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.