Written by Jonathan Wojcik


   The first GHASTLY Pocket Terror we'll be featuring in the countdown is none other than...well, it's not Gastly. Sorry. Maybe later. I just wanted to start off with one of the sixth-gen monsters already revealed thus far, the deceptively adorable Spritzee. This pink, fluffy little birdie is one of the brand new "Fairy" type Pokemon, but couldn't be more appropriate for Pokeween, regardless, as its inspirational basis is quite blatantly a fifteenth century plague doctor.

   It's not just an assumption based on that pale, hooked mask, either; during the rampage of the Black Death, the most scientific explanation anyone had for the spread of diseases was miasma theory, the presumption that "foul smells" were the mechanism by which a contagion could spread. It certainly wasn't all that far from the truth - the rotting corpses piling up were indeed as contagious as they were stanky - but with no knowledge of microbial life, the only effective means of "protection" against disease was thought to be pleasant smells.

Enter the plague doctor, his robes drenched in strong perfumes and the snout of his haunting mask packed with fragrant herbs to block the "miasma" he may have inhaled.

Cute, innocent little Spritzee is, in fact, referred to as a "perfume" pokemon, and its signature battle move is Aromatherapy, which heals the ailments of other pokemon through sweet smells. As pink and precious as it is, this feathery fairy is a direct reference to the ineffectual, crackpot "doctors" employed during one of history's deadliest and most horrific outbreaks. No wonder Spritzee's eyes are so menacingly red.

   As an aside, I speculated around two years ago that plague doctors were ideal candidates for mainstream Halloween mascots, and that inexpensive, generic plague doctor Halloween costumes might not be far off. Lo and behold, you can purchase the mask, hood and hat combo shown here for only thirty bucks from Halloween specialty shops as we speak.