Written by Jonathan Wojcik


   As you may know, I prefer to review Halloween merchandise in batches these days, organized by store...but what happens when I only find one or two noteworthy things at an entire outlet? I hate to demote anything to the likes of "miscellany," but this is some damn fine miscellany, if I do say so myself. Chances are low at this point that I'll be finding anything new in town, so this is effectively a collecting-spree "wrap up" post, the odds and ends I won't get another chance to review if I don't do it now!

The Eyeball-legged Bat-faced Skeleton

   I'll be honest here, now: I didn't buy this. Eight dollars seemed a little steep at the time, and I told myself I might come back for it later. What a fool I was. I don't think "Ross" has any of these bastards left now, and the more I look at my photo, the more my heart yearns to bask in their nonsensical glow. These are happy skeletons, holding ghosts, with bats for eyes and eyes for legs. Bats for eyes, and eyes for legs. I think we're witnessing an entirely new, unique category of Halloween monster, here. I kind of want to dress up as one of these next year. Nobody would understand, but that's okay, because nobody should.

Let's give these a proper name. Let's call these Skilevaks. That doesn't mean anything, but I pulled it out of the air and I think it suits them. A Skilevak, like any proper Halloween monster, can probably turn other people into Skilevaks, possibly by sending their face-bat to merge with a new host. Staring into their eye-legs probably transfixes you, unless you can say their name backwards, three times, before the bat takes hold. Skaveliks, skaveliks, skaveliks! Somebody stat these for Dungeons and Dragons, please. I don't know how to do it.

The Mummy Head Container

   Not a container for mummy heads, mind you, which would be pretty special too, but a mummy head that is also a container. A container for what, I do not know. Snagged off ebay, it's about baseball sized, made of soft vinyl rubber and beautifully detailed. Just look at the gloom radiating from those dead eyes!

   It gets even better when we pop off the mummy's scalp, because inside is an entire second container in the shape of the green brain someone forgot to pull out through his nose. There's no markings, no brand name, nothing at all to indicate where this came from or what was originally stored inside. I'm sure it was something wonderful. Maybe it was slime, putty or play-doh. Maybe it was a cat fetus. I don't know.

Skeleton Castle Dog Toy

   Another ebay purchase, and a cheap one at that - this is called a "Peek-a-Boo" dog toy, an also comes in witch and a knockoff of casper, but the skeleton is clearly the superior choice. Is it a giant skeleton, or is it a tiny castle? Either way, a skeleton crouched in a castle barely larger than its body is one of the cutest images I can think of, and even cuter in a festive orange vinyl squeak-toy. The head is supposed to pop up when it's squeezed, but it almost never works. He's shy, damn it! He's not here for your amusement!

X-ray Skeleton Plush

   Joann Fabrics had a lot of $5 Halloween plushes for sale, but the black and green skeleton was the only must-have, even more than the mummy! As I've mentioned several times now, green is the superior color choice for Halloween skeletons, implying either heavy overgrowth of lichen, cosmic radiation or eerie ectoplasmic magic. The little guy's face also looks a lot like Horrorman, and that's always a plus.

Wacky Giant Spider

   Another Joann item, this is similar in size and construction to the common hairy, bendable giant spiders you can find in abundance this time of year, but with button eyes and a single fang and cheerful, black and orange stripes. It's cute as hell, but it's also thirty dollars, which is a good fifteen or sixteen dollars more than I was willing to shell out.

Dangly Coffin Ornaments

   These Halloween tree ornaments, suitable for other, nameless holidays involving trees, come to us from Pier 1 Imports, and are both lovably designed, with the skeleton's apathetic red eyes and the mummy's look of utter shock. They wiggle quite nicely in their little floating caskets.

Homeless Mummy Ornament

   Also from Pier 1, this smaller mummy with dangly legs has the most adorable, pitiful eyes and pose I've ever seen on a gauzey carcass. Lacking a coffin like his horrified cousin, he almost looks like he's pleading to come inside, before it rains and he gets all damp and moldy. Most mummies would like that sort of thing, but he's kind of a neat freak.

Glitter Vultures

   Glitter vultures! How often do you ever see glitter vultures? For that matter, how often do you see vultures? Where Halloween is concerned, they've always seemed to trail far behind spiders, bats, cats, rats, owls and crows in frequency, which is strange, because vultures are animals who routinely stick their heads into decomposing asses. They evolved specific adaptations for doing this. If anything, they should rank even higher than bats on the Halloween ladder. These were for sale this year at "World Market," though the rest of their items were repeats from last year.

Party-Time Stolas

   Having said that, I remember lamenting last year that I really liked freaky-eyed Halloween owls, but seldom found any with enough of a Halloween twist to deem blog-worthy. All that changed when I went to Tuesday Morning, one of those stores that sells overpriced overstock to old people. Something about this festive hooter kept tugging at my mind, and when I figured out what, I knew for sure that it belonged in my home:

   I highly doubt that it's at all intentional, but a creepy-cute, eerily staring owl on stilts makes me think of nothing other than the Catholic demon Stolas, which we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Stolas with what really looks like a traffic cone on his head, carrying around a sign that just says "HOOT." I like to think it's supposed to say something else, but anything he tries to write comes out "HOOT" no matter what. I'm sure it was probably something about his alleigance to Satan.

Owl Spider

   And as if an unholy demon-bird with staring, staring eyeballs wasn't lovely enough, the same exact store, on the same exact shelf, had a spherical, wingless owl with spider legs, and it's also in a witch hat that looks like a traffic cone. I don't know what mad genius concocted these, but they demonstrate exactly what Halloween owls have been missing all these years.

Demonology and arachnid limbs.