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Macy's moves up Thanksgiving Day opening time

Macy’s will open its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, one hour earlier than last year.

Macy’s announced the news Monday after BestBlackFriday.com confirmed the 5 p.m. opening with five different Macy’s locations across the country. Most stores will close at 2 a.m. Friday, then reopen at 6 a.m. Friday, the AP reported.

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“In 2015 and 2014, they opened at 6 p.m., so this is one hour earlier than last year,” said Eric Jones of BestBlackFriday.com. “Whether other major retailers decide to move up their opening time on Thanksgiving remains to be seen, but Macy’s is the first one to make their decision.”

Last year, Walmart, Target and Kohl’s all opened at 6 p.m., according to BestBlackFriday.com. Toys R Us and Best Buy opened at 5 p.m., the website reports.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Oregon family creates Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs

Brianna Chambers contributed to this story.

A nonprofit organization started by an Oregon-based family seeks to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair.

Ryan and Lana Weimer, the founders of Magic Wheelchair, have five children, three of whom were born with spinal muscular atrophy, which requires the use of wheelchairs their whole lives.

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Ryan Weimer wrote on the nonprofit's website that he and his son were talking years ago about Halloween costumes. His son said he wanted to be pirate.

"During a magical thinking moment I realized, 'Keaton has this wheelchair he cruises around in, and every pirate needs a ship, so let's just build one around his chair,'" Weimer wrote.

Since then, Weimer has made the biggest, "baddest" costumes possible for his sons, Keaton and Bryce. 

"When you know that you have few memories to make with your kids, you want to make priceless ones," Weimer told NBC News.

Once news of the costumes spread, Ryan began receiving requests from parents around the world asking if he would transform their children's wheelchairs into "magic."

The Weimer family project became a hugely successful nonprofit, called Magic Wheelchair. The group has made costumes in which wheelchairs have been transformed into a Mario Kart, a SpongeBob boat, a "Frozen" ice castle and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van.

"Giving families and kids those experiences that we've been able to have year after year, it's awesome. I love it,” Weimer told BuzzFeed News last year. "My kids are seen as superstars and not looked at with sympathetic eyes or sadness."

Teams of volunteers in communities nationwide help build the incredible costumes and create unforgettable moments for children during Halloween. It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to make children's dreams come true through the project.

"When we have challenges and trials and hard times, those are the things that define us," Weimer told NBC. "It doesn't matter your circumstances, you can still make beautiful things ... and it's great to see other people get behind that." 

Magic Wheelchair made eight costumes for children last year, two in Georgia and six in Oregon.

Weimer said he doesn't want Magic Wheelchair to make the costumes for Halloween only. He told ABC News that the group wants children to "roll in (the decorated wheelchairs) all year round" and to even "go shopping with Mom in a dragon."

"It's not a cure," Weimer, who has also worked as a nurse, told Buzzfeed. "I wish I was smart enough to come up with something like that. It's a cure for a day. It helps them forget. It helps other people see them as kids, and not just a kid in a wheelchair."

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Saturday, March 21, 2015

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Monday, January 25, 2016

Look at his face!Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Swan Princess beings her ballerPosted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Before the lights turned on!Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Monday, November 2, 2015Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Thursday, June 4, 2015

Brave visitors can spend night in 'Dracula's Castle,' coffins included

For the first time in nearly 70 years, visitors can sleep in Dracula's castle.

Bran Castle will play host to two people who are lucky enough to be chosen to spend the night there on Halloween night.

The contest is part of a promotion by Airbnb

The pair will have dinner and wine before retiring to their red velvet-trimmed coffins, according to the Associated Press.

But if coffins are too much, the guests will be able to sleep in beds. 

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The contest to find two brave souls to spend the night in the creepy Romanian castle started Monday.

Applicants were asked to imagine what they would say to Count Dracula if they met the vampire of legend.

The chosen will be flown to Romania and taken to the castle in the Carpathian Mountains.

Bran Castle hosts more than 630,000 visitors a year.

The event will be hosted by a descendant of writer Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker, who will portray Jonathan Harker, the character in the elder Stoker's novel who encounters Dracula in the novel.

The contemporary Stoker will welcome his guests with the same words Dracula uses,"Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of happiness you bring," the AP reported.

There are rules for the winning pair. There can be no garlic or silver jewelry with the notation that "The count is not a fan of mirror selfies." Also, no crosses are allowed and all curtains need to be closed before sunrise, according to the contest rules.

Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian king used by Stoker as the inspiration for Count Dracula, did not own Bran Castle, but it is believed to have been used by him during his battles in Transylvania. It is also tradition that he was imprisoned in the castle for two months in 1462 when he was captured by a Hungarian king.

Vlad Tepes impaled his victims as punishment.

For more on the contest, click here.

Deadline to enter is Oct. 26 at 11:59 p.m. CET.

Last year, Airbnb hosted a similar contest, to spend the night in the catacombs of Paris.

'Trumpkins,' Donald Trump-inspired pumpkins, are back

With Halloween approaching, many people are bringing out their holiday and fall decorations.

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One favorite decoration are pumpkins, often carved with frightening and creative designs. And among those are Trumpkins, pumpkins carved in the likeness of Donald Trump, which have returned after becoming a trend last year.

Less than three weeks before Halloween and less than one month before the presidential election, Trumpkins of all shapes and sizes are popping up at American households everywhere.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/trumpkins/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/trumpkins.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Trumpkins" on Storify]

5 top tech tips to keep kids safe on Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, lots of children will be traveling from door to door in search of yummy treats. And we want them to have fun and be safe! So, AT&T offers these top tech safety tips:

1. Be prepared: Make sure your child's cellphone is fully charged. And make sure it's not on mute!

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2. Create lines of communication: Save ICE (In case of emergency) numbers into your child's speed dial on the cell phone, such as your number, a neighbor and/or a grandparent. And make sure your child knows how to dial 911 and provide important information such as their location and landmarks.

3. Stay connected: Set periodic alarms on your child's cellphone to remind trick-or-treaters to check in at home.

4.  Set up a wireless route: Create a 'trick-or-treat' patrol in your neighborhood by having parents stationed along the trick-or-treat route and have them text each other as kids reach certain points.

5. Use apps for safety: Apps such as RedPanicButton and AT&T's FamilyMap provide ways to quickly locate your child in case of an emergency.

10 ways to ensure that your Halloween is as safe as it is spooky

The stores are full of candy and the pumpkins are fat and orange – it’s Halloween season! Here are 10 tips to help you and your trick-or-treater reach maximum candy intake.

Keep costumes safe

To quote Edna Mole in The Incredibles, “No capes!” Capes, sashes and other low-swinging, easily untied costume pieces can increase the chance of tripping and falling. Costumes and accessories should be flame-resistant and kept away from candles.

Makeup over masks

While many of the comic-book superheroes wear masks, take a cue from their cinematic counterparts and go for makeup instead. Masks can make it hard to see. Choose FDA-approved makeup and test it on a small area first to avoid serious reactions. Make sure to take it off before going to bed.

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The priority is the accessory

While your trick-or-treater will do their best to bring home a double-fisted haul of treats, it’s much safer to have one hand free for protection and balance. If they have an accessory that’s an important part of the costume, make sure it’s easy to carry and doesn’t have any sharp points.

Don’t keep the ingredients to yourself

If you’re the parent at home handing out homemade treats, make sure you tell visitors what is in them. An allergic reaction and trip to the hospital is definitely not how a parent wants to end Halloween night.

Individually wrap your candy and include a note with your name and address. In the event that the candy ends up being contaminated, your candy can be easily separated from the others.

Check out your haul before digging in

To be on the safe side, make sure your trick-or-treaters eat only factory-wrapped treats, and only after you’ve checked them for tampering. Throw away unwrapped treats and homemade treats made by people you don’t know.

Drive carefully

Trick-or-treaters can range all over streets and roads in their search for the elusive candy trove. If you’re driving in a trick-or-treating area, reduce speed and watch for rampaging hordes of candy seekers.

Walk carefully

To help out those driving around during trick-or-treating time, put reflective tape on costumes, bags, strollers, wagons, wings, landspeeders, rocket boots and any other form of pedestrian-fueled transportation you might be using. Carry a flashlight to increase visibility and reduce the risk of tripping over curbs.

Don’t go it alone

While it might be tempting for a trick-or-treater to hoard all that candy for themselves – in their Gordon Gekko costume – young candy-hunters need adult supervision. Older kids can go out in groups in well-lit, known areas, but they should check in regularly and never go door-to-door by themselves. Make sure children know your cellphone number, their home telephone number and address in case you get separated.

Lights on

While a spooky, dark house might be the best fit for a Halloween theme on the block, chances are if there are people in there, they just want to be left alone. Make sure you only knock on doors of houses with lights on, and don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.

Don’t feed treats to the pets

All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rat, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, a subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.

'Halloweentown' really exists, you can visit this month

If you were a fan of the Disney Channel original movie "Halloweentown" and were disappointed that you couldn't join Marnie and Aggie there in real life, be disappointed no more. 

The town that served as the spooky town is real and is ready to give you all of the spooks and scares that come with the Halloween season.

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St. Helens, Oregon, hosts the month-long "Spirit of Halloweentown" festival, not only to celebrate all things Halloween but also to commemorate its role in the Disney movie series that stared Debbie Reynolds.

Fans can have their photos taken at the courthouse and throughout Old Town, which served as the otherworldly setting.

IT'S HERE!!! The giant pumpkin has landed in the plaza square! 🎃#SpiritofHalloweentown StHelensOR #halloween #giantpumpkin #october A photo posted by Spirit Of Halloweentown (@spiritofhalloweentown) on Sep 28, 2016 at 2:13pm PDT

Oct. 8, Kimberly Brown, the actress who portrayed Marnie in three of the films, will be on hand for the giant pumpkin lighting, story time and photo ops.

The month-long schedule of events can be found here.

And if you're not a fan of "Halloweentown," or have never heard of it, St. Helens has a connection to another hit film franchise. The town was also a setting in "Twilight," according to Buzzfeed.

St. Helens stood in for Port Angeles and the house used as the Swan family's home

Home Depot to pull Scary Peeper Creeper Halloween decoration

Home Depot said the company would pull a Halloween decoration after a Canadian woman complained that the product bares a likeness too similar to a Peeping Tom and trivializes predatory behaviour against women, The Toronto Sun reported.

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Breanne Hunt-Wells told CBC News that the "Scary Peeper Creeper" decoration is "inappropriate and makes light of a real-life, sinister issue that women face in our society."

"I fail to see the humour in it," Hunt-Wells told CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "It makes light of a very serious crime. Voyeurism is a crime in Canada."

A description on Home Depot's website describes the item as "perfect for scaring friends and family during Halloween or any other time of the year" and a "realistic face (that) looks just like a real man is peering through the window at you."

Home Depot responded to criticism saying it is "currently in the process of removing this product from (its) assortment."

"We agree that this is not in line with our core values," Home Depot spokeswoman Emily DiCarlo said. "We've reached out to advise the customer of our actions and apologize. We're sorry for any offence that was caused."

>> Disney pulls controversial Maui costume from store

The move comes after Disney yanked a costume timed to the release of the movie "Moana." The costume, designed for boys, is based on Maui, a Polynesian ancestral figure to many Pacific Islanders. Critics found it culturally insensitive.

Photos: Men's costumes for 2016

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