In just the past few years, I've witnessed carnivorous plants erupt into one of the new most common core symbols of the Halloween season, something I bitterly wish had begun at any earlier point in my lifetime. They were certainly always at least a background presence, obviously, and impossible to miss in the rest of our popular culture, but it somehow wasn't until the late 2010's that botanical monsters took off as a seasonal image almost as common as mummies and werewolves.
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So...what's next? What other creatures have a cultural precedent, already appear from time to time in association with the holiday and would lend themselves most easily to merchandising? I have my own picks, but I'd also love to hear anyone else's ideas!
So we've got plants down, but what about fungi? Mushroom creatures are exceedingly common in magical fantasy and especially magical fantasy gaming, but why in the world are they so rare everywhere else? I know I've seen personified mushrooms as ceramic figurines and collectible salt shakers on more than one occasion, but remarkably enough not ever in a "spooky" context, despite mushrooms having an existing association with the autumn season and witchcraft. There are so many interesting ways to make a mushroom into a creature, too; sometimes the cap is the head, sometimes the face is on the stem, sometimes it has a little humanoid body, and when we're talking "creepy monster" mushrooms there's neither minimum nor maximum on actual number of facial features.
IDEAL ITEM: spooky garden decor, obviously! Plastic or resin spooky fungi would be perfect at roughly the scale and style of a "lawn gnome."
Eyeballs are already a Halloween staple; there's no shortage of them at all! They are, however, even more common than the aforementioned mushroom monsters, almost ubiquitous in video games and pretty common in other forms of entertainment as well. Slapping literally any appendages onto an ocular orb is an instantaneous monster design almost nobody seems to get sick of, so where in the WORLD are all the Halloween versions? I've seen one or two, here and there, including eyeball creature costumes and masks, but having just gone over how simplistic they are, they should lend themselves to basically anything at all.
IDEAL ITEM: Maybe you've seen those inexpensive, furry spiders with the incredibly long, poseable legs? I want that, but in a big plastic eyeball with rubbery tentacles, or for that matter even the exact same furry spider legs. They could literally manufacture the same cheap spider with an eyeball casing! Easy!
Another you practically can't get away from in our popular culture, but when was the last time you saw a Halloween decoration of a brain with at least eyeballs on it? I've got a couple brains with toothy mouths that I really treasure, and I've got a talking brain with eyeballs and jaws that Target started selling just in 2018, but how can something so simple and iconic be that rare?
IDEAL ITEM: I'd most enjoy just a big, plastic brain with bendable eye stalks and a long, bendable spinal column; something you can decorate with just by winding it around something.
"Real" slime is increasingly trendy these days and already a Halloween staple. Sometimes it's even sold with googly eyes! Slime creatures, however, can be mush more than just formless puddles of fluid. Many of them in popular culture do have distinct shapes, textures, personalities and permanent facial features, so they're still something that works as a solid-state figure.
IDEAL ITEM: I've actually already seen a couple instances of actual slime sold in containers shaped like blobby monsters, even if they weren't sold specifically for Halloween. This is the ideal way for them to catch on, but I also think slimes would work well as light-up items of any sort at all.
I guess I don't need to keep saying "this is already a dime a dozen in fiction." Parasites even keep on increasing in popularity as go-to antagonists throughout science fiction and horror, and while they can take on virtually any possible shape, you generally know you've got a parasitic monster if its mouth looks visibly capable of some sort of suction and the rest of it evokes any sort of slimy invertebrate.
IDEAL ITEM: of everything here, this is the one creature that BEST lends itself to nothing but a straightforward, floppy rubber toy on a string, all the better if it's as crude and cheap as the malformed bats and dinosaurs you can get at any dollar store. All we honestly really need for this to happen is for a new horror movie to take off that includes slimy brain-slugs of some sort for the knockoffs to come rolling in.
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