Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Thirteen More Halloween Finds!
I probably don't need to tell you that, for me, the end of the Halloween season is the most saddening time of the year. I suppose this isn't helped by the fact that this one marked the end of my twenties, which I grew up trained to regard as the "official" end of "youth," even though I feel like the same dumb kid who started up a website about monster toys back in the dial-up era. As you may or may not be aware, however, November only marks the beginning of our second annual horror writing contest, which is basically my way of extending Halloween for another two months.
As is often the case, I collected - or at least sighted - a fair number of Halloween goodies that I never got around to writing up in their own individual articles or otherwise finding a place for, so before I take a break from constant site updates, we're going to round up a final thirteen spooky toys, knick-knacks and doo-dads from my rummagings and birthday gifts!
LED Flashlight Monsters!
As a frequently nocturnal person and prone to late-night hunts for mollusks, I tend to be in almost constant need of small, powerful, portable light sources, but for whatever reason, miniature flashlights and pens are the only items in the world I consistently lose.
That's why I was probably far more excited for these flashlight monster figures than any normal individual, because I absolutely never lose track of any object shaped like a monster. I may have misplaced a dozen pocket flashlights in just the past year, but there are dime-sized rubber bugs I've managed to hold on to for over two decades. No way am I going to forget a flashlight shaped like a clawed pumpkin or a grumpy, walking mummy head. Surprisingly despite my mild mummy obsession, it's the pumpkin that I'm drawn to a whole lot more. I just really like that face.
If you're curious, the lights just shine directly out the tops of their heads.
Slime Creature Mini-plush
I'm not entirely sure this is a Halloween-specific item, but this Wal-Mart dog toy certainly started stocking in the right season. It's part of a selection of little pillow-like monsters, but none are quite as special as a nine-eyed pile of green slime. Neither blob-creatures nor nine-eyed creatures get enough merchandising, so we may very well never see something like this ever again. Why aren't you rushing out to Wal-Mart as we speak? These are only a dollar!
Solar Tombstone Skeleton
Last year, I marveled at how solar-powered dancing toys have gone from awesome high-tech novelties to dollar store trinkets in just a few years, which some might consider a fall in status, but I only interpret as technological progress. I was utterly delighted by the dancing skeletons offered by Family Dollar in 2012, but Dollar General has totally one-upped them this year with these dancing tombstone skeletons. I suppose they're meant to be dancing behind the stone, but I can't help thinking of the stone as their actual bodies, and I like how the markings above the "R.I.P." look like angry, swirly cartoon eyes.
Spooky Diner Menu
Another one from Dollar General, I just couldn't resist this cheaply made menu for the fictional "Dusty Graves Dier," for no reason other than having a skeleton in a chef's hat, high heels and a low-cut maid outfit. Yowza!
Found on a later visit to Party City, these seem to be a fairly new addition to the ever-growing selection of "pocket screamer" toys, though their little tags referred to them rather ominously as "dolls you'll never forget."
All four have a pretty cool, cartoonish style to them and I'm particularly fond of the Reaper and Witch's sea-green colors, but I think the devil is the most striking here. I'm usually not even that big a fan of devils, but his needly teeth, the way he's adjusting his tie and the little flames on his suit totally sold me.
This is another I didn't actually buy, but I took a picture because you just don't often see cats with spider bodies. unfortunately, I'm kind of torn here, because on one hand, a spider body definitely improves almost anything that isn't a spider, but on the other hand, the coolest part of a spider is probably its face, so what we have here may be a superior feline, but it is an inferior aranean.
Mummy Pepper Shaker
Every year, I find at least one painfully adorable mummy to add to my absurdly large mummy collection, and these little guys were so cute, I bought about five of them at 99 cents each. You can never have too many back-ups of small, breakable mummies, after all. I'm not sure what's cuter; the nubby limbs, the one orange eyeball, or the little bow tie.
I've mentioned in the past how I really enjoy the look of owls, but they usually need an extra "spooky" edge to really grab me. I'd say putting a black, expressionless owl head on a disproportionate human body in a crude facsimile of a fancy suit is definitely a step in the right direction, and if their heads hadn't been made of crappy styrofoam, that $14 tag might have started to look almost reasonable. The cat is nothing to scoff at either, but there's something especially unnerving about a shadowy, humanoid figure with a staring bird-head.
These are intended to stick out of Halloween flower arrangements and vases and whatnot, but all I care about is the fact that they're horrible, branching green claws marketed as "witch hands." They could only be better if they were bendable. They really look like they would be, don't they? Alas, they are stuck in the same position, even if it's already a fairly creepy one. I just want to know what the rest of this witch would look like.
Wait..are these a subtle nod to "Clockwork Orange?" I mean, the black gear around one eye kinda looks like that iconic make-up, and their faces are orange, right? I guess it might be too much of a stretch, but I really like how freaky these look either way, especially how their eyes are going off in different directions and the pumpkins have screws for eyes. It's like some sort of weird faux-steampunk kind of thing.
This "scarecrow" was on clearance at Wal-Mart for about three dollars by November 1st, and I guess I just felt bad for the little guy. What is he? That's kind of a Jack-O-Lantern mouth, but definitely a skeleton's nose, and the rest just seems to be a solid white ghost stuffed with straw. I'm almost disappointed they stopped there, and didn't give it a witch's hat and vampire fangs.
I just like this bat.
More owls!? I guess I needed these because their eyeballs pop out when you squeeze them, which makes damn near anything better. The vampire is the cutest and best-looking, with its pleasing combination of blue face and purple cape. It helps that owls actually are a really common form taken by vampires throughout mythology, and in fact, I do believe there are vampires in some cultures who are always owls. The mummy is also fairly cute, but with its plain orange coloration, it just isn't quite as spooky as the bloodsucking hooter.
"Graveyard Scene" hat
Oops...looks like we're going a little over thirteen already. This light-up decoration is basically a big, floppy, unwearable witch hat with a fleshy-looking latex coating, moldy greenish blotches and bits of cotton glued to it like some sort of magical fog, or something. The main attraction, of course, is its oddly mouth-like or pumpkin-shaped opening, displaying what the tag refers to as a "graveyard scene."
I don't know what kind of "graveyard" consists of a spider presumably having a chit-chat with a family of skulls, but I sure do know what kind of graveyard I want to be buried in now.
Thirty bucks was far too much for something of this size that I'd never actually use, but I'm kind of wondering now if it was the right choice to pass this thing up. Useful or not, it's still some sort of funky robotic Day of the Dead skeleton with a giant corkscrew where its legs ought to be, and you just know it locomotes like a deadly, whirling pogo stick.
Bobbling Owl Thing
Okay, now we're just getting silly. What do all these owls think this is, some kinda "owl city" or something? That's stupid! Nobody is building a city just for owls! I guess I can't hide from it anymore; I like Halloween owls as much as I like almost any other Halloween creature, even if they're just considered innocent, cute woodland animals the rest of the year. It's not like they should be. I mean, they're still bug-eyed, dead silent nocturnal predators who swallow rodents whole and puke up the bones in wads of hair.
This particular owl called out to me with its green and purple, scaly goblin-like appearance. I still need my Halloween owls to look Halloween-related in some way.
Now I'm really regretting not buying one of those Clockwork-orange owls, because I'm fast on my way to having enough creepy owls for a whole shelf of them.
I actually got this one for my birthday, after passing it up as too pricey when I first saw it in Cracker Barrel. Haunted household objects are fairly common in Halloween decor, but they're usually more "traditional" fare; witch's brooms, possessed mirrors, talking statues, maybe the odd gargoyle. A sentient vacuum cleaner, while obvious to people like you and I, is quite new to the scene, and it's the secret, bloodshot eyeball that really sells it. That, and the fact that it screams, howls, navigates by itself and plays a clip of Vincent Price cackling from the end of "Thriller," but it's also so ungodly loud that I was afraid to make a demonstration video so early in the morning. I assure you, this is only another selling point.
My friend Jesse paid an exorbitant price for this while I was still in Maryland, but you can plainly see that it would be worth almost any expense. This greedy skeleton is not only hoarding a pile of coins, but eats any more money you give him, his eyeballs designed to pop out as his arm lifts your spare change and dumps it down his bony throat! This is another of those items suddenly for sale in large numbers on Ebay, all for that same exorbitant price, which implies a large stock of them was only recently uncovered. Though not dated, these things all seem to be several decades old, and made entirely from heavy as shit metal. You could very easily kill somebody with this skeleton.
The Jumping Bug!
This is another one I initially passed by as too expensive, which I already talked about this when I reviewed this year's Spirit selection. At a hundred dollars, it was a good thirty or forty more than any one Halloween object I'd ever purchased before, and I ultimately felt like I should practice a little restraint.
Margret, however, decided I should have one of them anyway, and surprised me with one for my birthday along with even more things from my Halloween bloggings that I couldn't afford on my own, making what was by far the best presents I've ever opened on a birthday ever, and I was already happy enough without any presents.
In person, the bug is made from a vacuum-formed plastic shell sure to have a longer shelf life than latex-based props, its paint job is even more beautiful than I initially thought, and the little hairs on its head are actually twist ties, making every single one individually poseable. It's the little things.
The design style of this mutant cockroach is also distinctly reminiscent of a little toy line from the 1980's known as Sectaurs, which is on that list of things I eventually need to review for Bogleech.
I suppose that's it, then. This is really for real the last Halloween article of the year. The next time I go to Target, they're going to have something else where this adorable ghost-skeleton was. That's not a world I want to live in, but it's the one we're all stuck in for at least another eight or nine months.
Let's just try to make the best of it.
Maybe tell each other scary stories for just a few more weeks.