Written by Jonathan Wojcik


We're now two thirds into November, and normally, I'd have done a few more Halloween posts by now. Some of my biggest monster reviews of previous seasons even came in November and December, but for reasons I probably don't need to get into, it's a little harder than usual to stay in spirit - especially since, when I do feel motivated to focus on something fun, I currently have a new pokemon game to fixate on.

Halloween, however, can persevere through anything, and I've even got enough stuff left over for one last review of spooky knick-knacks...

November 1st Bonus Spider

There wasn't all that much Halloween-related for us to do on October 31st this year, but we did drive up from our new home in Portland to our best friends in Seattle for a couple of days, where I celebrated our one year anniversary by eating a burger for the first time in my life. That's probably a very surreal sentence to those of you who don't already know about my thing with burgers. It's probably a surreal sentence even then.

But enough about that. One day after Halloween proper, I found this classic specimen of a Heebie Jeebie lying in the street among an assortment of garbage, already run over by at least two cars and probably going nowhere but the sewer if I weren't completely willing to take it home and wash it.

This specific spider is one I'm quite familiar with. I had several of the same model, same paint job as a child, which were often sold together with bags of fake webbing. It's now been a pretty long time since I've ever seen one for sale, but I'm sure they persist somewhere.

Daiso "Dancing Monster"

While in Seattle, I got to visit a Daiso dollar store, which is actually a Japanese dollar store chain, and featured a selection of cheap Halloween goodies only ever-so-slightly different from American fare.

This, for instance, is some sort of pumpkin-faced shadow-devil-ghost, or according to its tag, a "dancing monster:"

Look at those beautiful graphics, though. I wish this tag were just a full sized poster.

Daiso Ghost Figurine

There were a couple of these available, but all of them were basically the same ghost in slightly different poses emerging from slightly different cauldrons. I've mentioned before how Japanese sheet ghosts tend to show their tongues a lot, but I'm not sure if I pointed out how often they wear hats. As a leading scientific expert on Halloween ghosts, I can assure you I've seen the Japanese examples wearing hats a full 10,000% more often than they do in the states. I'm really not sure why.

Japanese Pumpkin Pail

Another Daiso item, did you know Japanese kids get treat pails only about half the size of ours? I've seen photographs supporting this before, but this is the first I've gotten hold of one myself. They are definitely cuter and less cumbersome than our gluttonous alternative.

Daiso Halloween Sign

Our last Daiso item of note, this cheaply made hunk of flimsy, transparent plastic is still remarkably pretty. Everything I've seen of Japanese Halloween seems like it puts just slightly more emphasis on attractive, stylized graphic design. My favorite thing about this, of course, is the inky black ghost asking "Trick or Treat," which makes a lot more sense than the sing-song nonsense statement the phrase becomes in actual practice.

Giant Fred Meyer Lawn Zombies

I somehow missed these during my Fred Meyer review, and their post-holiday clearance price of $67 tells us why they have so many of them left. They're very nearly life-sized, though, and in the kind of cartoonishly fun style I automatically prefer over more conventional undead. If I were going to pay hundreds of dollars for fake zombies, these would certainly be near the top of the list.

Big Lots "Creeping Pops"

Only a little over a buck each by the last week of October, these give you both an eyeball lollipop and a colorful rubber critter in spooky, gothic packaging. I especially like the spider, if largely because of its goofy, painted eyes.

That "TASTE THE FEAR" packaging might be the best part of these, especially the dramatic photoshop of the mysterious goth seductively eating rubber bug candy on the back.

Cheap Solar Pumpkin

Solar-powered Halloween characters are fast becoming some of my favorite items, and what I love about this one is just how unremarkable it is. Just a straightforward, plastic pumpkinhead for about a buck, but with an INTENSELY purple gown.

Homegoods Cutlery Pumpkin

One of the few non-skeletons at Homegoods this year was this interesting pumpkin-man made from metal dishes, silverware, buttons and an old rusty bell. It really makes me think of some sort of youkai, a bunch of old discarded dishes clattering to life like a festive golem.


I've seen a lot of cauldrons with witch legs sticking out their tops, the implication being that a witch fell in to her own brew, but this seems to be a witch embedding herself up to the waist in an extremely fancy pumpkin, or just a pmpkin creature with long, humanoid legs standing on its head. I'm really not sure how this fits in to my Hocus/Pocus narrative, honestly. Witches are just weird I guess.

JoAnn Fabrics Skelecycles

It can take a moment to parse what you're looking at here, I know. It even took me a moment in person. Here's another angle:

Actually, you know what, I still don't know how to describe these. They're mashups of motorcycle, broom and skeletal monster arm with some sort of attached wooden sled or board, which I guess you can use as a vehicle for any suitably-sized doll or figure of a witch or other Halloween monster. Whoever came up with these clearly had a creative vision far too grand to be limited to paintable craft store figurines. Why don't these just exist?

Wal Mart Candy Monsters

I discovered these as far back as mid-September, but Wal-Mart never offered enough to warrant its own review. I'm happy to get around to them at last, because each is exactly twice as bizarre as the one before it.

A burglar who is also a candy corn, for example, barely registers a two on the Hall-o-weird-o-meter. We've seen lots of candy corn beings. It goes without saying that some percentage of sentient candy corn would turn to a life of crime in this mixed-up world.

This cupcake that's also a vampire, though? Definitely a 4, even considering the shapeshifting abilities nosferatu are so famous for. Authentic bloodsuckers, anyway. Vampires in folklore could turn into animals, objects, plants, gases, furniture, shadows, websites about pokemon, basically anything to get people's guard down while they silently, sometimes even, say, digitally drain the blood of the living.

The candy cat here might seem at first like one of the less peculiar of the bunch, but the more I think about this being, the more it earns that 8 on the important scale I just invented for these four specific stuffed animals. There's no distinction between what's actual, furry cat skin and what's candy wrapper here. It's just hollow cat-flesh creature with a face presumably housing a single very large lozenge of some sort, which I'm going to assume is also this animal's brain and soul.

Last but not least, earning a score of sixteen weird candy monster points, we have a doughnut that is also a witch, again neither Hocus nor Pocus but every bit as odd, and I'm sure all sorts of dark hexes spew from its blasphemous hole. My favorite thing about this delicious sorceress is probably the eyemask, just so witnesses can't easily identify this sentient magical pastry from a crowd.

The Orphan Pocus

So, for all I wrote about the Pocus this year, I surprisingly never really owned any traditional examples of their kind until now. This large, plastic candy container was still available at Walgreen's over a week into November, sad and alone amidst strewn heaps of unwanted costumes and some other holiday of some sort encroaching on her once pristine, black and orange empire.

She was also marked down from something like twenty-five bucks to the regular kind of five bucks, my FAVORITE kind of five bucks!

Even better than her adorable, polka-doted skirt and unusually pure-orange pot is the fact that she speaks, but far too loudly for me to comfortably record. I seriously can't think of anywhere I can go to play this monster's cackling, screaming speech that won't confuse and alarm some number of total strangers, unless I hiked out into the middle of the woods, but then I'm a grown adult hiking out into the middle of the woods to take youtube footage of a talking plastic bowl for an article maybe three people are going to read and it's bad enough that I've even thought this far into it.