A look at some of the little Halloween things I liked halfway through 2022's spooky season:
HALLOWEEN SHOPPING 2022:
This was the first Halloween item I actually saw in stores for 2022, at the front of Big Lots a full month early. They're just scented hand soaps in different plastic dispensers, but they're very charming models; a pumpkin with a beat-up top hat, a fanged ghost with a polka-dotted witch hat, and a cracked skull with nasty yellow teeth! The ghost also gives away that these hail from the mind of a likely Japanese graphic designer. It's Japan's Halloween decor that frequently gives sheet ghosts those little sharp-toothed smiles and quite frequently witch hats, especially with little polka dots.
BIG LOTS SOAP DISPENSERS
These miniature plush candy corns are actually supposed to be pet toys! They'd work for either a cat or dog, but they're pretty tiny, so a lot of dogs woul just eat them in one bite. There's a regular candy corn one with just a smiley face, but then there's this fanged vampire candy corn and stitched-up green Frankenstein or zombie candy corn. I'm glad this is also another instance of a blue vampire. Vampires look their very best in anything other than natural skin tones.
WINCO CANDY CORN GUYS
When did gnomes get to be SUCH a thing? They were always a thing, but I swear they weren't a thing of quite their current magnitude until the late 2010's. I've probably seen fifteen kinds of Halloween gnome this year, and mostly pretty samey, but these gnomes have entire spooky trees for hats, complete with their own faces, which is awesome. I'm sure you'll agree with me that the tree hats absolutely must be considered as sapient as their gnome wearers.
WINCO HAUNTED TREE GNOMES
We don't have Homesense where I live, but Canadian friend Readingalcove on tumblr sent me a photo of these awesome little snowglobes! The base of each one is a pumpkin, but inside the globe is a green plant with one big cyclops eye atop its central stalk! I'm delighted to see more and more eyeball plant creatures, and not just the common, obvious "eyeball in a flower" variety, even if I'll always love those just as much.
HOMESENSE EYE PLANT GLOBES
Shown to me by tumblr user muck-raker, 99 cent stores are I believe only in Canada, but this year they apparently sell little fake mushrooms COVERED in eyeballs! My babies!! Maybe!!!
99 CENT STORE EYESHROOM
I actually saw one of these the previous year on Ebay for an exorbitant amount of money, and admired the design even if I would have never paid half that much. It's a skeleton, a catlike black bat and a blue-grey ghost sticking out of the same Jack O' Lantern, and they're all great, but I think it's the ghost that really sells it, with his squiggly line mouth and big, black eyeholes with little orange eyeballs, or possibly big black eyeballs with little orange irises.
RUBBER HALLOWEEN FIGURE FROM GOODWILL
The whole item is actually made of soft vinyl, and it's also just a couple inches tall. Goodwill deemed it worthy of an entire dollar, and I agree with that assessment.
Target's spooky plant game had a spectacular start, but has innovated little in the few years since, mostly remixing its assets into a couple new "cultivars" each year. Still, they're not bad; the "Boo Bells" come in a cool looking carved stone style flowerpot, and the plants themselves are large red flowers with the circular, toothy mouths we've seen from several Target plants now, but they also have these taller leaves sprouting multiple smaller, white flowers that resemble little sheet ghosts. Cute!
TARGET'S BOO BELLS
This one's just a little more interesting than the Boo Bells, I think; it reuses the flowers with human skull centers from the year before, with vivid blue petals, but only as a backdrop to the much larger red and purple lily flowers. These have no additional eyes or teeth or other impossible features, but they're very cool looking and very gothic. Completing the plant are some curly green vines, green leaves, and branches of blue nuts or berries with little ghost faces on them, another recycled asset but used quite well here.
TARGET'S DUNGEON LILIES
These all go by different names, so I'm just going to call them Spooky Friends, because they're little felt characters who all come holding hands in little pairs. How goddamn cute is that?! Here we see a candy corn couple and a happy pumpkin paired with a happy candle, so I guess one of our Corpse Candles! Are these all very close friends or romantic pairings? You decide! All I'm gonna say is that the candle here seems a bit large to fit inside the pumpkin. Get whatever you want from that statement.
TARGET'S SPOOKY FRIENDS!
Other Spooky Friends include a ghost paired with a sentient pumpkin candy bucket, a witch with a sentient broom partner, and perhaps wackiest of all is a skeleton holding hands with its own smiling coffin! I mean...I'm assuming thats its own coffin. Maybe it's the coffin of another, different dead person. Is it more or less awkward if they're still inside it right now? Is that dead person also sapient? There are SO MANY strange relationships you can extrapolate from just that pair alone.
The witch and the broom, on the other hand...we all know what witches and brooms are about.
World Market is offering a whole line of these things for Halloween; thematic little buildings cut from pieces of wood with two-dimensional wooden characters and props attached to the same base, creating whole little scenes. They're all cute, but mostly just houses and businesses occupied by the usual ghosts and skeletons. This one is a little gothic greenhouse with a sign that says "UNDEAD PLANTS," including two varieties of eyeball-covered shrub and one chomping carnivorous plant, tended by a skeleton carrying around a flowerpot full of tentacles.
WORLD MARKET: SPOOKY GREENHOUSE
The plant monsters keep coming! One of Michael's offerings this year is, strangely, a carnivorous plant in a hanging bird cage. The plant itself is an interestingly compact specimen, entirely a warty mouth-pod atop a couple leaves, and it apparently doesn't need soil but does need to be kept contained behind bars. I guess it must be fairly mobile!
MICHAEL'S BIRDCAGE PLANT
These are resin figurines of arthroods sticking straight up atop thin poles to serve as cool table accents or even hold small cards, and they're quite beautiful! The spider is a conventional but obligator choice and its anatomy is a bit more correct than most, with all eight leggs connecting mostly to the cephalothorax and even the palps represented! The other two are tastefully stylized scarab beetles, one of them recognizably a goliath beetle, both done up in gorgeous "carved wood" details and subtle, earthy colors. Really awesome honestly.
MICHAEL'S TABLETOP BUGS
This is a pretty expensive decoration, but you get an entire little wooden shelf thing with seven compartments, containing a (fake) mushroom, goat's horn, rodent skull, bird skull, bat skull, bones, snake egg hatching into a tiny baby snake, and a bottle that's just labeled "Mr. Hyde," so I think we can assume it actually contains what's left of Mr. Hyde, like a pinch of ashes and some teeth or something. The only thing that doesn't look great is the bat skull, which has silly bone ears and doesn't quite match the more scientifically accurate bird or rat skulls, but that's also part of the fun if you ask me.
MICHAEL'S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
The last thing I'm sharing from Michael's, this is a light-up cauldron with a Death's Head moth on the front and a bunch of green crystals jutting out the top. It's a simple, snazzy and just slightly strange combination; not a terribly obvious set of things to combine, but they don't feel unnatural together either.
MICHAEL'S MOTH CAULDRON
What was I saying about eyeball plants?? This magnificent resin figure - which even lights up! - seems to be available only on the internet, from a variety of overseas manufacturers selling through ebay, Amazon, aliexpress and Wal Mart, but the listings keeping going up and down as they're sold out and remade, so I can't provide a reliable link, and every listing gives them some completely different name to boot. The main attraction is one large humanlike eye rimmed with just a little bit of flesh and eyelash-like spines, while the rest is a leafy plant with several additional, smaller, lidless eyeballs on stalks, all in a cauldron-like flowerpot. A really striking design that feels, to me, like it would look right at home as a Legend of Zelda enemy. It's pretty big, too! Like ten inches!
INTERNET EYEBALL PLANT FIGURINE
I personally found this at Lippman co. party favor store, a one-off Portland business, but I imagine it's for sale a number of other places; a hollow plastic, grimy looking grey skull that's also a big snail shell, with its spiraled sides, and it's got spiraly eye sockets to boot. Someone was an Uzumaki fan, possibly! It's just a shame there's no snail to go with it.
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