Written by Jonathan Wojcik

13 Assorted Halloween Finds

This year's review blitz has been a little light on the Halloween-exclusive merchandise, but that's about to change. This has actually turned out to be one of the better years for spooky junk in a half a decade; we'll be looking at great offerings from three or four different, specific stores over the next few weeks, and today, we've got a Goblin's Dozen to talk about from all the way up the East Coast, since we're currently on a visit to Maryland from where we (unwillingly) live in Florida.

BLENDERCAT - Goodwill find

   Originally from a claw machine, I found this wonderful thing in the seasonal rack at a Goodwill Superstore, and it took me a moment to process that I was looking at a plush toy of a cat that is also a smoothie that is also a skull. Somebody actually blended half of a life cat in a blender that was already made out of someone's head, and both of those things are smiling. I think we are off to a beautiful start with this.

ZOMBIE BIRD FEEDER - Spirit Halloween

   Spirit Halloween stores don't offer much of anything new this year, but how hilarious is the idea of a severed zombie head serving as a bird feeder? Look at that adorable tropical bird just eating out of a corpse's gaping mouth. The only thing cuter would be if this were actually the zombie's own idea because it really loved birds when it was alive. After a long day of eating human faces it just chugs some birdseed, hangs up its head and relaxes with its little friends.

"No Evil" Skeletons - Rite-Aid

   This is the third year in a row I've found a new line of skeleton figurines with the Hear/see/speak-no-evil motif. I couldn't resist taking home the "speak" one on the right, because it's even cuter removed from the context of the others. It's just a pudgy, dapper little skeleton with big shiny green eyes who is either trying very hard to stifle laughter at an inappropriate joke, aghast at someone else's wanton faux pas or shocked and embarrassed by its own sudden outburst of improper conversation. Actually, both of these skeletons just look like they're in a really awkward social situation at a fancy party.


   And elsewhere in the world of socially awkward skeletons, the look on these bones is undeniably one of "Hi there! Can I help...er... what's with the stick and the blindfold?" The poor thing has no idea that some no-good punk vampire from one plot over replaced its tombstone with a pinata. They are always pulling this shit, just because skeletons don't have brains and take just long enough to process new scenarios that they fall for every prank in the book, every time.


   Our friend Jesse found this at a Goodwill in Florida, and its origins are unknown. It's just a human skull with giant spiderlegs and a hat that, to me, implies an old fashioned chain gang. I guess that's how he escaped, by switching heads with a giant spider who didn't really mind because then it had a bunch of free meals tethered to it and filled the jailhouse with man-spider eggs.


   We all know this little hanging decoration is a knock-off of Slenderman, but the addition of a mouth makes it either more or less frightening, depending on how you already felt about Slenderman. I'm going to say his usual complete lack of a face is kind of old hat by now, though I don't know if a bloody snarl is really the best way to spice it up. I do like how the hands, being glued palms-inward and difficult to pose otherwise, kind of give off a "WHERE'S MY EEEEYYYYEEEES" sort of look.


   I'm not sure these are even seasonal, but it doesn't get much Halloweener than a green and purple, hairy cyclops. Most of the other "Monstaz" in this line aim for sugary-sweet cuteness, but this one gets a lovely slavering mouth. When you squeeze his little heart, he makes slurping sounds and screams "THAT TASTES TEEERRIBLE!" I'm sorry I'm too lazy to record that for you, or to even double-check what his actual name is.


   In recent years, I've developed a deeper appreciation for Halloween owls, especially when there's a subtle spin of monstrousness to them. This one, for example, looks entirely normal and adorable, but we know from its hat that it is also a practitioner of dark sorcery, and somehow, for some reason, it is eager to show us both its unrealistic, tiny cat and realistic, tiny human skull. Or unrealistic, normal sized cat and realistic, normal sized skull, making this owl around six feet tall and almost as wide. Good lord. And why IS it so proud of that skull? Are you next? Or are both the cartoon cat and the skull its magical, sapient familiars?


   Likewise, this hooter towers over these tombstones, and also wears the conical headgear of the black arts, but look a little closer; the "owl" has stitched edges, and its "feathers" are scale-like plates sewn together. This isn't a real owl at all! It's some kind of artificial construct! But why!? Did a witch create this as her new vessel? Is she inside, controlling it like a robot? Can we get an anime about tiny witches who pilot giant spooky bird dolls like mecha? Please?

CREEPY PUMPKIN GUY - Gabriel Brothers

   I didn't buy this, because I really have to watch my budget and have already gone over the amount I mentally allotted for Halloween frivolities, but the realistic face printed on this headless monster's Jack O' Lantern is fairly chilling, isn't it? I have no idea what he does when activated, since it didn't work, but his legs are wheeled and jointed and there's a speaker, so he must walk around and emit some godawful racket or another.

SHRUNKEN HEAD - Halloween Megastore

   This was all alone at a huge costume store in Orlando, with a 2006 date on it, the bottle that lovely caramel tinge of plastic that has seen many years in and out of storage. The head inside is mighty disturbing and looks reasonably convincing in person, its conical shape kind of implying - to me - that it kept growing after it was bottled. Despite this item's apparent age, it was a bit pricey, but when am I going to see another one?


   I'm gonna assume this is a girl from the chest, not because everything with breasts is a girl, but it'd make this one of the few lady zombies I'll have ever seen that was dressed casually and neutrally instead of in a tattered dress and high heels, when zombies are explicitly ladies at all anyway.

She also looks like she's completely bored with her undeath, rolling her eyes in a half-hearted moan and lazily waving her arms around in her "ironic" t-shirt.

Of course I'm sure you also noticed her two friends, first. Like I mentioned, we're in Maryland for the beginning of October, and it is teeming with invertebrate life. Florida is so sun-bleached, we absolutely never see big slugs or daddy long-legs around. That's specifically a Leopard slug, one of the largest slugs in the world and common in North America. Sometimes, they even eat smaller slugs!

SKULL HOUSE - Joann Fabrics

   This is one of those things I almost passed by, not realizing how unusual and utterly precious it was until I really thought about it. I mean, these are human skulls that have been converted into little houses, which is funny enough, but apparently each one is occupied by a darling little ghost, peeking out of its attic to probably emit tiny, tiny moans at passersby. I refuse to interpret these as huge, house-sized skulls when I can instead deduce that each is the actual former skull of the mouse-sized ghost now occupying it. That is such a fascinating possibility I somehow never considered. What if the afterlife is just an endless city of tiny ghosts in their own cute, tiny skull homes? Oh my gosh. What if it happens to animals, too? What if little shark ghosts swim in and out of their own huge cartilaginous jaws lying on the bottom of the netherworld ocean? Birds nesting in bird skulls all strung up in spooky old trees? What if it happens to insects? What if ants haunt their old exoskeletons as ghosts the size of dust mites?!!!

Get oooooff my lawwwwn!!

Halloween 2014 Archive: