Written by Jonathan Wojcik

October 1st: Spirit!

   Every year by September, Spirit Halloween stores sprout up all across America, but vary in size and quality. Some are just racks of items hastily thrown together, while others have whole spooky Haunted House style setups to walk through! They're still never as good as the Halloween Adventure Superstore we used to get up North, where I always found my giant, bendable insects, but Spirit always has its charms. Let's find them!

   There's probably nothing better to start off with than this poor sucker, whose arms may be bendable, but couldn't possibly be in a better position. He doesn't even really look like a "monster" so much as a crazy old hobo engaged in an argument over a restaurant check.

   These latex severed heads return every year with some new additions, and I've definitely never seen the pumpkin before. It's a little cheesy, but it's so pleasingly colored in person that I just might get one if they're still around for the final clearance sale.

   This undead lawn flamingo is something I immediately had to buy; skeletal animals are surprisingly and tragically rare in Halloween decor, and skeletal birds tend to look especially cool. Lawn flamingoes are already sold with skeletal patterns on them, but this fully detailed and sculpted ghoul seems to be a brand new design. I like that it still has some clinging blood-colored feathers holding its shape. There are really only two downsides: it's around 20% smaller than the traditional pink lawn flamingo, and you can't really keep it outside in Florida if you don't want the sun to torch it.

   These matching undead gnomes were also available, but I couldn't get a decent picture before they were sold out. They were the first thing to go at both Spirit locations in my area; I guess a zombie garden gnome is a gag people just couldn't resist. I really hope they expand on the whole "undead garden" thing next year; we totally need some zombie mushrooms, plants and insects to go with these gnomes.

   Better still, the pocket zombie babies have a sound chip I've never before encountered in one of these toys. Just listen to this little bastard! He's crazy!