’80s & ’90s Halloween Newspaper Ads, Part 2!

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.

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Oreo Halloween Treats!
(Target, 1994)

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.

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Trick or Treat at Domino’s!
(Domino’s Pizza, 1989)

I’m not sure how far this promotion spread, but I’m positive that we didn’t have it here. There’s no way the ten-year-old version of me wouldn’t have heard about FREE HALLOWEEN PIZZA while eavesdropping at the playground.

The fine print didn’t say anything about mandatory costumes, but that was obviously the idea. Just imagine walking into a Domino’s while dressed like Batman to demand free pizza. Tell me that doesn’t sound like the greatest conceivable thing. Tell me you wouldn’t have started listening to Ministry five years early.

I love how the illustration suggested that kids could just dump pizza slices right into their treat sacks. I’m also struck by how strangely fantastic that sounds.

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Halloween Boglins!
(Venture, 1988)

After one of ‘em appeared in Madd Matt’s latest video, it seemed like a good time to give you the scoop on Halloween Boglins. Yes, Mattel made *official* Halloween Boglins, with the theme present in everything from the puppets’ names to their skin colors, and even in their black-and-orange cardboard cages.

In our last newspaper romp, I mentioned how stores often used Halloween as an excuse to move spooky toys into their seasonal sections, hoping to spark impulse sales. With Halloween Boglins, Mattel took notice and doubled the fuck down. And I bet that’s exactly how they termed the strategy in their company-wide memo.

Halloween Boglins were fundamentally no different from the larger regular ones, except for the amazing colors. Blobkin was orange and patterned after a jack-o’-lantern, while Bog-O-Bones’s white hide made him look so awesomely skeletal.

They’re now among the most expensive Boglins out there, owing less to their rarity and more to the fact that anyone who sees one immediately falls in love and swears perverted loyalty.

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Horror Videos for Halloween!
(Walgreens, 1990)

Back in the day, Walgreens made an annual stink over their horror video collection, with $9.99 per tape being the standard price for a several year stretch, irrespective of whether you were buying a popular movie or a movie that simply did not exist until the moment you started fishing through their VHS rack.

Since the videos were traditionally stationed in or next to the costume aisle, I bet they acted as an introduction to the genre for so many kids. Even tweens who’d previously shown little interest in Freddy Krueger might’ve seized the opportunity if it meant they could score videotapes out of their trips to the goddamned drug store. Mothers tended to be more frivolous there, after all.

(And speaking of Freddy, how great is that illustration of the Elm Street tape? I want to color it in.)

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The Wickedest Witch on NBC!
(1989)

Ha, I don’t want to go too deep on this, because I’m planning to give The Wickedest Witch its own review. (Longtime readers may remember a much older one from X-E, but that review is currently lost in the ether. Besides, Rue McClanahan ruling over a horde of bootleg Skeksis deserves better than the 2006 me.)

Anyway, yeah, this happened. The Wickedest Witch premiered on October 30th, 1989, and to the best of my knowledge, it only aired one time. It’s never been released on video or DVD, and home-recorded copies are ridiculously rare.

The special came out during the height of Golden Girls mania, and at the time, Rue was a big “get.” Portraying a sultry witch who yelled at birdlike ogres for 22 minutes was hardly the high point of her career, but, pro that she was, Rue gave it her all.

The Wickedest Witch had substantial coverage in many newspapers, but this was the only time that Rue’s character turned up in illustrated form, let alone on a front cover. It’s in fact the only evidence that anyone ever drew Avarissa from The Wickedest Witch. Course, once I finish this article and find my crayons, that will cease to be true.

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Halloween Lite-Stik!
(Raley’s, 1995)

With glow sticks having been such a common sight for the past few decades, you might not believe that they were once considered so special and alien that no kid could see one without oohing like they were in a Toys “R” Us Christmas commercial. But it’s true!

Throughout my childhood, Spearhead’s Lite-Stik (properly styled “lite-stik,” but that annoys me) was the premiere glow stick brand, and it was pushed especially hard during the Halloween season.

Parents went for them because they were technically for our safety, but we knew better. There was nothing “safe” about rods that glowed like Herbert West’s reagent. They had to be dangerous, and that’s why we liked them.

Thanks for reading! Have an eerie weekend. (I’ll be spending it building the Funpacks, but you can keep checking Dino Drac After Dark for nightly mini-posts and reader surveys. We’re having fun in there!)