Written by Jonathan Wojcik
A FINAL LITTLE SPOOKY ROUNDUP
It's officially the end, kind of. We may have a few Nightmare Menagerie stragglers and we're putting up this year's 200+ creepypasta story entries in a couple of days, but it's pretty much the end of 2018 and the end of what I consider the Halloween season.
Like every year, there are a lot of things I didn't get around to. A lot of article ideas, artwork ideas, even ever making any progress on that interactive game I promised last year.
But at the very least, I can close off 2018 with a run-down of some extra little spooky things I saw, or even took home, between the start of August and the end of December...
This otherwise featureless sheet ghost has a bow on its head, which we know is usually supposed to mean it's a "girl," but, it doesn't have to be. It can be anything! It's DEAD! It's made of a ceramic-like material but it lights up with a teeny, tiny little switch on the bottom, which is just plain adorable. I think there was a counterpart with a top hat available, again, supposedly gendered, but these are dead bedsheets we're talking about. They can wear whatever the hell they want on their heads.
A LITTLE LIGHT UP GHOST
These come in various colors, but the black one looks the most like the Gegege no Kitaro villain, Backbeard. Kitaro has a great anime right now, by the way. That was going to be the subject of another whole article I just never collected the spoons for.
I wanted to be able to touch the little eyeball demon with my own hands, so I sliced open its rubber womb. The actual material is really sticky, except for the eyeball inside, which is rock-hard plastic.
This was just a clip-on purple hair extension, but I bought it out of a bargain bin because of the packaging artwork. Look at that. That absolutely phenomenal character design blown on only this single cardboard sheet for this single, easily forgotten product. She's not explicitly a vampire, a ghost or any other known monster, she's just a very long woman with unbeatable fashion sense.
This was a whopping $7 for a perishable, tiny pumpkin with a face painted on it, so I unfortunately did not take it home to watch it slowly rot over the course of another five months. Now I'm thinking maybe that was a mistake, and in fact would be worth every single penny of that hard-earned $7. That face is clearly not expressing a "fear of paranormal phenomenon" sort of "yikes" but a "did my friend really make that racist-ass joke" sort of "yikes."
THE "YIKES" PUMPKIN
This is actually the first time I've seen a spider alone as a dancing solar monster, and it's got a fascinatingly twisted anatomy, with both a muppet face on the front of its inaccurate head segment and little white "horns" that may represent an additional set of mouth parts. It's so snowman-shaped that they probably just recyced the internal mechanics of a dancing snowman figure I think I can reasonably surmise must exist.
DANCING SOLAR SPIDER
This awesome sculpture greets you outside of a local farm's pumpkin patch, and I always appreciate the use of a little green space alien as a Halloween entity. It's also got just about every classic little green space alien feature, including big round eyes, antennae, and funnel-like ears, a more forgotten trope of alien design.
SCRAP METAL MARTIAN
This excessively large donut was purely decorative and not for sale, which is kind of a waste of food, but then again I'd feel like I was trashing the Mona Lisa if I were to actually eat this beautiful work of art. What a wonderful nasty little demon this is. Is it stock art they copied, or someone's all-original red devil? I could probably check google, but I don't want to know.
VOODOO DONUT'S DEMON DONUT
Visiting friends up in Seattle for Halloween, we got a chance to visit the famous Scarecrow Video, a real surviving video store that spans multiple rooms and at least two levels with an infamously extensive, rare and unusual collection of film beyond even what you might find via internet bootlegs.
SCARECROW VIDEO'S SCARY CROW
And presumably just for Halloween, guests were greeted by this positively superb skeletal avian.
While we're talking about Scarecrow, I may as well mention this amazing latex oni figure. Where the hell did they GET this?! Who manufactured it?! It wasn't for sale, but part of their personal collection of kitschy decorations, and I've never seen anything quite like it in all my life. It looks decades old and it's SO beautifully painted, especially those little baby corpses of the damned.
SCARECROW VIDEO'S RUBBER ONI
All of these were like this, obviously intended to say SPOOK tacular, but they somehow made it through corporate approval and mass production without anybody noticing or caring about the error, and I'm glad because It's freaking precious.
There's a little shop here called Sunlan Lighting, specializing in lightbulbs and lamps of every conceivable variety. It's owned and operated by the incredibly sweet Kay Newell, the "Portland Light Bulb Lady," and she loves drawing original cartoons about, you guessed it, light bulbs!
"BEWITCHING BULBS" CARTOON
She gave away little prints for free to every single person who came by, and I'm really glad to have this awesome Halloween flavored one. My favorite here is the floodlight with the purple mask, but there's something to be said of the flame-style lightbulb just floating around with no obvious face or other anthropomorphic qualities. It's like a band of lightbulb-based Tsukumogami!
Like Scarecrow, Sunlan lighting also decorated with its own private collection of vintage Halloweenery, and that included this totally kickass, vintage Spider Circus miniature. Not just a circus of spiders, but a circus that IS a spider!
This is not a "Halloween" item at all, but I found it during the Halloween season, or rather a tumblr mutual who lives near us found it, photographed it in the store, posted about how odd it was, and I basically flew out the door to see if it was still there, which it was, and now it lives with us.
BURLAP KITCHEN GRANNY
I feel like this being would be a lot less strange if it were actually made out of burlap. Instead, some manufacturer went to all the trouble of molding and painting a ceramic representation of a mouthless burlap doll with eerie button eyes, intended to hold your larger kitchen implements in her arms and back pockets.
There's just too much Halloween-esque energy emanating from this thing to let the season truly end without acknowledging her presence.
Milwaukie, Oregon is a very small city bordering our own Portland, and it has a very small, quaint little city hall that boasts a Scarecrow Gallery on Halloween. We discovered this only this year, and I'll be sure to check it out every year I can, because some of these Scarecrows are pure delight. The sun was going down too rapidly to get clear photographs of them all and my flash sucks, but you can already see the amazing craftsmanship that went into some of them, especially the eerie, faceless baseball player in the center here.
CITY OF MILWAUKIE SCARECROWS
Look at this one. I have NO IDEA what's going on here, but I'm definitely loving it. This is like some sort of bone god just standing around showing off its favorite bones in its favorite sparkly t-shirt.
this one's got some kind of laptop or chalkboard head! And a little bow tie! And glasses! I feel like this must represent a particular person or a particular job.
That Jack Skellington back there isn't bad either. He's looking pretty mopey and pissed off though, I guess because he didn't get to be in the front row. You know how he is.
I have the LEAST idea what I'm looking at here out of all of these scarecrows. Maybe if I could read the hat from here I could work out what it represents, probably another real-world job. Again, though, I don't need to understand it to love it.
Here we have the most badass of the scarecrows here, some kind of medical worker or hazardous waste handler that I feel shows off some very impressive effort, really looking like there might be a human inside. I love the tangly strands of hair, especially, and what seems to be a bloody heart or cyst bursting out.
And finally, here's Jim Carrey's The Mask t-posing with tiny, baby sized skeleton hands. If this is the last thing you ever see of my 2018 Halloween round-ups and reviews...so be it.
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