My reviews of actual, literal Halloween items dwindle in number year after year, but that's only because I wait to review things that really delight me. I don't really want to think about the hours out of my life photographing and analyzing a hundred different mummies and skeletons every year, but, it did feel like a lot of fun at the time. I guess that's just what I did instead of playing video games like a normal person does.
Ten Best Halloween Things From "At Home" In 2022
Now, just to be clear, this is me reviewing a handful of items I really liked from a retail chain in the year 2022. I get a lot of e-mails asking about given Halloween trinkets, so I unfortunately have to clarify that I don't own any of these things, and if you missed out on them in 2022, they're probably never going to be made again. Trust me, when I regretted passing up one little seasonal weirdo in 2012 it took me eight years to find another one, and that was all thanks to just one single person of the thousands who knew I was searching!
This likely isn't exclusive to "At Home" (it sure is an awkward brand name to thrust into any given sentence, isn't it??) but their website is the first I've seen it! I'm also doubtful it has any connection to the Crazy Bonez brand, who originally innovated octopuses made out of bone as a seasonal entity, but this "baby" version is pretty lovable. It has the same sort of spinal column tentacles, but the head is more like a classic cartoon octopus, just a big smooth bulb with two eyes! It just also happens to be made out more bone, with empty round sockets and one of those wiggly skull seams whose names I forget.
CUTE BABY SKELETON OCTOPUS
This is a little tabletop ornament of, you guessed it, a haunted barn! I share it for the sole reason that there's a skeleton in a top hat gazing wistfully out of the window, but there are also two ghosts hanging around the rooftop and silos in poses like they're worriedly hiding from the bony revenant, and oh yeah, the ghosts are MASSIVE. Easily two or three times the size of the presumably human-sized skeleton man. I believe the appearance of hiding and the peculiar scale to both be accidental on the sculptor's part, but it paints an interesting story regardless.
LIGHT UP HAUNTED BARN
Maybe they're that big because they aren't actually human ghosts? They're in a barn, so what if they're even cow ghosts? I realize they're shaped like any ordinary wispy Halloween ghosts, yes, but this type of ghost doesn't look necessarily like a human to begin with, when you really get down to it.
It certainly IS, isn't it! A pumpkin with toad! Best of both worlds! Laurel and Hardy! Til Death do they Part! Yin and Yang! It's a neat sculpture not just because there's a pumpkin and it has a toad on it, but the pumpkin is sculpted and painted to be really lopsided, rotting and caving in. The toad is also smiling, just a little. Just enough to look smug about being on this decomposing gourd. What does he know?
PUMPKIN WITH TOAD
A little green plant with three simple, spherical heads, each with a funny little toothy mouth, and made almost entirely of felt. It's funny that this is kind of "plain" to me now. There was a time I'd have gone bonkers for it, but that's because plant monsters were almost nonexistent in Halloween decor until more recently. Now, they're not only so common that I'd call this item "ordinary," but they're so common, they constitute most of the rest of this page!
FELT CARNIVOROUS PLANT
Another plush, felt plant creature in a little flowerpot, except these are three carrots with humanlike faces. Very "vintage Halloween card" faces, and I do hope those old-timey Halloween vegetable creatures will start to make more of a comeback one of these days. I think this item is also a ripoff of a more detailed, ceramic one from the Bethany Lowe catalog. Do these qualify as mandrakes? Is any supernatural root vegetable with a face on it a mandrake, or is a mandrake a specific species, rather than a "form" or a "status" just any old plant can take? I'd honestly prefer the second option, actually. It ought to be that plants can become mandrakes just like people can become vampires or werewolves.
HALLOWEEN MOSSY CARROTS
I'm sorry to say this does not at all live up to its name. It's another green carnivorous plant with the typical toothy-mouthed pod, but it also has bat wings on its head and a single, bulging eye. A cute little design, yes, but "winged eyeball" implies just an eyeball with wings. The product name doesn't even mention that it's a plant creature! At least it's also a little "bobblehead," with the winged head attached to the pot by a spring.
I quite like this little fella! This time we have a figurine of a purple pumpkin on top of a stalk, with two big leaves, and a pot stylized like a wooden pail. The pumpkin itself is also made of a papery material that gives it a sort of scaly or feathery surface, it has a couple of shiny cat-like fake eyes glued to the top, and it has a big gaping hexagonal mouth with four fangs, and for good measure, it comes with a plastic spider filling its maw! It's all made of common craft materials anyone could recreate, but it has a lot of charm. And on close inspection...I don't recognize that plastic spider at all. I'd have thought I'd seen every generic, cheap little plastic spider model ever devised, but this is a new one.
This is related to the "winged eyeball," with the bobblehead feature and everything, but it's a flower with snarling, fanged lips growing out of an also-fanged, humanoid skull, with an eyeball still in one socket! I assume any skull with an intact eye is very much a conscious, undead entity, which makes sense, since it's obviously the skull of a vampire, which raises some interesting questions about the symbiosis we're witnessing. Allow me to wildly speculate that this vampire was all but dead and gone until some tiny, faint shred of its soul managed to contaminate a single flower growing off its ancient remains. What we're seeing is as far as this entity has managed to regain a body, relying on a diet of unwary pests and pollinators. It will never regenerate its original form, no, but some day there may very well be a more powerful, more mobile "creepy daisy" vampire on the prowl.
Next, a handful of the things I just reviewed can be seen in this promotional image, but one of them was nowhere to be seen in their entire online catalog: what appears to be purple five-petaled flower with a large, illuminated eyeball in its center, with a black pumpkin as its base! I love how weird its details are; the red fringe of fuzz surrounding the eye, the mossy green texture lining the pumpkin and possibly the plant stalk, and the fact that its two black leaves look like they're hairy. I love that! I can imagine this creature isn't really even made of any actual plant tissues at all.
A fungus, not a plant, but I am SO pleased to see another eyeball mushroom figure! The first examples I'm aware of appeared in TKMaxx stores In 2021, one year after I openly wished we'd start to see precisely that manner of thing. Again, I have to wonder if I actually planted those seeds, or I guess spores. This is a pretty nice one, too! Good old Fly Agaric, with a nicely detailed skirt around its stem, and a cap splitting open into just one large, eerie human peeper. Perfect! Flawless! If only I actually lived near any "At Home" store locations or they let you order online, which THEY DO NOT, so it's just as well I couldn't find the eyeball flower, either.
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