ASSORTED SPOOKS!It's that time of the season again! Having hit up virtually every retailer in driving distance for Holiday loot, I've run into a fair share of monsters who just don't fit in with any of my other, store-focused reviews! If you tend to gloss over these, shame on you, because they've historically included some of the very coolest finds every year. Honest!
PARTY CITY: J. THE KILLERThis is, apparently, something I completely missed when I reviewed Ghoulish Productions weeks back, but possibly just brand new for 2017. If you know anything at all about internet creepypasta, you know Jeff the killer is one of its classic icons, but not a particularly scary one.
All this actually kind of changes with this mask. It's significantly cooler and creepier looking than either the original viral photoshop or any of the more human interpretations I've seen of Jeffy.
In any case, it's wild as heck to see what was once an obscure internet horror meme for sale as a Halloween mask in a major chain like Party City. I actually really admire that, enough that I hope Smiledog might be in our future.
HALLMARK: FRIDGE MONSTER CARDEnjoy the whiplash as we jump from a lipless, ambiguously human serial killer to a greeting card that burps and farts when you open it. It actually is labeled "Fridge Monster," so it's not necessarily a ghost, but it seems to be made out of some sort of pungent gas with a Slimer-like appetite. I definitely love the idea of a stinky vapor creature eating all your food.
JOANN FABRIC: SHOVELSThis is an odd idea. odder under my #1 rule of Halloween items: if it has a face, it's a monster. These are absolutely not just inanimate rusty shovels with faces cut into them. These are haunted, sentient rusty shovels who also pull double duty as sign posts for whatever witch created them, possibly a witch who's also a gravedigger, a gardener, or maybe just really into burrowing. A mole witch. She uses shovels instead of brooms and they're also her familiars.
PARTY CITY: ZOMBIE TREEI've seen a lot of "scary tree faces" as Halloween items, but this is the first one I've seen with a human corpse face and arms, like a tree slowly engulfed an entire zombie, which is basically also something that happens in the Fallout games, actually.
LIPPMAN CO: HALF-SKELETAL GHOSTLippman party store didn't have a whole lot different from last year in terms of monsters, but it's still one of the best Halloween stops you can make in Portland, Oregon, and was stocking a new-to-me line of hanging ghosts with these kickass half-transparent heads! They're available in scary clown, top-hatted gentleman and ghostly bride versions, with the bride being, in my opinion, the most stylish and unsettling.
LOWE'S: MUMMY GREETERThis standing mummy holds out a candy bowl, lights up and speaks in a little child's voice, none of which I managed to capture very well on video, but it's the design that's really interesting anyway. Its body is patterned as though blood stained, but it has a huge, cutesy madball-esque head with gigantic eyeballs. It's not the "ancient egypt" style Halloween mummy, but some sort of horribly injured ghost-kid mummy in medical gauze.
WAL MART: METAL GHOSTI just really like this ghost. It has a perfect little blobby ghost shape, gross baby hands, and unsettling red eyeballs in its black holes. I feel like this might actually be my ideal basic Halloween ghost. It has all the cutesiness we associate with that, but its face is ever-so-slightly ghoulish enough to take more seriously.
GROCERY OUTLET: HANGING SCARECROWI've seen basically this same pumpkin head before, but its eyes usually have pupils in them. The blank, glossy white spheres are amazingly scarier at the same time they add a more cute, innocent charm, but what really sold me here was the little bird friend. We just can't resist scarecrows who accomplish the exact opposite of their jobs, can we?
PETSMART: AQUARIUM ELDER THINGSHow did I miss these for my Petsmart/Petco review? Maybe because they actually aren't officially Halloween items. They've appropriately enough debuted in the Halloween season, but they're sold among the regular, year-round aquarium decor. I like the look of nervousness on the regular fish's face as its so lovingly held by a demon-horned tentacle beast, though my favorite of the two is obviously the tentacle-faced cyclops.
FRED MEYER: SKELETON TRICERATOPSWe've already seen some skeletal dinos, including a triceratops, for sale at Home Depot and several other places, but Fred Meyer's comes with the best labeling I have ever seen:
RITE AID: TINY WINDUP GHOSTOne look at this face just positively melts your heart, doesn't it? It's the combination of scary, jagged teeth, apologetic eyes and blushing cheeks that just could not possibly be cuter.
I was sure, however, that it would seem just as sweet and timid when actually wound up. I've had almost this same tiny ghost more than once with entirely different faces, and it's always crept along at a gingerly snail's pace, weakly waving its little, nubby arms.
Not this tiny ghost.
CALM DOWN, TINY GHOST.