Welcome to Dino Drac’s Daily Halloween Thing! The 2023 edition! Check back every day from now through 10/31 for a haunted hodgepodge of spooky reviews, memories and more.
Friday, September 29th:
Can you handle this level of drip? Say hi to my latest acquisition, a vintage Pepsi/Doritos “Monster Bash” jacket, in classic ‘90s teal. I believe it was a “lower-end” prize from one of their many Halloween contests.
(I’m putting “lower-end” in quotes because it’s disgusting to call this jacket lower-end.)
Pepsi/Doritos Halloween junk from the ‘90s is my weakness. I cannot resist any of it. Luckily, I got this jacket off eBay for $35 shipped, which was a nutty price that probably left a bunch of watchers kicking themselves. If any of them are reading, sucks to be you. Feel free to dry your tears on any of my clothes EXCEPT this jacket.
And yes, I do plan to wear it. Just gotta wait for the right occasion for a teal windbreaker with a party-hatted Frankenstein on the breast. It’ll come to me.
Thursday, September 28th:
From 1985, it’s the Clue VCR Mystery Game! I posted this photo on my socials a few days ago, and was surprised to learn that pretty much everyone played the game the same way I did. Which is to say, not at all.
I had no idea how to play and never bothered trying to learn. Instead, I just watched the included videocassette like it was any normal movie. It certainly wasn’t, but it was still a major effort, with a giant cast and a killer atmosphere. The tape was crazy cheesy and came off like a local theater version of the “real” movie, but I watched the hell out of that thing, and apparently, I wasn’t alone!
I uploaded the whole cassette several years ago, so if interested, go check it out. It’s great background noise for when you want something on, but only want to pay attention to it like 5% of the time.
Wednesday, September 27th:
I went to Dunkin’ this morning for my usual wheelbarrow of black coffee, and there they were, hanging on an impulse rack right next to the register.
SPIDER DONUT KEYCHAINS.
I can’t believe this. I’ve been obsessed with those donuts since their 2017 launch, but I never thought they had this sort of social clout. At eight bucks a pop, the keychains aren’t cheap, but when it comes to must-have life-altering Halloween novelties, few things are.
As you can see, I bought one. I suppose it might read as cringey if I actually used it as a keychain, but I’m gonna, because you are reading the words of someone who loses his keys five times a day, every day, and I’m starting to think having no keychain might be a contributing factor to that.
Welcome home, Spider Donut keychain. You’re gonna be covered with so much dirt by this time next year.
Tuesday, September 26th:
I’ve decided that tonight’s gonna be a Tales from the Darkside night. It’s chilly and wet, I’m completely exhausted, and I just washed my spare comforter. If these aren’t the ingredients of a Tales from the Darkside night, I don’t know what are.
Sadly, the show does not appear to be streaming anywhere at the moment. At least, not in any official capacity. It’s still accessible if you look hard enough, and by “hard enough” I just mean beyond YouTube.
(Or maybe you should just buy the DVDs? The complete series is on Amazon for under $30, which by my math means approximately 32 cents per episode. A steal by anyone’s measure.)
Now I just need to pick the right episode. I’m leaning towards The Circus, from the fourth season. It’s about a sideshow full of classic monsters, run by William Hickey. Some primo creature effects in that one, including a gnarly vampire who definitely pushed the boundaries of broadcast television standards.
Mostly though, I just want to see the spooky intro. If that’s all you need, I got ya covered.
Monday, September 25th:
Just showing off my sealed pack of BUNCHA BUGS, released by Imagineering in 1990. BUNCHA BUGS boasts “over 70 realistic flies, spiders and ants,” with the BUNCHA BUGS themselves adding that some of them glow in the dark.
Obviously, it was the packaging that drew me to BUNCHA BUGS. The fact that Imagineering staged a custom photo shoot for this is astounding and outstanding. Really takes me back to browsing the seasonal aisles in pharmacies as a kid, and trying to convince Mom to add 70 realistic flies, spiders and ants to her usual order of Tylenol and an Almond Joy.
I will never release the BUNCHA BUGS from their plastic prison, because separated from the card, they’re just another pile of plastic bugs. Actually, I intend to throw this entire thing in a shadow box frame. Next time Michaels drops a 40% off coupon, BUNCHA BUGS WALL ART is happening.
Sunday, September 24th:
Picked up this neat collectible recently, and I figured I’d turn it into a tax write-off by covering it here. Thanks for letting me use you!
Yeah, so at some point in the ‘80s, White Castle released a kids’ meal that included FREE HALLOWEEN MAKEUP KITS. Um…. that is seriously one of the coolest fast food giveaways I’ve ever heard of.
Shown here is the “Dracula” version, but there were also kits for a witch and a clown. If it looks familiar but you’re sure you didn’t get yours from a slider joint, it’s been suggested that these kits were also sold in stores. (…albeit without the White Castle branding, which of course was the whole reason I bought this.)
I used a similar kit back in kindergarten, when me and literally every other boy in class dressed as Dracula for the big costume party. (Well actually, one boy dressed like a scarecrow, and he spent half the time crying because he was the only non-Dracula. It was a real cheesy scarecrow, too. Like Wizard of Oz style. Poor kid.)
In closing, I think more cheeseburgers should come with free face paint.
Saturday, September 23rd:
Happy first day of autumn! I’ve got my candle burning and my coffee brewing, and it’s perfectly wet and gray out. That’s really all I want from the season, so we’re starting off on the right foot.
ANYWAY, I have some Spooky Snoopy Trivia™ for you. Did you know that It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown kinda/sorta has a deleted scene?
Remember that part in the intro, near the title card, where the costumed kids are in the pumpkin patch? Well, during the original 1966 broadcast, we actually see them stumble upon signage for the cartoon’s sponsors, Coca-Cola and Dolly Madison.
Obviously, they cut these shots out after that first broadcast. A similar thing happened with Chuck’s Christmas special, which originally doubled as a blatant Coca-Cola ad. While plenty of people know about that, far fewer are hip to this. The scene is on YouTube, if you wanna see the Peanuts gang get all shilly.
Friday, September 22nd:
I only have a minute to spare tonight, so I’ll just leave you with this photo, which I assume was snapped on October 31st, 1986. It’s good enough to get me off the hook for a few paragraphs.
Shoutout to the kid in the G.I. Joe costume, but I’m reserving most of my candy for that young Autobot in the foreground. I’d almost forgotten that The Transformers had their own line of Collegeville mask-and-smock costumes.
Interestingly, it seems to be a mash of two different Autobot costumes. The smock clearly pictures Superion, but I know Metroplex’s face when I see it. So either that kid picked his favorite parts from separate costumes, or Collegeville’s employees were drunk at the factory.
Did you have any of these mask-and-smock deals as a kid? I feel like they were a rite of passage!
Thursday, September 21st:
This Spooky Sounds tape from 1989 takes me back. There were many similar cassettes, but Hallmark gave this specific one a massive push. You could find sfx tapes from that era with much cooler art, but I don’t think any of them matched this one’s reach. Everybody had it.
I mentioned this recently, but for a while, Hallmark truly was THE Halloween store. They started the trends. Everything from teeth-chattering skull pins to Great Pumpkin sticker sheets to these creaky shrieky audiocassettes were invented (or at least popularized) by Hallmark. If you listed ten Halloween retail totems from the ‘80s, I guarantee that several of them would be rooted at that chain.
Anyway, God bless YouTube, because some uploaded the entire tape. It’s no fun to blast at any serious volume, but if you keep it low, it creates a nice ambiance for when you’re reading books or eating candy or writing quick blogs about Halloween sound effects tapes from the late ‘80s. Enjoy!