When I think of Halloween decorations I think of old crumbly tombstones, fake rubber bats, glow in the dark ghosts, and those fake bloody arms that you can purchase and hang out of the trunk of your car or torment the mail man with. These are the kinds of things they do not sell at Hallmark. When I think Hallmark I tend to think of there Christmas ornaments, of which they have a wide variety to choose. And while I have always been aware of the fact that they sell Halloween items too, I have never considered them to be "real" Halloween decorations. Not in the Fright Catalog since, that is. Hallmark generally sells what I define as 'grandmother decorations'. Little cute pumpkins with stupid happy faces or porcelain black cats standing next to scarecrows. These are the kinds of items that your grandparents might use to decorate the china hutch in order to make it appear festive for Thanksgiving not Halloween.
But seeing as how I work right next door to a Hallmark store and our mail often times gets delivered to the wrong location, I tend to stop in a little more often than I used to. So when I seen recently that they had set up a small Halloween isle, I looked at it with a sort of wink and a nod thinking to myself "I appreciate the effort but I will probably not be leaving with anything special." Turns out I was wrong, I left with a whole series of 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' "keepsake ornaments"! Keepsake ornament sounds like bullshit code word for 'Christmas Decoration' but whatever these things technically qualify as I am declaring them fit for display in the month of October!
Long winded introductory paragraphs aside, I love the old Charlie Brown holiday specials. I have a really hard time picking my favorite, as both the Halloween and Christmas specials pretty much define the word 'classic'. Even the Thanksgiving special manages to be memorable and that one has the misfortune of being about Thanksgiving. But if I had to pick one, right now at this specific moment in time I am going to go with "It's the Great Pumpkin" as my favorite flick. Ask me closer to Christmas and you are more than libal to get a completely different answer. But right now, I will take the version of Charlie Brown that makes it socially acceptable to warship the devil.
Like I mentioned at the start of this article, Hallmark is not exactly one of the stores I frequent when looking for Halloween decorations. I actually sort of view them as one of the "problem stores" in terms of how Halloween is being presented here recently. When I was a kid I remember Halloween being very spooky and quite scary. Over the years it seems the holiday has been dumbed down and the decorations are going less creepy and more cute.Which is not to say that I think everything sold in the month of October needs to be dripping with fake blood or crawling in spiders but that is kind of the point. It seems to me that most stores would rather turn Halloween into 'Christmas in October' than let it be its own spooky thing. Seeing as how they have already succeeded in making Thanksgiving 'Christmas Jr.' I do not doubt eventually the holiday will hardly resemble what it is today.
Ah, crap. I've deviated off topic. I'm not deleting that introduction but I have wrote myself into a corner. It's darn near impossible to segway from that last statement into the actual article. So let's pretend that this flows together perfectly and ignore the beginning third of this post. Hallmark sells 'Charlie Brown' figures in Halloween costumes. Blah blah blah. They are new for 2011. Yada yada yada. Witty conclusion and.... pictures:
No Charlie Brown set would be complete without including the man himself. So here he is in all his plastic glory. Charlie is dressed as a vampire. He does not sparkle but I can assure you that neither do real vampires either. Initially I questioned just why in the hell someone decided to make Charlie Brown a vampire. After-all his costume in the cartoon is that bed sheet which Mr. Brown cuts a few to many eye holes into. Either someone was afraid he would look like a rejected clans member or when you actually stop to think about it, it does not make much since to cover your title character in a completely unrecognizable article of clothing and still expect people to spend $10 on it. You want Charlie Brown to look like Charlie Brown. Therefore he is a non-sparkly vampire as even Charlie Brown thinks those are kinda gay.
Next up is Snoopy, who has found himself dressed up as Frankenstein's Monster. I do have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Snoopy. As a character I think he just flat out comes off as dick most of the time, and I always hated when the cartoons deviated from whatever the main focus was and shifted to stupid Snoopy and his dumb doghouse. But while I have never really cared all that much for Snoopy in the cartoons I am not going to lie, he makes for one of my favorite figure of the bunch. How can you not like FrankenSnoopy? He has a flat top head! A cool little scar and an awesome green colored shirt. I deeply desire a shirt of that exact same color. FrankenSnoopy is not without his faults, though. He could have been the best figure of the bunch but they neglected to add the little bolts sticking out of the side of his neck. For shame on you, Hallmark. You cheap bastards. I totally understand why this Lego Minifigure didn't include them but for as much other detail as they have jammed into these figures, those neck bolts should have been included. I'm writing an angry e-mail.
Speaking of angry e-mails, that asshole Lucy comes dressed up as The Bride of Frankenstein. Another choice that is different from the cartoon. (she dressed up as an evil old witch with a dark green mask) I am starting to get the feeling that these are not so much replica 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' figures as they are simply Peanuts Gang figures dressed in Halloween costumes. Hmph. This sort of dashes my hopes of re-creating that cartoon scene by scene with 2 inch, un-poseable plastic figures. It also means that we are not getting the kids in their classic costumes but costumes from some other random Halloween not chronicled in the cartoon. That's kind of a bummer. Then again what is the point in owning a Lucy figure if you cannot even tell that its Lucy? I understand the decision to change everyone's costumes in order to make the characters be visible. But I am not going to let go of the fact that someone decided to put ugly yellow stripes in here hair!
If this was Christmas time I would ask for a Clark Griswold style drum roll. Since it is not even October outside, I feel a little silly for bringing it up. But your still free to do one if you so choose. I know that I am mentally doing one right now. The reason why you should be joining me with this proverbial drum roll is because I saved the best figure for last. I always save the best things for last. There is no debating this one either, Linus dressed up like a werewolf. Fucking gold. The other figures might be seasonal, but 'ol Linus here is on the verge of year round display. We shall see how I feel about him come November 1st but right now it is looking like a permanent spot on the computer desk is in his future. I keep saying it but one of these days I am going to write about everything on my desk.
Here are all the figures lined up. I know I have spent a good portion of this post sort of complaining about non-existent issues with them. But that is only because nobody wants to read a couple thousand words where I actually review them. They are basically Christmas Ornaments that are OK to display in the month of October. If you like them from the photos in this post then you will like them even more sitting proudly on display in your house. I would not want to decorate my entire house with such cute decorations but it does help to have some variety amongst your devilish display. Besides, as a big fan of 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!' there is no way I was going to pass up this set!