Petco & Petsmart 2017

Some years, both of America's leading pet supply chains are worthy of their own Halloween articles. Other years, only one of the two really pull through. This year, both offer some real gems, but just enough that we're gonna roll them into one post, beginning with Petco!

Pessimistic Candy

Petco's thing lately seems to be stuffed dog toys of food items, usually with happy faces and heartwarming messages on them. These candy corns retain the happy faces, but 2/3 of their messages are self-loathing. They are also entirely untrue, candy corn does not taste disgusting and you're wrong to think so. I guess maybe they're happy because they're hoping they won't get eaten, except their friend in the middle there who's totally into that.

This theme even continues into what seems to be a butterscotch candy. It's so happy that nobody likes it. I want to feel sad, but you know, not everybody needs or wants to be liked. Who am I to judge a conscious glob of corn syrup for being an upbeat misanthrope.

Witchy Wormy Apple

This is a worm, in a witch's hat, eating its way out of an apple, and both of them are cheerful about it. That's easily 101% up my alley as a concept.

Plush Skull with Feet

The only thing better than a living skeleton is a living skull, and the only thing better than a living skull is a living skull with just feet or legs on it. Never mind that this is almost exactly a Jubjub from Neopets.

A Ghost That is Not Cute

You could be forgiven for thinking that this ghost is cute. I mean, pretty much all ghosts are cute, and this ghost has sad little nubby limbs, a floppy pointy head and even big, giant dark eyes, but then you flip it around, and...

No, Petco.

In fact, let's just move right on to Petsmart. Their stuff is AMAZING this year and none of it implies that a little baby ghost wants to ride a boner.

Skeleton Cat Toys

First up are these catnip toys sold in a set. The balls are humdrum, but you gotta love a skeleton whose head is a giant ball of blue hair with googly eyes. What in the world kind of monstrosity are we looking at!? It's like it has a big giant germ for a head.

Thrills & Chills Bat

This is part of a line of vinyl squeaky toys with "pop-out" features. In this case, the bats ears flap every time it's squeezed. Why the ears and not the wings? An unexpected choice, but cute as hell, and it kinda looks a little like the Dracky from Dragon Quest.

Thrills & Chills Pig

Several "Thrills & Chills" items are just perfectly inoccuous animals, including this pig and an almost identical rabbit, whose big, staring eyeballs just happen to pop out of their sockets. We've all seen that kind of eye-popping toy and nothing really ties it into Halloween specifically, but I appreciate that these particular eye-popping critters are intended to be "spooky."

Thrills & Chills Ghost

My Petsmart had a place for this, but none actually in stock yet! I had to go all the way to their website to find out what the ghost looked like, and I'm glad its popping body part is a tongue. You should all know how I feel about ghost tongues by now. If not, shame on you.

Thrills & Chills Lizard

The last of these I'll do, this is another one that isn't necessarily "Halloweeny," but I appreciate the thought of marketing it as such. When I was a kid, lizards were much more frequently billed as "gross creepy crawlies," and while I admire their cuter, more beloved modern image, I simultaneously kinda miss their association with horror.

Candy Corn Demon

What do we get when we interpret this directly into a monster? A giant piece of candy corn, presumably from the pits of the underworld, with vampiric fangs and devilish horns and some kind of cilia it obvious scurries around on like a giant, sugary paramecium. A creature without flaw. The best of all worlds.

"Deep Sea Monster" Fish Bowls

First thing's first: don't put fish in these. Bettas actually need several gallons of properly treated, filtered water and goldfish need even more. Goldfish get HUGE. They're supposed to live for like, decades. Even one tiny guppy probably isnt too happy in one of these things.

...You know what would be happy in one of these, though? A leech, of course! So would, possibly, one of those dwarf clawed frogs the size of your pinky finger, or a bunch of isopods on some nice damp soil and wood if you keep the top covered. There's plenty of stuff you can find to put in these that won't die miserably, maybe even just a plant or some potpourri, and why wouldn't you? They're shaped like goofy anglerfish with light-up eye stalks and clawed dinosaur feet!

Frank N' Float

A great idea for an aquarium decoration, the name conflicts with what looks a lot more like a "zombie" than a Frankenstoid, but basically his head will float around on a nearly-invisibly string mere inches above his torso! I only wish these came in more than one design, because a skeleton or at least a pumpkin-head would really round out a proper set. Speaking of sets!


I love aquarium figurines, and these are absolutely some of the best I've ever encountered. You've got a goofy-looking mutant fish with a drum of toxic waste, an even goofier looking mutant crab with another drum of sludge, and finally a gill-man, deep one, whatever you want to call it, one of my favorite classic monsters that so rarely get attention. Best of all, they come in eye-burning neon colors - much brighter than my camera can actually capture - and glow intensely under a blacklight. This is a common enough gimmick for aquarium decorations, but here, it plays into the actual theme of the figurines, as though they're glowing with radiation!

I only wish there were more than just these three, and possibly more sizes. How about a giant toxic octopus next year?