Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Michael's 2019 Highlights!
As one of the very first stores to stock Halloween each year, Michael's is often one of the first that I ever review...but they do have a tendency to put additional items up by mid-September, so this year, I finally bid my time and contained myself for the few weeks it would take to review the best all at once...
Last year, Michael's sold a I finally gave flower-eyes their own Peeper clutched by a skeleton hand. This year, they've got a whole different model of basically the same thing, but it's joined by something far stranger, and Here's a closer look:
An entire thorny, black and blue rose that's also a skull! This is imagery I've seen before as tattoo art, but I've never seen as a figurine or decoration before. I'm also liking the entirely black butterfly perched on top, which I'm sure we can assume is this thing's natural pollinator. All the butterfly's missing are bright red eyes, like you would get on so many other black Halloween animals.
We've seen crescent moon skulls before, but usually as smaller, heavier, overpriced resin statues - this is a much larger, but reasonably affordable styrofoam sculpture, flat on the back for the purpose of hanging. Though we call it a skull, it does seem to have lips and even veiny temples, so it seems almost more like a bone-colored, fleshy ghoul of a moon!
Skull Moon Wall Hanging
Have they had this before? I think they've had this before, but I think it was also more colorful. The pure black toad with mint-green eyes is honestly much more beautiful and much more interesting, and I'd probably get one if they weren't so darn pricey.
Giant Black Toad
There's a number of little mini fantasy skeletons available this year, and skeleton garden gnomes have become an especially common sight, but the way this one is just crawling around, and has a remaining eyeball, might be the most terrifying I've ever seen.
Miniature Crawling Gnome Corpse
I'm pleased to say that skeleton mermaids have also become quite common, especially this year! This is an interesting one because the fish tail isn't skeletal, but still seems to be organic, so I'm not sure how the heck it works. I guess it's no more unusual than the hair that's still attached, unless that's just a lot of filamentous algae. The funniest part of course is the seashell ba slapped directly on the rib cage.
Miniature Skeleton Mermaid
Speaking of skeletons with both hair and brasierres, this isn't a "fantasy creature" but still pretty entertaining in resin miniature form. I know I used to be one of those "wehhh skeletons cant have boobys!!!" types, but I pretty much accept all skeletons these days regardless of how much sense they make.
Miniature Skeleton Piratess
This is obviously supposed to be a witch who accidentally flew into a tree, but her limbs are so lovingly wrapped around it and her face so serene, it really just looks like she's very, very fond of trees. Very very fond. Too fond. Too much.
"Watch out for trees!"
My Michael's have NOT put these decorative minis out, but they look pretty nice from the website! I see bats, spiders and scarab beetles in pure black, but it's the painted hawk moths that are especially exciting. It kind of looks like they've got weird cherub heads instead of actual thoraxes and moth heads, and those colors are just gorgeous! I wish these weren't just an inch across, or however tiny they might be; I feel like those especially deserve to be some kind of giant wall hanging.
Lemax "Spooky Town" has been joining in on the carnivorous plant invasion for a couple of years now, putting out one new Shop of Horrors after another, and this is their latest entry. This one appears to have been completely overgrown by the beasts, who have even imprisoned their gardener and attracted a few VERYlarge flies!
Garden of Eaten
And for yet another Audrey II, we've got this adorable foam building kit you can put together with just a little glue. The plant has quite a bit of personality, but of course it's the goofy cartoon flies I love the most, one of which has dead X's for eyes!
Foam Rubber Plant Model
These plants also have a little sign on the front that reads "Do NOT Feed me"
Are you confused? I'm confused, but only a little. This appears to actually represent one of those rocking boat themed carnival rides, but the boat is also a giant vampire. I'm going to take that as literally as possible and assume it is a genuine, sentient vampire who has a boat ride for a body. I hope his single ghost and two bats are having fun in there. In the boat. In the boat that's a vampire. In...in the...
Foam Rubber Vampire Ship Model
Waaaiiit a minute....
...VAMPIRE BOAT!?!?! AAAUUUUUGGGHHH!!!!
The final and my favorite Michael's item to review this year is actually one of the cheapest, one of those things they only just now put out near the front of the store. It's a set of sticky gel clings that include their own cardboard background, featuring a zombie mad scientist, a brain in a jar and a whole family of SLIMES! Can you believe this is one of the very first times I've really seen slime creatures acknowledged in a Halloween product? Besides sporadic appearances in coloring books and smaller stickers, they never get anything. This selection runs a lovely gamut of sizes, shapes and colors, but my favorite is by far the green, puddle-like one with its eyeballs on the floor, followed closely by the pink one whose eyes are floating so unevenly. I demand more of these gooey friends. Figures. Lawn inflatables. Carnivorous plants finally took their rightful place as major seasonal symbols...I say slimes deserve to be next.
Gel Cling Laboratory Scene
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