Written by Jonathan Wojcik
31 AMAZING THINGS FOR SALE
AT OREGON CITY'S GHOUL GALLERY
We were just five hours away from Portland, Oregon on September 25th, 2016, at a cheap hotel where I'm 90% sure my arm was bitten up by bedbugs who didn't even have the decency to let me see them. Excited by the new world of potential article opportunities, I asked people over on tumblr where I should go first for Halloween goods, and multiple people immediately suggested a place called Ghoul Gallery.
From their website alone
, I could tell this place had to be something special. A year round
Halloween store, specializing not in the usual, predictable costumes and masks, but specifically
focusing on Halloween collectibles?
I.E. precisely the aspect of Halloween I'm into as a hobby and built much of this entire website around?
Still, accustomed to being a little underwhelmed by "Halloween Stores," I really wasn't expecting all that much. I figured maybe this place would have a lot of stuff I've seen before, but maybe a few interesting enough doo-dads to squeeze an article out of.
I WAS WRONG.
Here is nothing but a single shelf of a single glass case in what constitutes a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling Halloween collection of mind-boggling proportions, easily dwarfing my own 30+ year old collections
and collectively worth more than I'll have probably ever spent by the time I'm a Halloween decoration myself.
Photographs can never hope to do the Ghoul Gallery justice, every corner so jam-packed with skulls, pumpkins and witches you could practically drown in them. If any damn fool ever uttered the ridiculous words "too much Halloween" and actually, god forbid, meant
it, I wouldn't be surprised if they were talking about Ghoul Gallery. I would, however, judge them harshly for their obvious weakness.
On our Saturday visit, the Ghoul Gallery was even spilling out into the rest of Oregon City's Main Street, hosting both a haunted car show
and a scarecrow contest.
I didn't get good pictures of everything on display outside, but some of the scarecrows in particular were fantastic.
Look at this guy absolutely chowing down on those crows.
Here's another one, which also IS a crow, or at least, a ghoulish human-crow mashup. She actually has an eyeball in only one of her own sockets, and I feel like the implication may be that she plucks them out of people to put them in her own head.
All this juicy Halloween goodness, and I haven't even started my actual list yet. We're still
in the introductory build-up mode here. That's just how spookular this place is.
So, without further ado, here are my 31 favorite things you can actually buy
from Ghoul Gallery, a mix of my own photographs and theirs!
Candied Apple Monsters
On display in the front window, these wormy goblins are, I believe, from the Katherine's Collection
brand, retired for years not easy to find. In fact, that describes the vast majority of items at the Ghoul Gallery. Tom, the owner, has said he bought out the entire stock
of some of these brands when they were discontinued back in the mid-2000's, making Ghoul Gallery one of the only stores in the world to still have an actual supply
of these and hundreds of other rare items.
Professor Madd Snowglobe
One of those brands the Ghoul Gallery bought out was Department 56,
and one of their most amazing collections was the Professor Madd's Laboratory
line. Here, we see Madd himself dissolving horrifically as he tampers with some unknown paranormal energy blast. It's okay, though...
Light-up Professor Mad
...Because he comes out of his ordeal looking far
Mummy Pumpkin Lawn Lantern
This is one of those big, hollow light-up decorations for your yard and garden, but I've never seen a tower of mummified
pumpkins ike this.
Unsettling Ghost Ornament
I liked the creepy, vintage hobgoblin face on this gauzy, tapering ghost enough that it became my first-ever Ghoul Gallery purchase. I suppose it helps that the little guy was one of the few things I really loved that I could actually afford without feeling terrible.
These Goofy Dolls
The detail and style of these weirdo pumpkins and their witch friend is just too cool. How can you even pick a favorite? They belong together.
There are several styles of these glittery, haunted party balloons, but the look of alarm on Orange here is my favorite. Maybe he just realized how long balloons last.
Monstrous Toad Figurines
Another Katherine's Collection item, I think? These freakish amphibians look like something straight out of the Jim Henson's Creature Shop, back when that actually meant
anything this cool looking.
The green, fanged frog is the most striking and I love the beautiful eyeballs of the worm-eater, but I think I'm most fond of the owl-faced dart frog in the middle. You can almost tell at a glance that these may have been people until they pissed off the wrong witch...or, perhaps, exactly the right witch.
There's a bunch of these "Flip Top" containers, but the pumpkin, with its comical stare and toothy overbite, is probably the best looking.
A Familiar-Looking Mummy Mug
I actually have a mummy strikingly
similar to this one that I bought as a cactus planter
, though not a very good one if you're actually a plant, since the bottom doesn't drain. The sculpts are different enough that they clearly aren't just a paint swap, but must be based on the same piece of stock art, perhaps? I like how the wooden handle on this mummy is also haunted
, with its own separate spooky face.
This Drinking Glass
Yeah, this bug eyed, shrieking orange Bride of Frankenstein looking weirdo is something you're supposed to drink a beverage out of, and I'm sure you're going to look uncommonly tasteful whatever the situation. Bring this to your next business meeting and slurp Ecto-Cooler out of it. You'll nail
Bat-Winged Heart Specimen
This Professor Mad item is a human heart with, I swear, a pair of black bat wings on it. Sorry you might have to squint pretty hard to see them in my photograph. Does that mean this heart could actually fly
before it was caught and pickled?
Wacky Skull Candy Dispenser
Pull on this kooky cadaver's stripey tongue, and whatever candy you put in his hat will tumble into the dish behind him. He's gorgeously designed, and a spring holding the tongue in place makes it pretty darn fun to tug at. It might have been somewhat more amazing if the dish were under
the skull instead of around back, however, or if the candy fell into a rib cage
, but then he'd have to be at least 50% taller.
Big Rotten Mummy Child
This green, crumbling corpse is roughly the size of an actual toddler, and like any well behaved child, its gaping cranium allows you to illuminate its decomposing torso from inside with your favorite candle or batter-powered tealight.
Goodness me what's going on here
I feel like I'm seeing something I'm not supposed to.
Medium Spider Table
If I only had the money, or, you know, if I actually held on
to any reasonable amount of excess spending money at one time, I'd finallly have a truly worthy end table...but does "medium" imply there's a bigger
spider table like this???
Zombie Salt and Pepper Shakers
Ghoul Gallery has an entire section
for novel Halloween Salt and Pepper sets, and a lot of them are wackier and more imaginative than this set, but I really love the artistic style of these two ghouls. Maybe it's because they look almost exactly like they belong with the Little Horribles.
Vintage-style Pumpkin Ornaments
This sort of older art style is so much creepier than most modern monsters, isn't it? When is any decent horror going to capitalize on this aesthetic again? I especially love the bat
pumpkin with the stem nose. What a weirdo.
Cartoony Spider Ornaments
Speaking of vintage styles, these arachnids feel like villains from a Fleischer-era animated short, the kind of art style that Cuphead
game is going for.
Ghostly Gourd Ornaments
ONE more tiny, hanging ornament before we're done with them. Is this an actual thing people do with gourds? Flip them upside-down and turn them into ghosts? Because I never saw it before, and that's perfect.
I already want to go out and do it as we speak.
Needlessly Large Man in the Moon Statue
This incredibly unsettling moonman has to stand at least three or four feet tall, which is PRETTY big for any mostly roundish shape. No wonder he's over half a thousand bucks. I cannot imagine many people would need this in their home badly enough to drop that kind of cash, but they have to be out there, and I get
them. I really do. This is one hell of a moonman. Look at those lizard-eyes.
This divided platter is gorgeous
, isn't it? The black and orange spider in the center of a smoky grey web is almost too good looking to hide under an evening's worth of chips and dip. I think I'd just put this on a stand and turn it into a birdbath.
Is this a MUG!?
I didn't see this in the store, but there's a photograph of it on their facebook. Am I looking at a drinking mug
of a terrified man-bat? Is that ear the handle?
It's still a great looking nosferatu regardless, but I really want to think you can drink hot chocolate out of his skull.
Professor Madd Skull Specimen
The fascinating thing about this skull is that multiple insects are wired into it.
What does that mean
, Professor Madd? What kind of experiment was
Latex Alien Baby
I've actually seen this sold online under a variety of labels, from "aliens" to "mutant demons" to ambiguous names like "specimen X." I have to say, it looks a lot more impressive in person, and it's a lot bigger than I always thought it was.
Giant Adorable Witch
This total cutie sits on a high shelf near the store's ceiling, and she's almost as tall as an actual human being. Though I do appreciate "creepier," life-like monsters, the colorful and comical ones are always a lot more fun, and I'm glad something in this style comes in a full size like this. I really haven't seen that often enough.
Professor Madd's Skeleton Spider Heart
At least, I think
this might be a Professor Madd item. If not, it had to be designed by the same artist as the bat-winged heart, only now we have a human heart contained within the transparent abdomen of a multi-armed skelespider. Life doesn't get better than this.
Freaky Joe Spencer Dolls
These are part of another broader product line that includes all sorts of other holiday characters, even from non-Halloween
holidays, if you can believe those exist, though none of them, in my opinion, ever top the delicious unpleasantness of this pop-eyed man. Even the hillbilly behind him with two
protruding eyeballs isn't quite as creepy as this guy with just the one, especially when he seems like an otherwise normal, plainly dressed, living human being and no apparent flavor of "monster." This is just a doll of a really skeevy guy
who does some kind of terrible eye trick. I love him.
Over six or seven feet tall, these "mud people" are hollow, stiffened cloth sculptures by a local artist right here in Portland, and though they cost over a couple hundred bucks, they really look fantastic.
A mass of dark, tattered cloth shaped like someone might
be under it is so much more amazing than just another skull-faced giant reaper.
Cynister Creationz Originals
My own photos weren't as good as theirs, but Cindy, the local artist behind these amazing
pumpkin sculptures, was selling and signing her own work during the scarecrow contest. Ghoul Gallery is the only year-round, walk-in store that sells her work, more of which can be seen on her official website
Cindy even branches out beyond Halloween from time to time, though if you ask me, snowmen have always deserved to run with the spooks and goblins more than the elves and reindeer.
Spookylvania Painted Clocks
These intricately hand-painted clocks
were the creations of another local artist, Alice Rodgers, and range from the just plain adorable to the damn near breathtaking. Unfortunately, Alice passed away back in 2010, making every one of her clocks, lamps and countless other creations truly irreplaceable. Ghoul Gallery is the last place on Earth you'll find any of her clocks, and when they're gone...they're gone. She must have been an awesome person.
This Amazing Bird Witch
My own pictures weren't working out, so these are a couple more from Ghoul Gallery's facebook. With a bony green body, eyeballs far too large even for her already oversized bird head and an absolutely fabulous fashion sense, this might be one of the most charming Halloween witches I've quite possibly ever seen, at least if we're counting Witches separately from Hocuses
. I'd put this lady at the top of my Ghoul Gallery wish list if that were at all realistic, because she's at least four feet tall and more than likely costs more than I've ever made in a month.
I could probably just keep going with this article, but we've officially hit a Halloweeny 31 items, and I always try to maintain that as a cut-off point. It wouldn't be fair to spoil the entire place, after all, though that's hardly possible
with the sheer volume of their ever-evolving stock. If I had no self control, I could spend every penny I have in this place. One look around Ghoul Gallery is like a window into my own future, assuming I never stop collecting this kind of nonsense and that perhaps, one day, I'll just have to open up a store of my own to manage it all.
If you've liked anything you've seen here enough to drop good money on it, at least a couple hundred items are available to purchase from them online
. Tell them I sent you. That will mean absolutely nothing and offer no benefits I'm aware of, but you can tell them anyway.
MORE HALLOWEEN FEATURES: