School is no place for a Halloween party? District bans the costume-and-candy fest (Photo: Thinkstock)An Illinois school district is banning Halloween this year in what the superintendent says is an effort to address low test scores and avoid cultural and religious conflict.
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"There will be no costumes, no candy bags, no parties," District 69 Superintendent Quintin Shepherd told the Skokie Patch.
But parents aren't pleased -- and not just because they'll be dealing with disappointed kids. Shepherd made the decision in early October without allowing parents weigh in, saying that asking the community for input would have been a waste of time.
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"We knew what their response would be," he said. "We know they would feel strongly [about banning Halloween in the school district]. So, the reason we didn't go forward with the community hearings is because we knew they would be upset."
Instead, he sent out a letter saying that the decision had been made.
"District 69 has made the
Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Thu, Oct 25, 2012 5:27 PM EDT
School is no place for a Halloween party? District bans the costume-and-candy fest (Photo: Thinkstock)An Illinois school district is banning Halloween this year in what the superintendent says is an effort to address low test scores and avoid cultural and religious conflict.Read More »from Does Halloween Belong in School? One District Says No
Oisin Millea on the beach in Ireland where he found the message in a bottle. (Photo: NBC News)Oisin Millea was looking for treasure along a beach near his home in Ireland when he found it tucked inside a 2-liter soda bottle: A letter, written in French, rolled up tightly and still perfectly dry.Read More »from 9-Year-Old Boy Finds Message in a Bottle
The message in a bottle had been pitched into the water in 2004 by two Canadian girls on vacation along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec. It had taken eight years to travel some 2,500 miles before washing ashore near the tiny village of Passage East in County Waterford, Ireland.
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"I thought it was a piece of rubbish," 9-year-old Oisin told the Toronto Star. "I really didn't think anything until I opened it."
"He's always searching for bits of treasure," his mother, Aoife Millea, 31, told the Montreal Gazette. "And that was treasure for him."
Related: Create a Time Capsule with Your Child
Oisin and his mom rushed home to translate the handwritten note, which is when they discovered that it had come from Canada, not from
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Wed, Oct 24, 2012 2:27 PM EDT
How would your kids react if you posted pictures like this on their Facebook pages as punishment? (Photo: AustinMac via Reddit.com)Parents of teenagers know that there comes a time when you can embarrass your kid simply by being visible. So when one Wisconsin couple opted to flood their daughter's Facebook page with pictures of themselves posing goofily for the camera, they probably knew they were inflicting some emotional pain.Read More »from Parents Punish Teen by Posting Goofy Photos on Her Facebook Page. Epic or Awful?
Related: Parents May Be Teaching Teens to Be Bullies
Adding insult to social-media injury, her brother posted one of the pictures on the social news-sharing site Reddit, where nearly 1,000 people have since weighed in on the punishment. Since the photo made the rounds on Reddit, we've had a hard time confirming the story (if AustinMac gets back to us, we'll be sure to let you know).
"My parents took away my sister's phone for the week," AustinMac explained on Reddit. "They've uploaded about 10 of these to her Facebook. Doing it right!"
Related: 10 Things You Don't Know About Teens and Social Networking
Her parents confiscated the phone because "She got fresh with [them]," her brother
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Tue, Oct 23, 2012 4:04 PM EDT
Sidney is ready to face the competition in the 2012 Evil Baby Glare-Off. (Photo: Mommyshorts.com)Grinning babies are cute and all, but instead of smiling for the camera, these tiny tots honed their most blood-curdling scowls and ice-cold stares for a contest that takes cute to a whole new level.Read More »from Evil Baby Glare-Off: Little Kids Who Make Angry Look Awesome
WATCH: Baby Girls Rock Out When Daddy Plays the Guitar
A quick look through the more than 300 submissions for the annual Mommy Shorts Evil Baby Glare-Off shows that some tots have their mad face down pat.
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"This is the second year I have done the contest," Ilana Wiles, an advertising creative director who blogs about her New York City life with a toddler at MommyShorts.com, told Yahoo! Shine in an email. "There seem to be no shortage of evil baby pictures! Plus, I love that parents can't get too upset if their kid loses. All it means is that your child is not that evil looking."
"I hold photo contests on my site regularly and I'm always looking for humorous ways to feature kids," she added. "The people who read my site are parents who
The latest foodie craze: Smoked water. (Photo: halenmon.com)When it comes to cooking, there are as many fads as there are foods. Chefs have come up with savory ice creams, used liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze and shatter ingredients, and blasted liquids with carbon dioxide to make flavorful foams (remember Marcel from "Top Chef"?). Now, one company has used an old-school technique to come up with the next big thing in cooking: smoked water.Read More »from Smoked Water: The Latest Cooking Craze?
Related: The 11 Weirdest Food Trends Ever
The Anglesey Sea Salt Company developed their smoked water at the request of cutting-edge chef Heston Blumenthal, owner of The Fat Duck in England. The company launched the smoked water at the Abergavenny Food Festival in Wales a few weeks ago, where it was an instant—and surprising—hit.
"This was tried as a curiosity but has really caught on," David Lea-Wilson, director at Anglesey Sea Salt, told The Daily Post. "We have been very busy with orders, and it has even seen us take an extra part-time staff member on to meet the demand."
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- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Book Club – Mon, Oct 22, 2012 2:54 PM EDT
Pippa Middleton's new party planning book also showcases a few personal stories. (Photo: Viking Press)When the world tuned in to watch Kate Middleton marry Prince William, people were almost as fascinated by the bride's sister, Pippa Middleton, as they were by the newly minted Duchess of Cambridge. Now Pippa is coming out from under her sister's royal shadow—or perhaps using it to launch her own career as the Martha Stewart of England—with her first book, "Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends."Read More »from A Sneak Peek at Pippa Middleton's First Book, "Celebrate"
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"It's a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that's the right word) before the age of 30, on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom," Pippa Middleton writes in the introduction. "One day I might be able to make sense of this. In the meantime, I think it's fair to say that it has its upside and its downside."
WATCH: Celebrate like royalty with party tips from Pippa Middleton
An excerpt from her book was published over the weekend in "You," a Sunday supplement from the British newspaper The Mail. (A
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Financially Fit – Fri, Oct 19, 2012 2:29 PM EDT
Aftermath of a counterfeit ketchup explosion at warehouse in N.J. (Photo: Dover Code Enforcement Department)A ketchup counterfeiting operation in New Jersey is making consumers think twice about what they're putting on their food.Read More »from Is Your Ketchup Worth the Money? (It Might Not Be)
Related: Ketchup's unsavory secret history
Officials discovered the fake ketchup factory after tenants complained about flies and rotten odors coming from another part of the 7,000-square-foot warehouse in Dover, N.J. They found thousands of plastic bottles labeled Heinz ketchup, many of which had exploded after being abandoned in the hot building.
Related: 5 common food counterfeits
Heinz representatives say that they think someone bought large containers of regular Heinz Ketchup and poured it into bottles labeled "Simply Heinz," a higher-priced product made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Late Friday, they reached out to reassure consumers, saying that it was unlikely the counterfeit condiment ended up on store shelves.
"We have not discovered any information that leads us to believe that the illegally repackaged product is on the market.
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Financially Fit – Fri, Oct 19, 2012 1:19 PM EDT
shop your closet; most people own more trendy clothes than they realize, and old favorites often come back in style. That's what Rebecca Smithers realized when she rediscovered an old favorite buried in the back of her closet.Experts say that one sure way to save money is to Read More »from Could You Go a Whole Year Without Buying Any Clothes?
PICTURES: Celebrities at Fashion Week
It was a handmade cable knit sweater that she hadn't worn in years. Her mother had made it about 16 years before, and wearing it felt like meeting up with "an old and very special friend."
That sweater, and the reappearance of other old favorites, inspired Smithers to see if she could spend an entire year without buying new clothes. A consumer affairs correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian, she decided to document her fashion-free New Year's resolution.
RELATED: 5 Ways to Update Your Look for Under $20
"I will even resist the temptation to buy second-hand from charity shops—including my favorite on London's Marylebone High Street," she wrote in The Guardian.
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Work + Money – Thu, Oct 18, 2012 6:21 PM EDT
Ann Romney with her husband after the second presidential debate this week. (Photo by Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images)Reaching out to women voters in the wake of the "Binders full of Women" controversy, the Romney campaign held a last-minute teleconference town hall Wednesday night, during which Ann Romney and her son, Craig, took questions from supporters and talked about their reactions to the second presidential debate.Read More »from Ann Romney on the Second Presidential Debate: "I Was Just Thrilled"
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Addressing listeners in both English and Spanish, Craig Romney said that he thought his father did "a really good job" during Tuesday night's debate, but added that "President Obama was a little better prepared this time around."
"I loved the contrast when it came to balancing the budget," he said from Oregon. "The difference is my dad could talk about what he's done, where President Obama could simply attack my dad's plan and couldn't talk about his own record. That's what seems to be his campaign's strategy -- not to talk about his achievements, but to denigrate my father."
Speaking from New York, Ann Romney focused on the
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Work + Money – Wed, Oct 17, 2012 4:10 PM EDTRepublican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney debates with President Barack Obama at Hofstra University on Tuesday, October 16. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)Women's issues took center stage at the second presidential debate Tuesday night -- and not just in terms of reproductive rights -- when undecided voter Katherine Fenton stepped forward with a question about women and equal pay.
Where the 2012 Presidential Candidates Stand on Women's Issues
"In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace," she asked both candidates, "specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?"
President Barack Obama answered first, recounting his childhood (raised by a single mom, grandmother hit the glass ceiling working at a local bank) and reminding viewers that the first bill he signed as president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Related: Highlights from the 2nd Presidential Debate
"And that's an example of the kind of advocacy that we need because women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family," he told the crowd. "This is not just a women's issue. This is a Read More »from 'Binders Full of Women': Will Romney's Take on Equal Pay Affect the Women's Vote?