Written by Jonathan Wojcik

2016 A.C. Moore!

A.C. Moore is a craft store in competition with Joann and Michaels which has always featured a cooler variety of Halloween goodies, but never existed anywhere in Florida or Iowa, two of the three states I've lived in. Now that we're visiting Maryland for a bit over a week, I finally got a chance to see what these guys have in 2016, and I wasn't disappointed!

Spooky Jester Stake

Right outside the door, you're greeted by a giant, metal basket filled with spooky plush characters on lawn stakes. There's your usual ghosts, pumpkins and vampires, but there's also...this guy. What is this guy? Is he supposed to be a spooky cat? He had whiskers and ears, but his ears are a bit long, and one is shorter than the other. He's actually quite a bit like Baikinman disguised as some sort of harlequin, certainly stranger than I was expecting from this type of decoration.

There were even smaller, handheld versions of the creepy jester, along with two variations on it. Same ears, but with different faces. Even that pumpkin has the bunny-eared cranium.

Metal Signs

I really like these kind of grimy, deliberately "old" looking metal decorations, and I especially like the riveted, rusty ghost. It was also already on extreme discount at only $3.99. A leftover from last year? I didn't see them last year. It was the last one left, so at that price, I had to nab it, and it's flat enough to fit no matter how we stuff the car on our upcoming move!

Little Green Ghosts

GREEN Ghosts!!! I am such a sucker for green ghosts! These little slimers are made of ceramic and come attached to bendable, fake branches with a bunch of sparkly nodules. What do you call those things, anyway? They're like accents for bouqets, or something? A bouqet of green ghosts is my kind of bouqet.

Wait...WAIT!!! I mean BOO-qet!!!! Whew, that was close.

Fancy Skull Sign

I've noticed a real influx these last couple years in skulls and skeletons with lace, flowers, jewels and other delicate accessories traditionally seen as more feminine, which is cool. Skeletons look great in lacy flowers.

See, here's a whole 'nother kind! This one is a whole lot more menacing, partially due to the empty sockets and more photorealistic proportions, partly because it's bloody red.

"No Evil" Skull Signs

I've also noticed a distinct surge in skeletons acting out the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" routine, which, as I've said before, is especially interesting coming from the reanimated dead. It's a bit much to buy three different versions of this big, expensive wood and metal skull, but it has a pleasantly worn look and adorably kooky eyes, so you could at least pick one of the three available. Maybe you don't want to speak evil, but you're fine seeing and hearing other people's evil, yeah? And on its own, the speak-none skeleton just looks like it's perpetually giggling at whatever terrible bone pun you probably just made.

Mummy Family Stakes

These are nothing but wooden posts done up as mummies, but they're freaking PRECIOUS. The big one is sold separately, unfortunately, so you have to spend a bit more to complete the whole trio of dead, mummified board people.

Jingly Heads

These spooky heads are on sticks with tiny bells, so they're kind of like those old jester staffs, and they've got those vintage-style Halloween faces that are so charmingly creepy in ways they weren't even really supposed to be.

Shelf Sitters

Almost the same characters are available as shelf-sitting figurines, or at least, the same pumpkin. That cat is a completely different cat, and the skeleton has been replaced with a ghost! A ghost with, interestingly, a skeletal nose. I don't see that often, even as much sense as it makes. What double life is this pumpkin trying to pull, though? It even looks a little concerned, here, like it got caught in the act.

Creepy Owls

I got the mummy owl back there a previous year, and in green, but now there's a sheet ghost and an orange Frankenowl. Maybe not as cute as the mummy, but not bad.

Wooden Spooks

I don't even know what to call these. They're cut-out ghosts and pumpkins with elaborate eyes and adorable little feet. I love pumpkins with legs. Especially this psychedelic pumpkin with legs.


This is the second style of cybernetic steampunk Jack O' Lantern I've seen this year, and the third since 2015, though these have to be the most hardcore. It's the hoses snaking in and out of them that look so badass. I never got into steampunk, but now that it's something old ladies can buy at the craft store as ceramic Halloween trinkets, I think it's finally starting to become cool.

No-evil Cyberskulls

See, these are probably intended to be "steampunk" as well, but they just end up looking more like Terminator heads. You can see they're $7.00 each, or $21 for the full set. I guess that's not terrible, but if I were going to buy any, I'd still just buy one. The "speak no" cyberskull looks far from amused this time, more like your bone pun shocked and scandalized it. If that's not what you're looking for, the "hear no" skull is probably the one to get, looking the most normal when removed from the context of the other two.

"No Evil" Ballroom Skulls

In stark contrast to the menacing cybertons are these three done up like pretty princesses for the skeleton ball, when skeletons from all across time and space meet up for the skeleton dance. The speak-no skull once again looks more like it's holding back a snicker than anything else, so was speak-no cyberskull so sensitive, anyway? Apparently even its date can take a joke.