SPOOKTACULAR $1 Solar Scenes

Perhaps I jumped the gun a bit when I did my Dollar Tree article in the middle of September. They never do finish putting out everything until around October, and this year, Dollar Tree is offering these delightful spooky scenes at only a buck each! This isn't the first year that these have existed, mind you, but it's the first year I've seen all four of these designs and the first year I've personally found them at the ol' D-T.

Maybe you think you've already seen enough after watching this video, but every one of these has at least one thing worth a closer look, and I'm not saying it would kill you not to read everything I have to say about little upside-down jars full of ghosts, but we can't scientifically prove that it won't, either.

If you're not familiar with this particular kind of solar-powered doo-dad, each scene revolves around a central object containing a hidden magnet. Suspended by a thin, plastic strand just above this object is another, smaller object with its own opposing magnet. As the internal mechanism spins, so does the first magnet, and the resulting wave of electromagnetism causes the "floating" object to swing back and forth.

This is all needlessly, needlessly elaborate for just how little it really accomplishes. Simply having one of these in a car or on a frequently-jostled desktop is kind of enough to keep the swinging motion going, but as we learned from Kingdom Death the other day, excess is sometimes a part of the fun.

We are capturing the sun to generate lightning to manipulate the hidden magic of rocks to make a fake bat wiggle around a little, and it's all for one buck. This is the kind of thing I can always reliably love about humanity whatever its other failures.

The best thing about this one isn't even the bat hovering over the giant skull, though; it's that wonderful haunted tree in the background, looking completely unsure of itself as it meekly raises its arms in a gesture of ghostliness. "I...guess I'm haunted? Ooga booga maybe?" it seems to be saying. "If, um, that's okay with you."

Of course it is, tree. Of course. If you can't believe in yourself, let us believe for you.

Our next solar scene features a giant spider incredibly excited about whatever a witch has been brewing directly in a Jack-O-Lantern. That's more Halloween crammed into two inches of space than should even be legal. I almost thought this was the least exciting of the four, but I don't know what the hell I was thinking at the time. I don't drink and I don't do drugs, but I must have somehow magically been drunk and high anyway to think such an outrageously wrong thing.

I mean, just LOOK at that witch. Look at her face. I dare you to look at that face and tell me you don't love her. I dare you to look at that face and tell me you would ever have the heart to point out that she's just been standing there, probably for hours, making stirring motions completely outside her brew with a stick far too short to stir anything with anyway. I'm going to say she was probably originally sculpted for some entirely different decoration where she'd actually appear to be stirring something, but she must never, never be allowed to know that. The consequences are unspeakable.

...Look at the moon from the back, too! There's something I really love about this plastic, yellow moon supported by a pillar of zig-zaggy plastic clouds. I'd really like a giant-size decoration of just this.

Our third scene would almost be my favorite, if the swinging part had been anything other than a kind of underwhelming fireball. Maybe if the fireball had its own face, we'd really be talking. It's also a little bit too heavy to even swing all that much, as you may notice in my video earlier. Still, we've got a haunted tree front and center this time, and it's noy only confidently menacing, but it's on fire. I don't see a lot of spooky trees with the fire angle, do you? It makes sense. To a tree, another tree that's on fire is pretty much a scary monster. It can even make regular trees into trees on fire. That's EXACTLY like a vampire, but for trees!

Don't let a flaming demon tree stump distract you from those sweet ghosts, though! One is sticking out of a gigantic red coffin and the other from a tombstone.

...And you can barely see it from any angle you try, but one pumpkin back there is just PISSED.

So, finally, our fourth and last scene is almost definitely the best one, even if it's the least absurd. We've got a nice, simple, straightforward graveyard scene, complete with part of an iron gate in the background as an entire skeleton emerges from the earth and its head just flies around wildly above its shoulders.

What really clinches this one as my favorite? The fact that the skeleton is holding an eyeball in its left hand.

As an aside, I actually found an incredibly tiny bone on the ground exactly where I was photographing these things, possibly from a baby bird or some kind of rodent. I think I'm going to go with "baby bird," maybe even an under-developed one from any of the numerous nests built over the summer.

Maybe we should consult an expert:

.....I SEE!!!