Written by Jonathan Wojcik
REVIEWING "AIR BLOWN INFLATABLE" HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS
Taking the world by storm some time ago, it's now impossible to avoid giant, illuminated lawn balloons for just about every major holiday and then some, a type of decoration I have personally, unfortunately, never had either the money or the space to get involved with myself.
That hasn't prevented us from reviewing a number of interesting examples over the years, and we're going to recap some past favorites here along with a slew of new balloons gleaned from google and ebay searches! Enjoy!
We reviewed this all the way back when it appeared at Wal-Mart most of a decade ago, when it appeared for just one year at Wal-Mart. In a clever skirting of copyright laws, three oddly familiar-looking sheet ghosts are menaced by an oddly-familiar looking pumpkin, and just in case you didn't catch that this is a Pac-Man joke, the "Trick or Treat" is in pixel font! This is so adorably geeky, I wish it had been a little figurine set instead of a giant $50 balloon. Actually, that's true for almost everything we're about to review, so just pretend I keep on saying it.
2010's "RUNAWAY GHOSTS"
Five years ago, I was actually delighted enough to give this its own entire article entry. Why? Because I may not have been that big a fan of slenderman, but it was the first time I had ever seen a "creepypasta" phenomenon or internet horror meme break out into Halloween, and I'm probably even less enthusiastic these days about Faceless Jack Skellington, but I still respect Slender's significance to viral horror and I still respect anything you can consider a long-term new addition to our roster of "Halloween Monsters." It has been so, so many years of just Draculas, Frankensteins, Wolfmans, Witches and Mummies. I love them all, but any time a new monster rises to enough popularity that it begins appearing in the same context as the classics, it just plain warms my heart!
2013's Inflatable Slenderman
What, something returning from only last year? It's my website! I can do that if I want! Giant spiders are a dime a dozen, but here we have an actual insect, and it's not the more commonly seen cockroach, either, though that would also be awesome. Instead, we get a giant, mutant MANTIS, an animal I seldom see associated with Halloween, but an animal that fully deserves to be!
2017's Giant Mantis
And just when I thought Slender's infiltration into the holiday had been a flash in the pan, we saw a total ripoff of him last year at Home Depot, now with a faint skull face that is actually a little cooler than regular, faceless slender, and earlier this year we encountered another, unrelated "slim man" as a Party City animatronic!
2017's "Slim Man"
Did you like that quick trip down memory lane? Did you even consider it such? Did you even ACTUALLY remember any of those scary balloons? Could I probably re-review almost anything and nobody would ever notice?!!
Well, here's one I saw years ago but I don't believe I actually ever reviewed, or maybe I did. Nobody knows! It's a giant, inflatable monster hand bursting out of the ground with a gigantic eyeball clutched in its claws. Who knows WHAT kind of monstrosity this is supposed to be attached to!
This one is hilarious, because it makes it look like a bunch of cheap ghouls and goblins parked their run-down camper on somebody's lawn and probably run up their electric bill without paying any rent. This is actually gravely serious horror in the eyes of the upper class, and doesn't even need to be occupied by monsters to distress them almost as much as they inherently deserve to be distressed. To complete the effect, we could make a giant inflatable homeless vampire sleeping on a giant inflatable park bench, and then maybe a giant inflatable New Neighbor's House whose giant inflatable tacky lawn decorations flagrantly violate the community rules but the giant inflatable policeman won't do anything about it EVEN THOUGH you've got high-profile dinner guests coming over any moment! BOO!!!!!!
Is this a case where giant eyeballs are supposed to represent some unseen, larger monster who possesses said eyeballs, or one of those cases where the eyeballs are truly their own entity? In either scenario, there isn't any immediately logical reason to put giant glasses on them except that it's adorable and I love it. It's the absolute perfect niche item for the Halloween-loving optometrist.
GIANT MONSTER EYEBALLS WITH GLASSES
What else should we ever call this!? It's a Rat Fink style Grim Reaper, with the protruding eyeballs and everything, and he's driving a customized buggy-sized HEARSE! I know I said I wouldn't repeat this sentiment, but god damn do I want this to exist in some other form. An actual, plastic toy that drives around, anything!
This was apparently unreleased, but it was almost manufactured by Gemmy corporation and Gemmy for some reason has its own fan wiki. Perhaps they felt this was simply too disturbing of a visual for their wholesome public image, as our poor Scoobington contemplates a potentially fatal leap from a moving vehicle just to escape the living hell he's found himself in, the once comfortable hippie van completely hijacked by the souls of the dead who also are NOT watching the road.
PROTOTYPE INFLATABLE MYSTERY MACHINE
Too cool! Straight out of some video game that probably wishes it was Mario, this carnivorous plant features large tusks I haven't often seen in monsters of its type, and a strikingly red head on its leafy green stem.
GIANT FLY TRAP
IT'S GOT CHICKEN LEGS! Look at that hilarious little smile on this alien pilot, thrilled to bits to be ravaging the countryside of our vulnerable planet. I like how the side cannons look more like machine gun barrels than some sort of more advanced alien weaponry. The thought of invading aliens who just fire bullets is so strange, somehow.
Amazing! This is a recent 2018 item I've seen on a few websites, and it has the vibe of such a menacing, all-original fantasy-horror monster; a black, monstrous tree with vampiric fangs, clawed hands for branches, and multiple HUMONGOUS eyeballs dangling from those hands like hideous fruits! This is totally something that belongs in a tabletop role-playing game or survival horror boss battle!
I usually skip over most "licensed" characters, but I'm making a couple exceptions here. Our first exception is the hard-working staff at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, immortalized in balloon form by Morbid Enterprises. I believe I've said this before, but I am sincerely proud of how far this simple, strange little indie game has come, and it makes me incredibly happy that its success and popularity are driven primarily by younger children. Children deserve strange, unique, challenging media to consume, and anyone who rolls their eyes or snarks at their sincere love for these spooky animal robots is just a big old dickhead.
AIR BLOWN INFLATABLE FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S
Our second licensed item here is another 2018 newcomer and a BIG surprise. The Sandworms were by far the coolest thing in Beetlejuice next to that part where the Maitlands stretch their faces into chicken demons, but I've almost NEVER seen them merchandised even at the peak of the film or (superior) cartoon show's popularity. There isn't even any Beetlejuice revival going on right now, as far as I know, but here comes an almost life-size sandworm to menace your front lawn this holiday season!
I decided to go with this one for our very last item, because it really does something remarkably different. There's an inherent lightheartedness to most of these decorations, as it is admittedly difficult to make a big balloon look atmospheric or frightening...but by god, this one pulled it off. Even the inflatable Slenderman looks kind of cartoonish, but by way of being nothing but a pure white, towering figure with luminous red eyes, this inflatable phantasm is both ominous and amazingly tasteful... even if she is charmingly cock-eyed.
GIANT GHOST WOMAN
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