Like most entities with some equivalent of a soul, Animal Crossing has been one of my favorite gaming franchises since it was first localized, though since this coincided with my edgiest teenage years, it has remained my tradition to try a little too hard horror-izing my villager and house.
Picking Perfect Weirdo Villagers for a "Spooky"(ish) New Horizons Island
Now obviously a lot of this revolves around how foolishly the developers allowed us players to just draw stuff without abandon, but what's a little trickier is picking out the right villagers. Besides the fact that you'll need Amiibo cards (or bootlegs) to actually choose any specific neighbors, they might seem at first glance to almost uniformly clash with any darker, scarier aesthetics you might be into........if you're heartless, I guess. What, your gothic castle of skulls is too good to have a purple elephant neighbor?
Granted, it is a shame that unique characters like Jack or that punk lizard can never move in as permanent residents (shouldn't this be at least a well hidden feature? A suitable challenge to get??) but choosing villagers for a spooky-flavored down honestly takes only a little more imagination than you might think...
So, let's just get this one out of the way, because if you want your town to reflect a love of monsters, ghosts or Halloween in any way, Lucky is literally the only villager in the entire game to overtly exhibit any qualities along those lines, a dog all wrapped up like a mummy with a glowing eye and everything!
THE OBVIOUS FIRST: LUCKY!
So of course he's one of my top favorites, duh, and I love how he comes with that Ancient Egypt theme, but he's also the "bandaged-up medical patient" kind of mummy they have in Japanese cartoons, because he's also sports obsessed and his very name, as well as his "Grrr-ouch!" catchphrase implies he just hurts himself a lot. He's either undead or he's always very, very, very messed up. A good dog.
I am blessed to have actually gotten Coco as one of my very first random villagers in this game, the first time I've ever gotten her at all! Coco is a "rabbit," but with her clay-like exterior and empty, black eyeholes, she's also designed to evoke a Haniwa, which localizations of the series decided to call "Gyroids" for whatever reason.
An animate piece of pottery is a fine monster any day, but it's worth mentioning that Haniwa were also buried with the dead and used as graveyard markers. This rabbit is practically a tombstone. A living tombstone. Maybe she'll also write us some video game fan music.
Such a classic! I actually had Octavian move in randomly to my very first-ever Animal Crossing village, way back on the gamecube, when he also happened to be the ONLY octopus character! When a villager with tentacles is even an option on the table, there's no excuse not to take it, and not only have octopuses been treated as "creepy-crawly" animals on plenty of occasions, but Octavian is quite possibly a little more than that. Having a flying saucer as the centerpiece of his house, he's also a nod to the octopus-like Martian invaders first conceived by H.G. Wells and still iconic in Japanese media!
Like I said, if you can live next door to a Cephalopod, live next door to a Cephalopod. It doesn't matter if Marina is sweet, bubbly and pink, she's still a slimy mollusk, and her motif has that great "irony" going for it if the rest of your town is more goth. Marina also moved in on her own to my second-ever AC town, right next door to my character's house, so I kind of wound up shipping them.
I do wish Zucker didn't have SUCH a slimy looking pink mouth. It's kind of unwholesome. He is, however, the third and final octopus available in this one, and his head is modeled like a piece of Takoyaki, so...would he actually be the only other villager who might be dead? Is he battered, fried and reanimated?
From here on out, our villagers are just a tiny bit less "obviously" weird, but they're still going to vibe well with all manner of Halloweeny town motifs. Hans here is a slightly less obvious choice, but he's quite clearly meant to be some kind of yeti, which is certainly a category of *monster* and even a cryptid at that. Since New Horizons finally allows you to choose exactly where each villager will move in, it goes without saying you should put Hans on the highest possible level of your island.
Kiki is possibly one of the single cutest cats in the game, but since she also happens to be an all black cat with big, round, yellow eyes, she fits in flawlessly with any town that includes a few pumpkins, tombstones or witch's brews, even if there's actually a couple other cats I prefer. Sorry, Kiki, but we'll get to why that is pretty soon.
Like Coco, Clay is based on a type of ancient, clay artifact, the same one that inspired the Pokemon Claydol and countless other video game critters, a dogu statue. Dogu are quite often interpreted as ancient "robots" or "aliens" and frequently take menacing, eerie roles, though this is all kind of diluted a little by the fact that Clay is also a fat little hamster. I'll be honest...the hamsters are one of my least favorite villager types. Sorry, Clay! You're still the COOLEST of the forgettable boring hamsters!!
We don't often think of robots as "monsters," but I think that's wrong, and I think a robot jock frog fits in just fine alongside freaks like Lucky and Octavian, especially if your town's got some "mad science" aspects to it.
The only other robot-style villager, Sprocket is a mechanical ostrich who makes an excellent counterpart to Ribbot, though having them both in the same town will push it harder towards a science fiction atmosphere, when what we're kind of looking for here is a dark fantasy atmosphere, thank you.
The highly sought after Stitches is played straight as a cute, wholesome villager, but a living stuffed animal is unnatural as it is, and those simple cross stitches for eyes give this bear what had to be a knowing dash of the uncanny.
Listen...when a clown's image saves five times larger than all the other images, you don't "correct" it. You say "yes sir, mr. clown sir" and ask no further questions.
Amelia's entry on the Animal Crossing fan wiki claims that she's a Crested Caracara because of her color scheme, but I honestly don't see it that strongly. Her Japanese name is Andes, like the Andean condor, and her home even plays the tune K.K. Condor! She's a carrion bird! If it's a spooky, seedy or gothic community you're building, this one really ought to be at the top of your list.
There's admittedly nothing at all beastly or foreboding about Rodeo other than the way he looks. He's a black bull with beady, expressionless, luminous purple eyes almost hidden in his moppy hair, which kind of makes me think of a sad minotaur or even a catoblepas. He's just a gentle, lazy cow man, but he sure has a look.
I could also swear to god that in at least one game, his house contained a milking machine. Or maybe just a bunch of milk. Something to do with milk. Something that kind of creeped me out, if I didn't totally imagine it. But what??
Another highly prized by the fan community, Cherry is one of only a couple outright goth-themed villager options, so definitely another strong choice here, though regrettably not one of my own personal favorites or even my favorite gothic villager.
...Which is because Muffy exists! This goth sheep is actually a little eerie with her red lips and staring eyes, but it's a really cute kind of eerie, and I especially love the purple striped horns. I think the best part, however, is that she's a *black* sheep, famously used as an allegory for something unwanted, rejected and infamous. No wonder she went goth!
Our second of three cats, Katt goes well in any town with a goth or punk slant, since she not only has those great little fangs and mean yellow eyes, but she's a rocker! In New Leaf her home was occupied primarily by a drum set, guitars, an amp and a giant CD player. Now in New Horizons she still has all the instruments but her only other furniture is a couch and a big pile of trash, so she's clearly only plunged even deeper into the lifestyle of a musician.
Sigh, yeah, obviously the wolves are all wildly popular with players, so I guess I should include at least one. They are literally one of the recognized Halloween animals, after all, even moreso when they're anthropomorphic, and of all the wolves in the game I really like the look of Lobo the most. I think it's the big, yellow eyes. Until there's a black-furred option or a wolf dressed like a lumberjack, Lobo is the Animal Crossing Lupine I'll be deeming Halloweenliest.
So if you want an amphibian that's not a robot and a perfect addition to a "witchier" sort of town, you can't go wrong with this straightforward toad, actually warty and everything! Too bad there aren't any newts, though. Or villager lizards, for that matter, some of which could have been colored like well known newts!
Didn't I say something about sentient pottery? Tia the elephant is one of the few object-themed villagers, which I feel gives her a quirky Yokai sort of vibe that might not seem too obvious. You don't think a teapot-headed elephant feels like a ghostly entity? You're clearly just not trying hard enough.
Any alligator is a must, I think that goes without saying, and there's even one designed to look more like a "dragon" if you're into that. You really can't go wrong with a single crocodilian in the game, to be honest, but Alli combines a flesh eating reptile with blue eyeshadow and a snide attitude, which is the kind of formula you might expect from a cartoon animal villain or at least the villain's cartoon animal sidekick. I take one look at Alli and I just know she talks like she's smoked a pack of every cigarette brand ever made.
She may not be a seasonally-appropriate black cat, but Tabby is my favorite cat in the game and one of my overall favorite villagers, long unpopular with other fans for ostensibly looking "ugly." Come on, what's not to love about her blocky teeth, piggy nose and excess makeup? Or the fact that she's actually another of the goths, according to her preferred outfits? Or the fact that she's also possibly a murderer?
No, really, in the first-ever, Japan-only Animal Crossing game, Tabby's default shirt was blood stained, and however she decorates her house, it's almost always come with at least one piece of "animal skin" furniture, like a tiger-print rug in New Horizons. In Happy Home Academy, her decorating request was to even turn her house into a "creepy, abandoned hospital," which is the point at which I'm going to say that Tabby is the first cat girl I'd call if I woke up a furry and I had to have a plain old cat girl for a furry girlfriend instead of at least, like, a cool vampire bat or a preying mantis.
one of my favorite villagers and an ideal one for the season is, unfortunately, one of the least popular among other players, who often miss the fact that he's supposed to be a mad scientist. Besides the green skin and the pupilless yellow stare through his little glasses, his house has always been done up like an evil laboratory whenever those items have been present in the same game, and oh yeah, he's got a big bandage on the back of his head, as though he had some sort of brain surgery back there.
I'm just at a loss to explain why he has the jock personality, unless it's an obscure joke on being a "body builder." Kind of a shame there's no "nerdy" or "intellectual" themed personality type in this game. It feels sorely missing for quite a few characters.
The very last villager I'm going to suggest is another of the more overlooked and under-appreciated, charming and clever and even quite a bit grim on multiple levels! Raddle is one of the only villagers with an overt medical theme, not only wearing a little lab coat but permanently wearing a medical mask. A frog doctor is already a shoe-in for what we're doing here, isn't it? But that's really not all there is to this guy.
Raddle's eyes are kind of gloomy-looking by default. His name implies illness, like "rattling lungs," and he even has a "lazy" personality, as if his energy is always low. So he's both a doctor and a sickly patient? That's still not quite everything!
The single best detail about Raddle is that his skin pattern comes from a poison dart frog, an animal so terrifyingly toxic that you will drop completely dead if you pick it up with a papercut on your hands. Raddle could quite possibly kill somebody with a touch, and his own poisonousness might even be why he seems so weak and unwell himself, but he still apparently thought he should pursue the career of a medical professional, to boot.
Raddle is easily one of the most creative and funny villagers in the entire game, but he also wraps up this feature by being the darkest, and that's even after we've seen a dead dog and a cat implied to stab people.
If it feels like I really had to "reach" to justify a lot of villagers as Halloween-esque, you're right, but that's also exactly what I think is fun here. I'd obviously appreciate if we had a few more villagers as macabre as Lucky or Coco, not to mention species such as snakes, bats or a couple more invertebrates, but then this post would have been almost too predictable to be interesting. I would just be going through the motions of "here's all the scary ones they made" and you would say "yes, that's certainly what you have assembled here" and we would be all done.
This is also the first Animal Crossing to keep holiday events totally inaccessible to even those who change the clock and calendar, which is interesting, because it means all of us with the game will really, actually be experiencing its halloween season together, and I really look forward to getting at least one more article out of that, too.
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