Get Your Scarves and Your UGG Boots; It’s Fall

AFall is upon us.

This means one thing for food and beverage companies all over the nation: it’s pumpkin spice time. The one ingenious, but verging on overused, marketing ploy has taken the country by storm.

It all started back in 2003 when Starbucks created the pumpkin spice latte, which has since taken on a life of its own. Today, you get just about everything pumpkin-flavored, from beer and soda to chips and hummus (this is real, I promise; I couldn’t make that up). Check out People magazine’s list of all the pumpkiny options this year.

Now, I personally have never been a huge fan of the original pumpkin flavored thing – pie. And I am not a coffee drinker so I do not participate in the #PSL madness that ensues from September to November each year, but in the spirit of fall (and out of curiosity) I have vowed to try as many pumpkin-flavored items as I can this season. It has become a joke between my roommates and I when we go to the grocery store.
So, here is the official Paige Ferise review of pumpkin flavored items:

  1. Pumpkin Spice Oreos: I was quite skeptical, but these are actually surprisingly delicious. I would recommend them.
  2. Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts: As a broke student, I pride myself in being somewhat of a Pop Tart connoisseur. The pumpkin Pop Tarts did not quite live up to my expectations. They were okay, but not something I intend on stockpiling before they stop making them.
  3. Pillsbury Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls:  Good, but can’t beat the original.
  4. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms: They literally tasted just like the original M&Ms.
  5. Talenti Pumpkin Gelato: Magnificent. Talenti can do no wrong.

This is all the pumpkin I have experienced so far, but fall is still young, my friends!

Paige Ferise, a sophomore at Butler University, is interning in the Indiana Chamber communications department this fall.

The Ghoulish Complexities of Halloween in the Workplace

HHalloween is a great holiday. Scary stories. Caramel apples. No obligatory gift-giving.

And the costumes: Zombies. Witches. Monsters.

But in the workplace, it can be tricky. You want to be festive and accommodating to allow workers to blow off some steam. But you also don’t want any “naughty nurse” costumes creating an HR concern. Furthermore, some employees of particular faiths may not take kindly to celebrating the holiday or its Pagan origins.

The Employment & Labor Insider blog delved further into the issue and offers some ideas for your consideration.

Throwback Thursday: Hail to Halloween!

You like Halloween? You should; it's a fantastic holiday. Granted, it promotes childhood obesity, but vampires, werewolves, witchcraft and sticking your head in a trash can in pursuit of floating apples is the best! The Batesville Herald-Tribune helps us understand where all these whacky rituals came from.

Many rituals now commonplace during the Halloween season may have originated with the culture of the ancient Celts and their priests, the druids. Other civilizations adopted and changed the ancient rituals, such as bobbing for apples or donning disguises.

“Our Halloween celebrations are the remnants of the ancient pre-Christian Celtic celebrations,” said Fred Suppe, a Ball State history professor and an expert in Celtic folklore.

“The Celts can be traced back to 800 B.C. to what is now southern Germany and include the ancestors of the Scottish, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Bretons. There are particular motifs of modern-day Halloween, such as the date and time it is celebrated, children trick-or-treating, the jack-o-lantern and bobbing for apples that are related to Celtic traditions.”

When Christianity was introduced to the Celtic people, church leaders tried to persuade the Celts to abandon their pagan celebrations and adopt the Christian calendar. Because these traditions were culturally ingrained, the church provided alternative holy days such as All Saints’ Day Nov. 1.

“The evening before All Saints’ Day became ‘Hallow’s Eve,’ with the word hallow meaning holy or saint and eve meaning the night before,” Suppe says. “Hallow’s Eve evolved to Halloween.”

Another origin for trick-or-treating comes from Scotland, where young men in their late teens donned disguises after the harvest.

“The Celts called them ‘guisers,’ which is where we get the word geezer,” he said, “The guisers would march around a house and demand hospitality, which evolved into small children asking for treats.”

Fall Festivities for the Kid in All of Us

Standing in line at Starbucks last week waiting to order my beloved iced tea, a colorful barista board caught my eye. Written upon it was a short, but sweet message – “Indulge in the comforts of fall” – and it struck something in me.

Have I been squandering opportunities to experience Autumn’s simple pleasures this year? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. But, the good news is that there’s plenty of time left to enjoy them.

Eating caramel apples (hold the nuts); roasting marshmallows; raking (and playing in) crisp, crunchy leaves – these are among my cherished childhood memories. I don’t know about you, but I’ll never outgrow these cherished childhood traditions.

Fall also reminds me of Halloween, scary movies and exhibits, spooky tales and haunted houses (just don’t invite me to go with you. The last time I went to a haunted house, I nearly had a heart attack I was so terrified).

Another way to savor fall is to take advantage of outdoor activities. Hay rides, hikes, scenic road trips and visits to apple orchards or pumpkin patches, for instance, hold a special allure before winter descends (perish the thought).

There’s an especially sweet “treat” that comes with your pursuit of fall activities: a boost for Indiana’s businesses.

Townships Sinking Lower and Lower

As we approach Halloween, how appropriate that township officials keep delivering tricks (with no treats) to taxpayers. We’ve seen plenty of examples of referendum campaigning while on the job from the layer of government that is "closest to the people."

Stop Governing Like This reported last week that the Indiana Township Association wants more dues from its members to fight the Kernan-Shepard recommendations and suggests using funds earmarked for professional dues and subscriptions. That’s taxpayer dollars for a political campaign.

You’ve got to be kidding! Can anyone really think that this outdated form of government should be sustained?