Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cheap Halloween Novelties

Every year I put on a gigantic display in my front yard for Halloween. Just how big is it?  Last year I set up a projector and had a drive in movie screen showing classic 'Universal Horror Movies' on one side of the lawn and a massive graveyard scene on the other side. When you put up as big of a display as that you have to be prepared for a lot of kids. On top of that you also have to have the good candy. You cannot draw that much attention to yourself and then give away some off-brand junk nobody likes. It is all Snickers Bars and Reese's Peanut Butte Cups at my house.

But over the years I have started to throw in some of those cheap novelty toys that are sold in most stores around this time of year. You know the kind, plastic spider rings, pencils, stickers, the cheap stuff that crowds up every Halloween isle across America. At first I viewed it as "filler" material, thinking that the candy would ultimately be the star of the show. Little did I realize that this filler material was going to end up being more popular than the actual candy. I guess when every other house is giving away candy the one with plastic spiders and fake vampire fangs sort of wins by default. So this year I have decided to ramp up the amount of novelties that I am giving away. Today we are going to take a look at some of those Cheap Halloween Novelties!

Before we get to the actual article there is something else I wanted to get to first. For those of you who take the time to click on all of the articles and actually, you know, read them I wanted to give you something special. So occasionally on these Halloween Countdown pieces we are going to take a quick look at some awesome old Halloween TV Commercials! This won't be on every entry and the only way you will find them is by reading all the entries! Sometimes they will be at the beginning, others they will be at the end. You never know when one of these Halloween TV Commercials is going to pop up! The first advertisement we are going to take a look at is an old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial from 1992:


All the way from the year 1992, this Reese's commercial stars Count Dracula and shows how he prefers to to eat a Reese's. I was obsessed with this commercial as a kid and would wait around all day for it to air on TV. Yet for some reason when it finally did air I couldn't help but to think that it was the spookiest thing I had ever seen. Clearly this has more to do with the revile at the end of the commercial and how it is presented than the product itself, after all it is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup! There is just something about the overall tone at the end of the commercial that is just frightening. I really dig how much effort was put into this advertisement as it is very well put together, fading from black to blue to red with just a touch of fog for good measure.

I think this commercial is pretty solid proof that Halloween used to be taken much more seriously back in the 90s than it is today. I get that the holiday is for kids but companies today seem to be trying as hard as they can to take the creepiness out of the season and replace it with happy little cartoon pumpkins. I call foul on that one. Halloween is supposed to be creepy, that is what makes it fun. Back in the day this commercial was creepy and an entire generation of kids were better off because of it!

Now onto the Cheap Halloween Novelties! These are just the first few items that I have purchased. The closer we get to Halloween the more I will add to it but for now this is what we have. Mostly because it seems like a lot of the stores around here seem to be slow in getting there Halloween sections put up. I am a little worried that Halloween is going to come late and Christmas is going to be here early this year but that is a topic for another time right now we have Happy Halloween Pencils to talk about. These are your standard fair Number 2 pencils with generic ghosts, bats, and skulls on them. We have all seen these before as they are most definitely not anything new. I have a hard time believing that any kid really wants what more or less amounts to school supplies on October 31st but believe it or not the pencils are always one of the first things to go.  Happy Halloween Pencils do not seem like much but honestly Halloween has managed to be one of the last surviving holidays that has not been so overly commercialized that it doesn't take much to make a perfect Halloween Night. So I purchased twenty of these pencils and may end up with more by the time October gets here.

Next up is Spider Rings, which are another staple of every Halloween season. These things have been around forever and no matter how hard you try not to you generally end up with about seven of these things mysteriously every year. I generally find them scattered in the front lawn until about June, which may be proof that while every kid seems initially really excited about the presence of Spider Rings, nobody really knows for sure what to do with them after you acquire one. Like lots of the items covered in this entry many of them have no practical purpose come November. At least Happy Halloween Pencils allow you to impress your friends for a couple of months in math class. Spider Rings? Nobody wants to be known as the kid who actively wears these things over Thanksgiving break. Who knows what happens to them when they leave my treat bucket and end up in someone elses house but I do know that time and time again they have proven to be quite a popular product.

Finger Puppets are something new that I am trying this year and I expect them to be among the first items taken. I know if I was giving the option of pencils or Finger Puppets, I would darn well be taking the Finger Puppets! If you remember all the way back to an older article I wrote in the summer called "Post July 4th Shopping Extravaganza!"  you will remember the strange discounted items called 'Creepy Classics' that nobody was quite sure what exactly they where. If you compare those to these Finger Puppets I think the mystery is finally solved. 'Creepy Classics' must be finger puppets as well! Only these guys are of much better quality, despite being cheaper (it makes since if you do not think about it) and are not all randomly holding baseball bats. Edge goes to the dollar store Finger Puppets.

Finger Puppets, how much can I possibly type about rubber Finger Puppets. Well I am especially found of the skeleton guy in this set. At first glance he looks like any other cheap skeleton but upon closer inspection it appears to be some sort of strange alien skeleton with a pig nose, either that or the build quality of these things suck. But who am I to judge? I like the solid black witch with the evil green eyes, I think that one is my second favorite. I keep looking at that orange bat and cannot help but think I have seen it some other place only purple, which goes a long way in stating that I spend too much time studying cheap rubber toys.The rest of the figures all manage to hold there own pretty well, considering that they only cost $1.00 for six of them. I am half tempted to keep a set of these guys and add them to the permanent collection of stuff that sits year round on my computer desk but in the grander scheme of things I really do not need to hold onto these goofy things. With the exception of that skeleton, that guy is finding permanent home around here someplace. I just hope that the kid who ends up with his twin Finger Puppet up there will enjoy it as much as I do. Maybe I should keep two of them just in case.

The real winners of this group are the Eyeball Squirters! Not only because they are awesome but because they photograph incredibly well. It's photographs like these that totally justify writing about chap plastic eyes. But these are not just any run of the mill plastic eyeballs. Nope these bad boys shoot water! Typically these cheap toys that shoot water are only sold in the summer months and found in those weird "summer isles" that pop up seasonally. I really need to write about that isle next summer. I love these eyes and... maybe I should keep some of these too, just in case. You know when I die whoever goes through my stuff is going to wonder why the hell I have several unopened packages of fake Eyeball Squirters. Then again if they know me well enough to be going through my stuff after I am dead, they shouldn't think anything of it. As a matter of fact it would probably be stranger if I didn't have a whole bunch of these things.

That last paragraph was really morbid wasn't it? Well it is Halloween, if we are going to be morbid the time is now to do so. Back to the eyeballs. What we have here are rubber eyeballs that will shoot water at unsuspecting victims. In terms of practical purpose come November these things have none. Yet I am confident that every kid who manages to snag one of these will just absolutely love it. That is  until it inevitably gets lost behind the couch or the dog eats it. Until then, I suspect lots of brothers will be shooting younger sisters in the face with eyeball juice. Parents are going to love the fact that I am giving away Eyeball Squirters! But this is what separates my house from all the other houses on October 31st. Here you can get a mini Snickers Bar and a means to torment your sister. Halloween rules!

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