Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Earlier this year, I stumbled onto a fake frog skeleton at Michael's and lamented how the diversity of animal skeletons remain an amazingly untapped Halloween goldmine, but maybe I spoke too soon. Seasons,
the same company responsible for this inaccurate yet lovable 2014 crow and a number of skeletal dogs and cats since at least the year before, have stepped up their game in 2015 with a number of new items under a "CRAZY BONEZ" label, which are being sold through Halloween stores, party stores and all manner of other retailers as we speak. These include more
dogs and cats as well as posable human skeletons, but a handful of unexpected gems that show amazing promise for the future of the skeleton war.
We'll start with the most conventional addition. I've seen skeleton rats before, but never quite of this quality and complexity. It's almost spot-on to the real thing, except of course that they gave it weird bony ears, just so you know for sure what kind of animal it's supposed to be. This would annoy some people, but I think it has a fanciful charm to it. Maybe if the ears were pink, it'd at least look like they were flesh still clinging to the skull, or something? I believe the tails on these little guys are actually bendable, their heads rotate, and their jaws can be opened! All in all, an excellent bonerat.
Black Skeleton Vulture
OH MAN. I actually ran into the plain bone-colored version of this and purchased one already, but if I'd seen one of these, I'd have probably favored it. A life-size skeleton vulture with a bendable neck is already awesome, but give it a black body and a white ruff (the "plain" one lacks this, too) and you've got an even more ominous specter that even better communicates "carrion bird." Like the crows, its wings have absurd but cool looking finger-bone feathers, and even its tail feathers are represented by a bunch of additional bones. I'd imagine these creatures aren't merely reanimated animal skeletons, but constructed
animal skeletons, cobbled together by some necromancer from the bones of only loosely related species, a theory that our next entry should cement pretty well.
Incidentally, I made these images transparent myself, but there was no way to do that with the black vulture's ruff without just cutting it off and then re-drawing the hairs in. I stopped once I realized how ridiculous that was and that almost nobody in the world was ever going to care, but for the two of you who do, I apologize for the incomplete black vulture ruff reconstruction.
Mini Skeleton SPIDER!!!
Halloween 2015 is a special one already. Spiders may not naturally have bones, but a spider made of bones is a Halloween image as natural as peanut butter and jelly, which is why I'm just so, so shocked it took this long
for anybody to render one like this. I've seen this sort of skeletal arachnoid in old video games, fantasy settings, cartoons, tattoo art and probably at least one metal album cover, yet the only "spider skeletons" I've seen as Halloween decor, toys or props have been either human skulls with spider legs or humanoid skeletons with eight arms. Simply crafting an otherwise realistic spider from bone
should have been a given for the season decades
ago. Was everybody just that apprehensive to trample biological sense? That's literally almost all Halloween is even about.
I guess later is better than never, and thanks to the bravery of Seasons Crazy Bonez, today's children will be growing up in a world where skeletal spiders have already broken into the Halloween market. The future is bright indeed.
Now, you'll notice these are called "mini" skeleton spiders. They're about hand sized, and retail for about six or seven dollars. Not bad at all, though a little steep if you want a whole swarm of them, which you should. Just about anything in your home would look better with one of these clinging to it, including you!
BIG Skeleton Spider!
About three feet across, this formidable beast has rubbery, slightly posable legs, a rotating head, and slightly more fanciful anatomy than the smaller edition, with legs attached to its abdomen and a pair of cartoonish tusks for chelicerae. A very impressive looking monster wherever you choose to set it up - I recommend running some wire through the ribs and hanging it from a ceiling, either dangling or crawling upside-down as spiders are wont to do.
I have just one critique of the giant skelider, and that's the inaccessibility
of its rib cage. It's a big, hollow space BEGGING for something to be placed inside it, but it has no gaps wide enough and cannot be opened without breaking something. How awesome would it look with a fake heart or brain in there? Or a bunch of rubber bugs? Or a whole little human skeleton chilling out inside? Or EYEBALLS?! Especially glow-in-the-dark rubber eyeballs, if you can find them. A whole bunch of them in its ribs, like it's full of eggs or something, right? Or maybe just one pair of eyes staring out at you, calling into question just what the hell kind of being we're looking at here.
Just one more to go, but it's even more
surprising than the spiders...
MINI SKELETON SCORPION
Jeez, Seasons, slow down! I'd have been impressed enough by just the mini spider skeletons this year, but they not only weren't satisfied with just one size of Aranea, they weren't even satisfied with just one kind of Arachnid at all. That you can suddenly purchase two taxonomically distinct flavors of arthropod-shaped skeleton really tells you the "Crazy Bonez" line means business, and that all fans of both arthropods and skeletons have finally earned the acknowledgment we all must have worked so, so hard to earn. Like the mini spider, the scorpion's vertebrate bones are otherwise arranged in a beautifully accurate scorpion shape, with the right number of limbs in all the rate places and proportions. Plus, its tail is soft, rubber and poseable!
The addition of a scorpion - an animal only seldom represented in Halloween decor to begin with - really shows how much fun someone had conceiving of this line, that they really cared about bringing us something cool, new and interesting rather than just the bare minimum they thought would sell, and I certainly hope it's not the last or the weirdest zoological addition to their selection.
In fact, in the off chance anybody connected to this company happens to be reading this, I have some suggestions to consider for 2016 and beyond...
MY TOP FIVE MOST WANTED SKELETON PROPS:
#5: PISCES (photo by MBARI)
Fish skeletons are inherently among the coolest looking skeletons, whether even vaguely life-like or cartoonishly simplified. Any fish would do, even the "generic" fish bones we see in cartoon garbage cans, but of course my personal pick would be a deep-sea anglerfish. They're famously monstrous looking already, and just imagine how gorgeous one would look in pale, plastic bone hanging from somebody's ceiling, with an articulated jaw full of those cage-like fangs and a bendable illicum - that's the "fishing lure" on their head - you could even give a light-up LED tip. If I could buy a fake anglerfish corpse with an LED on its head I don't know if I'd ever use anything else for indoor lighting ever again.
You've already made a wolf spider out of phalanges. The flood gates are opened. There's no sense holding back what you give a "skeleton" anymore, and how awesome would a squid
look made entirely of bones? It'd have an elongated rib cage for a body, fans of tiny finger-bones for fins, more "fingers" for its eight arms and a pair of bendy spinal columns for its two elongated whips! Honestly, I'd like to see more sea life in general for Halloween. "Undead pirate" themes already provide an existing excuse for it, but who even needs the pirate part?
#3: PLANT LIFE
You're looking at one of Tokushige Hideki's "Honebana" sculptures, actual animal bones arranged into the shape of flowers. How cool looking is that?! Obviously a Halloween skeleplant doesn't need to be this ornate, but a simple bendable jaw-bone fly-trap would look fantastic anywhere in the home, any time of year.
This, meanwhile, is a sculpture by Shen Shaomin, part of a line called "Unknown Creatures." Flies, of course, are my all-time favorite insect and possible favorite animal, but they're also one of the most common insects we see in Halloween decor as well as the iconic prey animal of spiders, so a bony fly is kind of a given
, isn't it? Heck, if you wanna really go all-out, why not make an entire spider web
of linked bones next year? You could hang your bone spiders in it, and have a bone fly trapped in the middle.
Of course, any other insects at all would look great. Cockroaches are another one already frequenting the Halloween aisles, but there's a lot of less appreciated hexapods to consider; how about FLEAS? You know how freaky looking fleas are, right? They could go with the existing Crazy Bonez dogs and cats, at the very least.
I know you might have thought I was pushing it with the squid, but imagine how beautiful a snail
would look all bonerized, its body a series of ribs like the skeleton of a blunt, fat snake, bony stalks protruding from the sockets of a tiny skull face, and a whole humanoid skull for a shell. Make these, Seasons, and I swear on Skeletor's grave I would spend no less than $100 on them, just to show my appreciation as well as to scatter bone snails all over my living spaces, the back window of our car, and possibly the top of my head for fancy dinner parties. You can hold me to this promise. I will write it in blood.
Not my blood, because I'm really really squeamish about bleeding, but blood is blood. How about you provide the blood, Seasons, and I'll sign my name with it and mail it back to you and then you make me at least $100 worth of plastic skull snails, and I document exactly what I do with them to promote your fine products.
My inbox is always open.
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