Written by Jonathan Wojcik
MISCELLANEOUS PHANTASMS II!As strong as this year started - and with some of my new all time favorites in terms of Halloween merchandise - this has been an even drier year than the alarmingly dry 2017, or maybe I just reviewed everything I could far too quickly? Have I reviewed as many actual Halloween items this year as the average year? I don't know, but I know I all but ran out until practically October itself. This, sadly, isn't all that unusual, as a lot of stores already shift gears to some "other" holiday (there are others, surprisingly) almost by the end of September.
I suppose that's not so bad when the season pretty much begins as early as July, and I guess we just have to think of August and September as the preparatory phase of Halloween, while October is the time to enjoy all the Halloween goodness you spent those two months stocking up on.
Halloween goodness like the ecclectic mix of foolery we have for you today!
I found this plush toy for only a couple dollars at a Goodwill back in September, and I feel too burnt out to get you better pictures of her, but she is entirely a head with arms and legs, so I couldn't think of anything better to name her. I like that she's slyly winking at us, and I love any witch with these long, peg-like teeth. I have to wonder if she'd actually be the size of a head or the size of an entire person if she were for real, and it's very difficult for me to pick between the two. Let's just assume she's usually small but can grow whenever she wants.
This photo was submitted by Titleknown, because we DO NOT HAVE 99 Cent Only stores anywhere I've ever been, which is agonizing if they routinely have anything even half this amazing. They're unfortunately made of very fragile styrofoam, but DUDE! A cyclops pumpkin with fangs and a spiny plant pod with an eyeball in it!? The latter isn't even obviously related to the current trend of carnivorous plants, even if I'm pretty sure that's what they were intending, but works more as just some unique and abstract fleshy eyeball creature, and I am ALL THE HECK ABOUT fleshy eyeball creatures!!
99CENT ONLY STORES: THESE THINGS
Good old, reliable Ghoul Gallery, Oregon City's year-round Halloween Collectibles shop, recently put out a display case of these very expensive, retired tree ornaments that include this WILDLY menacing pumpkin monster...or is this actually a man in the moon?? I really can't tel! It looks like he's also standing on a watermelon and carrying some sliced gourds or citrus fruits, so I guess he's some kind of harvest monster, but that mouthful of human-like teeth is damn menacing, either way!
GHOUL GALLERY: SCARY ORNAMENTS
We then have this whole other character from presumably the same set, and I am loving this clawed, saw-toothed, blood-drooling sheet ghost! You do not see anywhere near enough carnivorous ghosts! This is an item whose art style feels simultaneously very old and very new. It's a monster with a vintage feel to it, but it has the kind of edge you seldom saw until more modern Halloweens.
Hot Topic was actually kinda killing it this year with a truckload of Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney Villain, Indie Horror Video Game and Beetlejuice merchandise, but my favorite thing there was this set of little stuffed toys based on antique Halloween art. The only downside is that they were barely larger than a beanie baby, but almost twenty bucks each. Now THAT'S spooky!
HOT TOPIC: VINTAGE HALLOWEEN PLUSHES
First off, CRAP, I forgot which of three friends sent me this because three different friends sent me images of three different carnivorous plants from three different stores we don't have. If you're the one who snapped this for me, let me know! It's another retail chain we don't have where I live, but I'm glad 2018 brought the public yet another Audrey II ripoff and that at least one of them was covered in metallic fish scales. That is a pretty damn unique look for a plant monster.
SHOPPER'S DRUG MART: SPARKLY CARNIVOROUS PLANTS
Wait...what are these things called that go in your hair? I don't know. Let's call them hair sticks. They're sandworms! There's a few different sandworm items like this, including a bracelet. I wish there were even MORE sandworm things, though. Why is 2018 only giving me a choice between very tiny sandworms or humongous, inflatable sandworms? Where's the middle ground?
HOT TOPIC: SANDWORM HAIR STICKS
You know what would be really rad would be a Beetlejuice Sandworm latex mask. I would hang on that on the wall like it was just tunnelin' right on into the room.
I don't know where this hat was originally sold and it is only child size, but for just a dollar or two, I needed it. I got things I can put it on besides my own head! It was the googly eyes that sold me, turning the slimy "BOO" into a monster, rather than mere letters.
GOODWILL: BOO HAT
Wow, did it actually take THIS long for these masks to be made and sold for real?! All the Shock masks were sold out, but we know what that looked like anyway. They're made of pretty nice, thick vacuum formed plastic, too, not the super flimsy stuff that easily tears. I think these would look exceptionally awesome hung on a wall with little tealights behind them, like sconces.
HOT TOPIC AGAIN: LOCK, SHOCK AND BARREL MASKS
I missed this in my balloon reviews. Look at this guy! He's not just some clown monster, necessarily speaking, but a CREEP IN A BOX. Just a really big, giant, dirty sleazy man. That's a pretty scary monster, I gotta say. Maybe that isn't even clown makeup. He's just very, very clammy-skinned and always extremely drunk.
WAL MART: INFLATABLE GIANT CREEP
Lippman's party store had multiple metal "freak show" signs, but Spidora was the coolest, obviously. Spidora only has six legs and a pair of pedipalps, but perhaps the half-human lineage is why.
LIPPMAN CO: "SPIDORA" SIGN
So this was the only one of these on the shelves at our Wal-Mart, and I still don't know if it was functioning properly, because when you squeeze the little hand of this reaper as he sits on a toilet, he only says "LOOK INTO MY EYES"...in a Dracula voice.
LOOK INTO MY EYES
I suppose Death demanding you stare him in the face while he takes a dump is a kind of "horror," I'm just not sure exactly what kind. I kept telling myself I would buy him if nobody else did, but after a month, he ran out of batteries, and another few weeks later he was gone. Somebody has him now, and possibly made that decision not even knowing what he says or does. I really hope they're satisfied with their purchase.
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