Dinosaur Dracula!

Inhumanoids Monster Figures!

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I’ve been waiting a looooong time to do this post. Inhumanoids was one of the best toy lines of any decade, and if you’ve been with me for a while, you’ve read that sentiment more than a dozen times. Today, it’s finally time to show you why.

(Or you could just look at that photo. It explains everything in a nutshell.) Read More…

Dino Drac’s November Funpack!

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I know we’re still in Halloween mode, and thank God for that, but if you’ll pardon me this one exception, it’s time to debut Dino Drac’s NOVEMBER 2014 Funpack! (Available to those living in the United States only.)

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If you’re worried about those post-Halloween doldrums, I think November’s Funpack will be a great pick-me-up. It’s quite possibly my favorite one so far! Read More…

Candy Corn Pebbles Cereal!

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Happy Saturday! With less than a week left before Halloween, I hope you’re taking advantage of the weekend by cramming in as many SPOOKY THINGS as possible. Don’t dawdle. You’re gonna miss it when its gone.

Might I suggest tracking down a box of Post’s new Candy Corn Pebbles cereal?

I’ve been trying to get my hands on this since the start of the Countdown, but around here, it didn’t hit stores until this week. I say this with confidence thanks to nigh-daily searches that left me with nothing but anguish. Oh well, it was totally worth the wait! See what I thought in three and a half minutes:

As I mention, the cereal looks and smells like candy corn, but the taste is neutral enough to make it safe for people who hate candy corn. It’s basically a less tangy Fruity Pebbles, or perhaps more accurately, a cross between Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles. Which I think is a first? Read More…

McDonald’s “Book of Life” Halloween Pails!

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They’re not McBoo pails, but they’re the spiritual successors!

Now at McDonald’s, each Happy Meal comes with one of two trick-or-treat pails based on The Book of Life, which isn’t exactly a “Halloween” movie, but remains perfectly on-point because its promotional imagery deals mostly in chalk white skulls.

McDonald’s has been putting out similar pails for years now. It started in 2010 with a Mr. Potato Head theme, and I don’t think they’ve missed a season since. The pails are always lidless, always stinking of fries, and always accompanied by a circular sheet of stickers. Read More…

The RETURN of the SCARY MARY HOTLINE.

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Uh oh!

It’s the return of Dinosaur Dracula’s…

SCARY MARY HOTLINE.

If you don’t know what this is about, I’d suggest reading this article from last year.

Or, if you don’t feel like clicking around, I’ll just repeat myself!

Back when pay-per-minute telephone hotlines were a huge deal, it seemed like every kid-targeted “thing” had one. Teen idols had them, musicians had them… hell, even cartoon characters had them. We gobbled them up! Needlessly protracted messages from our favorite stars may sound like a waste of money, but in a world with far fewer ways to kill a few minutes, they were pretty great. Stupid, but great.

The best of them — in my humble opinion — took us deep into the bowels of hell. There were TONS of horror hotlines in the ‘80s and ‘90s, featuring everyone from Freddy Krueger to Grandpa Munster to ghouls of a more generic sort. What made them special was that they weren’t just for hardcore fans. Kids who were typically petrified of “horror stuff” could test the waters, listening for as long as their nerves (or wallets) would allow.

Hotlines being what they were, keeping you on the phone for as long as possible was the goal. Sometimes, you’d have to wait for the end of the message to find out how you could win a free bicycle. Other times, your narrator just spoke very, very slowly. The only kids who listened to the entire messages were the ones who gave no fucks about what their parents would do when the bills came in. The rest of us hung up early, satisfied that we “talked” to Freddy Krueger for even one measly minute. What a story to tell at school!

It’s easy to make fun of those old hotlines. They were exploitative and goofy, and in 2014, it’s hard to imagine paying for such a “privilege.” Still, I have nothing but fondness for my own experiences. Those hotlines put unique stamps on otherwise boring days, and in the case of the horror hotlines, the thrill was more akin to a roller coaster — but one you could step off of whenever the going got rough.

…which leads me to the return of Dinosaur Dracula’s SCARY MARY HOTLINE! Read More…

Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 7!

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Welcome to Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 7! (It was either this or another edition of Five Spooky Action Figures. The folks on Twitter voted for more commercials. If you would’ve preferred to read about plastic Draculas, blame them. #notmyfault)

Larry P. generously provided the first four ads in this batch, while The Mysterious Spencer tossed in the fifth. Thank you, guys!

Coca-Cola “Monsters of the Gridiron” Commercial! (1993)

Oh, boy. If I covered every last nuance of Coca-Cola’s sprawling Monsters of the Gridiron campaign, we’d be here forever. Instead, I’ll give you the basics.

In Monsters of the Gridiron — at heart a contest but really so much more — various real life football stars were turned into horrible Halloween monsters. And holy cow, they were CREATIVE!

It wasn’t just like, “Hey, let’s take this quarterback, put him in vampire makeup and call him Vlad Pigskin.” There were devils, scarecrows… even giant snakes! All of the actual players took part, and photographs of them in their monster disguises live on in promotional Monsters of the Gridiron trading cards. (Note to self: Find those fuckers on eBay.)

Even if you never dug deep into the promotion, you’ve gotta remember the TV commercials, which featured football players morphing into macabre creatures. You didn’t have to care one bit about football to love this. I sure didn’t. Read More…

Vintage Halloween Treat Sacks!

TELL ME. When you went trick-or-treating, what did you use to hold the candy? A McBoo pail? A pillowcase? A Radio Flyer wagon?

Most often, I’m guessing you used a plastic bag made specifically for that purpose. The “trick-or-treat sack” has historically been just as integral a part of a kid’s Halloween experience as his or her costume, so it’s no big shock that tons of companies made them for promotional giveaways. Think of the free advertising! If I gave away 50 Dino Drac treat sacks, I’d have effectively turned 50 people in walking billboards.

I’ve collected five such promotional trick-or-treat sacks from the ‘80s and ‘90s, which aren’t only windows into Halloweens past, but remembrances of companies as they used to be… or even companies that folded when you were still young enough to go door-to-door for free candy!

Let’s take a look. A look at bags.

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tru#1: Toys “R” Us Treat Sack!

Based on the art, I’m guessing this is from the mid ‘80s. I’m also guessing that TRU sold them rather than gave them away, because a free treat sack would not have had that reinforcing hard plastic oval thing lining the handle. (You’ll notice that the rest of the bags featured here lack it — and they were all obvious freebies, because nobody would’ve paid for them.)

Cold, hard truth: ‘80s kids has the best-ever Geoffrey. Not too creepy, not too sleek, and definitely not too much like a real giraffe… which is good, because real giraffes don’t know what’s going on, and as mascots for toy stores, they’re de facto detached.

Back then, Geoffrey’s family was seen much more often, too. I can’t remember the last time I saw Geoffrietta or Geoffrey Junior; clearly it’s been long enough to forget their real names. Here, the Giraffes (capitalized to denote surname, not species) contemplate trick-or-treating at the scariest house in their neighborhood. Are four fun-sized Almond Joys really worth the risk?

If you look at this bag as a sort of open-ended one-panel comic, it’s pretty Creepypastaish. Read More…