Dinosaur Dracula!

Gurglin Gutz. That’s what they’re called!

Gurglin Gutz was a smallish line of gruesome “stress balls” that made rude noises when you squeezed them. That about says it all, but I live to stretch!

The collection debuted in 1995, and as you can tell from the above example, the toys weren’t much different from the “unpackaged” novelties you’d find at most party stores at this time of year.

…and that’s partly why I like them. I’m hesitant to call a blood-filled, baseball-sized eyeball “simple,” but if you’re familiar with this sort of thing, it kind of is. It’s barely a step above what you’d find in Oriental Trading’s Halloween catalog.

When I took this thing out of the package, I was aghast at the notion of doing a full blog entry on it. But 4Kidz had a strategy, and brother, it worked. They branded the holy hell out of these toys, providing pretty plain doodads with their own little universe. The line’s mascot was Dr. I.M. Gorey, and if I’m piecing everything together correctly, the various eyeballs, hearts and brains were meant to be HIS eyeballs, hearts and brains.

Bloody eyeballs are much easier to appreciate when you can imagine them being plucked from a mad scientist in dollar store scrubs. Read More…

Ghoul-Aid Jammers ARE HERE!

I finally found them. THANK GOD. Now I can breathe again. I’d like to introduce you to the greatest thing that’s ever been served in a foil pouch: GHOUL-AID JAMMERS!


It’s great stuff. Amazing flavor, amazing packaging, amazing everything.

One note: I didn’t notice this until I was done filming, but the Ghoul-Aid Jammers aren’t dyed. They taste like Ghoul-Aid, but the juice looks more like vinegar. I have no issues with this. Between the foil pouches and the bold yellow straws, it’s not like you’re ever going to see it, anyway. (Course, if you’re dying for truly purple Ghoul-Aid, the traditional powdered mix is back this year, too!)

And now, for posterity, some additional photos of my new favorite drink: Read More…

Deadsites: 1995’s Halloween Mart!

At some point over the next two months, you’ll probably find yourself wading through the glut of online costume shops, hoping to find that rare glow-in-the-dark Predator mask that I’m pretty sure I just made up. If so, there’s a good chance you’ll land at Halloween Mart, which boasts that it was “the web’s 1st Halloween store.”

That claim is hard to prove, but I’ve uncovered some evidence in the company’s favor. In this edition of Deadsites, we’re gonna take a look at Halloween Mart’s original web store… from 1995!

When I found this, I had no idea that the company still existed. That was just the icing on the cake, because I absolutely would’ve covered this goldmine anyway. The super ancient design, with its borrowed clipart, red fonts and “deep space” background, reminds me of the internet at its glorious simplest.

For its time, the site was well-structured and very, very thorough. You have to remember, the internet of this era was busy, but it wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it is now. If you found Halloween Mart and were interested in its gory wares, it was the kind of site that might’ve eaten hours of your time. (Partly because the images would’ve taken an hour to load, but also because there weren’t two million other things diverting your attention.)

This will sound strange, but websites felt more like “books” back then. (Note the trend: By today’s standards, there is virtually nothing I write that couldn’t be summarized with a “tl; dr.”) I know it’s hard to apply this to an online store that offered little beyond photos and prices, but I think the shoe still fits. By 1995’s standards, you could totally lose yourself in here. Read More…

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Coffee K-Cups!

Happy Labor Day! Historically one of the worst days to post new content! Let’s celebrate with four minutes of me drinking coffee!

Pumpkin K-Cups from Dunkin’ Donuts may sound like an acquired taste, but trust me, they’re GOOD. As someone who is cursed to love Halloween while being averse to most pumpkin-flavored things, I’m happy to report that their idea of “pumpkin” is merely nutmeg and cinnamon.

Everybody loves nutmeg and cinnamon. They are spices with no critics.

Oh, and if you have no big plans for today, why not join Dino Drac’s first Halloween art project of the 2013 season? It’s a really dumb one! Read More…

Ghoulish Goodwill Goodies!

A few readers sent word that their local Goodwill stores had gone all out for Halloween, so of course, I wanted in on the fun.

Problem is, we don’t have a “local” Goodwill. I was tempted to drive out to the fantastic store we found back in May, but that much highway on Labor Day weekend sounded like a lotta traffic. We instead chose a closer store, only about ten minutes into Jersey. Though my GPS was under the impression that its address did not exist, it was so worth the navigational hassle. As a final FYI, this paragraph flows nicer if you read it in a staggered robot voice.

Halloween was ALL OVER this Goodwill. Entire aisles full of still-packaged and apparently-unused costumes were everywhere we turned, and for the first few moments, I was floating.

Then I got a look at the prices.

Oof. That was a spirit killer. I thought I’d landed in Halloween Valhalla, but it was really just another overpriced costume shop, somehow masquerading as a Goodwill. You know those “bagged” costumes that come with a mask and a cheap bodysuit? They wanted as much as 30 bucks for some of them. I suppose the prices weren’t outrageous for unused costumes, but when I go to a Goodwill store, I expect to treat my potential purchases with the same apathetic budgeting that one might employ in Dollar Tree. I don’t want angels and devils arguing across my shoulders. Not at Goodwill. Read More…