You know you’ve found the right video when there’s a goddamned McDonald’s Halloween pail on the cover:
(Look close. That’s totally McGoblin.)
Released in 1990, Halloween: Trick or Treat was the first in a long series of order-by-mail videos collectively known as The Pagan Invasion. Made by a Christian production company, the series warned God-fearing people about the occult’s secret infiltration of everyday society. It’s essentially propaganda meant to make you think twice about having fun with spooky stuff, because Jesus don’t play that.
The first tape focuses exclusively on Halloween, and by the end of it, they outright say that no good Christian should celebrate it. It’s cheesy and it’s ridiculous and I’m hardly the first person to notice that, but this video is also a secret treasure trove for Halloween and horror fans.
The footage is amazing, with shots of costume shops, video stores and even home video conventions from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. If you tune out the hosts, it’s such a treat to see. (I’d go so far to say that the producers admonished with one hand and baited with the other, praying for our souls while preying on our desire to wallow in spooky, awesome stuff.)
The interviews are just as fascinating. A few are with former satanists (complete with helpful chyron identifying them as such) who tell horrible stories that cannot possibly be true, unless I’m to really believe that they chose this direct-to-video series as a forum to dish on murders they’d personally witnessed. Those segments felt like a mix of Unsolved Mysteries and the iffiest 20/20 exposé, so of course I loved them.
The whole video is already on YouTube and comes with my strongest (if weirdest) recommendation, but I took the time to clip out some of the especially interesting segments. Watch ‘em below! Read More…
Here are more of my favorite spooky action figures from the ‘80s and ‘90s, photographed in a moldy forest:
Shish Kebab Beetlejuice
By far the best figure from Kenner’s Beetlejuice collection, Shish Kebab Beetlejuice also wins the award for weirdest. His “scary skewers” impale everything from chicken legs to alien rats to Beetlejuice himself, and best of all, they’re completely removable.
(If you’ve ever seen a beat-up Beetlejuice with a bunch of holes in his chest at a yard sale, that was this one.)
As a kid, I found the Beetlejuice line a little too gimmicky. With their weird features and removable heads and turning knobs and hidden buttons, they almost felt more like gadgets or puzzles than action figures. But now that I’m sitting here playing with Shish Kebab Beetlejuice and realizing that nirvana is this and it was always this close, I wanna warp back to ’89 and beat the shit out of me.
There’s just something so artful about this guy. By “artful” I’m of course referring to the fact that you can pop off his head to reveal a smaller head that’s actually just one big spinning monster eye. Everybody needs a Shish Kebab Beetlejuice. Only then will the world begin to heal. Read More…
Hot take: Hostess has quietly become the most dependable snack company of the Halloween season. Sorry, everyone else! The proof is in the literal pudding:
THOSE BOXES, THO.
They look like cheap backdrops for public access horror hosts, and I mean that in the best way. What’s really endearing is that they’re so classically gothic. You almost never see that anymore.
Can I just say how impressed I’ve been with Hostess since the post-bankruptcy buyout? It’s just been one bizarre thing after another. It’s like they’ve finally embraced the fact that what they produce is basically “edible play food.”
Why play it safe when you’re already selling oblong sponges filled with vanilla spiderwebs? Might as well get funky.
Shown above aren’t all of Hostess’s Halloween offerings, either. There are actually several more, both of the “returning” and “new” varieties. I’m grouping these three together because they’re the only ones that come dressed like Dracula’s bedroom. I like to think of them as a team. Read More…
After having a blast curating that first batch of ‘80s and ‘90s newspaper ads, I couldn’t wait for Round 2. So this is it. Enjoy the show.
Oreo Halloween Treats!
Treat-sized packs of Oreos are still around, of course, but I have immense nostalgia for the specific version pictured here.
Back before the internet turned Halloween junk food into an annual battle to create the most buzz, special editions like this were way less common. Oreos with orange filling are barely worth Instagramming by 2016 standards, but back in the mid ‘90s, they were fresh and they were exciting and they made me wanna shoop.
Confession: During my freshman year in high school, I had nothing to do for Halloween. My solution was to sit at home watching my Child’s Play 2 tape, twice in a row, devouring these Oreo treat packs the whole way through. That was on a Monday, and on Tuesday, I only half-faked sick. Read More…
Behold, some of 2016’s best Halloween junk food!
(Well, I don’t always mean “best.” Sometimes just “noteworthy.” I hope you can forgive me this trespass. “2016’s Most Noteworthy Halloween Junk Food” just sounded so clunky.)
This will be a multipart series, because my #1 goal each Halloween season is to eat everything and then spend November singing an a cappella version of Man in the Mirror whenever I take a shower.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Bag of Bones!
THESE ARE PERFECT. Joining the Bag of Bones family is this all-new Flamin’ Hot version, which replaces the original’s bone white cheddar with fiery red death.
I might like this version even more. I get that the white cheddar Cheetos let us create more classically appropriate skeletons, but that’s kinda my point. Skeletons are spooky, but they have nothing on fleshy remains. With these, I feel like I’m creating the first acts for Hellraiser movies. They look so evil!
Plus, white cheddar Cheetos are good in theory and even good in practice, but they’re not so good when you’re on the couch and you have all day and you just don’t give a fuck. If I’m going to plow through fifty ounces of Cheetos, I don’t want it to feel like work. I want to do it obliviously and deal with the fallout later. I feel like I could do that with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
GRADE: A+. Read More…