Written by Jonathan Wojcik
13 FINAL Ghosts of Alibaba.com
In our last edition, we met Francois the Dick (Ghost)
and other ghastly apparitions painted in Chinese sweatshops, and we're not done yet!
SCARED SMOKING GHOST
I'm not sure what this really does, other than light up and maybe make noise while it smokes a cigarette. It's actually not even the only cigarette-smoking skull item on alibaba. Once you've got no lungs, you may as well do what you want.
GHOST PARTY HAT
Okay, this looks kind of a little more like a hood from some sort of hate cult than a "ghost." In fact, there's no reason to presume it represents a ghost at all, except that it is something made of cloth with some eyes on it. Blood red cloth, to boot. This is the cutest blood-soaked genocidal cultist you ever did see.
NEVER OPEN - BECARE!
This is actually another coin bank. You put money on the dish, and a greedy skeleton peers out while a skeletal arm emerges from the wrong direction to snatch it. I guess that means there could be more than one skeleton in the box, or the same skeleton keeps its head separate to watch over the money pit while its body runs errands. What do skeletons even buy with money? Powdered milk?
I just love the artwork we're seeing here. It's so incredibly simple, but the red facial features, the bloody streaks and the stitches are just so much grodier than every other Halloween sheet ghost, they really show how a tiny dash of fresh effort can liven up a conventional monster, and as a large, inflatable rubber decoration, I feel like this would just look really great hanging from my ceiling. Again, there's just no way for me to order less than hundreds of dollars worth of this wholesale item.
We've already seen a giant angry skull with its own little house. Now here's a giant angry skull with its own little castle
, but whether that's really a step up or down is debatable. A castle is associated with status and nobility, yes, but a house
has electric and plumbing, and while both skulls are unnecessarily massive, the other one's house was at least large enough for it to move around in a little.
This skull basically completely fills the interior shaft of its fortress, with only enough room for it to maneuver vertically or just turn around. If it can pop out of the roof like that at any time, why does it even have a front door, either? It can't fit through that itself. Is that for human-sized visitors? That's kind of awkward. What the hell are they supposed to do while they're there? You can't have much of a dinner party when your guests are all crammed into about three feet of space between your walls and your humongous bonehead.
Hanging Skull Ghost
Look at this thing. Look at its sad, gaping giant skull-face and its tiny, tiny little orange hands. Did you ever see a skeletal ghoul more pitiful?
HAT WITH BARKING
I don't know what a "hat with barking" is exactly, but I know what I like, and one thing I like is definitely a plastic bucket you're supposed to wear on your head with three ghost faces sticking out the top of it for no reason. Two
of them are skulls, but one of them is more of a fleshy ghoul or ghost. It's also got a string, because no way can you keep this thing on your fool head without tying it down apparently, and its box promises us "ATMOSPHERE OF FEAR." I'm going to guess that it also makes noise, and I'd really like to know what that noise is. Screaming? Laughing? Actually barking? I wish it were barking. The only thing better than a bucket on your head with skulls on it is one that also barks at people like a wretched little dog.
PULL LINE GHOST
This little bastard is creepy as hell.
He's got a wrinkly goblin face that looks straight off some old youkai
scroll, and a skeletal body that's not only far too small, but belongs to a pig
, complete with hooves and a curly tail. There's something so, so unnerving about the thought of little white pig-gremlins floating through your house at night, even moreso than anything else that shouldn't rightfully be doing such a thing.
I actually have one of these, and I like a lot of things about it. I always enjoy a skeleton with scraps of hair, of course, and any skeleton with an abnormally huge head. Bleeding
skeletons are always another plus, since there's really no reason blood should be oozing out from inside some old bones. What I love most about this skeleton, however, are the irregular shapes of its nose and eye sockets. It just looks exceptionally strange and cool.
AAARGH. I saw this thing years
ago on someone else's Halloween website, under the name "Jumping Boo," and I've coveted it ever since. Why does it have to be available only
by massive wholesale?! It's exactly like the air-powered, hopping rubber spiders sold as toys for decades, but instead of a spider it's a tiny, hairy ghost.
A tiny, hairy ghost with black, skeletal arms and a pale, bloody baby-skull face. Can you think of ANYTHING more adorable?! I certainly can't, but I can think of something more hilarious.
Take a little while to really soak these in. They're plastic glasses, with angry eyebrows, and either a bloody skull or a horrifying clown face for a nose.
That would be ridiculous enough, but you can also blow into them to unfurl their party horn tongues.
What kind of "ghost" is this even remotely supposed to represent here. Are you pretending to be a spirit with a honking clown head in the middle of your face, or is ONLY the honking clown head nose the ghost, and it attaches itself to the faces of the living? Who thought this item made any kind of sense? Who signed off on this?
Yet another item that may forever elude me, but don't despair.
Our very last "ghost" cropped up for individual sale on Aliexpress, and I had to get one for one very specific reason. Just how well does a given off-brand alibaba specter stack up to its hype? We're about to find out...TOGETHER!
GIVE YOU A SURPRISE
From the battered cardboard box it came in, you can probably surmise what kind of novelty this is. We see a bunch of ghouls and ghosts sticking out of wooden boxes, though half of them look like that one horrifying old woman puppet from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
, and that isn't quite what I actually ordered, even if it would be perfectly acceptable.
Opening it up, the first thing I'm greeted with is...an unexpected photograph of somebody's child. Is that...normal? Should I be okay with that? What is the significance? Is this the child who built
my wooden ghost box? Is this whose soul was infused into it, ready to hunt down and curse my enemies if I speak the right commands?
There's writing on the back of the card, but I don't know what it says, and if I did, I don't know if I could trust it to be telling me the truth. I'm already buying fake skeletons from halfway across the world.
The item proper is made of a very cheap, lightweight wood, promises to GIVE YOU A SURPRISE and bears a lovely image of some devilish figure with three fangs, three eyes, and a frighteningly incorrect skeleton with at least ten humeral bones, only eight of which are actually contained within its tiny, nubby arms. Remarkably enough, this is actually somewhat representative of what we're going to find in here.
Opening the box is, however, not
actually surprising, unless you count the surprise that I actually received what I believed I had bought, which was never actually a certainty. Maybe you're surprised that it doesn't really work the way it was supposed to, but that's exactly what I expected and was already willing to accept. The poor little guy is completely jammed in there, and he needs some coaxing to actually pop out.
Once you extricate his cramped, bent body from the wooden prison, our friend does
straighten up with abrupt force, still eager to fulfill his purpose. He's been waiting for this for who knows how many months, possibly even years in a Chinese warehouse - are you really going to let him down? WOW, tiny skeleton! You sure did spook me once I helped you get your face unstuck! You have done a very good job!!
You will notice that his arms are quite tiny. Like I said, the art on his box did not entirely lie.
You will also notice he has something interesting on his robe. What is it?
Here it is - the real reason I had to have this little guy in my life. A nubby-armed skeleton in a box is cute, yes, but it only becomes a must-have when it wears a robe depicting some other skeleton playing a guitar.
It's so wonderful, I feel like I have to say it all over again. This skeleton wears an image of a different skeleton playing guitar.
A different skeleton with normal, full-size skeleton arms a blue cape. What's the story? Is this our skeleton's favorite skeleton rock star? Is this what our skeleton wishes he could be? Is this what our skeleton once WAS?
Interestingly, this robe is shared by the skeleton's witch-headed friend, who still has skeletal arms and hands, so it's possible she may just be wearing some old woman's skin like a mask. It's good to know, judging by this photograph, these getting their heads mushed and warped inside their boxes is quite normal for these goofballs, and that she's so supportive of her friend's solo band.
There are many other variations on the ghost box, some even weirder than others. If it only had a t-shirt of itself on the drums or something, I'd have probably also ordered this shaggy owl-eyed hell-snake. There's a whole family
of wooden box goblins.
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