The other night we carved up this jolly guy and ate all his innards. We also ate pizza, drank pumpkin beer, baked crappy cookies with ghosts on ’em, and pounded down some candy.
We played a Halloween CD I bought in the dollar section from Target, generically titled “Spooky CD”. It is a great example of the Japanese fundamentally misunderstanding our culture and Halloween in general. Some Japanese speaking over top of what sounds like a human sacrifice to the Tiki Gods does not make me think Halloween.
Tonight, I plan to sit on the porch handing out candy, dressed as King Kong with a Jason machete. The girlfriend is going to be a “zombie angel”. Angels are dead people and zombies are dead people, but they are not the same kind of dead people. That costume makes no sense. Well neither does mine, since Kong doesn’t wield a bloody machete. I hope to scare at least one 2 year old into crapping their pants.
We have Kit Kats, Nerds, Mike n Ikes, Hot Tamales, Butterfingers, Snickers, Twix, 3 Musketeers, and some Laffy Taffys, but I ate most of them myself last weekend.
I made a flow chart to determine how much candy to hand out. Hey kids! You can print and clip out this handy dandy chart to determine whether to treat or KILL your trick or treaters! Happy Halloween!
I’ve previously raved about Walgreens’ Halloween selection, where I bought a good chunk of my Halloween decorations this year, but I have not talked about CVS and their Halloween offerings yet. I don’t know what it is, but it seems to be that CVS attracts the sickest of the sick customers, the ones not just with the worst coughs, but the ones barfing up a lung.
So I was under duress looking at the Halloween selection, holding my breath, and trying my best not to breath in whatever the cougher was spreading. Then I saw a box of boogers. I had to “pick these”.
The box boasts that “these were picked out especially for you!” Charming! The booger flavors are Snottermelon, Sour Green Boogy, and Lemon Loogy. They taste pretty good; they are definitely high-class gummies, if you ignore the fact they’re modeled after nasal secretions. The melon flavor is perfect. It was difficult to take a proper photo of these things, because oddly, they kept photographing radioactively. They do not actually glow as they appear to in the photo below, and they are disappointingly plain looking, like green lumps. I would have taken a handful of these and pretended to sneeze them into my hands, but alas, I did not have an audience of 12 year old girls to gross out.
Then I found myself back in Target. Understand I’m a Target nut and I find myself there at least once a week, and I’ve seen their Halloween section at least 6 times since they put it up. I keep waiting for the unresistable markdown on Gummy Creep Dish Pizza or Monster Mojito Mix. I can’t bring myself to pay full price for that cutesy-wootsy stuff, but I’ll sure as shit pay half.
There I am, in the trenches again, and what do I find but a box of oozing Zit Poppers to go with my Boogers! Made by the same company, Chef Ghoulicious, this company also makes bloody scabs on gummy band-aids. What, no blood-filled hematoma gummies?
I love Chef Ghoulicious. He reminds me of the gross-out trading cards of the 80s, of which Garbarge Pail Kids were not the only ones, but certainly the most popular. I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy the Zit Poppers, but the promise of oozy, sticky goo inside sold me. Also, the word “zitlicious”.
The Zits were not as good as the Boogers. I never thought I’d type that sentence out. The zits are oozy and sticky indeed, a sugary, strawberry residue. I had imagined something like Gushers that wouldn’t get my hands all gross, but these are popped zits, so why am I complaining?
I found these tins with a single cookie inside. To warrant an entire tin for itself, I thought this cookie must be delicious. Cookies have an allure for me. I remembered the cookies of yore, from my school days, sold by the special interest groups, like music class. Not that these cookies were any good–it was just a novelty to buy cookies in 3rd period. Mall Cookies are another fascination of mine, those “cookie cakes” in the glass showcase, crickets chirping around them. Cookie Crisp Cereal, the forbidden fruit of cereals, the taboo of breakfasts, cookies. If you were smiling cute enough, you could probably get away with a piece of cake for breakfast the day after your birthday, but never, ever a cookie.
I had to see the cookie inside this tin. That it was kind a mystery intrigued me all the more. Plus, just look at that tin. It says I Love Cookies with not one, but two exclamation marks. It says Trick or Cookies. Jesus. This is an inspired tin. This tin gets Halloween. You don’t see any goofus-looking Frankensteins with chuckling teeth. You see old-school ghosts. And the tin speaks in the language of children–DOUBLE CHOCOLATE and I LOVE COOKIES. It ain’t gimmicky, it’s just basic kidspeak.
Still, the whole thing was suspiciously generic, even the price of the thing, one dollar. Then you run into the problem of cookies, Halloween, why. Cookies and Christmas. Peeps and Easter. Funsized Bars and Halloween. Sure, there’s been cross-contamination with stupid shit like cookie haunted houses (derived from gingerbread houses) and Peeps Christmas trees. But this is just nothing. The company who made this is The Original Gourmet Food Company. The website looks like it was created in 1996 and hasn’t been updated since. It’s actually a bit eerie. It was in fact updated last in 2005, saying in 20-point purple font “We cannot guarantee Christmas delivery on any Orders received after 12/12/2005″
The website claims to be “Home of the Mighty Morsel” while the tin says it’s “Home of the Original Double Chocolate Chip Cookie”. Sounds like a branding problem. I began to fear my cookie may be an old one, bought long ago in a buyout, discovered in the back of the CVS warehouse, and shipped out to stores.
There she is. I was disappointed the cookie wasn’t even the size of the tin. It was only slightly larger than a Chips Ahoy. Unsurprisingly, it was dry and left a thick, syrupy aftertaste.
Halloween Tin: B+
Cookie: F in harsh red with a circle around it.
The Halloween selection at thrift stores is always a little depressing. There’s the beatup and never used vampire makeup kit still clinging to the backing card. There’s the 342 baby costumes of Winnie the Pooh and a bunny rabbit. There’s 14 VHS copies of the Olsen twins’ Double Double Toil and Trouble. There is the odd Minnesota State Fair cloth cowboy hat that was thrown in with the Halloween crap. And then there’s the school-age kids who are either poor or just have bad parents, dispiritedly trying to find some sort of passable costume that will fit.
But today I found something different. I found a Halloween costume that is scary indeed, but for all the wrong reasons.
A Troll mask, and isn’t that unsettling? Would you sleep with this in your room at night? Didn’t you see this thing in the film Poltergeist, swirling around among Carol Ann’s toys? My question is, who was this mask for? By the sheer size of this thing, I can tell it wasn’t meant for 11 year old girls who wanted to be a Troll doll for Halloween, of which I am sure there were droves. Maybe it was a joke mask for unfunny guys who think ironically wearing a Troll mask is a clever and hilarious thing to do, period. Maybe it was for perverts who wanted to wear this mask while naked. I just don’t know. I can only theorize.
Trolls are due to make a come back. They have reared their naked behinds and faces-of-satan about every twenty years, the last spate in the early 90s. Russ Trolls came in every size, article of clothing, profession, hobby, and God knows what else. Everyone had somewhere between 2 and 138 of these things. Everyone. Let he who didn’t own a Troll doll cast the first stone. Even I had one, although I cannot remember what it looked like, because I have blocked it out. 11-year-old girls and women-in-festive-sweaters who collected Beanie Babies collected these creatures first. Trolls were so popular, they even tried to market them specifically to boys with stupid shit like Battle Trolls.
The Battle Trolls commercial: (Watch it just to laugh at a boy playing with Battle Trolls.)
While at the thrift store, holding this thing by the hair like a scalped head, and wondering if the girlfriend would like to be this for Halloween, two young boys scampered past. One teased the other, “you could be that weird-lookin guy with orange hair.” Ha, infants. This is before your time kids. This is no weird-lookin guy, this is a freaking authentic Russ Troll Doll Mask from 1992, a year I was eating candy corn before your butts were born. Then that was it. I bought it, and I bought it at Value Village, a place I risk contracting tuberculosis everytime I enter its sliding doors. So of course, before trying it on I hosed it down.
Seriously, I just can’t get over it. Look at that thing. It’s huge. You can’t take your eyes off it, can you? Well some Halloween costumes are just made for certain people. Or some people were just born to be certain things for Halloween. Like the people who are those slutty French Maids, or the douchebag Rasta Mans. And for some reason, a Troll mask made me think of the roommate. She was born to wear this thing, and I had to ask her to indulge me in trying this thing on. She is 25 pounds and like, 4 feet tall, and they seriously made actual Troll dolls bigger than her back in the day. So I knew she would look perfect in a mascot-sized head.
We did this thing where, she put it on. I laughed. I put it on, she laughed. But then we got serious. She noted the efficiency of such a costume and how you could wear anything you wanted for the rest of it. You could be a farmer Troll, a painter Troll, a zombie Troll, or even that Irish Troll from the picture above.
Here she is barely balancing the weight of this thing on her neck. Afterwards, she ate the cat in the background while wearing the mask. Honestly though, what were people thinking in 1992?
First, please take a moment to appreciate these digital photographs. My camera is a real piece of shit and it doesn’t work 98% of the time. Once upon a time, it was a pretty nice, high-end camera, but all that changed after it was dropped on the ground. Anyway, knowing I had a 2% chance that the camera would take pictures, I decided to frustrate and enrage myself for 30 minutes, trying to fix it the same way it was broke–throwing the camera against the futon, dropping it from knee height, and shaking it like a bad child. That’s about the extent of my camera fixing knowledge.
Then I remembered, my grandmother had an old trick. She used to open tight lids on jars by tapping on it with a butterknife, and somehow that always, magically loosened the lid. Well I grabbed a butterknife and whacked the camera a few times. Swear to God, there’s nothing on Planet Earth that can’t be fixed by giving it a hearty whack with a butterknife.
And here is the holy knife:
I think there is a special place in God’s heart for people who go all out for Halloween. The ones who convert their front yards into graveyards, the ones who put on strobe lights and play the laughter of dead children, the ones who hand out real candy, not Mary Janes and Tootsie Rolls. Because likewise, there is a special place in hell for Tootsie Roll giver outers. Unless you’re an old lady who just doesn’t know any better and still thinks Tootsie Rolls are all the rage. Then, I guess that’s forgivable, but only God can judge.
I have an excuse for not going all out–I don’t have a yard. I live in the city and all we have is a concrete slab in front of our house. Some of our neighbors have gotten creative hanging tons of goblins and ghosts from their porch. These people have probably invested hundreds in Halloween decorations. God has a penthouse suite for them in his heart, I know it.
Halloween decorations are holy to me and no one messes with ’em. My roommate complained that the bloody hell demon above “kinda creeped him out” when I cheerily hung it up the last week of September, but I heard none of it. So these are decorations for Halloween 08, so far:
The front door:
This guy was one of those dollar store mistakes–you know–the items that look “pretty good” in the dollar store, but you take it home and realize how cheap it truly is. It was supposed to be a “tree decoration”, but it’s really just a sheet of plastic. I guess my imagination made “tree decoration” sound like SHIT THERE’S A FREAKIN’ MONSTER ON THAT TREE. But no, it was just sheet of trashbag quality plastic you’re supposed to tie around a tree. And I don’t even have a tree. I felt instantly depressed by it. Suddenly, the loss of a single dollar felt like a tragic waste. I’m only slightly exaggerating. But then I had the idea to put him looking out the window. Life was OK again.
This terrifying spider was also a dollar store item, but as you can see, it’s a winner. The Dollar Tree sells them. They are called 5 FOOT PAPER JOINT, and they come in a predictable looking skeleton, a stupid looking witch, and then this glorious spider. I dug through peg hooks and peg hooks of skeletons and witches, and my heart was almost broken. Then buried under a pile of crap, there was one 5 FOOT PAPER JOINT spider left. When I first ripped it out of the bag, I was sure it was another dollar store mistake. The legs hung pathetically down like limp octopus tentacles. But then my inner denomic Martha Stewart came out, realizing how I could dress this thing up with some cobwebs, creating a huge spider nest. I imagined trapping one of the cats in the nest as well, but I didn’t think my roommates would let me incorporate their cats into the displays. There’s always the Nativity scene at Christmas…
More Halloween stuff. A haunted picture frame from Target and some hangy things from the Dollar Tree. Notice I picked out a witch. I’ve never been one for witches, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate their place in the Halloween spectrum. Witches were always girl things, something my sister always wanted to be. They were ugly and warty and the cackling gets old fast. But now I see witches in a different light. I see them as the beacon of femininity in the masculine-dominated world of devils and frankensteins and draculas. Or something like that. I just sorta like ’em now.
Here’s another angle on my hell demon. Now this guy was only $7.99 at Walgreen’s. Can you believe that? Party City or Spirit or any of those other Halloween specialty places sells this kinda wire hanger crap for $40. I’ve noticed the price ratio goes up or down dependent on wingspan and head size of these monsters. I could have gotten a wingspan upgrade for just $2 more, but it was already love at first sight with this guy. How can you not love that face?
But here is the true centerpiece of my Halloween collection, the corner of the living room I carved out as my own, a home for all of the knick knacks that I’ve bought so far.
The star of this table is the Frankenstein candy bowl. He’s got his Thriller jacket on and his head is hollow, and I splurged on him, because he was well above my price of 10 dollars. But I was picturing my future kid’s Halloween traditions when I picked this guy out. I pictured us pulling him out of the basement each year, filling his head with Reese cups, and me drinking an ice cold beer, because I always drink a beer in my fantasies.
So let’s see. Spaghetti with maggots, a rat, a bloody machete. It’s a fairly good collection, right? In the last photo are my favorites, just some cheapo plastic-topped candy corn tubes. It ain’t even Brach’s. They cost a buck each at the grocery store, and they look like the cheap prize you’d get in elementary school for winning spelling bingo. I think they represent the true meaning of Halloween–that is, cheap candy corn that comes in a tube, which you used to imagine you could do something awesome with– like fill the tube with water and call it potion. And you also have a cheap toy that you can play with until you drop it somewhere in the yard in November, and the dog chews up. Oh man, I don’t want to grow up.