Dollar Tree’s Halloween Masks!

Wow, September is almost over. That’s scary. Hope you’re enjoying Dino Drac’s Halloween Countdown so far. Bigger things are coming in October!

When I went to Dollar Tree last week, I also picked up a bunch of masks. They’d be pretty terrible if put to use as non-ironic Halloween costumes, but if you judge them more as interpretive works of art, they’re a-okay.

On the other hand, the great thing about trick-or-treating is its loose dress code. If all you care about is the candy, any costume will do.

It was a long time ago, but I remember being at that delicate age – the age when you’re not too old to go trick-or-treating, but somehow too old to wear cheesy costumes in public. Back then, my friends and I totally relied on cheap, shitty masks like these. On Halloween or the night prior, we’d grab whichever masks were left at our local pharmacy, no matter how stupid they were. When we went trick-or-treating, we’d only slip ‘em on just before knocking on strangers’ doors.

After collecting our loot, we hid the masks in our trick-or-treat sacks. To continue the illusion that we weren’t trick-or-treating, our treat sacks were actually just our schoolbags. When we passed by the other, older kids — the ones who’d so suddenly declared that Halloween was lame, and that anyone who celebrated it was deserving of punches — they were never the wiser.

Masks like Dollar Tree’s would’ve worked just fine for those purposes. There will always a plus when you’re willing to sift through decades of repressed memories to find it.

We’re going to run through the six masks Dollar Tree had available, and our model will be Harley the Crite. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, the masks, while technically not too small for my face, are small enough to make me appear like I have an enormous head. I’m not publishing photos if they’re only going to insinuate that my head is two feet wide.

Also, so far this season, Harley really hasn’t gotten his fair share of the spotlight. For those unfamiliar, allow me to introduce you.

“This is Harley. I caught him using Hostess Scary Cakes as bait. “

Now let’s dress him up like monsters.

First is a Hunchback of Notre Dame mask. At least, I’m pretty sure it is. I should confess that I’ve never seen a movie, TV show or animated special about the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not once. Ever. My only familiarity with him is through a series of fifteen-year-old Happy Meal toys.

I guess it could be Igor, too.

Despite knowing so little about the Hunchback, I believe it’s safe to assume that the stream of tears made of human bone was an editorial choice made by Dollar Tree. If the Hunchback really does cry like that, I hate myself for ignoring him.

Once you get past the too-uniform paint job, the details are tremendous. There are chipmunk teeth, a runny nose, and even a gash on the side of his head, which was evidently quite serious, as the Hunchback is using several types of bandages to keep the wound clean.

Then, if you look even closer, there’s a tiny vagina just under his right eye.

Next is Dracula, and boy, it isn’t a great Dracula. My issues are as follows:

1) That nose is ridiculously big. This is a recurring problem with Dracula masks, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. If anything, Dracula should have a too-narrow nose, to highlight his vampirism. With one like this, he just looks like Grandpa.

2) Several of the Dollar Tree masks have odd rubber eyes built into the eye holes, for no good reason at all. Your own eyes are obviously going to be visible, so all this does is present Dracula as a four-eyed alien from Neptune. Of course, now that I type that out, I’m not so sure that it’s one of my issues.

3) What is going on with Dracula’s mouth? It looks like a mail slot, or maybe a cassette deck. Placing the fangs outside of his mouth was an interesting decision, too. The only way this works is if we’re to take it as a Lips Manlis-as-a-vampire mask. Problem is, I’m the only person who knows who Lips Manlis is.

4) There’s a fine line between a pronounced chin and a goiter. This mask crosses it.

But perhaps I’m being too hard on it. Dracula is my favorite of the characters represented here, so my expectations may be unreasonable. You be the judge.

YUCK! I don’t dislike witches, but I absolutely loathe this “style” of witch. You know, the goofy, lime green witches who look like the inspiration for so much terrible clipart. It’s one of the only symbols of Halloween that has never worked for me.

Harley hates this witch, too. I see the anger in his eyes, though it’s hard to tell, since this is another mask with those ridiculous rubber eyes blocking portions of the ocular holes. Why did Dollar Tree do that?

There’s nothing good about this mask. If there was, I’d never admit it. My least favorite aspect is the hat, which does nothing to dispel the idiotic notion that all witches are drunken paupers, who use their cauldrons as much to keep warm as to cast evil spells.

Hey, I like this one! And you know who else did? The sun! Compare this photo to the rest, and notice how the sunlight grew so much stronger for the devil mask. Clearly the sun’s way of saying, “End the contest, we have a winner.”

The sun was right. This is the best mask. A sinister red devil, with all the right touches. There’s the devious mustache, the gold horns, and even some kind of mystical jewel, lodged into Satan’s forehead, which I can only assume allows him to teleport like Nightcrawler.

Harley was also a big fan, because this was the only mask that made his demon eyes seem like not that big of a deal.

Kudos to you, Dollar Tree. It isn’t easy to score tens across three judges, especially when those judges include me, a Crite and the sun. You done did good, and we all love your Lucifer head.

Eeeeehhhh. Not my favorite. Considering this and the witch, it seems I have something against lime green skin.

It just isn’t a great representation of Frankenstein’s Monster. Even if he’s dimwitted, Frankie should always be presented as fearsome. You might not get the impression that he wants to kick your ass, but you should always know that he could. This mask takes it too far, and with a Frankie like this, you know that escape is as easy as telling the monster to look behind him before running the other way. Only harmless fools fall for that old trick.

The real problem is his mouth. Too crooked, too goofy. The mouth makes an awful statement. It’s the difference between saying “I AM FRANKENSTEIN” and saying “dwuhhh I’m Frank Stein.” Nobody wants to say the latter; those who claim otherwise are liars.

Plus, the rubber eyes. Again with those. I hate them.

Last but by no means least is this mask. I’ve seen it before, but I’m still not concrete about which monster it’s meant to represent. I see Frankenstein, I see the mummy, I see Dracula. It’s all of those guys at once, and it glows in the dark, too!

Only downside is that it’s a far flimsier mask than the rest. I can squish it down to the size of a superball. It’s a neat trick, but the softer rubber also makes the mask much harder to wear. Even Harley, a Crite who was practically designed with dollar store masks in mind, had trouble keeping it on.

I think Harley summarized things best. “Sskdsdks akkladklaskl ieieoweewoi.”

I’ll tell you the Crite-to-English translation…for five bucks.

Devil mask.

Glow-in-the-dark Frankenstein/Mummy/Dracula mask.

Big Loser:
Stupid Witch.

Best Cameo:
The sun!!!

67 Responses to Dollar Tree’s Halloween Masks!

  1. Reminder: Improving navigation ever so slightly, you can now go to the “previous” and “next” links on each blog entry. Look for these buttons just above the post title.

  2. I really like that last mask. Since it glows, maybe it’s supposed to be a radioactive zombie? That’s all I could think of.

    I had a few masks with the stupid eye things when I was a kid, so apparently that’s been a thing for a while now, but I never understood it either. I always took some scissors to them to save my masks from being super fugly (in a bad way).

  3. I know who Lips Manlis is. Or what his action figure looks like, anyway. :)

    What other Dick Tracy characters could be repurposed as dollar-store Halloween masks? I think Steve the Tramp would make a swell mummy.

  4. My first thought at the final glow-in-the-dark mask was that it’s supposed to be the invisible man, since it’s see-through. Why anyone would wear a see-thru mask to portray the invisible man is questionable, but the logic is no worse than those built-in eyes on the others.

  5. Not sure if I can give the Devil mask a 10 with that weird nipple on his chin. And do you think that the clear mask might be the Invisible Man?

  6. Dude, they’re DOLLAR TREE masks. They’re all crap.

  7. I know who Lips Manlis is. I think that the Frankenstein is cute.

  8. But tell me how you really feel.

  9. Oh god… I didn’t notice the nipple chin before, now it’s all I see when I look at that mask. That and the diamond ring wrapped around the widow’s peak… maybe that’s how that particular devil keeps his wig in place.

  10. Maybe that last mask is meant to be the xenomorphic Thing? That Came From Space?

  11. To me, the first one looks like a crying Jimmy Swaggart. The Devil is the best of the masks.

  12. What? They made an action figure of me, and I didn’t get a cut of the royalties?

  13. Lips Manlis- I always get sick when he eats!

  14. There is NOTHING wrong with having a very large head.

  15. All I can think of for the last one is some kind of ice monster.

  16. Dollar Tree always brings it. My producer Adam told me he wanted to do a “5 Masks for $5″ bit and had been to Dollar Tree so I’m imagining I’m going to get to know these masks a bit more intimately soon — and by that I don’t mean investigating the Hunchback’s cheek vagina!

  17. Maybe the last one is a ghost? It’s translucent and kind of looks like it’s moaning in agony.

  18. The witch might have been inspired by BroomHilda from The Groovie Ghoulies.I think (and this is a stretch)That the vampire maght be about 30% Puppet Thingy from Saw,20%Dada from Ultraman,and 25%Granpa Munster.The other 25%is beyond my comprehension.I think the Glow mask and the Devil are downright cool in an oldschool kind of way

  19. Ironically, I bet the person who painted all these masks has the exact same vacant expression as depicted on the Frankenstein mask.

  20. I thought the last one was supposed to be a ghost too.

  21. I saw that clear one at my Dollar Tree too, it was very squishy. And it was randomly in the same box as the rubber bats haha,
    It reminds me a little of Tor Johnson, especially the frowning mouth.

  22. Perhaps these masks will make nice decorations instead of costume items.

  23. Reminded me a bit of a Franken-Tor as well. Great to see Harley!

  24. Maybe it’s just me, but the Hunchback mask makes me think of nothing so much as “Jimmy Carter with headwound”.

  25. I have a theory about the extra eyes. Maybe they were included to add more connective materal near the bridge of the nose which would probably rip out because that’s the thinnest part of the mask. Or maybe the mask designer was just huffing gas.

  26. I love how Harley’s eyes enhance each mask! wonderful! good job my friend!

  27. My favorite? The clear/glow in the dark one. It’s versatile, vaguely scary, and when you’re done with it, you can do all kinds of fun pull-the-cheap-rubber tricks. The devil is pretty nifty, too.

    I really need to take a look at Dollar Tree. I didn’t even get the chance to go in there yesterday. I’m really broke, and I was worried about the weather. Hopefully, my feet will be up for it next week.

  28. Just did another small catch-up with the last few articles. Loved the old journal entry from 1993. The fixation on ahnks was something I could greatly relate too. I was pretty obsessed with Sandman and Death at that time too and my bedroom was plastered with pictures of her everywhere. I had a t-shirt with her on it that I wore religiously. I almost feel sorry for my dad now. I’m sure he had dreams of his kid growing up to be some cool sports star, but instead he ended up with a 14 year old quiet, artsy kid that didn’t care a lick for sports, wore black all the time and read comic books.

    Also, did anyone else spot what appears to be a Leatherface bust in the background of the RoseArt’s Halloween Color Blanks article? Neat!

    In other news, I bought my first box of Count Chocula the other day. I think Matt had a complaint back in the Count Chocula Feature that in recent years the box art for that line of cereals only features a giant closeup of the character’s face, and I completely agree. It’s pretty lame now, and the artwork looks like a cop-out. Whatever happened to the fancy three-dimensional full body shot that we got in all the boxes that Matt wrote about? At least give us a tease for a glow-in-the-dark sticker inside. Something!

    These mask are pretty ubiquitous. I was at a local Dollar Store-esque place today and saw a few that were pretty similar to them. A few years ago, I was on my way to a Halloween party and didn’t have jack for a costume. I stopped off at a CVS and they had two masks left to choose from — Satan and Zombie Michael Jackson. Zombie Michael Jackson it was, and it proved to be one of the creepiest things I’ve ever done for Halloween. It was a hit at the party. I’d like to pull it off again sometime, but this time go full costume with it — red leather jacket, glove, etc.

  29. Harley eyes really do compliment the Devil mask.

  30. Matt-

  31. Matt- When I saw the last mask, I thought, “Bizarro Frankenstein.” DJ D, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    Also, I’m glad to see you back. It’s been a while.

    Heads up: Tomorrow morning 6-10 AM is free large coffee at 7-11. It’s part of their election promotion, so check to see if they’re doing it in your area.

  32. Glow-man, Debbil-man, and Hunch-man. In that order.

  33. Matt! You’re still alive! This is a good thing. I used to read X-E with a certain degree of regularity, despite it having little relevance to a dude from the UK, but it just popped into my head again a few mins ago and I find myself here. I like the new site. Carry on. :)

  34. For only costing $1, these aren’t that bad. I agree that the devil mask is the best, but the Frankenstein’s monster mask isn’t too shabby either(it looks fun; perfect for a kid). The last maskwould be cool no matter what, just because it glows in the dark. While I can see the first on as being the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s just a mask of a big baby. Didn’t the hunchback have one eye lower than the other, kin of like Sloth?

    And I’m another one who knows who Lips Manlis is. The different villains were the best part of Dick Tracy. I’m pretty sure they were the reason I begged to see it in theaters.

  35. The drug store chains for the last few years have carried similiar masks but of a better quality. I have a couple of the Frankenstein ones and I regularly cavort about my basement in them. Yes, cavort.

  36. Confirmed. I love the devil. Even his little forehead gem has devil horns! I wonder if he has other be-horned accessories? A lariat… A belt buckle…

  37. The Devil is definitely the best one. The black areas are apparently supposed to be hair, which makes me wonder what the mess is up with his facial hair situation. Apparently his moustache grows into his sideburns, which in turn grow into his ear hair and his eyebrows. I guess swanky grooming products are a bit hard to come by in Hell.
    Also, I like to think his gem is like Great Tiger’s gem in Mike Tysons’s Punch-Out!: it twinkles when you can punch him in the face and knock him down. Remember that next time you go up against the debbil.

  38. I have no idea what my old internet commenting handle was (B-dawg, maybe?!) but I was a long-time XE reader (the McGriddle review is to this day one of my favorite pieces of publishing on the internet) who rarely commented (except to request your stuffed mushroom recipe which you provided and which I make to this day)and I don’t think I’ve commented here at all since your triumphant return but having read & enjoyed every post, I found myself compelled to comment on this one as it’s easily my favorite so far. I have no idea why, but I laughed embarrassingly loudly several times.

    Also, beat THAT run-on sentence.

  39. @Bertha & @Ross: I love it when people come out of hiding. Thank you!

    That goes for DJ D too, in a different way!

    @Hoverbored: Looks like I missed my free coffee. I wanted to go just to see how many people are taking them up on it.

  40. Just reading this, I can smell the strong plastic fumes that come with wearing masks. I’ve never been able to stand one long enough to include them in a costume.

    Frankenstein looks like a drunk Mel Gibson to me, but green.

  41. Matt- Surprisingly, I woke up in time for free coffee- lucky for me they have hot cocoa at the 7-11. It looked like a lot of folks were there, and I was there about 9:40 PST. I don’t think most of the people really cared which candidate they were “voting” for.

  42. May I add you to my baby daddy backup list?

  43. Oh MY Gosh! A glowing-in-the-dark mask! That feature alone makes the last mask my favorite!

    The Sun always makes great cameos :)

  44. It’s funny that Harley’s eyes actually make that devil mask seem like more of a big deal than it is.

  45. Those extra little eyes are pretty annoying. I’d cut them off the mask without thinking twice. The devil mask certainly is cool and creepy. :D

    I was totally cracking up in regards to the Hunchback’s tiny vagina under his eye, hahaha! ;D

  46. It’s nearly dark at 7:42 PM. AUTUMN IS COMING. I’m about to drink some piping hot chai tea up in here. Also I saw peppermint mocha and pumpkin spice coffee creamers at the store yesterday and as soon as I need to make another grocery run, I’m gonna be all over that shit.

  47. Matt, Matt, are you paying any attention to the new TMNT series? The first episode of it was on today and it had a feel a little like the classic series. I’m quite impressed.

  48. Ahh, a Friday night thread! Hope you guys are having good weather now that Fall is here!

    I tried tasting some coffee over at the 7-11 today when they were giving it away. I saw some Pumpkin Spice coffee, but it tasted like marker ink. Hot chocolate for me!

    Maybe it was the fact it was 7-11…

  49. Whew! Good Mornin Dino Drac !So happy Fall is FINALLY here. Goodbye Summer! See ya next year. Just came from my morning jog, felt great. The temp was perfect. It wasn’t so cold I needed a coat, but it was chilly , make no mistake. Perfect for getting me into the Halloween spirit. Even more so than I already am. Only a few houses have decorated. That disapointed me. Then again it’s still very early in the season. Talk at ya’ll later.

  50. Ate a pumpkiny pie thing for the first time since last November. I nearly wept for joy. Holding myself in readiness for Matts next entry. No, not holding myself in that way.

  51. Attending my first costuem party of the season tonight as Fred Flintstone. Why? Because I got a sweet deal on a water buffalo hat! “Ack, Ack, A-Dack!” or something to that effect.

  52. “Matt- When I saw the last mask, I thought, “Bizarro Frankenstein.” DJ D, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    Also, I’m glad to see you back. It’s been a while.”Hoverbored
    Yeah, it’s good to be back. I actually posted a giant catching-up response over at the Count Chocula Feature thread after spending an entire day reading the last 2 months worth of posts. I’ll never forgive myself for not only missing the kickoff to DD’s first Halloween Countdown, but also the art contest. I’m a horrible DD’er.

    I think “Bizarro Frankenstein” is actually a pretty apt description. I instantly thought of the scene in ‘Monster Squad’ when Frankenstein holds up his own Halloween mask and touches his face…”Ug-ly?”

    “@Bertha & @Ross: I love it when people come out of hiding. Thank you!

    That goes for DJ D too, in a different way!”Matt
    It’s always great to be thanked “in a different way”, whatever that means.

  53. I’m 28 currently and have not went trick or treating legit since 1997. This did not stop me however from buying a two dollar Jason mask from Dollar General. It proudly hangs in my room as week speak.

  54. Adam: I have 3(Jason masks) hanging in my room !!! lol

  55. I think I only went trick or treating about 3 or 4 times in my entire life. The only costume I remember wearing was my homemade Superman outfit. It consisted of my Superman pajamas, with a pair of red underwear on the outside, and red socks pulled over my shoes. I wish I had pictures, because that shit was amazing.

  56. Happy SNT ya’ll! Just enjoyin the chilly night, as well as some pizza. I think I’ll put on a scary movie. Hope you guys are havin a good un. :)

  57. What’s going on, peeps? It’s been a crazy two weeks at work and the weekend has been super busy as well. I’m ready to unwind with some SNT!

    In more fun news…my sweet wife gave me a new Apple TV on Friday (early anniversary present) and I love it! Now I can watch all my iTunes stuff upstairs on the big TV…I have every episode of Treehouse of Horrors ready to roll!

    Also got the Halloween/Fall decor down from the upstairs. With a 1 year old the decorating will be more sparse but just as fun!

    What’s everyone else up to?

  58. Happy SNT! I’m spending the night cruising old sitcom Halloween episodes on Netflix. Everybody Loves Raymond is pretty great right now with Peter Boyle handing out condoms thinking they are candy to TrickrTreaters. And the fact he is in his Fronkunsteen character makes it a double win.
    Home Improvement next! I hope.

  59. Happy S-N-fucking-T. I spent most of my day doing boring shit like cleaning, shopping, pushing a jogging stroller up my giant ass hill. I also bought Piggy Paint and gave my daughter her first pedicure. It turned out about exactly as you’d imagine a pedicure on a squirmy 6-month old would turn out.

    Still trying to work out a Halloween costume for this year, and I don’t want to commit to making anything complicated because October is looking like a crazy month. Coding conference, dentist, support group, 3 doctor appointments… blah.

  60. Nothing going on here at all. Just switching back and forth between screwing around on Tumblr and working on my story. Also waiting for my chicken pot pie to finish baking.

  61. Great article Matt! Don’t worry … I know who Lips Manlis was! I really got into the Dick Tracy movie a couple years after it came out. I even dressed as Breathless Mahoney (Madonna’s character) for Halloween once, with vintage earrings and everything. Lips was only in the movie for a couple minutes, but he was a pretty goofy gangster!

  62. I’m glad everybody had a good weekend. It’s funny I invited a guy over Friday night and we spent an hour talking about Ninja Turtles, the Simpsons, and pop culture stuff I have in here. I told him I didn’t think Bartman pants would be sexy to a guy and he smiled and said I wouldn’t mind one bit. I like him a lot I like the ones that I can just have a regular conversation with.

    We need to do some grocery shopping later just to get us through the next week or two. That is how it always is at the beginning of the month. Nothing really to eat, we order a pizza to survive a couple of days and then we go grocery shopping. I have a feeling we aren’t the only ones that do that.

    Anyway listed a few cool things since my last comment. Spud McKenzie Flute Glasses. From 1991, great bright graphics. 2 glasses in one listing. Yesterday I listed two Halloween decorations. Vintage lights with covers on each light that look like orange scarecrows with green leaves on top. I really like those. And an Orange 14 inch tall blow mold. It has a black cat on the bottom, and a Jack-O-Lantern on top. I love the picture I took of it lit up. I am hoping they are a quick sell. I am looking forward to the busy shopping season.

    For myself I found Runaway Ralph. I enjoy having it for my collection. There weren’t any previews on it unfortunately. I was looking forward to Saturday Morning previews, or an ad for the other specials on tape. I now want the Mouse and the Motorcycle. If I ever have kids I want them to grow up with those specials. The stop motion animation in this special is great. That cat is scary looking.

    Notice I am not sharing my Ebay link. I mention them, but I am not here to shove my product on people to buy it. If you know me you know my Facebook and know how to contact me for information. Sure I would love to sell them, but I have standards. This is my job now but I know my boundaries.

  63. Test comment. Testing. Testing.



    Test Dept.

  64. Hey, it worked! I’ve been trying to leave a comment for a couple of days now, but none were going through. Now let’s try this…

    “Matt- When I saw the last mask, I thought, “Bizarro Frankenstein.” DJ D, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    Also, I’m glad to see you back. It’s been a while.”Hoverbored
    Yeah, it’s good to be back. I actually posted a giant catching-up response over at the Count Chocula Feature thread after spending an entire day reading the last 2 months worth of posts. I’ll never forgive myself for not only missing the kickoff to DD’s first Halloween Countdown, but also the art contest. I’m a horrible DD’er.

    I think “Bizarro Frankenstein” is actually a pretty apt description. I instantly thought of the scene in Monster Squad when Frankenstein holds up his own Halloween mask and touches his face…”Ug-ly?”

    “@Bertha & @Ross: I love it when people come out of hiding. Thank you!

    That goes for DJ D too, in a different way!”Matt
    It’s always great to be thanked “in a different way”, whatever that means.

  65. Halloween shit on the Travel Channel right now!!!

  66. Dude, Dollar Tree is kind of amazing this year. I’m planning on walking in there with $25-$50 and coming out with a pile of ridiculous shit to hang in my house.

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