Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Joann Fabrics 2019!
Joann's selection can often be hit or miss; it's always fine quality, but it's not every year they offer items that are quite my kind of weird and quirky. 2019 seems like a pretty big exception! Not big in the sense that there's a lot for me to review, but some of what they're peddling is exceptionally cool.
This so-called "wreathe" is a good start. A wreathe is usually a circle, isn't it? But this wreathe is square, like a picture frame, and it's a mummy to boot! A square frame shaped mummy with little ridiculous nubby arms and legs.
This is one of those styrofoam items you're supposed to paint up yourself, but those are usually much more generic and conventional objects like skulls, pumpkins, or Frankenstoid heads. This year, they've got this new cat skeleton edition, which is not only a pleasingly accurate cat skeleton by Halloween standards, but adorably holds a fish in its mouth! I've never painted one of these things before. In fact I don't generally paint much at all. I kind of want to make an exception here, if I find the time...
Paintable Spooky Cat
Speaking of fish and skeletons, Joann is also the first outlet I've come to that carried any of those new Crazy Bonez items. Specifically the anglerfish, octopus, AND the eel!
I didn't see this on the Crazy Bonez official website, so I'm not even sure if it's made by the same company. Many have gotten in on this action lately, and Joann's own brand is called "The Boneyard." As usual, this is a "cartoon" skeleton with ears and a nose and other unnatural, non-skeletal features to remind us what kind of animal it is, in addition to an apple in its mouth for good measure. I'll also say as usual that I don't mind this as much as other people do. It's cute! I do understand the desire for more scientifically accurate skeletanimals, however, and am always rooting for some manufacturer to step up to that plate one of these days.
Another barnyard critter, the rooster skeleton adds giant phalanges to represent its tail feathers as well as a bony wattle and comb, but the actual wings are surprisingly correct for a Halloween skelebird!
It sure is! Maybe this is kind of an ordinary item by most standards, but I really like it. I especially like how it has little eyeballs as separate pieces suspended in its sockets, when it could have more easily had eyes painted into black sockets. It's a nice extra touch that lets light shine through the eyeholes.
Halloween is Skelefun
Adorable! Skeleton bats are common these days, but I feel like they still aren't AS common as you might expect. I am also a sucker for all flat, bat-shaped cut-out items, and this is one of the first times I've seen that in skeletal form.
Skeleton Bat Sign
Now we're getting into the really good stuff this year. Joann is offering four kinds of weird, wacky light-up pumpkins, and first up is this cool as hell skelekin! We reviewed some pumpkin sculptures last year with bones like this running up their exterior, but this is the first hollow edition I've seen. A pumpkin that has truly rotted down to the skeleton. These would just look so, so cool lighting up a room! It's also pretty easy to put your own lighting inside if you're not into the color-changing LED they provide.
ADORABLE. What a fun and novel idea! I think I've seen guides to making something like this with fake rats yourself, but I've never seen a pumpkin come pre-rodented. I think this has another color-changing LED in it, which I'm not that big a fan of. The green glow they use as an example here is much cooler, like the pumpkin is infected with space radiation. We all know a plague of gigantic, mutant rat-pumpkin hybrids comes next, don't we?!
Rat Infested Pumpkin
Pumpkins with single eyes are another of those surprisingly new trends we noted just last yar, but this is one of the coolest I've seen yet. The eye is simply so alien and grotesque, so intense and unwholesome! There's no way it doesn't curse you, invade your mind or drain away your life just by looking at you.
The STAR attraction! Totally out of left field! A pumpkin with unpleasantly realistic teeth and gums - and nothing else! - is as far as I know 100% new to the Halloween decor scene. If I'm wrong, then I'm sad I ever missed out on it before. While the eye pumpkin likely wields some kind of hypno-magic, this one is probably all physical threat, unless it has some kind of chattering, gibbering or shrieking attack. Maybe the same haunted vine produces both varieties, and the eyeball gourds weaken or entrap prey while the mouth gourds feast?!
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