Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kids Eat Free on Halloween

 Of course kids can load up on candy to eat for free while trick or treating but there are also lots of opportunities get a real meal for free to on Halloween. Check out some of these great deals for free and discounted meals taking place on Friday, October 31, 2014:

CARRABBA'S: Kids eat FREE with an adult entree purchase not just on Halloween but for the whole entire weekend 10/31/14 to 11/2/14. They are even providing a special "spooky" menu for kids during this special promotion.

IHOP: Children can get a Scary Face Pancake for FREE on 10/31/14 ... No purchase necessary! Plus as readers of A GEEK DADDY BLOG know we are always cautious about taking my kids out in regard to peanut/tree nut allergies and IHOP is food allergy friendly in that regard. Check out their Allergen warning list by CLICKING HERE

OLIVE GARDEN:  Children eat FREE @ Olive Garden on 10/31/14 with an adult purchase AND a coupon.  Don't forget the coupon!  CLICK HERE to print out your coupon.  I personally hate it when a restaurant requires a coupon for a deal - but I'm not a big fan of Olive Garden anyway.

OUTBACK STEAK HOUSE:  I love Outback Steakhouse and anytime I can get an excuse to go by telling my wife we can get the kids to eat free to save money we're going to go.  So we'll be having an early dinner at Outback Steak House than returning home to get ready for the trick or treating festivities before it gets dark.   Kids eat FREE with the purchase of an adult entree on 10/31/14.

KRISPY KREME: Show up in costume and get a FREE donut on October 31, 2014.

Plus here are a few other Halloween promotions that aren't free but still a good deal:

CHIPOTLE:  Show up dressed in a costume after 5pm on 10/31/14 and get a burrito for $3.  This deal is for kids and kids at heart.  Chipotle is donating proceeds from these sales up to $1 million to its Cultivate Foundation which has a focus on promoting sustainable and equitable food production and distribution.

SONIC DRIVE-IN:  Corn Dogs are just 50 cents each all day long on Halloween.  No costume required and no age limits.

ARBYS:  Say "Trick or Meat" and get free bacon on anything on their menu.

STARBUCKS:  Get a "Franken Frappuccinos" which is a green beverage with a chocolate mint flavor to it for $3 after 2pm on Halloween 

SPORTSNATION Star Wars Special on ESPN2 Celebrates Halloween

Disney is merging its Star Wars and cable sports network properties together in a fun synergy of Halloween awesomeness on Thursday, October 30, 2014.  ESPN2's SportsNation is teaming up with Star Wars for a special 1/2 hour Halloween show starting at 7:30pm.  The show will feature popular characters from the Star Wars franchise interacting with the show's cast along with a cameo by the greatest jedi master of them all, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (no wonder he was a record setting 6-time NBA MVP and 19 time All-Star Team selection with the Force behind him - being an athletic 7'2" probably helped too).

This episode of SportsNation will have the studio decked out to look like the inside of the Millennium Falcon and feature highlight clips under Star Wars inspired categories such as "Best Jedi Mind Trick" and "Most Unstoppable Skywalkers."

The Hollywood Reporter premiered the opening segment of this SportsNation Halloween special and as Darth Vader would say it is impressive, most impressive.  It features SportsNation host Michelle Beadle as a Jedi on a mission to save colleagues Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley from Vader and his legion of stormtroopers who have invaded the  ESPN2 studio.  Check out the segment in advance of the show courtesy of

There is a specific marketing purpose for this special believe it or not...Disney understands that the SportsNation audience is also a demographic that may be interested in another brand new show airing on one of its other cable channels called Star Wars: Rebels.  In addition to the Star Wars features and gags during SportsNation the show will also feature an exclusive sneak peak of an upcoming episode of Disney XD's Star Wars: Rebels animated television series.

If the whole SportsNation episode is as good as its opening sequence this is absolutely a show not to be missed!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Treat for Harry Potter Fans on Halloween

Author J.K. Rowling is providing fans of the wizardly world of Harry Potter with a special treat this Halloween.  On October 31, 2014 she will be releasing a brand new short story on the official Harry Potter website that fans can read for FREE!  This story won't focus on Harry or his cast of friends though, rather it will be centered around the horrid witch Dolores Umbridge who is a character people love to hate.  This new tale will provide a back story providing more perspective on this evil cat hoarding character who had a fetish for anything the color pink and reveled in tormenting Harry Potter.

Teaser posted on the Pottermore website to promote the new Harry Potter themed short story

"Umbridge is not only one of the most malicious Potter characters, she is the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry," the Pottermore website posted.  "The new exclusive J.K. Rowling content provides a rich 1,700-back story about Umbridge's life filled with many new details, as well as Rowling's revealing first-person thoughts and reflections about the character."

Dolores Umbridge, played by actress Imelda Staunton in the Harry Potter movies, first appeared in the 5th book in Rowling's series about the boy wizard titled Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  While serving as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts she punished Harry Potter for contradicting her in public by forcing him to write the phrase
"I must not tell lies" repeatedly with a Blood Quill ( a dark magical object of torture that cuts the words a person writes with it into their hand) eventually leaving him scarred.  When Lord Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic she worked in his regime overseeing the registration and persecution of Muggle-born (the term given to a magical being who is born to two non-magical parents) witches and wizards.  Following the death of Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge was arrested, placed on trial, and imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-born.

This special story will be exclusively released on Halloween via, the website Rowling created as a one stop shop for anything Harry Potter related.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Echo Adventure

When I got home from work the other day my phone started acting up showing these weird images and what looked like maps.  So I stepped out on the front porch to try getting better reception and that is when things really started to get weird...this little creature appeared on my screen and appeared to be trying to communicate with me.     I called out to my 5 year old twins to come out and take a look at this!

The images appearing on my phone seemed to be a map leading towards the neighborhood park down the street from our house.  The kids and I decided to take a stroll over to the park to check things out.  When we arrived the little creature popped back up on the screen and through a series of beeps, clicks and whistles urged us towards the park's playscape.

I encouraged my kids to go investigate.  They cautiously crept up the stairs to the playscape's upper level.  Then I heard a shout out from up top - hey Dad there's something up here!

We found two little creatures hiding in the playscape.  My daughter laughed out "those look like the alien from the movie Echo" and asked if they could take them home.  Yes, we can adopt them I replied.

My kids ran around the park showing their echos how earth children play.  They swung on the swings, slid down the slides, and chased each other in a game of tag.

Then we flew home for dinner where my kids shared with our new adopted family members their favorite meal - spaghetti & meatballs.

Thank you to Fox Home Entertainment for providing my kids with these great Echo plush toys.  Over the last few days these echos have watched my daughter's ballet practice, cheered on my son at his soccer game, enjoyed dinner at a restaurant, observed my carving a toothless Halloween pumpkin, and cuddled up on the couch with my kids to watch a few movies.  Speaking of movies, we received these toys as part of Fox Home Entertainment's promotion of the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Download release of "Earth to Echo."

EARTH TO ECHO is a tale told through the eyes of Tuck, Munch and Alex, a trio of pals who make an out-of-this world discovery.  The best friends venture out of their neighborhood to find the true meaning of friendship.  After receiving signals on their phones, they meet Echo, a small but amazing energetic alien trying to make his way back to his home planet.  As they race to help their new friend, the boys will discover that little Echo has touched their hearts in unexpected ways and changed their lives forever.

If you would like to create your own echo adventure on your smart phone I downloaded a FREE  app off of iTunes.  Just open the app and point your phone's camera at the DVD's cover artwork and the special effects will automatically appear on your screen.  CLICK HERE to download the "Earth to Echo" augmented reality app.  Through a little creativity, acting and this app, I really was able to prank my kids and provide them with a special treat.

For more information about the movie, visit:

DISCLAIMER:  A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any financial compensation for this post but is a member of the Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Blogger program which provides this site with free movies for reviews and giveaways, and occasional other perks like these Earth to Echo toys, in exchange for promotional opportunities with our audience.

#adoptecho #echoinsiders 

Tarkin - A Star Wars Novel by James Luceno

In the original Star Wars movie it isn't a menacing Emperor or the Dark Lord of the Sith giving the commands rather it is a character named Governor Tarkin who embodies the evil control of the Empire in the film.  Tarkin had the power to command Darth Vader, authorize the execution of Princess Leia and order the destruction of a planet by the Death Star. While Governor Tarkin, played by famed horror actor Peter Cushing, doesn't have a lot of screen time in the movie the scenes featuring this menacing skeletal looking figure provide the oppressive tone to the film that really defines the evil nature of the Empire.  The most background we are provided of this central character though is when Princess Leia is brought before him after being captured and she remarks "Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash.  I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board."

So who was Wilhuff Tarkin?  He played a pivotal role in the 1977 space opera but then after being blown to smithereens during the destruction of the Death Star by Luke Skywalker isn't referenced again in the sequel or prequels (except for a brief cameo at the very end of Star Wars Episode III overseeing the initial construction of the battle station with the Emperor and Darth Vader).  For such a powerful character not be more developed in Star Wars canon is a shame.

James Luceno has rectified the exclusion of Wilhuff Tarkin from Star Wars lore with his new novel TARKIN which is being released on November 4, 2014.  Luceno provides an excellent story that combines telling the back story of Wilhuff Tarkin with an adventurous tale set in the very early days of the Empire.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and devoured it in one weekend of reading because I couldn't put it down.

Pay attention to the name "Carrion Spike" which is both the name of Tarkin's customized space ship while he supervises the construction of the Death Star and the trials he must complete to be considered a man on the out of the way planet where he grows up during his youth.  This is a central theme that the author niftily utilizes to tie together Tarkin's background with the novel's main storyline.  While the book stays true to the character as portrayed by Peter Cushing in Star Wars it also provides some depth to Grand Moff Governor Wilhuff Tarkin.  Being raised as a youth in an environment where pirates, rogues and scoundrels will scourge good people unless overcome with brutal force this attitude impacts Tarkin's future political and military career with the Empire.  Having witnessed brutality and destruction during the Clone Wars, Tarkin is determined to keep order in the galaxy...and from his past experience the only way to ensure peace is through fear and might.  You begin to picture Wilhuff Tarkin as a complex figure who may be doing bad things with good intentions.  While the Emperor and Darth Vader are evil characters, Tarkin is painted more as a bureaucrat who has led a life filled with conflict and is prepared to ensure peace in the Empire through any means necessary.  Essentially Tarkin is a villain but in his own mind he is a hero which creates a great dynamic in this book.

TARKIN explores the early development of the Empire as it transforms from the Republic at the conclusion of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and provides an insightful look into the character's rise to power through his relationships with the Emperor and Darth Vader.  The book ties in quite a bit to the Clone Wars animated television series episodes that featured Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin to develop his relationship to Darth Vader.  Tarkin doesn't know that Vader is Anakin Skywalker in this book...but he suspects it!  We also gain some interesting tidbits on the Emperor including his first name...Sheev...Sheev Palpatine.

The story also answers a few questions that I had wondered over the years?  Tarkin is called both Governor and Grand Moff?  What is a Grand Moff?  Aren't governors supposed to be governing a defined area so why does he have so much power?  These questions are answered in this novel.  Thank you James Luceno!

TARKIN does a nice job of tying together the Prequel Movies/Clone Wars, Dark Times/Star Wars: Rebels, and the Original Trilogy in this novel.  If you are a Star Wars fan who appreciates a focus on character development than this is a must read book for you as it really establishes the identity of Wilhuff Tarkin in the canon of Star Wars.

STAR WARS: TARKIN get A GEEK DADDY nod of approval.  For more information on Star Wars books visit:

DISCLAIMER:  I received limited access to an advance digital copy of TARKIN for this review. The views and opinions in this review are my own.  I was not required to post a positive review for access to this book.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How To Carve Your Dragon

The hot thing that has caught my son's attention and imagination lately are the How to Train Your Dragon movies and television shows. So he was thrilled when our family included his favorite dragon, Toothless, into our Halloween activities by carving a jack-o-lantern of the character.  In fact, we switched up our Friday family game night routine last week and made it a #DragonsDay themed evening creating some fun dragon masks, carving our Toothless pumpkin and watching the original How to Train Your Dragon movie from DreamWorks Animation.

My friends at Fox Home Entertainment helped us put together our special How To Train Your Dragon night by providing templates for pumpkin carving and dragon masks that I was able to print out.  I've included these below if you'd like to incorporate them  into your Halloween festivities.


DreamWorks How To Train Your Dragon 2 will be coming out on Blu-ray & DVD on November 11, 2014 distributed by Fox Home Entertainment so incorporating jack-o-lanterns and masks into your Halloween activities can be a fun way to get your kids excited about the upcoming home video release.  My son has been asking every week since we saw this movie at theaters this summer when he could see it again so watching the original movie and including Dragons into our Halloween really built up his excitement for us bringing the sequel home in a few weeks.  It was also a reminder that he needs to keep his grades up and keep being good at school if he wants us to let him watch How To Train Your Dragon 2 when it comes out.  A little bit of carrot and stick parenting there combining reward and punishment in one simple DVD package.  My daughter enjoys the movies too but to be honest she's just not as engrossed by dragons as much as my son is.

If you don't want to wait until November 11th to enjoy How to Train Your Dragon 2 there is one way you can view it right now ...  it became available for digital download on October 21, 2014.  Our household prefers Blu-ray though for watching flicks on our big screen tv.

About How To Train Your Dragon 2

It's been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island's new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.

DISCLAIMER:  A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any compensation for this post but is a member of the Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Blogger program which provides this site with free movies for reviews and giveaways in exchange for promotional opportunities with our audience.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stop by the local Comic Book Store as part of your Trick or Treat Plans

On Saturday, October 25, 2014 local comic book stores across the United States and Canada will be giving away FREE comic books for the industry's HALLOWEEN COMICFEST.  Participating retailers will be handing out 12 full size comics and 7 mini-comics to kids, and adults, who stop by and say "trick or treat" while supplies last.  CLICK HERE to see if there is a participating location near you.


There are though a few of the full sized comic books with a kids focus such as HERO CATS, MY LITTLE PONY, and SCOOBY-DOO TEAMS UP WITH BATMAN.

The mini-comics are much more aimed for younger audiences with a compilation by Boom! Studios that includes stories featuring Adventure Time, Peanuts and Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock plus other comics featuring Angry Birds, Little Battlers and Vamplets: the Undead Pet Society.

Don't miss out on the fun! Make sure you swing by a participating comic book store on Saturday, October 25th.  They'll probably be out of the freebies by the end of the day so don't wait until later in the week to try and pick these up or try to actually trick or treat on Halloween at these stores.

For more information, visit