Ghost Dots, Party Favors, Scary Places.

Okay, so these probably didn’t deserve their own Countdown entry, but I just couldn’t resist…they’re too cute. As has been previously discussed in one of the comment threads, the Tootsie company is adding to its typical bunch of Halloween lollipops with an all-new offering: Ghost Dots! Glow-in-the-dark colored (but not actually glow-in-the-dark) fruity specters sent from Hades to satiate our need for candy imparted with the souls of the dead!

Went out to dinner a little while ago, and since the restaurant was two minutes from Wal-Mart, we dropped on by to see if they finally got their Halloween aisles up and running. They did. Nothing too mindblowing, but I did notice that there was a far larger scope of actual, honest “scary” costumes in the kiddy aisle than there have been in recent years. Vampires, wolfmen and the like were in much stronger numbers than the usual gamut of hot cartoon characters du jour, which is always nice to see. This is what we in the business call a filler paragraph.

Oh, and I found these:


On some really messy rack full of mostly uninteresting party favors, there were carded packs of the eight monstrous finger puppets seen above. (Click here to see ‘em packaged.) While I have no tremendous use for finger puppets that only very narrowly avoid not being able to fit on any of my fingers, I think it’s pretty obvious why I had to buy these. Check out that ghost! That slime-drooling ghost! I’m just in awe that such a cheap production of shoddy finger puppets would boast such a neat little touch. How cheap of a production? Click here to see the packaged version again, but this time, look closer. The skeleton finger puppet on the upper left was packaged backwards! Oh no!

I’m usually no fan of bodily fluids as an entertainment form (especially as it relates to things under “vomit” umbrella), but there’s just something about a slime-drooling ghost finger puppet that makes me want to draw red roses while singing the one hit song Dido had before that giant bat swooped down and ate her to death.

Wal-Mart’s collection of Halloween party favors has no official title, but if you’re curious, just look for the pile of crap in orange/purple packaging with a little Frankenstein head in the upper left corner. That’s them! There’s all sorts of cheap & fun stuff — everything from packs of twelve glowing vampire fangs (just one dollar!) to tiny flashlights with bat stickers on them, to a bag full of…


…twenty-five random rubber critters, which were obviously culled together from several other existing party favor collections to create a mix jussst goofy enough to write about.

Mixed in with the random bug rings, clip-on snakes and suction-cupped spiders was a totally out of place bunch of cheery, humanoid turtles, who are no doubt counting the minutes until Halloween is over, when they will be reassigned to their rightful spot in a bag of Christmas party favors, where they’ll break bread with much friendlier Santa rings, clip-on reindeer and suction-cupped snowmen.

I don’t have much faith that Ghost Dots or Wal-Mart’s party favors will inspire much in the way of on-topic conversation, so let’s wheel out our first blog survey of the Halloween season:

In the comments, talk about the spookiest places you’ve even been, even if they don’t seem so scary in retrospect. Try to avoid the bad jokes that tend to fill one’s head when such a question is poised.

I’ll start: Grandma’s basement. I grew up in a two-floor house, but it didn’t have a basement. None of the other houses owned by people I knew well enough to snoop through their stuff had them, either….except for my grandparents. Basements are at least a little inherently scary, true, but I think my grandmother’s passed a different kind of fear test.

Nevermind the ghost stories involving that basement that had become a part of my family’s permanent culture….this place was awful. All of the pipes and tubes that kept the upper floors on the cutting edge of modern technology all ran to the basement, where they were finally exposed as the squealing, squeaking, creaky, ghoul-sounding motherfuckers that we all know them to be. You’d be down there, and haunted noises would come from every direction and in every style. 99 times out of 100, even a kid can recognize a pipe sound as a pipe sound. It’s that hundredth time that gets ya. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I remember running up her stairs like an anthropomorphic rocket, all because somebody took a shit on the top floor and flushed.

There were only two ways to bring some illumination to the basement. The first was a lamp with a not-at-all-removable stained glass lampshade. The set theme for this particular stained glass lampshade was “blood red flowers,” which caused nothing but hideous red light to beam out at every creepy corner of the basement the second you turned it on. So, I didn’t.

The other way was with an overhead fluorescent “box” that gave off only enough light to just barely make out the hobgoblin creeping out at you from her seemingly perpetually-in-use washing machine.

Oh, and the decor! The basement was relatively sparse, but somewhere along the way in their great journey together, my grandparents became avid collectors of wood-carved, dark brown Native American statues and busts. They were all over the place, and every single one of them stared at me. There were also caricature-like statues of Laurel and Hardy, with such exaggerated and bloated facial features that they looked more like giant, peach ticks than people. It didn’t help matters that I had no idea who Laurel and Hardy were at the time.

It was brutal, but I needed to go down there. The basement hosted the only television in Grandma’s house. I had to either deal with the monsters and watch TV, or not deal with the monsters and sit on a metal folding chair in an upstairs room that had nothing at else in it but a grandfather clock.

122 thoughts on “Ghost Dots, Party Favors, Scary Places.

  1. DJ D

    I used to work at a haunted house for several years and it was next to the biggest juvenile detention center in SC, so it was loads of fun to chase people out of the house and into the yard as they attempt to stay away from the fence surrounding the juvy joint with all the dodgy kids leering at them from the other side. The house even sat on a road called “Shivers Drive” No lie. It was REALLY old and surrounded by woods and falling apart. It had loads of secret doors and hiding places and a hole in the ceiling seperating the first and second floors so we could jump down from the ceiling on people.

    Our maze was sectioned off whenever the fire inspector came by cause it was SO against code. Of course it was completely dark and the walls were covered in vaseline. Odd things hung from the ceiling that brushed against the customers’ faces. Little did anyone know they were actually tampons. The ceiling got lower and lower until you were forced to get on your hands and knees and crawl your way out. We also had plants in the crowd, usually girls single or in pairs, in line with everyone else pretending to be regular patrons. My friend Rick, who’s a very tall bodybuilder would dress up like Michael Meyers and would come out the front door and wander around the crowd. He would pick one of the plants, who played the part well, and grab her kicking and screaming back into the house through the front door in full view of everyone where she would scream her head off and never be seen again. Her partner left in the line would really play it up like she had no idea what was going on and would freak out and pretend to demand her money back. It was hilarious. People were just pissing themselves before they even got in.

    Anyways, my scariest moment comes not from when I actually worked in the house, but several years later after it had closed down for good. Several years after the house had been declared condemned, my gf and I at the time decided to go back up there one evening when it was just about to get dark and take a look at it to see if we could creep around inside. The woods all around the property had grown up quite a bit and it was pretty creepy just trying to get to it. Luckily there was still some daylight out. Just before we got to the porch, we heard a voice say, “Hey, how y’all doin?” We looked up, and there on the porch sitting in a rocking chair was the gnarliest, hairiest homeless man. He was just sitting there rocking. Then he said, “Why don’t y’ll come up here and spend some time with me?”

    I thought I was just about to shit myself. The ironic thing was despite all the years of doing paranormal, creepy things in the house and lurking around with people dressed up like monsters and such, the thing that scares me MUCH more is some backwoods, Deliverance, Texas Chainsaw kidnapping type of deal out in the middle of the sticks. I was imaging right then that as Johnny Homeless distracted us his “family” would leap out of the woods, grab us, and drag us inside to hang us on hooks and strap us into all the torture racks and things that I KNEW were inside that thing (Mostly because I helped to build them). Needless to say we tried to politely say something along the lines of, “No thanks, were just lookin’” as we slowly backed away down the driveway and then turned and high tailed it out of there to the car. I’ve never been back since…Actually I was just down there this weekend and drove by and noticed that the land had just been cleared away and the house was gone. Looks like someone finally bought the land. I just wonder how many bodies they found inside that WEREN’T made of rubber.

  2. Cotter

    DJspace… Fucked. Up. So it turns out you “landlord” had no association with the building at all? I think I would have shit myself after finding that out, let alone living next to a hanger. A used hanger. Fuck.

    Although DJ’s is pretty creepy ass. I was pretty paranoid after reading all these stories, but I swear I hear someone moaning outside my house for a split second. It was pretty freaky. Not even like “Oooh, I’m going to geeeet youuuu” kind of moan, but kind of like a cry for help and then just ending with an unsettling feeling.

    Ah… Halloween…

  3. Andrew

    Oh and Matt, that song about the Headless Horseman is from the Disney version of Ichabod Crane (and Mr. Toad), but you probably knew that. But did you know it was sung by none other than Bing Crosby? He actually narrated that movie.

  4. DJ D

    Yeah, I gotta admit, djspacecase did have a pretty kickass story. For some reason I think the open books are almost as scary as the hook hanging from the ceiling. It’s as though she’s still standing around reading them, confused and not knowing she’s actually dead. Maybe you’ll feel some weird weight at the foot of your bed one night, and find her sitting there, blank faced, expressionless and holding a book….Waiting for you to read her a bedtime story.

  5. mjgrass

    I like cliffhangers also, I found the second part but not by clicking, I couldent find where you put the hyper link. So I did it the other way. hint hint “2″

  6. Ken

    Ok, so I’ve got 2 (One was only creepy in one instance, the other…all the fucking time)

    First the one timer…Back when Resident Evil was the scariest 3d zombiefest to grace console gaming, my friend Pat and I pulled an all-nighter taking turns on our respective savegames, leapfrogging over one another’s progresscfor hours on end. Well, around 4AM or so, Pat succumbed to exhaustion, and I was left battling the undead on my own…I too was exhausted however, and Pat’s house sat like 10 feet from a densely wooded area. The woods were scary enough but since the room we were in was like 75% windows, I kept checking over my shoulder, fearing zombies were creeping out of the woods to eat my sweet brains. After awhile I started to really freak out and I kept trying to wake my friend, but he was out cold. During one of my vigilant glances outside I swore I saw a fucking zombie, and that was it, I beat Pat until he woke up and told him what I saw…half asleep, he started to panic too, so we headed for the safety of his bedroom. In my exhausted, zombie-panicked state, I saw a shadow on the dining room wall, and in my mind that shadow was a Hunter, one of the more agressive nasties from the game. I did the only thing I could do, throw my glass of water at it. Needless to say, There was no monster, and I woke my friend’s mom up, but all she could do was laugh at how retarded I was.

    The second place was my friend, Anthony’s basement. We were both scared shitless of that asshole Freddy Kreuger (I used to have night terrors that Freddy was my guest chef on a cooking show, and I’d wake up and see blood all over my walls), and for some reason, we were convinced that he lived in that dark, evil space. Every time we needed to fetch something from down there we booked like or lives depended on it, because in our silly child-brains, they did. Sometimes Anthony would be a dick and lock me down there with the lights off. That’s ok, because he’s still afraid to go in his own basement (or outside alone) in the dark. Freddy must still plague his dreams, turning his cooking show into a bloody fiasco.

    Basements are the suck. So are zombies.

  7. Cotter

    Ken,

    Yeah, I can totally relate to pulling all nighters with some Resident Evil on the good ol’ PSX. None of my friends had the patience for the first so we’d always bust up the second. Scary shit.

  8. Bill

    I think Katherine Hicks would have been much better than Nancy Allen in Poltergeist 3. But that is just my opinion.

  9. Andrew

    Sorry, but some more musical nitpicking… “Somebody’s Watching Me” was actually done by some one-hit wonder named Rockwell-Wacky Jacky just did backing vocals and sung in the chorus. Still a good song tho.

  10. Rich

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Just wanted to say that I was at 7-11 tonight, the last bastion of 5th Avenues in my area (albeit overpriced). Anyway, there were three items of note, two Halloween-related. The first was a Reese’s King Size Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cup. I’m not sure if there’s a regular sized, but the King Sized was pretty big. If I had to take a guess, it’s probably similar to the Reese’s eggs. I would’ve bought one, but I figured two overpriced 5th Avenues were enough. When I walked up to the counter, there were little Snickers Halloween snacks with the word “creme” on them, which reminded me of Cadbury Egg creme, although these were at least half the size.

    Finally, they had Mountain Dew Game Fuel Slurpees, which I didn’t get since I didn’t have my refill cup with me, but I will definitely get it the next time I go in (unless it’s replaced with Pitch Black, of course).

  11. DJ D

    Resident Evil 4 to this day is still my favorite game ever. But of course, I still haven’t gotten an X-Box 360 or PS3 yet and have yet to play any of the Halo games, so who knows, that might change.

  12. asdfnick

    The scariest place, eh?

    Well, I have plenty of ghost stories, but Ill share one that I can explain

    My grandparents lived in this big house up in Connecticut, and It was the same house that my father grew up in. This house was very old, and very creepy. One night, I was asking my grandmother if it was haunted, and she proceeded to tell me that it was, by a giant pink bunny, with half of its head cut off, and it would flop around as it danced in the dark.

    This scared the living shit out of me.

    And thanks to my grandma, it did. She just so happened to have a giant pink bunny doll with its head falling off, and when i say big, I mean big, it was 6 feet tall at least. So anyways, As I slept, my grandmother snuck into my room and put the stupid rabbit in a chair right next to my bed, so when I woke up, Id probably die of shock. And thats my story.

  13. Cutie_Kitsune

    2 places I can think of that are the scariest places I’ve been or seen.

    1: The house I lived in, in Battersea, Ont. Built in the 1800′s sometime, and been in the family since. I lived there between the ages of 7 and 1/2 and 9. It didn’t have a basement. Heeck no. It had a cellar. It had 2 cellars. One for root veggies and such, with an opening to the outside. The other was where the furnace had been installed, and the only way in was though a door in the kitchen, next to the sink, and down a flight of steap stairs (so steap it was almost vertical) I wasn’t allowed in either one, for fear I would fall and kill myself (amen to that. I’m not known for my grace and fleetness of foot, and never have been) But, I did not want, nor to this day would want, to go in that cellar. Every day and night there would be eerie moans (not the wind, it was human in nature, and I could tell that), a putrid smell, and a dark shadow that prowled, yes prowled, at the bottom of the stairs. And let me tell you, its scarey when, in a fit of rebellion against the ‘No-going-in-the-cellar’ rule, you open the door to try and see part of the darkness at the bottom moving. I couldn’t sleep without the light on for weeks (to my older sister’s utter disgust) thinking that the shadow was going to come and eat me.
    There was also what my grandmother called ‘the back room’. It was upstairs at the back of the house, just off the landing at the top of the stairs. It was big enough to house a whole family if you cared to put that many people in there. It didn’t use to have an entrance in the upstairs at all, just one that led down a flight of cramped, twisting stairs to a hidden panel door in the kitchen, which we used to shove out winter coats in (something about that house and hidden doors, you see. In the back parlour, there was a hidden door that led to my alcoholic great uncle’s booze and hooch pantry, but I digress) You could hear noises at night coming from that back room. Thumps like the footsteps of a heavy person wandering back and forth, squeeking springs like someone getting in and out of an old bed, and someone whistling. Hearing that at night was scarey. Not even the joys [sarcasm] of a Pepto-Bismol pink bedroom could sweeten me to living there. There was also a railing around the stairs on the second floor that was too short to be for safety. It was okay for a small child, but it barely came up to an adult’s knees. Someone in my family a few generations back toppled over and broke their neck and snuffed it. I’d like to call him, who might be the entity, Bill for lack of better knowledge.
    I celebrated the day we moved out and back to the city. And partied even harder when Grandma moved out, too, and sold the house.

    2: The old medical building on the grounds of the pstchiatric hospital. This place is old. Older than dirt. Even older. Well, I’m exagerating a bit here, but it IS old enough to be boarded up, have a metal security fence and numerous signs stating Unsafe, Keep Out, Do Not Enter, Tresspassers Will Be Prosecuted…You get the picture. It’s one of those historically protected buildings that probably would have been torn down but for it’s immunity. People are allowed to wander the grounds of the psychiatric hospital, enjoy the gardens, go walking, etc. I do quite often, usually along the waterfront behind the grounds. And to get to the waterfront paths, the most direct path means walking right by this building. One night, I didn’t get to my walk until after twilight. I happened to glance up and just about wet myself. There was a flickering light in one of the rooms, and it went from room to room and back to where it started. I would have run but there’s something about fear that makes your feet freeze to the ground like ice, right? A face appeared at the room, with long, stringy dark hair, and a hand on the window pane (that’s all I could make out) The light went out after that, but it didn’t just go out, it faded out. I turned around and ran, deciding that a walk that night wouldn’t be such a good idea. I haven’t gone back after dark since. There’s no electricity in this building, so it couldn’t have been that. And there’s no way into the building (everything is sealed), so it wasn’t a security guard with a flashlight (as far as I know, the standard issue flashlights I’ve seen the security guards on the property use have a stright beam of light, nothing that would flicker) or a prankster (afterall, the place is sealed tighter than a drum, and why would they pick such a random night to prank, if they weren’t sure that anyone would come by)So that was pretty scary.

  14. kingklash in: Empire of the Pants

    The Pink Bunny story of asdfnick‘s reminded me of a similar thread on Fark a few months ago. One guy told of when he and his brother went to visit at an Aunt’s house and she let them stay up late to watch “Empire of the Ants.” Of course being young enough that staying up late was a thrill, it meant that even EotA might have been a bit too much for them, which it was. So, they go to bed all paranoid about killer ants, and just finally settle down. Meanwhile, Aunty had made herself a couple of mixed drinks earlier and was feeling a little evil. She bursts into the room and throws an open container of chocolate sprinkles on the boys, and screams, “Ants! ANTS!!” Poor kids didn’t sleep at all that night.

  15. Kirjava

    I don’t have any really scary stories to share, but my bedroom is on ground level with a large window, and fairly regularly I can hear something tapping it, with no trees anywhere near it.

  16. Rainbowfeet

    First time of the season is a bit early for me this year- I neeeed those Ghost Dots!

    I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s creepy place stories. I can’t really think of anything that was all that scary to me. Dark places, places with weird things, nothing too special. I was reminded this week of the time we (as a family) went to the Michigan Mystery Spot, and that was the most freaked out I’ve ever been. I was really little and I just kept falling down, so I sat on the ground and cried for a while. That was unsettling, but not creepy.

  17. CptnSpoon

    I’ve seen those turtles before. They live in an arcade here in the south west of england. Same mold and everything, only they’re green and have keyring attachments.

    I’ve got some out of the 2p pusher machines. So they stink of 30 year old coins and bad plastic. Their eyes tend to fall off as well. But I love the little guys. Especially the purple one whos face is welled up so he looks as though he was stung by bees.

  18. n8

    Really, Kathrine Hicks under the sheet? Impressive.

    I concur–cliffhangers are bomb.

  19. DocDragon

    Hm… My grandma also had a creepy basement. It was never actually scary, but it did have some sort of aura of low-level creepiness around it… The rabbit skeleton one one of the shelves was probably the cause there.

    As for the creepiest place I’ve ever been in, for a while it was my own room. I’d gotten this model skeleton-thing, and for some reason I’d painted it red. Not a good idea, and the nightlight just made that thing look SCARIER.

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