halloween, slow down in residential neighborhoods and watch out for trick-or-treaters who may unexpectedly dart into the street. Especially if they’re wearing dark costumes, they can be difficult to see. 
  • Be visible
    Turn your headlights on, even if it’s still light outside, so you’ll be more visible to trick-or-treaters.
  • Arm trick-or-treaters with flashlight
    Make sure your trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, but teach them to carry it facing downward so they don’t temporarily blind oncoming drivers.
  • Stick to sidewalks
    Walk on sidewalks when possible, and if they’re not available, walk on the left side of the road so you’re facing traffic.
  • Cross the street safely
    Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles.
  • Make sure kids are supervised
    If you’re not accompanying your kids, ensure that they’re going with another adult or an older, responsible young person if they’re under 12. 

    CANDY SAFETY
    Make sure you child’s candy doesn’t cause any harm with the following tips:
  • Inspect your child’s candy
    Tell your kids to wait until you can look through their candy at home before they eat any. Tampering is rare, but it does happen. Look for any tears in wrappers, tiny pinholes, or anything that looks discolored or unusual. Throw out anything that isn’t commercially wrapped, unless it’s a homemade treat from someone you personally know well.
  • Check for allergens
    If your child has a food allergy, read the ingredient label of commercially wrapped treats to make sure it doesn’t contain any allergens. Skip homemade treats, since you can’t be sure of what they contain.
  • Look for teal pumpkins
    If you see a teal pumpkin at a home, that signifies that it’s safe for trick-or-treaters with food allergies since the homeowners offer non-food treats like small toys. Look for homes that display these if your child has allergies, and provide this welcoming sign of safe treats for kids who visit your home.
  • Check for choking hazards
    Check through non-candy treats to make sure they’re not a choking hazard to your child if he or she is younger. Also go through their candy and eliminate any hard candies or any other items they could choke on.

SAFE TRICK OR TREAT LOCATIONS

Choose the safest locations for your child to visit with the following tips:
  • Visit ‘trunk or treat’ events
    Organizations such as churches often hold trunk or treat events where people decorate their opened trucks and hand out candy. This helps children stay in a confined area and avoid streets and traffic.
  • Hit the mall
    Malls sometimes have Halloween events where stores give out candy to children in costume. You’ll avoid traffic and other outdoor hazards while ensuring that weather won’t be a factor.
  • Check with neighborhood associations
    If you live in a community with a neighborhood association, these organizations often have information about which houses are handing out candy. The association may also host a clubhouse party for the holiday.
  • Use Nextdoor’s treat map
    The social network site for neighborhoods has a Halloween treat map that lets you and your neighbors “advertise” that you’ll be handing out Halloween candy. You can use it to plan the best route for your trick-or-treaters.
  • Know which houses to avoid
    Several states prohibit registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween, and at least one, Maryland, requires them to post “No candy at this residence” signs. You can also check the U.S. Department of Justice’s website for links to your state’s sex offender registry or download a mobile app that you can use along the way to tell you which homes to avoid.

Best 2017 pop culture Halloween costumes

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 5:35 PM

The Spooky History of Halloween

Halloween is the perfect time to make a statement about this year’s pop culture hits and misses. According to Insider, some of the most popular pop culture Halloween costumes in 2017 will include pregnant Kylie Jenner, Wonder Woman and a Playboy Bunny.

According to Quartz, what this says about us, besides that we like to dress up, is that our collective psyche is riddled with TV and movies. But Quartz also pointed out the common human desire to be more powerful, which is why superheroes are a Halloween fashion staple. 

Other pop culture favorites appearing this Halloween season include any costume that has Disney characters. In September, Pinterest noted that just the term “Disney costume” has been pinned more than 675,000 times this year, with Belle and Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast” leading the pack. 

A costume that became cliché in its first season is Pennywise, the kid-killing clown from the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.” Pinterest saves for clown makeup and costumes are up 941 percent this year. If you must join the horde, please, please, step away from red balloons near sewers in suburban neighborhoods. Other pop culture Halloween costume popular on Pinterest included “Baywatch” characters, frat boys and Wednesday Addams. One of the most popular Halloween makeup options is pixelated face makeup, which has been pinned more than 26,000 times. 

>> Read more trending news

Hit pop culture Halloween costumes from the media

Ripped-straight-from-the-headlines costumes make their own kind of scary Halloween statements, even if those headlines come straight from TMZ or People.

Fake News: Insider reports a mini dress of newspaper clippings stamped “Fake” in big red letters sold by costume retailer Yandy.
 
Pregnant Kylie Jenner: You may not be unique, but you’ll be in good company in one of Yandy’s $60 pregnant Kylie Jenner costume.
 
Hef and a Playboy bunny: 2017 claimed the life of  Hugh Hefner. Sure, dressing as the dapper (if elderly) Hef and a Playboy bunny is a time-honored Halloween tradition, but this year’s news adds a morbid touch to the Playmate (Yandy, $80) and Hugh Hefner (Target, $40) couples costume.
 
Dancing hot dog from Snapchat: The wildly popular dancing meme from Snapchat makes a hot pop culture Halloween costume. You can pick up a  $40 hot dog suit from Target, but you must supply the over-the-ear headphones yourself.
 
Handmaid: Hulu’s 2017 hit, based on the Margaret Atwood novel, "The Handmaid's Tale," is a dark metaphor for the current civil rights and political climate. A handmaid ensemble is easy to pull off for one or a group, from thrift store finds or ready-made purchases like the $64 version from Azure Costumes.
 
La La Land: Another great couples’ idea from the Pinterest people, and if you can jitterbug and whatnot, all the better. For the snarkiest, include a “Moonlight” costume in the group as a nod to the 2017 Best Picture Oscars mix-up.
 
April the Giraffe and her baby from Animal Adventure Park: With giraffe costumes and make-up running wild on Pinterest (up 1,200 percent from last year, unless someone made a typo), what a great time to dress as the ever-pregnant and finally a mom April the Giraffe. Depending on your companions and physical condition, you may want to go for pregnant April, during her eternal labor, or with her offspring.
 
Kinder, gentler pop culture costumes

Groot: According to Pinterest, searches for this soulful, leafy “Guardians of the Galaxy” character’s costume have gone up 133 percent in the past year. It’s a more involved costume than most, with those branches and all, but it has the prime advantage of also having a baby costume option: Baby Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

Bob Ross and Tree: That’s a happy tree, mind you, a perfect foil to 2017’s political and environmental strife. And hey, Pinterest reports 25,000-plus saves on the costume idea.
 
Unicorns: Rainbows and sparkles will be in the forecast for Halloween 2017 trick-or-treating and costume parties for sure, with searches for unicorn costumes up 110 percent this year on Pinterest. According to Quartz, “The draw seems to be childlike positivity and magical thinking, allowing people see themselves and the world through rose- (and cobalt-) colored glasses.”
 
“My Little Pony”: With the 2017 release of the “My Little Pony” movie, the  animated characters should give you plenty of sweet costume options for every optimist on the block. Just be sure your costume has a pony name and a birthday on Equestria.

Most popular Halloween costumes for 2017

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 11:36 AM

The Spooky History of Halloween

The National Retail Federation predicts that 179 million Americans will partake in Halloween festivities in 2017 and that 48 percent plan to dress up. That’s a lot of costumes! Those trying to stand out for a party or costume contest and those who want to fit in with the rest of the trick-or-treat crowd can both benefit from these predictions for the top costume picks for Halloween 2017 from the NRF and Pinterest.

>> Read more trending news 

 
Most popular children’s Halloween costumes for 2017

The little ones will be dressing up as heroes this Halloween, with more than 3.7 children planning to dress as action characters or superheroes, according to the NRF. That figure doesn’t even include the Caped Crusader. Batman on his own will provide costume inspiration for 2.9 million child Halloween costumes, tied for second with a generic princess in the NRF rankings. Wonder Woman also makes a solo appearance on the list. 
 
The entire NRF Top 10 list of the most popular Halloween costumes for kids:
 
1. Action/superhero 
2. Batman character tied with Princess
3. Animal (cat, dog, monkey)
4. Spider-Man
5. Star Wars character
6. Witch
7. Marvel Superhero (excluding Spider-Man) tied with Pirate
8. Ghost
9. Disney Princess
10. Wonder Woman
 
 
Most popular adult Halloween costumes for 2017
 
In September, Pinterest and fashion search platform Lyst released predictions for the top Halloween costumes of 2017. The list included a frightening trend: costume ideas spawned by the kid-killing clown Pennywise in the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.” Searches for clown makeup have increased by 941 per cent on Pinterest this year, and Lyst also reported a rise in searches for shirts with expansive ruffled shoulders and pom-pom shoes like the odious clown wears.
 
It may sound like a stretch but … giraffes are another go-to costume for Halloween this year. Pinterest data indicated pins for giraffe costumes ideas and makeup tutorials are up 1,200 percent compared to 2016, and Lyst data also indicated a 27 percent increase in searches for giraffe fashions since this past June. You can thank April the giraffe, and her long pregnancy that was one of the top viral stories of 2017.

The TV set and other streaming devices also helped make certain costumes popular. This is the second season for “Stranger Things” character costumes to be making the trick-or-treat and party rounds, with 40 percent more Pinterest saves year over year. These costumes have the added allure of being simple to make and wear, especially the trucker hats and ‘80s T-shirts Pinterest and Lyst are predicting.
 
“Game of Thrones” characters were up 91 percent on Pinterest and Jon Snow all by his lonesome had 280 percent increased costume saves on Pinterest. Quartz has a helpful hint for anyone wanting to jump in on this costume trend. Those gnarly Night’s Watch capes are repurposed IKEA rugs.
 
Just in from the 2017 widescreen, Pinterest users currently have more than 230,000 Wonder Woman costume ideas saved while pins of Beauty and the Beast characters have jumped 680 percent, including some sweet group costumes for Gaston and the milkmaids.

Here are some other top choices on Pinterest for Halloween 2017:

Top group costumes
 
Daenerys and Jon Snow from “Game of Thrones”
 
“Baywatch” cast members 
 
“Stranger Things” cast members 
 
Top family costumes
 
“Beauty and the Beast”
 
“Jurassic Park” 
 
Mother of Dragons (Daenerys) 
 
Top solo costumes
 
Wonder Woman 
 
Hippie 
 
Girl Scout 
 
Makeup
 
Unicorn 
 
Giraffe 
 
Spider-Woman 

Halloween 2017: Best trick or treat times

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 11:18 AM

No Tricks, Just Treats: How to Have a Safe Halloween

While the best time to trick or treat is usually on Halloween itself, it is important to recognize neighborhood and community guidelines. Heading out during the best trick or treat times can also maximize the candy haul for your little superhero or princess. After all, that’s what the holiday is about for many kids and kids at heart.

Here's the strategy parenting and health experts developed for the best trick-or-treat times:
 
The day of the week: You'll need to plan a little differently when Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday, when you can potentially stay out a little later but might want to head home before you're coping with drunk drivers from costume parties.

Another tricky situation is when Halloween falls on a Sunday. The biggest issues are whether trick-or-treating will clash with the church crowd. If your city doesn't determine whether trick-or-treating will occur on Saturday instead, you'll need to survey the neighbors to see what their plans are. Most debates online settle on sticking with Oct. 31 for trick-or-treating regardless of the day of the week, but your area might be different.
 
What your town says: Be aware that many towns and municipalities now set aside specific times for trick-or-treating. You can usually find them on your city or community's web page or in a community posting group like NextDoor.com. If you're just looking for a general idea, most areas allow (or encourage) trick-or-treating between 4 and 9 p.m.
 
Dark or no dark? You'll definitely want to anticipate when it will get dark when you're planning what time to trick or treat. According to the How to Adult blog, the sun will most likely set between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Halloween, depending on your location, and it will get dark by 7:30 p.m.

If you have young children, you may want to go to a few houses while it's still light if they're afraid of the dark (or you're afraid of the after-dark vibe in your  target area.) If you do opt to be out trick-or-treating after dark,  Verywell recommended making each child more visible by having them carry something that lights up, whether glow bracelet, flashlight or flashing attire. Light-up shoes were another good idea.
 
Plan your route: It may seem like overkill, but way too many car accidents happen between 5 and 7 p.m. and kids come to harm while trick-or-treating all too often. Safety experts recommend that adults do a bit of prep on the trick-or-treating route before deciding on the best trick or treat times. Check the route during daylight hours for broken sidewalks or places where you can't safely walk and also figure out how long it will take you to complete your circuit. That way, you can allow more time by starting earlier or cut a few houses from your plans if you want to be home early or before dark. Also look over the route if your tween will be out with a group of friends and make sure the kids carry a cellphone for emergencies.
 
The recommended time: The ideal times for most families to trick or treat is 6:30 to 8 p.m., according to How to Adult. This is the time period when people are usually home from work and ready to participate in festivities. A 6:30 p.m. trick or treat start time also gives kids plenty of time to eat dinner and put on their costumes.
 
For extended periods: If you plan to trick or treat for more than an hour or so, prepare yourself and the kids. Choose shoes that fit well and have been worn before, pick costumes that won't drag on the ground and are bathroom-friendly and plan to stop at a friend's house for water and bathroom breaks, How to Adult recommends.
 
To get the most candy: Hey, Halloween only comes once a year. Your kids can be forgiven if they want to trick or treat during times that yield the most, or the best, candy at the end of the night. To time trick-or-treating for the maximum haul, start with the areas that are going to have the most or best candy first. Experts told Readers Digest that the longer you stay out on Halloween night, the worse the quality of candy gets, but you might end up with more in quantity, because people are anticipating you might be one of their last groups. If you have older kids who are ready to tote and walk without complaining, consider taking a last lap in a dense-population neighborhood or spot well-known for welcoming trick-or-treaters. If you think it's going to be tough to carry that much candy the rest of the way, consider a quick detour to drop off the first batch of treats after you've covered the main drags.

When to wrap it up: On a school night Halloween, the best time to wrap up the trick-or-treating is between 8:30 and 9 p.m. as families and others start their rituals for the next day, according to Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert and blogger at Hitched. You may keeping going for an hour or so later if Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday. For those handing out treats, when you’re all out of candy or ready to call it a night, make sure to turn off your outdoor lights and take in any fresh pumpkins or jack-o’-lanterns to avoid after-hours tricksters, added Gottsman.