Written by Jonathan Wojcik

13 Halloween Treasures!

While I review many Halloween items according to where they were found, many lie more scattered across the Halloweenscape. Sometimes a retailer stocks just one magical, marvelous item I can't possibly resist, maybe two or three on a good day. You could call this a page of "miscellany," but that would make it sound like these wonders aren't as interesting as a focused tour through Wal Mart or Target's offerings, and that would be super wrong, because when I put together a page of "miscellaneous" Halloween goodies, we're talking about only the best and greatest offerings from their respective retailers.

Hanging Goth Ghoul (Party City)

While not as terrifying as the larger, more expensive, talking little-girl-monster from the same store, these cheaper ghoul women are pretty cool looking for how simple they are. The sickly shade of olive yellow stands out nicely around their dripping black tears and stark white eyes, and the fact that their hands are nothing but yellowed bone is pretty grisly. Something about skeletal hands with a fully fleshed face is a whole lot freakier than just one or the other.

Moaning Zombies (Michael's)

Michael's wound up setting out a whole rack of toys later in the season, and these are some of the coolest. They're the same sculpt in two different color schemes, but I wasn't sure which one I found prettier. It's a pretty hilarious zombie design, and it's quite large, too, about six to eight inches tall. Made of hollow rubber, these are designed to "moan" when you squeeze them, but it's the same sound effect that also gets passed off as "mooing" when the toy happens to be cow-shaped instead of human-corpse-shaped. Frankly, the idea of zombies mooing is actually a little scarier than usual.

Vampire Witch (Homegoods)

Dressed like a witch, but with vampire fangs and a cool stitched-up mouth, it's tough to say what kind of monster this lady really represents, or maybe she's a combo. She's quite large - about the size of a small child - and designed to sit on the edge of a table or shelf, clutching a small tombstone in her arms for whatever reason. She also has what's ostensibly a male counterpart, but he's almost indistinguishable except for his top hat and pants. He has the same face and everything. The genders of this monster couple are really as open to interpretation as their species.

"Texas Fly" (Halloween Magic)

This is actually a year-round gag item I've seen on the internet before, so maybe it shouldn't normally count for a Halloween-centric article, but this specific Texas Fly is special! It was the only one for sale at this Halloween store in Delaware, for just a couple bucks, and once I got home and opened it up I knew just what this little guy had been through.

Texas Fly is missing the suction cup it's supposed to come with, and its pipe-cleaner legs are still entangled in some imitation spider webbing. I knew instantly that this fly had to have been used by the same Halloween store, some previous year, to decorate a display of spider props, entangled in web like it was getting eaten. It's amazing that somebody went to all the trouble to save its packaging, put it back in, and then put it up for sale. They couldn't have needed the meager money for it that badly, but someone thought it was important that their stunt fly be sold to a proper home, and I doubt anybody else who might have purchased it would have appreciated it as much as I do.

Hanging Pig Butcher (Halloween City)

I realize this is probably an unauthorized reference to Saw, but a bloody butcher wearing a pig face, or possibly an actual pig-man mutant in a smock, was never really new or unique image to the series at all, and it's always nice to see a more obscure monster archetype pushed into mainstream awareness. The cheap quality of the head's foam sculpt and rough paint job only enhances the effect of it, too.

Pop-out Zombie (Costume Cabaret)

I forget exactly what this was called, actually, but it was something fairly ordinary and forgettable to do with zombies or corpses. Certainly not a name really worthy of whatever the hell we're actually looking at here, some sort of shriveled mummy whose lidless eyeballs remain abominably pristine and healthy. I know it's supposed to just be emerging from the ground, but I'd like to imagine it as an undead being actually lacking a lower torso and limbs, possibly animated to serve as a security system. Cross its line of sight, and an ear-splitting alarm screeches from its black, toothless mouth as its eyes transfix you in place, probably for skeleton guards to come by and decapitate you where you stand.

These Ghosts CANNOT BELIEVE These Pumpkins

I got these for only a dollar each at a thrift store, and I have never in my life seen two sheet ghosts so overcome with unbridled joy. These ghosts are ecstatic to have these hollowed-out pumpkins. They are falling over with happiness, completely unable to contain themselves or calm the hell down. To human onlookers a bunch of pumpkins just started flailing around madly to delighted screaming the world's most energetic teenage girl could not possibly compete with if she just got a new car. If they could, these ghosts would be having these pumpkin's babies as we speak.

...Or maybe they can. Maybe there's some things we don't know, or even want to know, about pumpkins and ghosts.

3-d Stickers (Wal Mart)

I missed these my first two Wal-Mart runs. Three dollars for three sheets, these cardboard stickers have extra layers to pop right off the page, and offer some excellent, even innovative monster designs. The witch has an adorably maniacal face, the bats are cycloptic, the Frankenstein's monster is tricloptic - and purple, instead of the usual green - while the ghost, the star of the sheet, has a visible brain and eyeballs in its sheet-like body. You KNOW how I feel about visible brains, and I've always thought a ghost with a brain floating inside seemed painfully obvious, but you just hardly ever see it. I'm so thankful to whatever artist designed these cuties.

Spooky Ties (Walgreen's)

If only I wore suits at all, I'd have my entire range of ties already picked out for me by Walgreen's, available in swirly-eyed ghost, dangling eyeball, and even a hanging spider design not pictured. A swirly-eyed ghost tie is appropriate formal wear for things like funerals and business meetings, right? ESPECIALLY funerals?

Witch Face Opera Mask (Michael's)

We saw a skeleton version of this in our original Michael's 2015 post, but that actually made some physical sense. Sure you can wear part of a skull as a mask. This witch mask, however, is distressingly organic looking, like somebody actually carved out the upper half of a witch's face, glued her own skeletal arm to it and sold it as a fashion accessory.

Or maybe that's just the form this witch takes. Maybe it's like the haunted mask from Goosebumps, and anyone who wields this thing takes on the witch's personality and powers. Maybe it even talks! That would be so cool!!!

Light-up "Cowboy" (Walgreen's)

This severed, plastic scarecrow head implores you to "turn back" and "beware" when activated, and I'm not sure whoever approved this labeling knows exactly what a cowboy is or what kinds of things a cowboy normally says, but their interpretation of the Wild West must have been awesome.

Cardboard Pumpkin Guy (Dollar Buys)

Can you believe this huge, detailed, vintage-looking, modestly unwholesome cardboard monster was actually exactly one dollar at a "Dollar Buys" in White Marsh Mall, and it was the only one left?!

The face is definitely a tad creepier than the average pumpkin guy, with hypnotic eyes and an extended, wrinkly pumpkin-flesh neck that kind of reminds me of the Eraserhead baby. Just a little.

By far the best thing about this guy however is that it carries around an entire severed mummy head. A severed mummy head with bleeding, vampiric fangs and eyeballs inexplicably pasted in from unrelated stock art, even though the rest of the entire figure clearly has a single designer with a distinct style. Why are only the eyes of the mummy head borrowed from somewhere else? And why is a pumpkin monster carrying a mummy head around at all? Maybe they're just best friends.

The pumpkin man is part of a set with three other monsters, and none of them really match the others stylistically. The witch and the scarecrow both look forgettably wholesome, while the skeleton is at least interesting for the presence of two snakes and a spider. All in all, I definitely lucked out that the pumpkin-mummy duo was the last one in the store.

Bag of Bones (Michael's)

My last Michael's find is something I'm pretty sure they've sold every year, but once I idly picked one up and took a closer look, I suddenly realized what a gem I'd been passing by.

When you purchase a little bag containing two skeletal hands, two feet, a single torso and a single skull, your natural assumption is that they come from the same skeleton, right?

So let's look at this skeleton re-assembled, which I already spoiled on my blog, but hopefully at least one of you missed it and you're about to be thrilled to bits.

There she is. My beautiful daughter.






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