By Jonathan Wojcik

October 12: World Market!

   World Market is an expensive but pretty cool gift shop I regrettably didn't discover until around Christmastime of last year. Considering how much crazy holiday stuff they had out, I just knew I'd missed some prime Halloweenery, and have spent a whole year waiting to see what they'll get in stock this season. Maybe I need better things to look forward to in my life, but fortunately, they did not disappoint.

World Market normally specializes in selling snacks, candies, alcoholic beverages and other gift items not usually stocked in the United States, with a special aisle for British candy, another for Japanese crap and so forth, hence "World Market." Halloween, however, is something only America really cares about, so a lot of the items here are home grown. Few are exclusive to this store, but they definitely made some great choices with what to stock.

  First, we have these roughly fist-sized "Gummy Mummies," whose packaging is far cooler in every way than anything that could be contained within. Their plastic shells were pretty solid and could likely be used to store all sorts of neat things once the mummies have been consumed, like spare change or rubber bugs or maybe dryer lint. Yeah. I would definitely fill one of these mummies with dryer lint.

   Gummy rats on individual rat trap packages in one giant rat trap bag. This is what Halloween is all about. This is what trick-or-treating exists for. When I was a kid I was lucky to get much more than tootsie rolls or lollipops; I commend any household who buys something this cleverly hideous to hand out to kids. I was really tempted to buy these, but we never get trick-or-treaters and I never really eat gummy candy, so I'd have only tacked one to the wall or refrigerator as decoration and let the rest of the bag gather dust.

   Crunchy cheese puffs are another thing I rarely partake of, but maybe I'd be more tempted if they were always marketed as "skeleton bones." You know, as opposed to like, pineapple bones or something.

  Alright. I've seen gummy worms marketed a lot of creative ways, but I don't think I've seen anything approaching this level of absurdity. "Nose worms" are not a thing. They are especially not a thing you just casually name a candy as if it's a reference to anything of any sort ever. I'm certain that less than a few hundred people in the world have ever heard, thought of or uttered the phrase "nose worms" until it spawned from the imagination of some mad confectioner whose mental processes run on their own special track. The kind of track where nose worm is a thing.

   Moving away from edible materials for now, these little yarn ornaments seem to be a World Market original product. One is quite clearly a mummy, but the other is a little more vague. Whatever it is, its hair is pulled into two buns in the back, so it's possibly female. She carries a knife and her own face is heavily scarred and stitched up. I don't think this represents any kind of Halloween character other than some kind of murderous and possibly self-mutilating stalker, which is frankly adorable.

   There's nothing really funny or amazing to say about these tall, skinny monster candles; they're just plain cool and I wanted to show them. I know somebody who might appreciate blue-faced Dracula candle, but my favorites are the dapper pumpkin guy and the mummy carrying a skull in its arms, among other nondescript objects. The owl is also pretty cool looking, though nothing about it explicitly says "Halloween." That's the funny thing about owls; they're widely presented as a "Halloween animal" but aren't necessarily macabre at all. Halloween owls could really stand to benefit from some distinguishingly Halloween characteristics, like blood pouring out of their beaks or axes in their heads.

Yeah, that would work. All Halloween owls should have axes in their heads, so we know they're not just regular owls.

   Now these are really cool. This same exact skeleton, complete with the gold tooth, has been sold in various colors as various types of toy, but here it's been repurposed as a set of string lights. I'm really tempted to go back for a set of these. I've never seen skeleton string lights with completely dangly bodies before.

   These skeleton dishes were fairly confusing at first glance, until we figured out that one is a joke on Edward Scissorhands. It kind of loses a little magic to realize there's a point, though it's still pretty bizarre to have a skeleton with giant, literal scissors for hands. I'm not sure what the other one is supposed to be, he's got three claw marks or possibly bangs over one eye...any guesses?

   By now you may be wondering what, out of all these wonderful little treasures, I actually decided to spend my money on, and here you are. This 1.99 "Bag of Bugs" called out to me even over the shrieking siren's song of the Nose Worms. I have no intention of actually eating the bugs, even though I may eventually remove them from the cardboard header. That's what I paid for. That positively darling little cockroach head peeking out at us from under the words "bag of bugs." I may go so far as to put this in a protective plastic sheath and use it to label my actual bag of bugs, because I am someone with an actual bag of bugs.

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