What's Coolest From Michael's in 2020

2020 marks the very, very first year that I've ever seen a Michael's take the entire month of August to put out its Halloween decor, as clear a sign as any of the impending apocalypse. In fact, I still haven't really seen their offerings in person this year, but they're nice enough to have a pretty comprehensive online store, and I can't help but think the catalog has grown a bit since they bought out and cannibalized competitor A.C. Moore.

I've sifted through a full 60 some pages of that catalog for you, and distilled it down to what I think are this year's coolest looking or generally most delightful items.

Resin Eyeball Roses

These are listed as around five inches in size, and since they're pretty round and chunky designs, that sounds like a nice solid handful of spooky eyeblossom, or what we call Peepers round these parts! I think these might even be my favorite peeper figurines yet; others might include a skeleton hand, a flowerpot, a thorny stem or other bells and whistles, and that's fine, but I'm rather liking how these boil it straight down to just the flower, and I also like the lidless roundness of the eyeballs here, a more intense and alien look than the serene, half-lidded peepers I'm more used to seeing.

Creepy Plant Miniatures!

These are TINY miniature accents, just an inch and a half high, coming in what they call "Corpse Flower" and simply "Eye Flower" varieties. This isn't the first time I've seen a chomping plant monster referred to as a "corpse flower," which I have some mixed feelings about, since that's already the name of a very bizarre and unique plant I wish was represented here.

Regardless, these are great looking minis!

Winged Yoga Skeletons

Yoga skeletons have become a peculiar mainstay lately, and are all pretty much the same, but these have butterfly wings, which means these are totally the life-sized skeletons of undead fairies.

Skeleton Shark Miniature

Another teeny tiny item, but this one of an undead shark! While a real carcharodon does not at all have "ribs" down its entire length, this is a reasonable enough stylization that was also sort of necessary for the figure to be at all structurally sound. Maybe undead sharks just build more body from the bones of their prey? Did you ever think of that?

"FEED US!" Wreathe

The asking price for this is too steep for me, but both of the carnivorous plant mouths seem to be entirely new, original sculpts, and it's not common at all for them to have eyes! I wish they sold both these toothy pods and bitey flowers as separate, cheaper pieces you could use to make your own stuff, but I can't find any other instance of them in the whole catalog. Boooo!

Eyeball Cloche

Sometimes I prefer my eyeballs entirely devoid of any extraneous flesh, but it was a good choice to fill this display with eyeballs that possess an outer skin. It gives them a more monstrous look, like they naturally grew this way and aren't just eyeballs taken from a human or animal. The dead moss is also a fantastic addition here, since now it looks like these things are part of the same bizarre and monstrous botanical growth!

"Haunted House" Table Accent

That's all they're calling this, but it's a light-up model of a haunted house that's also part of an imaginary popup book. It's at least two layers of artifice, and it's just such an adorable concept.

"Stay True" Wall Sign

Michael's is actually selling a bunch of Halloween products this year with a "romantic" theme and pastel colors, which is cool as hell, though not many are unusual enough for me to discuss here. One exception is this eerie sign, ostensibly about loyalty to your loved ones, but that becomes pretty menacing when it's presented via a staring, one-eyed valentine over an impaled human heart. Badass.

Miniature Shadowboxes

I think these are about 3-5 inches tall, and they're all cool, but they definitely feel like they need to be kept together as a set. You've got an eerie psychic eye-hand, an eye flower, AND an eye spider, which is, surprisingly enough, rarer Halloween imagery than the other two. Where are all the eyeball spiders this time of year?!

Spooky Window

This is just under a foot tall, and it's SO nice looking. Does it light up? I'm not sure, though it doesn't even need to, just that intense green looks gorgeous! So gorgeous, it's a shame that it's only an 11-inch model. You know all those life size styrofoam tombstones you can get this time of year? Yeah, I'd like to know why they don't just make creepy "windows" the same way, with light-up features so it really looks like something unnatural is going on outside.

Bag of Creature Skeletons

This is a mesh bag that apparently comes with exactly these three things. The skeletal "dog" and skeletal "bat" (or owl?) both originate as string lights, but here they've been molded from a softer plastic with dirtier looking paint application. The fact that they're not really molded to necessarily stand upright or hang very easily kind of makes them even more fun, I'm glad the dog thing is just a floppy little corpse.

Animated Vulture

It looks nothing like a real vulture, but it doesn't need to. The way its body blends in with its stony base already makes it feel more like a magically animated statue of a vulture than an actual vulture, which is perfectly fine by me! What an adorably smug face on this thing, too.

Moon Witch Wreathe

Wait a sec, how common are moon witches anyway? It's such an easy combination with their pointy hats, pointy noses and pointy chins that I think I just assumed they were everywhere despite rarely seeing them at all.

Light-up Haunted House Plaque

I LOVE this. At least, I love it about as much as I can love something that isn't personfified as a "creature." It's just such a perfectly warped and cartoony spooky house, with more of that vivid green window effect, and this one is almost two feet tall. It's too bad they're selling it for almost $40, about twice what I'd really be willing to spend on it when it doesn't even have any eyeballs.

Moth Eyes Pillow

Gorgeous! This death's head moth with human eye markings is on a couple of other items, but this is the only one that features the design with any color. I'm so glad these moths have kept appearing more and more often in Halloween decor, which is one more thing I hoped for and predicted years before I ever started seeing it. Do I have more influence on the Halloween scene than I think I do? I guess now that I think of it, I'm still one of the only people actually making reviews like this at all. Even the massive youtube review scene doesn't have a lot of people infodumping in detail about why they love a specific moth pillow, or an eyeball spider, or a plastic fly trap.

Potion Bottle

Looks like you can write your own label on this thing, and wow, just what the heck are we looking at?! Besides the entire snake wrapped around it, the bottle stopper is some kind of scaly disembodied snakle eye with even more little snakes on top, like gorgon hair. Kind of wish that were a figure or decoration all on its own, just a big Medusa Eyeball you can display like you would a fake pumpkin.

Witch "Teardrops"

A "teardrop," if you didn't know, is what you call something that's like a wreathe but it's a hanging, dangly shape instead of a ring.

All I know is, these are two of the most twisted phantasmagorical sorceresses I've yet seen. With randomly placed eye-flowers, ribbons, pine needles, fruits, pumpkins and swirly candy-like orbs, these feel more like "witches" in the Madokle Magic sense. These are clearly what happens to Hocuses when they overflow with enough power to grow a complete body, but they're simply too bonkers to either understand or care what that's supposed to look like.