As I write this, it has been December 1st, 2015 for about four hours, and Halloween is the last thing on most of this godforsaken country's mind. Precious, isolated pockets of it have clung to life through most of November, but at the moment, the only oasis of Halloween I've seen for days is this cardboard candy stand at a local gas station. A gas station called Kum n' Go, which is a completely normal thing to Iowans, and the only real reason this sneaky ghost continues hocking candy at this particular Kum n' Go is that it has maybe two employees and they're probably high 90% of the time. You hang in there, Kum n' Ghost.
Fortunately, we still have plenty of Halloween items to talk about, and they aren't even necessarily "stragglers" or "leftovers" from my previous articles; some of these are easily A-listers, and at least one is the weirdest Halloween decoration you might see all year.
"Gruesome Ghouls" Hanging Ghost (Poundland)
This isn't mine, but a friend of mine who goes by Acidonia and lives in the United Kingdom thought I'd like to see this cheap, adorable ghost from Poundland, and he was correct. I know the U.K. doesn't like Halloween quite as much as we do here, but it's good to know that their equivalent of the Dollar Tree carries something this cool. Its quality is far superior to what our dollar stores usually stock, looking more like the nicer stuff you might find at Wal-Mart or Target, and I love the motif of cog-like eyes Poundland apparently went with for their spooks and goblins.
Ceramic Vampire Bag (Thrift Store)
I don't even remember what thrift shop this came from, but it was all the way back in August, and I've been sitting on it ever since. Not literally, but I wasn't completely sure it was important enough to share or not. I've decided that it is, and I'm not even sure why that was ever a question. It's a ceramic paper bag, complete with a real string, sculpted to look as if it's made out of bloody skulls. How the hell do skulls form a paper bag?! That would be weird enough, except it also has this relief in the middle of it of a vampire doing that anime cat-hands gesture. A relief, or maybe a window. Maybe the vampire is actually inside of the skull bag, peering out.
What I'm DYING to know is if there were actually more of these. It had to be part of a set, right? There had to be at least one other version, like a mummy or a witch or a grim reaper. Halloween trinkets like this very rarely come alone.
Swinging Solar Ghost (???)
Of all the solar-powered Halloween trinkets I've seen, this is absolutely the coolest. It's an entire scene, complete with a spooky tree, a skull and a pumpkin framing a delighted sheet ghost with "BOO" written on its chest. A sheet ghost which swings under the rays of the sun, wholly unlike all its head-bobbling cousins.
Trouble is, I had to buy one of these on Ebay - just now - because I never saw a single one of them in actual retail. They're labeled as a 2015 item, but where were they? What stone did I leave unturned?!
Laughing Vampire Gun (Gordman's)
I reviewed almost fifty wonderful spooky goods from Gordman's, but somehow missed these guys until they were on post-October clearance! I love how the whole gadget is decorated like a grave floating into the sky on a purple geyser of spider web's, and more importantly, that the sound clip is Vincent Price's laughter from the end of "Thriller." This is a hand-held device that aims a tiny vampire at people to launch Vincent Price's laughter. Somewhere, there's a very weird-ass monster whose only weakness is this unique and special weapon.
Pumpkin Monster Groundbreaker (Home Depot)
Home Depot actually really surprised me this year. Their Halloween offerings are usually extremely slim, but while they still pale in comparison to the similar Menard's, their 2015 selection was easily a couple times larger than usual. I especially liked this groundbreaker, a category of Halloween item usually dominated by skeletons and zombies, but in this case, we've got a pumpkin-headed creature with an actual plant creature body. That's amazingly rare. Somehow, pumpkins with human skeletons for bodies are more common than pumpkins with vegetable-based appendages.
Styrofoam Vampires (Party City)
There's something hilarious about these little vampires, with or without their noses broken off, though their obvious fragility kept me from buying one. Only the front specimen was relatively intact, but his nose already shows some signs of damage. Nonetheless, they maintain a look of menacing angst, doing their very best to pretend they don't look absolutely ridiculous with teir oversized heads and little black bow ties.
Frankenstoid's Pumpmobile (Goodwill)
A rescue from the grimy shelves of Goodwill, this was actually one of several "wheeled" pumpkin figurines which appeared to form some kind of train in their original context, but only this one was sufficiently Halloweeniful. Imagine, Frankenstein's Monster actually riding around like this, his little arms and legs sticking out of a gigantic pumpkin as he holds a train whistle like a kingly scepter. I'm in envy. What a positively bitchin' ride. All it needs are some ghost stickers and maybe a skeleton bobblehead to really wow all the neighborhood ghouls.
How do I get pumpkins to work like this for me? I would never walk again.
Gigantic Banshee (Costume Cabaret)
We recently established that this distinct type of monster is clearly a banshee, and this is apparently the mother of them all. I'm sorry nothing in the photo serves as adequate size comparison, but the head alone on this creep is bigger than a whole human torso. I'm pretty sure the hanging monsters of this size and style are all from the same manufacturer, and every year they seem to add another flavor. There's a huge-ass zombie, pumpkin, alien, radioactive mutant, clown and of course a skeleton or two, but this is the first time I've seen the banshee variety.
I like how it appears to wear lipstick and nail polish. That probably wasn't what they were thinking, but I can't unsee it.
Creepy Owl Head (Homegoods)
This is one of those Halloween owls that really, really don't look natural, which is most of them, but this one especially. Its grody coloration and texture looks anything but feathered, and everything like burnt, scabrous flesh, some carrion-eating goblin-beast that just sort of invokes an owl. That, and it wears an absurdly tall party hat. So tall there's no way to photograph it without zooming out much too far to appreciate the imp's lovely tumor-face. You'll just have to take my word that this is one impressive spooky party hat.
Spooky Stampers (CVS Pharmacy)
These adorable little ghosts came in a number of styles, including a pumpkin, a witch and a black cat, but I just opted for the old fashioned menacing sheet ghost and the stranger skull-and-crossbones sheet ghost.
I didn't even discover until later that when you stamp them, their glowing eyes pop out of their sockets like this. They didn't need to do that, but someone really wanted to go the extra mile and I think they deserve considerable praise.
Fly Monster Mask (Ebay find)
I found this on Ebay, and I don't actually buy a whole lot of Halloween masks, but how could I ever possibly pass this up? It looks like something straight out of Ugly Stickers or Odd Rods, and it's exactly my kind of insect monster. As much as I love arthropods just the way they look, there's also something special about more fanciful, scientifically inaccurate "insects" who look more like extraterrestrial goblin-beasts. It's often done completely unironically in an awkward attempt to make an insect look "cute," but here, the mutant gremlin qualities are clearly intentional, and those huge, pale fly-eyes erupting from this hose-nosed green ghoul are simply beautiful.
You can tell they're supposed to light up, but the mechanism is long busted. At least I can just hang it up and put a little light on the inside of the mask for an even cooler effect.
For now, the fly monster has a skeletal vulture for a body, which looks cool enough, but maybe just a little too incongruous for my tastes. I kinda want to find a body that'll really match the style of the head, and I feel like that would probably be some kind of shaggy, black ape of some sort. A stuffed gorilla, maybe.
Giant Metal Pumpkin Bat (Homegoods)
When I first spied this forty-dollar monstrosity, I didn't think much of it. A pumpkin with bat wings and little bird feet? Big deal!
But every so often, my thoughts would creep back to the metal pumpkin bat. Oh man a pumpkin with bat wings and little bird feet! And it's made of metal. Was it metal my magnets would stick to? Could I cover it in all my Halloween magnets? It was designed to hold a light inside, too. Why didn't I want this? Why didn't I want to illuminate my bedroom primarily with a big fake LED candle in a metal pumpkin bat covered in geeky magnets?! This thing was HUGE. You could easily kill a grown adult or an adult-sized conglomerate of babies with it.
Forty dollars was still a little much...but it went on clearance by November 1st, about 70% off.
That seemed pretty reasonable...but I was still down to budgeting my money until Patreon kicked in again, most of which goes towards staying alive and fed.
Two days before I received this money, pumpkin bat was still there, along with an assload of other Halloween stuff.
I got the money...
I went back to Homegoods...
Nothing. All the Halloween was gone. Their online customer service, which I'm sure appreciated me demanding to know where they hid a big metal pumpkin bat, swore that Halloween merchandise remains in stock until completely sold out, but there's honestly no chance in hell that everything sold in just two days, all the sudden, and even the cashier said it was "there one day, gone the next."
Where are you, metal pumpkin bat? What have they done with you? Will I ever see you again?
Cyberskelepirate Head (Alibaba)
From a tragic loss to a magnificent victory, I was actually eyeing this dingus since a couple years ago on Aliexpress, and held off including it in my Alibaba ghost reviews this year because I knew I'd finally break down and buy it for real, that I'd finally be able to provide some up-close and personal photos of this stunning work of art.
The first and foremost peculiarities of this disembodied cranium would be its confusing and highly inappropriate displays of nationality, sporting both an American flag bandana and a couple of eagle feathers likely intended to invoke Native America. These are not things that actually go together very tastefully, but they're definitely things common to the hokey skeleton art airbrushed onto so many truck-stop t-shirts.
You will also notice he is smoking.
More intriguing is the fact that this skeleton happens to be both a pirate and a cyborg, one eye covered over in a patch and the other replaced by an electronic lens. I guess he was missing both eyes, but could only afford one cybernetic implant for the time being, which also explains why this skeleton would take up piracy.
Of course the single most exciting thing about Captain Roboskullmerica is the "octopus" clinging to his head, if that's really what this thing is at all. It's shaped like an octopus, and it has the suckers of an octopus, but that head doesn't really come from anything. Why is it cracked like that? Is it, too, supposed to be bone? Is this a pirate skeleborg with a symbiotic skelepus?!