This year, I saved up a lot of my favorite Halloween finds for the mid-September post and a bigger October post, which you're reading now. Of course, most of the items you're about to see are already difficult to find this far into the season, and in many cases, I only ever saw one of them myself, sometimes already on clearance by the first of the month.
HALLOWEEN SHOPPING 2022:
I saw only one of these all season, for a whopping $40 and seemingly impossible to find online. It also didn't work, so I still don't know what it sounds like! It's tabletop animatronic, about a foot high, and a bolder than usual imitation of Audrey II.
TALKING PLANT (Rite-Aid Pharmacy)
Another animated decoration, a black pumpkin with a single large eye that lights up and blinks, though the eye is interestingly reptilian, even surrounded by dragonlike scales! It's kind of a point against it that it talks, I must admit, playing a clip of stormy rumbling sounds and a voice that says things like "I SEE YOU...I'M WATCHING YOU!" that gets recycled by a number of spooky props. It didn't really need to play noise at all, honestly, but if it did, I think it ought to play rumbly alligator growls or serpentine hissing. Reptile noises!
BLINKING EYE PUMPKIN (Rite-Aid again)
From Targets bargain section, these are small, wooden cut-outs of various spooky things, thick enough to stand upright. They include tombstones, pumpkins, scary trees and little zombie hands sticking out of the ground, but more important they include sets of witch legs and skirts, cut off from the waist up. You can stack any little thing you want on top of the legs, so I invented two new kinds of witch with what was available, and you could presumably invent even more! Maybe even seven or eight kinds! You could put a rock on one. A witch could be a little rock. I might have gotten tired when I was writing this part and I have to write the rest of this page tomorrow, but I'm not going to change any of this text. Maybe because I'll like it anyway, maybe because I'll just forget. You'll never find out.
WOODEN FIGURES (Target)
This is for playing fetch with dogs, but it's a chewable fabric frisbee thingy printed like it's a Jack O' Lantern! A Jack O' Lantern with green slime and various spiders erupting from it, but on the back there's also a very large and adorable cartoon fly chilling out in a rotten hole, as flies are wont to do.
ROTTEN PUMPKIN FRISBEE (Target)
This was three things on a rope, but two of them were just a plain eyeball and a skull. What really matters is this hilarious and wonderful spooky cat, little more than a black ball with two nubs for feet, two BIG grouchy cat eyes (one orange, one yellow, with differently sized pupils even!) and whiskers curled almost like a hilarious little mustache. This is what a Halloween cat would be if it were an enemy in Kirby or in Mario. It's just such a delightful little character design!
THIS ROPE DOG TOY (Winco)
There's a couple of new solar-powered dancing figures every single year, somewhere or other. This year I found the best new one at Grocery Outlet, but I'm sure it's being sold in some other places: three lovable pumpkins in a stack, and each one is special in some way! The little one up top has one white eyeball in one of its eye-holes and appears to be looking at the spider on its head, which is why it wuld be smiling. The bigger one has a more sinister glare and bat wings, and it's also smiling. The largest, lowest gourd is the best one in my opinion, with deranged looking yellow eyeballs, a grin full of actual blocky white teeth, and a happy little ghost friend, sort of floating out of its mouth! I'm just glad that everybody here is in a good mood. Even the spider is happy! I know it doesn't have a face that can smile, but I promise the spider is happy! If there's one and only one thing on this Earth I would NEVER FUCKING lie about then that spider is happy, BUCKO!!!!!
SOLAR PUMPKINS (Grocery Outlet)
I thought these ghosts were funny because they're plush ghost figures but they're dressed in mis-matched old clothes, like scarecrows, and doing a "zombie walk" kind of pose. They even have those sickly expressions, with wobbly groaning mouths and exhausted looking baggy eyes. The red, round ball noses are cute too, really muppety. Actually I guess you could just as easily read them as drunk rather than zombies. The ghosts of people who had one too many. I like how the coats they're wearing even have faux cheetah-fur linings, that's a really funny attention to detail.
ZOMBIE GHOSTS (Winco)
Michael's crafts this year was selling little bundles of fake fabric pitcher plants, something I've never seen before! Beautiful pale white, red-veined specimens, accurate to some cultivars of Sarracenia! It's just a bit silly that their tag actually said "MUSHROOMS." That's not even the right kingdom!
FAKE PITCHER PLANTS (Michael's)
This is a little catnip toy, and what an oddball creature design? It's a grey tombstone-shaped lump, with a pair of black feet, one cyclops eye, a grumpy mouth with a couple of jutting fangs, and a couple of small hands printed on it in white...but then it also has a city printed on the fabric, too? A row of little skyscrapers?! With "Happy Halloween!" underneath in bright orange. What the heck would all this represent? This monster IS the night sky over the city? It contains a city? Reflects a city? It's holding a little building in one of its hands, too. Is it an act of destruction or construction?
CITYSCAPE MONSTER (Winco)
We sure get a lot of mileage out of Winco! These are another of those ball toys you squeeze so a rubbery bubble of squelching guts pop out, but these have a plush outside skin! I think there may have been ghosts and also a Frankenstein's monster design, but I most liked the one-eyed round mummy, the menacing red-eyed pumpkin, and finally a little round werewolf:
SCARY SQUEEZERS (Winco)
...A little round werewolf with a hole in his head! You can squeeze out his brains! You don't get a lot of werewolves as gory undead beings, but you should, since they're supposed to be unkillable without silver, right? So they've always been one of the monsters that can regenerate from anything, or keep attacking in a dismembered state, but I never see that really acknowledged in anything!
The last Winco straggler, I swear! These are squishy, stretchy, soft rubber monsters with spherical bodies and all sorts of appendages. I didn't photograph all of them, but I liked this one-eyed purple one with tentacles and this red crab-like demon with three eyes. They're very "cosmic horror" style creatures.
SQUISHY MONSTERS (Winco)
My mother over in Florida sent me this photo of this lovable figurine, depicting a limbless cat who is also a pumpkin and also wears big purple glasses for some reason. She said that it was just decoration at a thrift and wasn't for sale but she thought I should have it so she talked them into letting her buy it and I guess it's gonna show up in the mail one of these days!
PUMPKIN CAT (Unknown)
I get a bit tired of monster clowns, but I appreciate this super huge blow-mold plastic clown head, with big black eye sockets and long, rotten yellow teeth. It has a cooler aesthetic than most generic killer clowns, and it's large enough that you could conceivably cut the back out of it and wear it like a mask that covers most of your torso, or if you were a small child you could wear it like one big turtle shell. I bet you there's a kid out there who would absolutely love that and it's a shame they're probably missing out on that opportunity. Go ahead, before they get any bigger just ask ANY random child if they'd want to have a clown head for a body, I bet they'll say yes and that nobody will call the police on you or anything. If they do you can ask the police if they'd want a clown head for a body and they'll see that you're just out there asking honest, important questions. Questions people aren't going to know they feel strongly about if they don't even get a chance to hear them!
GIANT CLOWN HEAD (Lowe's)
That's all they call this, but it's not a very adequate description for this level of zaniness. It's a cartoony plush fish with orange lips, green fins, bright purple skin and big eyebrows that zips around on wheels and "chomps" when you turn it on. It reads more like a fish monster that would associate with scary clowns than "just" a "piranha."
ANIMATED PIRANHA (Home Depot)
This is a wooden sign with a green arrow marked "Halloween," so you know which direction Halloween is in, though Halloween is technically only ever in every direction at once when it is Halloween, so there's no wrong way to place this sign SPATIALLY but it can be incorrect TEMPORALLY. Big risk! The most interesting thing about it however is that it has a simplistic cut-out shape of a black spider on top, with only one eyeball! As common as one-eyeball spiders are in various media, they are curiously rare in Halloween decor.
HALLOWEEN SIGN (Home Depot)
I'd have bought this unique rarity if it wasn't ten dollars for something so plainly made, like if the spider had just any other details painted on at all. And no, I'm not going to buy it just to do that work myself, because at that point I could be changing any spider I want into one with an eyeball! It's the principle!!!
This is a large, light-up hollow figure of a sheet ghost with an adorably simple face - entirely two big, black holes for eyes and nothing else! - but the points on its head, orange collar, little black feet and long black tail indicate it's also a KITTY CAT! It is technically much larger than any actual housecat and 50% of it is its oversized head. Is that just what te disemodied soul of a cat is like?
GHOST CAT (Wal-Mart)
This is just an air-blown inflatable spooky tree but I liked that there's a candy corn with feet sitting in one of the branches. It's a less appreciated kind of Halloween monster and it's also just a very peculiar one to be in a tree.
INFLATABLE TREE (Wal-Mart)
Decorative human skulls are everywhere, but this is two of them fused together into a three-eyed "mutant" skull! Why did it take so long for a Halloween brand to make this? It's obvious!
DOUBLE SKULL (Spirit Halloween)
We end on the most elaborate thing here, being one of the few giant animatronic monsters I found unusual enough for these reviews this year: a humanoid bird skeleton with a long beak and also alarmingly long, thin, bony hands instead of wings, shrouded in tattered black cloth. When activated, he talks about how he can smell the plague on you and how appetizin that is, so this is clearly a creature inspired by plague doctors, but a number of retailers began to refer to them like they're just "raven" creatures after some stuff happened in 2019 that I guess made people not want to think too much about plagues and outbreaks and stuff. So now the concept has mutated into just a disease-loving skeleton bird man here, and I guess we have another "new" Halloween monster on our hands.
LORD RAVEN (Spirit Halloween)
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