Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Years ago, Wal Mart was one of the best Halloween shopping destinations. The closest one back where I lived in Bel Air, Maryland used to set up a whole massive Halloween department with a spooky entry gate and sound effects. In more recent years, however, Wal Marts have dramatically shrunken down their seasonal selection to the bare minimum...an aisle or two devoted to costumes and a few generic decorations. Their candy offerings remained festive as recently as last year, with such insane offerings as edible "potions" full of candy eyeballs giant gummi feet with crunchy sugar bones inside. This year, even the candy aisle is a mere shadow of what it once was.
There are, fortunately, a couple of choice treats under this economic trick.
The one candy item of interest this year are these eyeball lollipops, which, simple as they are, are way too cool to eat. I love that they're uncolored except for the cornea, which indicates the flavor of the whole pop.
These tiny candy pellet dispensers are a major holiday tradition these days, and this is a pretty diverse and interesting set. My favorite is the skull sticking up from a whole dusty bone pile, into which it spits candies while flashing its eyes and emitting the standard electronic ghost noise. I picked one up with bright green bones, but I might get one of the more realistic skulls as well. The other three designs are all fairly adorable, especially the puking cyclops, but one thing unsettles me: the witch, the little child-like witch, is the one they chose to dispense candy from its ass.
I have to say I'm not a big chip lover, but I almost wish I were so I'd have a good reason to buy three gigantic boxes of assorted snacks and form a complete snack-happy mummy on top of the refrigerator.
These tongue-snapping, bloodshot reptile candy tubes were also available as Easter items, but in more Easter-appropriate pastels and yellows. They're much more appropriate for Halloween, and the coolest one is obviously that crazy, orange frog.
As an interesting aside, I live off student loans and foodstamps right now because I am a parasite on society, and usually when you swipe a food stamp card it automatically pays for the food items first and separates inedible items to be paid for out of your own pocket, which is a fair system and I'm happy to do it that way, but as it turns out, plastic frogs with gumballs in them are recognized as food. I bought these idiotic things with government handout money. Take THAT, economy!
The general-purpose Halloween aisle brings us a small selection of Halloween toys, and I've always been a sucker for wind-ups. The eyeball in particular is quite special, as hopping wind-up eyes are incredibly common, but walking wind-up eyes are almost unheard of. I also really enjoy the confused, lopsided look of the walking skull, and though they did offer some other, less exciting wind-ups, I can't help but think of these two as a distinct pair. Eyeball is the brains, the one who always seems to have a handle on the situation. Skull is more of a follower and a bit of a simpleton, but he has a big heart and he keeps eyeball out of trouble.
Perhaps the neatest Wal Mart toys this year are these so called "bug eye buddies," offered in orange mummy and purple vampire cat flavors.
Obviously, I find the mummy the cooler of the two. You really have to give them a pretty good squeeze for the eyes to protrude, though it's definitely easier than Target's buggy-eye monsters. Wait...did I mention those yesterday in the Target blog? Oh no!
Yes, by strange coincidence (?) both Wal Mart and their competitor Target are offering nearly identical rubber bug-eye monsters, though Target's are limbless, allowing them to stand of their own accord.
Unfortunately, the amputee bug-eyes suffer from some rather shoddy craftsmanship, as it requires an enormous effort to bulge the oculars even this negligibly. They're still quite charming for only a dollar, which is a whole dollar less than Wal Mart's.
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