It's hard to believe that we're already on Season 5 of Once Upon A Time — where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday that Henry (tiny, tiny Henry!) got on a bust to Boston all by himself to find the woman who gave birth to him. That woman just so happened to be Emma Swan, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and the Savior that would break the curse cast by the Evil Queen. Oh yeah, and the Evil Queen was none other than Regina Mills, Henry's adoptive mother. It was a simpler time, really, and so much has changed in the past four seasons, but the journey has been an interesting (and sometimes infuriating) one, that's for sure. Funny enough, it's this weekend that marks Once Upon A Time's four year anniversary, since the series premiered on Oct. 23, 2011. That was actually on Friday, but given that the show has always aired on a Sunday night, I'm technically not late to the party, and that calls for a celebration.
For all its missteps (Captain Swan) and bad judgment calls (the whole Zelena/Robin pregnancy storyline), Once is one of the most imaginative and addictive shows on TV these days. Creators and executive producers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis have managed to take the fairy tales we all know and love from our childhood and give them deeper and richer histories while weaving new connections between them and creating new stories on top of them. Once is a show about magic and storybook characters, yes, but it's also a show about family, friendship, and the power of self-belief. Those ideals are worth holding on to even when the show itself loses sight of them in favor of the distraction of silly romances that they believe will pull in more viewers. I love this show, and I know I'm not alone.
If you want to celebrate the Once Upon A Time anniversary, here are nine ways to do it (besides watching the new episode, "Dreamcatcher," that's on Sunday night):
Read Some Fanfic
There's basically never a bad time to check out fanfic for your chosen obsession, but Once has one of the richest, most creative and diverse group of writers out there, and there's basically a story for every pairing and every taste. Like Snow Queen (Snow White/Regina) angst fics? There are tons! Outlaw Queen fan? I don't really know why, but there are plenty for you to choose from, as well! Fall down the rabbit hole at AO3 or FanFiction.net and good luck getting out!
Follow Some Once-centric Tumblr Accounts
You're probably already doing this, but it never hurts to add some more to your dashboard. Like fanfic, there are themed Tumblrs out there for every pairing and character you can think of, as well as general show accounts that cover the series as a whole with no focus on one character more than the other.
Rewatch The Pilot
It's so good! It will also remind you of the more innocent and uncomplicated times behind us... far, far behind us.
Pay Homage With Your Halloween Costume
If you've got plans to hit up any kind of costume party this Halloween, why not go as your favorite Once character? After all, can you really resist the temptation to dress up like the Dark Swan? I didn't think so.
Watch YouTube Fan Videos
Again, Once fans are super passionate and creative and make some amazing fan vids. Check out YouTube to see your OTP set to music that will have you sobbing like a baby on a Sunday afternoon. Not that I've done that or anything... just saying.
Treat Yourself To Some Merch
Yes, I'm a 31-year-old woman, and yes, I definitely own this Evil Queen keychain as a marker of my eternal love for Regina Mills and my status as an Evil Regal. I also own a silver pair of swan earrings because... you know. Get yourself a t-shirt, keychain, figurine, or some other piece of merch flying around, because why not?
Visit Or Plan A Trip To Steveston
If you live close enough to Vancouver to make such a trip, you've probably already been, but I'd recommend that any Once fan hit up Moncton Street in Steveston, Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver. Not only will you get to see where the cast films and a ton of famous landmarks from the show, but you can also actually have food at Granny's Diner (which is actually the Cannery Cafe), and they have some amazing breakfast — take it from me.
Check Out Some Of The Actors' Previous Work
Pretty much every actor on the show has had plenty of work before it, so why not take this opportunity to check out your faves' back catalog? If you love Jennifer Morrison, you can see her older work on House and How I Met Your Mother, while Lana Parrilla fans should definitely look for Boomtown, Swingtown, or 24. Emilie de Ravin is worth seeing in Lost and Roswell, too. The list goes on and on!
Write Lengthy Meta Posts About Your OTP Being End Game
Because I love reading them! I mean, at least the Swan Queen ones. (I'll also make an exception for Snowing and Rumbelle, if you're curious.) In all seriousness, the best way to enjoy the show is to dig into it in what you love most about it and discuss it until you can't see straight anymore and everyone else is looking at you like you're thinking a little too much about a TV show that isn't even real.
I'm sure you've got your own ways of celebrating, but hopefully now you have a few more ideas to really keep the party going. You don't need to limit these activities to just the anniversary weekend, but what better time to partake?