10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It's always appropriate to celebrate your love of Star Wars, and that goes double every May 4, which has become known as Star Wars Day over the last few years (for the pun fans out there, the proper greeting is "May the Fourth Be With You").

So what do you do on Star Wars Day? Well, you’re only limited by your own imagination. You can enjoy everything from official events held by Disney to independent organizations, stores, and sports teams getting in on the fun. Then there are all the festivities you can throw on your own for you and your Star Wars-loving friends. To prepare for your own May the Fourth activities, here are 10 fun ways to celebrate Star Wars Day.

1. REWATCH THE ENTIRE SAGA.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens on a movie theater marquee
iStock

With all of the events, cosplay, merchandise, and other celebrations, it's easy to forget the most important part about Star Wars Day: the movies. And if you don't own the saga yourself, you're in luck because TBS will be playing all the installments from The Phantom Menace through The Force Awakens in order (so, excluding Rogue One and The Last Jedi), starting at 2:30 a.m. and going until 11 p.m. on May 4. Of course you can always splurge on all the DVDs, Blu-rays, or digital copies and set up shop at home for the better part of 20 hours across nine movies.

2. COOK UP SOME STAR WARS RECIPES.

If you're going to sit through an all-day Star Wars binge, you won't be able to do it on an empty stomach. Prepare for your May the Fourth marathon with some themed recipes, like these Darth Maul waffles (which you can wash down with some blue milk), Jabbacado toast, porg puffs, or Imperial nachos.

3. EXPLORE YOUR CRAFTY SIDE.

If you need to do something with your hands instead of just feeding yourself while binging movies, there are more than enough crafty projects to either spruce up your living room with some homemade Skywalker décor or make a gift for that Star Wars superfan in your life.

You can make a unique costume modeled on your favorite character, create your own bookmark, try your hand at some TIE Fighter art, paint a Jawa picture frame with the kids, or make a personalized gift for Mother's and Father's Day. There's really no limit to what you can do—and if you run out of ideas, there are plenty of online resources and books to help stimulate your creative side.

4. ADD A LEGO Y-WING TO YOUR COLLECTION.

Star Wars Day is about more than just getting deals on pre-existing merchandise—it's also about the debut of brand new collectibles that you've never been able to get your hands on. And the biggest one coming out this May 4 is LEGO's new Ultimate Collector Series Y-WING.

Measuring in at two feet long and containing an impressive 1967 pieces, this massive starfighter is just like the one fans saw make the assault on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. The set also comes with a Gold Leader minifigure (complete with blaster) and an R2-BHD droid, because everyone knows any starfighter worth its salt needs an astromech aboard. If you want one for yourself, the UCS Y-Wing will set you back $199.

5. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY, MUSEUM, AND ZOO.

There's a good chance that a local institution in your community is jumping on the Star Wars bandwagon with activities aimed at fans of any age.

If you're in New York City on Star Wars Day, the public library system will have events at branches throughout the city on May 4—just call ahead for information and availability. Various zoos, including the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida, the El Paso Zoo in Texas, and Oklahoma's OKC Zoo will all have themed events, such as character meet and greets, costume contests, or games and activities for kids. And the Boston Children's Museum will have activities—including Star Wars yoga—from May 4 through Sunday May 6.

These are far from the only local events you can partake in—cities all over the world are looking to take advantage of May 4 to bring people together for special activities to enjoy. Do a little digging and see what your local parks, museums, malls, and zoos are doing to celebrate all things Star Wars.

6. ENJOY STAR WARS NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK.

Star Wars Day at an MLB ballpark.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If you're at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, or SunTrust ballpark in Atlanta on May 4, you can snag special bobbleheads of one of the team's standout players in Star Wars garb. Then on May 5 (sometimes known as "Revenge of the Fifth"), the Washington Nationals are holding their own celebration, complete with photo ops with your favorite characters and themed food and drink specials.

But the force can be with you even if it isn't the fourth. The Baltimore Orioles are holding a Star Wars Night on May 11, complete with a Darren "O'Day-Wan" Kenobi bobblehead, followed by the New York Mets on May 19, where the first 25,000 fans will get a special Mr. Met Star Wars bobblehead. There are even more Star Wars-themed nights throughout the season all around the league, all the way into August and September.

7. GET A FREE STAR WARS COMIC BOOK.

Han Solo frozen in carbonite
iStock

It just so happens that Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day are back-to-back this year, so when you head down to your local comic shop on May 5 to score your haul of freebies, be sure to pick up the special issue of Star Wars Adventures, put out by publisher IDW.

While Marvel has the license to publish Star Wars comics, IDW is handling the Adventures book, which is aimed at younger readers (though adult fans will still enjoy them). The story in this issue—which will be continued in Star Wars Adventures #10 and #11—will focus on a young Han Solo and Chewbacca, in preparation for the May 25 release of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

8. LEGOLAND STAR WARS DAYS.

LEGO Darth Vader sculpture at LEGOLAND.
Kevin Baird, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sure it's the day after the official Star Wars Day, but if you're in LEGOLAND in Florida on May 5-6, or either of the two weekends after, you can experience LEGO's ode to the blockbuster movie franchise. For the park's LEGO Star Wars Days event, you'll be able to take part in building activities, cosplay (with a chance to win prizes), and see the latest addition to MINILAND with a Force Awakens display. This display is made up of thousands of LEGO bricks and will recreate memorable moments from the movie.

9. SALES! SALES! SALES!

Star Wars action figures.
iStock

You don't even have to leave your computer to enjoy May the Fourth. There are plenty of retailers that are giving out deep discounts on Star Wars merchandise like action figures, movies, clothing, home décor, kitchen accessories, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. The Star Wars website has a direct hub for the biggest sales, and then there's the highly anticipated Think Geek Star Wars Day sale, which is usually among the best.

10. ENJOY THE MUSIC.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir performing the Star Wars scores.
Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a day off to watch the Star Wars movies, make crafts, and take advantage of sales. If you're stuck at work on May the Fourth, though, you can still celebrate the music of Star Wars while you're at your computer or during your commute. Just pop some headphones in and stream one (or all) of John Williams's memorable scores from the saga. They're all easy to find on the major music services, and surely listening to the Cantina Band song in the afternoon will get you pumped for happy hour.

7 Things You Might Not Know About Mario Lopez

Angela Weiss, Getty Images for Oakley
Angela Weiss, Getty Images for Oakley

While several of the actors featured in the 1990s young-adult series Saved by the Bell have fared well following the show’s end in 1994, Mario Lopez is in a class by himself. The versatile actor-emcee can be seen regularly on Extra, as host of innumerable beauty pageants, and as the author of several best-selling books on fitness. For more on Lopez, check out some of the more compelling facts we’ve rounded up on the multi-talented performer.

1. A WITCH DOCTOR SAVED HIS LIFE.

Born on October 10, 1973, in San Diego, California to parents Mario and Elvia Lopez, young Mario was initially the picture of health. But things quickly took a turn for the worse. In his 2014 autobiography, Just Between Us, Lopez wrote that he began having digestive problems immediately after birth, shrinking to just four pounds. Though doctors administered IV hydration, they told his parents nothing more could be done. Desperate, his father reached out to a witch doctor near Rosarito, Mexico who had cured his spinal ailments years earlier. The healer mixed a drink made of Pedialyte, Carnation evaporated milk, goat’s milk, and other unknown substances. It worked: Lopez kept it down and began growing, so much so that his mother declared him “the fattest baby you had ever seen in your life.”

2. HE STARTED ACTING AT 10.

A highly active kid who got involved in both tap and jazz dancing and amateur wrestling, Lopez was spotted by a talent scout during a dance competition at age 10 and was later cast in a sitcom, a.k.a. Pablo, in 1984. That led to a role in the variety show Kids Incorporated and in the 1988 Sean Penn feature film Colors. In 1989, at the age of 16, he won the role of Albert Clifford “A.C.” Slater in Saved by the Bell. By 1992, Lopez was making public appearances at malls, where female fans would regularly toss their underthings in his direction.

3. HE COULD PROBABLY BEAT YOU UP.

Lopez wrestled as an amateur throughout high school. According to the Chula Vista High School Foundation, Lopez was a state placewinner at 189 pounds in 1990. (On Saved by the Bell, Slater was also a wrestler.) He later complemented his grappling ability with boxing, often sparring professionals like Jimmy Lange and Oscar De La Hoya in bouts for charity. In 2018, Lopez posted on Instagram that he received his blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Gracie Barra Glendale instructor Robert Hill.

4. HE TURNED DOWN PLAYGIRL.

Lopez’s active lifestyle has made for a trim physique, but he’s apparently unwilling to take off more than his shirt. In 2008, Lopez said he was approached to pose for Playgirl but declined. The magazine reportedly offered him $200,000.

5. HE WAS MARRIED FOR TWO WEEKS.

Lopez had a well-publicized marriage to actress Ali Landry, but not for all the right reasons. The two were married in April 2004 and split just two weeks later, with Landry alleging Lopez had not been faithful. Lopez later disclosed he had made a miscalculation during his bachelor party in Mexico, cheating on Landry just days before the ceremony.

6. HE APPEARED ON BROADWAY.

Lopez joined the cast of Broadway’s A Chorus Line in 2008, portraying Zach, the director who coaches the cast of aspiring dancers. (It was his first stage appearance since he participated in a grade school play, where he played a tree.) His run, which lasted five months, was perceived to be part of a rash of casting choices on Broadway revolving around hunky performers to attract audiences. The role was thought to be the start of a resurgence for Lopez, who had previously appeared on Dancing with the Stars and has been a co-host of the pop culture newsmagazine show Extra since 2007.

7. HE BELIEVES HIS DOG SUFFERED FROM POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.

In 2010, Lopez and then-girlfriend (now wife) Courtney Mazza had their first child, Gia. According to Lopez, his French bulldog, Julio César Chavez Lopez, exhibited signs of depression following the new addition to the household. Lopez also said he used his extensive knowledge of dogs to better inform his voiceover work as a Labrador retriever in 2009’s The Dog Who Saved Christmas and 2010’s The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation.

The Legend of Cry Baby Lane: The Lost Nickelodeon Movie That Was Too Scary for TV

Nickelodeon, Viacom
Nickelodeon, Viacom

Several years ago, rumors about a lost Nickelodeon movie branded too disturbing for children’s television began popping up around the internet. They all referenced the same plot: A father of conjoined twins was so ashamed of his sons that he hid them away throughout their childhood. (This being a made-for-TV horror movie, naturally one of the twins was evil.)

After one twin got sick the other soon followed, with both boys eventually succumbing to the illness. To keep the town from discovering his secret, the father separated their bodies with a rusty saw and buried the good one at the local cemetery and the evil one at the end of a desolate dirt road called Cry Baby Lane, which also happened to be the title of the rumored film. According to the local undertaker, anyone who ventured down Cry Baby Lane after dark could hear the evil brother crying from beyond the grave.

Cry Baby Lane then jumps to present day (well, present day in 2000), where a group of teens sneaks into the local graveyard in an effort to contact the spirit of the good twin. After holding a seance, they learn that the boys' father had made a mistake and mixed up the bodies of his children—burying the good son at the end of Cry Baby Lane and the evil one in the cemetery. Meaning those ghostly wails were actually the good twin crying out for help. But the teens realized the error too late: The evil twin had already been summoned and quickly began possessing the local townspeople.

MOVIE OR MYTH?

Parents were appalled that such dark content ever made it onto the family-friendly network, or so the story goes, and after airing the film once the Saturday before Halloween in 2000, Nickelodeon promptly scrubbed it from existence. But with no video evidence of it online for years, some people questioned whether Cry Baby Lane had ever really existed in the first place.

“Okay, so this story sounds completely fake, Nick would NEVER air this on TV,” one Kongregate forum poster said in September 2011. “And why would this be made knowing it’s for kids? This story just sounds too fake …”

While the folklore surrounding the film may not be 100 percent factual, Nickelodeon quickly confirmed that the “lost” Halloween movie was very real, and that it did indeed contained all the rumored twisted elements that have made it into a legend.

Before Cry Baby Lane was a blip in Nick’s primetime schedule, it was nearly a $100 million theatrical release. Peter Lauer, who had previously directed episodes of the Nick shows The Secret World of Alex Mack and The Adventures of Pete & Pete, co-wrote the screenplay with KaBlam! co-creator Robert Mittenthal. Cry Baby Lane, which would eventually spawn urban legends of its own, was inspired by a local ghost story Lauer heard growing up in Ohio. “There was a haunted farmhouse, and if you went up there at midnight, you could hear a baby crying and it’d make your high school girlfriend scared,” he told The Daily.

BIG SCARES ON A SMALL BUDGET

Despite Nickelodeon’s well-meaning intentions, parent company Paramount wasn’t keen on the idea of turning the screenplay into a feature film. The script was forgotten for about a year, until Nick got in touch with Lauer about producing Cry Baby Lane—only this time as a $800,000 made-for-TV movie. The director gladly signed on.

Even with the now-meager budget, Cry Baby Lane maintained many of the same elements of a much larger picture. In a bid to generate more publicity around the project, Nickelodeon cast Oscar nominee Frank Langella as the local undertaker (a role Lauer had originally wanted Tom Waits to play). All the biggest set pieces from the screenplay were kept intact, and as a result, the crew had no money left to do any extra filming.

Only two scenes from the movie ended up getting cut—one that alluded to skinny dipping and another that depicted an old man’s head fused onto the body of a baby in a cemetery. The story of a father performing amateur surgery on the corpses of his sons, however, made it into the final film.

The truth of what happened after Cry Baby Lane premiered on October 28, 2000 has been muddied over the years. In most retellings, Nickelodeon received an "unprecedented number" of complaints about the film and responded by sealing it away in its vault and acting like the whole thing never happened. But if that version of events is true, Nick has never acknowledged it.

Even Lauer wasn’t aware of any backlash from parents concerned about the potentially scarring effects of the film until The Daily made him aware of the rumors years later. “All I know is that they aired it once,” he told the paper. “I just assumed they didn’t show it again because they didn’t like it! I did it, I thought it failed, and I moved on.”

But the idea that the movie was pulled from airwaves for being too scary for kids isn’t so far-fetched. Though Cry Baby Lane never shows the conjoined twins being sawed apart on screen, it does pair the already-unsettling story with creepy images of writhing worms, broken glass, and animal skulls. This opening sequence, combined with the spooky, empty-eyed victims of possession that appear later, and multiple scenes where a child gets swallowed by a grave, may have made the film slightly more intense than the average episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?

IMPERFECT TIMING

Cry Baby Lane premiered at a strange time in internet history: Too early for pirated copies to immediately spring up online yet late enough for it to grow into a web-fueled folktale. The fervor surrounding the film peaked in 2011, when a viral Reddit thread about Cry Baby Lane caught the attention of one user claiming to have the so-called “lost” film recorded on VHS. He later uploaded the tape for the world to view and suddenly the lost movie was lost no longer.

News of the unearthed movie made waves across the web, and instead of staying quiet and waiting for the story to die down, Nickelodeon decided to get in on the hype. That Halloween, Nick aired Cry Baby Lane for the first time in over a decade. Regardless of whether the movie had previously been banned or merely forgotten, the network used the mystery surrounding its origins to their PR advantage.

“We tried to freak people out with it,” a Nick employee who worked at The 90s Are All That (now The Splat), the programming block that resurrected Cry Baby Lane (and who wished to remain anonymous) said of the promotional campaign for the event. “They were creepy and a little glitchy. We were like, ‘This never aired because it was too scary and we’re going to air it now.’”

Cry Baby Lane now makes regular appearances on Nickelodeon’s '90s block around Halloween, which likely means Nick hasn’t received enough complaints to warrant locking it back in the vault. And during less spooky times of the year, nostalgic horror fans can find the full movie on YouTube.

The mystery surrounding Cry Baby Lane’s existence may have been solved, but the urban legend of the movie that was “too scary for kids’ TV” persists—even at the network that produced it.

“People who were definitely working at Nickelodeon in 2000, but didn’t necessarily work on [Cry Baby Lane] were like, ‘Yeah I heard about it, I remember it being a thing,'" the Nick employee says. “It’s sort of like its own legend within the company.”

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