2021 remains the emptiest, most desolate Halloween season I've witnessed in my lifetime. Countless manufacturers of strange, unique and clever Halloween doohickeys have been lost to time over the years, businesses have bought out other businesses, brands have folded in on each other and the same generic products have slowly but surely conquered the Holiday in the years since I began this feature...but you can almost always count on Target stores to come out with some cute, vibrant and memorable new keepsakes:
TARGET'S 2021 HALLOWEEN:
An Oasis in the Desert
Light-up Blow Mold Figures
I mentioned that blow mold products have always been pretty popular, and 2021 seems to have brought them further back in style. Target is offering several this year, but the best are a classic little pumpkin-headed gentleman and a Papyrus Undertale looking skeleton, posing in front of a tombstone and only wearing a bow tie.
"Ticket Taker" Tombstone
This tombstone has a "stone carving" of a pumpkin-headed ticket taker, like at a carnival ride or a theater. They're making you wait in line and pay to get buried now I guess. His little arm moves, and in a goofy voice he does the old "step right up, step right up!" kind of routine.
An all-new innovation! Soft vinyl Halloween fruits! Several small light-up fruits are available with Jack O' Lantern faces, including not only the apples and pears pictured here but lemons and oranges, but what's more striking is the large pineapple and strawberry shaped like human skulls. That makes me imagine an entire fruit-based skeleton.
Others in this family include a green pepper skull and a dragonfruit skull, the dragonfruit looking the coolest if you ask me, though it also comes permanently molded to another fruit skull and I'm not sure what that one is supposed to be to be honet. A coconut? A huge kiwi? It just looks like a kind of fuzzy, brownish skull. I think the dragonfruit could have stood on its own, easy.
If they do these again in '22, I'd like to suggest a durian.
Pumpkin Catnip Toys
This just a pair of very small, plush pumpkins with green feathers for stems, but I love the design style of their printed faces; their mouths are such menacing, swept "batarang" sort of shapes, each with an odd cleft in the lower jaw, and one pumpkin is even a cyclops!
Stylized Plastic Pumpkins
While light-up plastic Jack O' Lanterns are a holiday staple, these are kind of unique for their simplified, cartoonish aesthetic and various design gimmicks. There's a pumpkin with an "exposed brain" that appears to be a different, wrinkly white pumpkin. There's a stitched-together pumpkin, a mummy pumpkin, and a pumpkin with both a head and a body.
Hyde & Eek 2021 Birds
A set of three decorative, fabric bird figurines come to Target every single year, but they're usually styled like pretty obvious, identifiable seasonal symbols. Witches, vampires, stuff like that. This year's however are spiky, scaly looking birds with leaves for wings, flowers sprouting out of them and other vaguely plant-like features, the most unusual being the green bird with an illicium-like antenna on top of its head. These are, in fact, even being sold under Target's "Ghoulish Garden" label this year, so speaking of that::
Ghoulish Garden "Kiss of Death"
Target's plant creatures continue to be hot sellers, and this year they've got a new "species" with puffy, fanged red lips, available not only as this single small plant but in cloches, wreathes, and as individual fake flower stalks.
Also available in these various styles are the "Dreadful Daisy" plants; black flowers with skulls in their centers. Very cute, though they don't read as a "carnivorous" plant like so many of the others we've seen.
The most impressive of the new plants, this one really looks like a chain of purple orchid flowers with cute little snake-like heads at their centers! They're also kind of rat-like, too? I guess I say that because their teeth are at the end of their pointy snoots, like a rodent's incisors. They even come in two sculpts, with the largest flower having two front teeth and the rest just a single fang each, then there's the additional clusters of smaller, mouthless snake-head "buds!" They kind of went all out for this one, I don't think any of the other Ghoulish Garden plants have this many distinct sculpts.
That's about it for new plant items, but I'm glad that they're still plugging along. I hope maybe one of these years they'll also get in on that hip new spooky mushroom trend. You know what else would be awesome? A Rafflesia. A big Ghoulish Garden Rafflesia monster!
This is a kid's costume, but it's an entire wearable, giant "X-ray photo" that even lights up. I feel like it'd even be cool as just a night light hung up on a wall. You could probably also modify it for an adult to wear, too, it's not that small! I just think it really ought to be paired with a skull mask, too. I know that betrays the idea that it's the wearer's actual X-ray, but whatever. You can be a skeleton escaping an x-ray.
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