Dinosaur Dracula!

Spooky Old Cereal Prizes!

Longtime readers should remember my obsession with old cereal prizes. If you’re not a longtime reader: I’m obsessed with old cereal prizes.

You’ll still find free toys in certain boxes, but it isn’t like it used to be. Growing up, the competition between breakfast cereals seemed as much about the premiums as the flavors and mascots. If a kid loved Frosted Flakes and Trix equally, the freebie was always the deciding factor. We were even willing to give terrible cereals a try, so long as they had some quirky chunk of plastic hidden inside.

These were the quiet blips of instant pleasure that made getting up in the morning just a tiny bit easier.

Looking over my collection, I noticed that I had a fair amount of spooky-themed cereal prizes. Just enough to eke out a groggy Monday review.

Below are six ancient freebies totally suited to the Halloween season. I wrote about a couple of these years ago, but I’ve never taken photos of them over a cheap orange tablecloth made from the same material as lobster bibs. There’s more than one way to stay fresh. Read More…

Lucky Charms Halloween Treats!

Today was the day that all Targets were supposed to officially switch from “back to school” from “Halloween,” or so the said the rumor mill.

Turns out, the news was only partially true. I had to hit three different Targets to finally escape the spread of schoolbags and notebooks, but in the end, I hit the jackpot.

And boy, did I go overboard. A combination of hysteria and a massive hangover made me toss all reservations aside. I filled that red cart to the point where I could barely push it. If an item had even the remotest tie to Halloween, I had to have it.

Keep in mind, what you can kinda-sorta see in the above photo isn’t even the half of it. That was just “Round 1.” By the time I circled the aisles for Round 27, I’d convinced myself that the slivers of carrots in their bagged salads made them tried-and-true Halloween items. Basically, I’m a sick bastard, and the only ones benefitting are Target and American Express.

…which brings me to Lucky Charms Treats. One of today’s many scores. They’re not at the top of anyone’s Halloween shopping list, and yeah, they do sort of blend in with the less-exciting gamut of “special edition Halloween stuff that isn’t really special or Halloweeny.” But that’s only if you don’t look at them closely enough.

I did, and I was rewarded with one of the true dark horses of the season. These treats aren’t going to win the big race against Frute Brute or Ghoul-Aid, but they’re still going to TRY.

It’s a tall box of 25 mini-sized cereal bars, featuring Lucky in a sheet ghost costume. Love how he cut that extra hole for his four-leaf clover. Lucky knew that even the lightest sheet would crush that shit. Read More…

Friday the 13th: Vintage TV Spots!

You know what today is, right?

FRIDAY THE 13th. One that’s occurring smack dab in the middle of the HALLOWEEN SEASON.

Don’t squander it, guys. Calendar blessings like this won’t happen often. I’m mandating that all of you watch at least one of the Friday the 13th movies today. I’d be happier if you watched more than one, but since Dino Drac partially appeals to people very far removed from horror circles, I’m managing my expectations.

As Friday the 13th is my favorite of all scary franchises, I wanted to do something special today. For some reason, I kept coming back to this idea of stealing total strangers’ YouTube videos.

So yeah, today, FRIDAY THE 13th, we’re gonna take a look at the original television spots for each of the first ten movies. (Which is the whole “original” franchise. Freddy vs. Jason technically belonged to Freddy, while the 2009 remake started a whole new chain.)

I didn’t crawl out of the womb loving Friday the 13th. As a kid, the series was only something that I was aware of. Cautiously aware, because I was young, easily frightened, and wouldn’t have been allowed to see those movies even if I wanted to. I dressed as Jason Voorhees for several Halloweens and loved the time he went on Arsenio, but for so many years, my only real exposure to his movies was through television commercials.

I’m roughly the same age as this franchise. When it was a baby, so was I. As I grew a little older and gained a better understanding of that “TV” contraption, nearly every year brought a new batch of Friday the 13th commercials along with it. Hardcore fans would recognize some of these ads as cutdown trailers with added voiceover, but since I didn’t see any of the F13 trailers in theaters, the comparatively shoddy TV spots mean so much more to me.

Only in retrospect can I consider these memories “fond,” but I distinctly recall the feelings I had whenever a F13 promo came on the TV in my old bedroom. It was mix of complete dread and total intrigue. Every boy my age knew Jason and claimed to love Jason, but so few of us had actually seen his work. What we imagined wasn’t far off from the truth, but looking back at these promos, it’s safe to say that I envisioned films that were way, waaaay gorier. Hey, when you let kids fill in the blanks, the results are always going to be extreme.

You’ll enjoy these promos even if you didn’t grow up with them, but I think they work best if you imagine them through the eyes of a child. Read More…

Halloween at Kmart!

Doing the Halloween Countdown involves a lot of hunting. It always has. I can’t rely on any one or two stores to “fill the tank” for two months’ worth of posts, so I’m constantly searching for more, and my core base of “retail hot spots” is always growing.

For the first several Countdowns, Kmart was one of those spots. Our local store was just a short drive away, and what it lacked in pizzazz was made up for in its… what can I call it? Genuineness? Trashy genuineness?

While other department stores kept evolving – or at least made efforts to – Kmart stayed the same. Come September, its Halloween aisles were organized just like they were when I was a kid. There was something comforting about that.

That store eventually closed (it’s slated to become a Target next month), leaving us with only one other Kmart in negotiable driving distance. It’s a longer and much more annoying drive, so while I may hit our nearest Target another hundred times before October 31st, I probably won’t see this Kmart again for eight months.

I think I’ve mentioned this store before. It hasn’t been remodeled since the ‘80s, and I’m not exaggerating at all. The layout makes no sense, the staff is comfortably apathetic, and nearly half the people who shop there are always tossing footballs to someone else, clear across the store. Whatever you imagine when you think of “old cake,” that’s this Kmart. 100%.

But, as you can tell by the photo, even the most dilapidated Kmart stores know how to work it for Halloween. This one rededicated its entire lawn and garden center (or whatever is normally back there) to spooky goodies. The Halloween section exists as a store-within-a-store, and since I seemed to be one of the very few people interested in plastic Draculas so early in the season, I had a clear stage for lots and lots of photos. Read More…

Halloween Lunchables!

Last night’s trip to Target was looking like another fruitless pile of trashy despair. The “back to school” section was still in full swing, and Halloween was nowhere in sight. This would’ve been much more depressing had frozen raspberries not been on sale.

But miracles do happen, and just when I was about to give up hope, I found ‘em.

HALLOWEEN LUNCHABLES.

This is their story, in under four minutes:

Remember how excited I was over last year’s debut? Well, the 2013 version is TWICE as great. Not only did they sneak a little chocolate witch into the party, but the drink of choice is none other than Ghoul-Aid Jammers!

My Target only had the “nacho” version. There’s a more exciting “pizza” version out there somewhere, which I plan to find/buy/eat/love at the first given opportunity.

I don’t want to add much else since that’s what the video is for, but suffice to say, this is another BIG ONE for the 2013 season. I look at these Lunchables, and suddenly the idea of raising children doesn’t sound so bad.

Good job, Kraft. You’ve proven yourselves capable of so much more than cheese.

Additional pics: Read More…