Written by Jonathan Wojcik

Thirteen 2016 Spooks!

Sometimes, a single retailer offers enough material for an article. Other times, I hunt through an entire store to find only a couple of outstanding specimens. Put them together, and you get some of my favorite articles to write - the pure, condensed quality that is a miscellany roundup. I'M EXCITED! Why aren't you!?!

WORLD MARKET: Dangling Dog Skeleton Lights

See, just look at these. A completely brand new, never-before-seen 2016 Halloween item consisting of dangly, plastic dog skeletons with HUGE skulls...and they're string lights. You get ten of them to a box. You can light up your room with shining, tiny dog skeletons.

TUESDAY MORNING: Skeleton Maid Wall Scroll

I bet it never once crossed your mind that anybody would need to hang a little banner on their wall of a happy skeleton dressed like a sexy French maid, but now that you've seen it, you're surely wondering how anybody in the world ever got by without one. Well, I only saw one of these for sale in one "Tuesday Morning" store, and I bought it, so I'm afraid I can't help you fill that French-maid-skeleton-banner-shaped hole in your life anytime soon.

MARSHALLS: Mummy Bowl with Tiny Friend

This mummy bowl would stand out little in the vast world of mummy bowls (believe me, I have seen my share) if not for the incredibly tiny Frankenstoid adorably hanging off the back, peering into the open cranium of his gigantic mummy friend.

...Which is weird, because then there's a Frankenstoid bowl with a tiny mummy snooping in its brain! What the heck is going on here?! Is this the same mummy and the same monster, or does each have both a tiny, curious, complete version and giant, bodiless, brainless version? Either way this is some pretty wild Halloween magic going on.


Pumpkins with scrap metal faces or "Junkins" as I've been calling them just keep pouring in lately, and these aren't even the last we'll see on this very page! These are especially interesting examples, as they have chains for legs and various cogs or keys as feet. Picture these junk-o-lanterns actually walking around on those!


Two utterly delighted skeletons, both totally rocking out, each with a real cloth shard and a sweet "carved wood" aesthetic style. I think they might even actually BE made of wood, but I didn't really check. They're both pretty large - a couple of feet tall - and pricey (thirty bucks each) or I might have considered one, but it'd just feel wrong to separate them.

???: Fat Bat Solar Lights

I completely and totally forgot the name of the store I saw these in. At only two bucks each, I'd have bought one if the place hadn't had no air conditioning and a line of at least fifteen people to one register. No matter how hilarious that fat bat may be, the social awkwardness alone wasn't worth it. Imagine being the cashier who watches a balding adult stand in a sweltering line for an hour or more to buy nothing but one single solar powered yard light of a fat bat. I needed the self worth that comes with believing I had anything better to do for any better reason. I'm sorry, fat bat. I'm so sorry.

BATH & BODY WORKS: Pumpkin Goth Girls

Probably available as we speak at your nearest mall, these hollow, rubber figures are actually keychains meant to hold a bottle of hand sanitizer, so these are actually pumpkin goth girls who defecate antibacterial slime into your hands on command. Go ahead, draw fan-art of that. You know you can already picture it.

MENARD'S: Ghost Family Sign

We actually just saw the mummy signs here in my A.C. Moore review, but Menard's out in Iowa is offering them along with a ghost version. A ghost version which, while adorable, paints a kind of saddening picture next to the mummies. Why do the mummies have a tombstone exactly where the ghosts have another child? The youngest mummy is even looking at the grave, rather than at the viewer. I don't like this. This is not as happy a Halloween as promised.

YANKEE CANDLE CO: Dapper Junkins

See, we've got another junkin already! This one also has what appear to be fully organic eyeballs, always a plus on any Halloween monster, and their hats serve as candle holders!

Not content to offer only one "steampumpkin" candle holder, the same store also offers this arguably spookier model. Sure, it doesn't have the all-too-human veiny eyeball, but it features a mouthless smile of screws and an entire clock for an eye, which is cool as heck.

Like I said earlier this year, I'm glad the end result of the steampunk movement appears to be a low-key fad for clockwork-faced pumpkin monsters. It all makes sense now. What else was it ever destined to beget?

SAFEWAY: Pasty Pumpkin Witch

A lot of things are interesting about this Witch-O'-Lantern, at least, I'm assuming it's a witch, since it has a witch hat and a witch broom. I supposed it could just as easily be a pumpkin pilgrim tidying its front porch, but that's not really any less spooky, is it?

The bone-white coloration is pretty striking, as is the rather unsettling eye mask, and I love how what functions as a "bow tie" for the upper head works as a hair bow for the torso head. Most peculiar, however, is the mouth, which opens into nothing but the word "HALLOWEEN" several times and a "POISON" warning label. I don't even know what this means at all.

FLEET FARM: Solar Ghosts

One of my favorite 2013 finds was an unnecessarily large Solar Powered Ghost who also appeared to represent some kind of dried up gourd. You can see a lot of similarities to this tinier model, enough that it might come to us from the same stock character designer, but there's no telling for sure. What's particularly cute about this one is that it appears to be blushing. This dead nerd with flashlights for eyeballs is thinking something very naughty. Maybe it's the fact that it feeds on sunlight. That seems kinda kinky and weird for a ghost.

FLEET FARM: Skelespider

We've seen a Dollar Tree bootleg of the "Crazy Bones" brand skeletal crow, but this here is a completely new sculpt imitating the Crazy Bones skeleton spider!

"Fleet Farm's" bone spider is flimsier and a bit smaller than the Crazy Bones offering, and could have definitely benefited from some dark paint on its eyes, but it's a very cool design in its own right, and once again, I love the "dirtier" brown-tinted bones.

It's funny to see people actually complain around the internet about the influx of spider skeletons in recent Halloweens, as if they assume the people making them had any intention of being accurate to spider biology. Everyone knows spiders don't have bones, but that's not the point. The point is that skeletons are awesome, and spiders are also awesome. You don't care when a vampire is also a robot or a sponge wears pants. Let us have this.

FLEET FARM: Dancing Solar Ghost

There are new solar-powered Halloween dancers every year, but I think this might just be my favorite yet. The little, round red eyes, the top hat, the tongue, even the wrinkly details of the sheet stand out gorgeously against the tide of plainer, simpler sheet phantoms.

What especially strikes me is how Japanese this ghost is. If you've played enough video games or watched enough anime, you may have noticed that Japan loves putting top hats on Halloween ghosts and more notably portrays them with their tongues hanging out. This is because "licking things" is considered a stock ghostly activity in Japanese culture, which is also why "lick" is a ghost-type move in Pokemon. I've probably said this ten times on this website, but I don't care. I'll keep saying it. I'll keep saying it and you can't stop me.