Written by Jonathan Wojcik
The Nobbies Haul
I already talked about some items from Nobbies party supply
earlier in the season - most notably this weird and fascinating bird's nest with skulls in it - but for a while, I wasn't sure if Nobbies offered quite enough to warrant a page of its own.
...And then November
happened. Where every other store has already callously phased out the rats and eyeballs, the volume of Halloweenery left over at Nobbies remains impressive even a week and a half later, still rivaling the selection some retailers were offering at the peak
of spookenation, and all marked down a juicy 50% off.
In fact, despite having visited the store multiple times over the past three months and meticulously picking through their seasonal shelves, I've still discovered quite a few items only
now that they're on clearance. Where were they before?
I don't know, but I'm glad they managed to hide from me until now, when I'm still coming down off the October 31st high and thirstiest of all for one last Halloween fix...
Scat Cat Band
This is actually one of the first Halloween items I bought back in August, but like I said, I wasn't sure if I'd tackle the Nobbies offerings on their own. I usually overlook black cats in favor of the stranger bats, spiders, ghosts and monsters, but this year, I feel like I really opened up to even some of the most conventional seasonal symbols, and honestly, who could ever resist a Scat Cat Band?
This set is a reproduction of one from the 1940's, and it's interesting how much more sinister they look than the average Halloween feline does today. I love how the eyes, mouth and even nostrils are all orange, like there's a supernatural glow coming from within their little kitty heads.
I really can't believe I overlooked these before. They're just square, plastic dishes for candy or cake or whatever, but they really
belong hung up on the wall, where this totally pumped skeleton can remind us what we should get "on" all year round, for all time.
Three other Halloween pun plates are also available, and they're all gorgeous, even if none of them are quite as intense
as the FRIGHT ON skeleton.
...What is this a play on, though? Bitchin'?
Really? I can't think of anything else it could mean.
I've seen "Eat, Drink and Be Scary" on so many Halloween items I actually forgot it ever had a non-Halloween context. It's interesting that this pumpkin butler appears to be serving
an entire skull. Who the heck eats skulls!? Or is the skull merely cracked open like an egg, filled with freshly steamed brains? Actually, that sounds absolutely heavenly.
The last plate is the worst pun of them all, but I love the way this owl is drawn. I've come to appreciate owls so much as Halloween symbols. I mean, they more than likely actually inspired
a huge volume of ghosts, demons, goblins, aliens and cryptids throughout human culture. We all know what owls are yet a lot of us apparently lose our minds when we actually encounter one in the wild because they're just that freaking weird.
There are several things I find delightful about this slime. For one thing, it's in a blood bag, which implies somebody is getting a transfusion
of U.F.O. Slime. Then there's the little flying saucer with eyes in the corner...the eyes of its occupant, or the eyes of the ship itself? I certainly prefer the latter.
Finally and most interestingly, the slime lets us know that it comes from an "extragalactic" alien, apparently far beyond the reaches of the milky way! This is some fancy, imported
Life-size Green Alien
So could this
be an "extragalactic" being?? It doesn't look like something happy to donate its blood, but I guess I'm judging from a human perspective. This could be exactly the face this species makes to let you know it comes in peace and would like to make friends, just before it sprays its friendship acid into your eyes and fills your chest cavity with friendship eggs! Hello, friend!! Thank you for your blood!!
Entirely Wrong Spiders
This is one of those items I never found in the store until the clearance bins appeared. This sort of cheap, floppy black spider with brush-like bristles was an incredibly common dollar-store toy when I was a kid, but this might be the first time in almost a decade that I've seen them for sale...and I'm not even familiar with any
of these molds. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I think I might like the one in the lower middle the most, with its little, tusked head so distinct from its cephalothorax. None of these might follow the anatomy of a real spider, but they don't have to. A Halloween
spider is practically a fantasy creature anyway; another Halloween goblin loosely manifesting a form from human fear.
I'm fairly proud of how far plague doctors have come as Halloween icons and video game characters. They deserve it. They're creepy as hell and they were real
- what more does Halloween want?
, as cool as this organic-looking mask is, it's clearly based more on a ballroom mask than a plague mask. They share many similarities, but there's a fine line! Plague masks don't usually have eyes facing so forward and aren't normally so ornate and sculpted!
The mask also looks a heck of a lot cooler on the package, painted like a freshly skinned bird skull. Maybe this version is also available? I have no idea.
Spider Skull Pumpkin
Almost as puzzling as the bird's nest skulls, this black pumpkin appears to be hatching
both a human skull and a swarm of spiders. What on Earth sort of life cycle are we looking at now?
Is this how Halloween skeletons are born? They just grow in a black pumpkin that's also full of spiders? Are the spiders basically the equivalent of amniotic fluid?
I guess it should have been obvious all along. Spiders are skeleton afterbirth.
Halloween lawn bags are a time honored tradition. People are already going to be raking up dead leaves in October throughout the country, so they may as well turn them into Halloween decorations while they're at it...though they're almost always
modeled after Jack O' Lanterns. This is one of the first leaf-stuffed ghosts
I've ever seen, and it's a delightfully fat, goofy phantasm demanding even more sustenance in its trick-or-treat pail.
Not only did I never see any of these at Nobbies until they were on half price clearance, but only this one was left, and
one of its legs was broken off. Injured, alone, and rejected, there was simply no way this Spiderton wasn't coming home with me.
I've interestingly seen and even owned almost the same creature before, but earlier models had eight complete, human skeleton arms for "legs," with hands and everything. This is the first time I've seen one with bony spider-like legs, like some evolutionary middle ground between a human skeleton and the Crazy Bonez
Perhaps the most interesting thing about these monstrosities, whether spider-legged or eight-armed, is the orientation of the rib cage body. The skull is basically attached at the crotch. How marvelous this being must have been with flesh.
Soul-crushing Tote Bag
I appreciate a girly, princess sheet ghost on a pink candy bag, I really do. It's great to see something properly Halloweenular for pink princess-loving kids, but the text they went with feels more than a little morbid, doesn't it? "Princess in Process," a phrase I've seen before on little kid's shirts and accessories, is supposed to imply that a small child is growing into
Except the child we're seeing here isn't growing into anything.
Does she even know???
Spider Victim Heads
I've discussed the interesting phenomenon of "spider victims" before. They're a fairly common decoration these days, but they're usually just a bunch of gauze and plastic spiders glued to an otherwise conventional skeleton. Not so for these beauties, actually modeled like a human head slowly and torturously drained of fluids by hungry aranea! And if that's not cool enough, their eyes light up and they SHAKE.
These are still-living
desiccated heads! They're undead
spider-infested mummy skulls!!
Yeah, I stuck a Halloween paper plate on the wall like fine art. Why wouldn't I? This is one of those items I might not have even noticed a month ago, but for just a buck, weeks after Halloween has dried up everywhere else, these plates were SCREAMING to be mine, and I'm so glad I caved. The green, spider-web border beautifully framed the googly-eyed sheet ghost, who is physically holding
the "BOO." That is precious.
It must be a very quiet or perhaps even completely mute ghost, so it just carries a big "BOO" around and hopes you'll get scared looking at it.
You better at least act
like it. If you disappoint this tiny, mute ghost I will hunt you down.
Children's Skeleton Hat
It's unfortunate that these are so, so small, because I don't see why any adult would ever not want to wear one. I've seen Halloween hats with faces on them before, but this is the first skeleton-face hat I've seen with arms sewn on it, which is hilarious. It looks like it's perpetually demanding a hug.
It also apparently lights up.
The tag said "flashlight hat." You can see the LED's on the rim, which is the only thing that could have made this more hilarious.
How badly do you want to attend some sort of black tie event with a too-small skeleton baseball cap, bright lights shining in people's faces while you act as though absolutely nothing is awry?
Spider Pumpkin Witch Flag
Every trip to Nobbies, I admired this flag...but I never saw one for sale. I kind of assumed maybe it was just part of the store's personal decor, letting customers know where to find the seasonal aisles...but once the bargain bins showed up, there were TWO of them for sale at only ten bucks apiece, so of course I got them both.
Everything about this flag is wonderful. You've got a "spider" made of pumpkins, dressed like a witch, wearing a bow tie, hanging by a rope like it's a silk strand and
surrounded by mini-pumpider offspring, all just so happy to exist. And the colors! The green stripey spider webby background and polka-dotted lettering! OF COURSE I bought two of them! They're big enough to even be used as curtains on a moderately sized window...or worn like a cape. Oh yeah. One of you had better croak soon so I can come to your funeral with my "Trick or Treat" pumpkin spider witch cape, my light-up LED skeleton hat that's meant for a toddler's head and my spooky ghost-shaped tie that I'm going to attach to my shirt with a potato chip clip because suits are stuffy and expensive.
Your dead ass better appreciate how nicely I dressed for you. You should be writing me into your will as we speak.
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