Dinosaur Dracula!

“Tropical Terror” Fruit by the Foot!

Another great thing about the 2013 Halloween season is that it isn’t just about the heavy hitters. Fruit Brute and Ghoul-Aid Jammers may be getting the bulk of the press, but even plenty of the simpler things are amazing. Don’t overlook ‘em!

For example, take Fruit by the Foot’s Halloween “Mini Feet.” They’re easy to ignore in the sea of so much top shelf stuff, but if you make time for a closer inspection, your reward is a spooky snack that’d have to try excruciatingly hard to be any better. Twenty-six adorably small “Tropical Terror” rolls, fronted by a cigar-shaped mummy in orange bandages!

They inspired me enough to make a video:

Have an excellent Saturday. This is one of the eight left before Halloween. Don’t waste it.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who entered Dino Drac’s “Terror Tires” art expo. I’m gonna start assembling the entries today, which will take a while, since it looks like there’s more than eighty of them. Wow.

Some additional FBTF photos, just because: Read More…

The Real Ghostbusters Happy Meal!

If you’re around my age – and even if you’re not – you should be able to remember a dozen times when McDonald’s sweetened the Halloween season. From McBoo pails to the costumed McNugget buddies, Ronald McDonald has often seemed like Halloween’s Santa Claus, always ready to reward the burger-eating boys and girls with marvelous plastic baubles.

Course, not all of the “spooky Happy Meals” were exclusively for Halloween. Actually, some of the best ones weren’t. Here’s the case in point!

From 1987, it’s The Real Ghostbusters Happy Meal! I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that RGB was the hottest cartoon of its time, but it was certainly one of them, and it was one of those rare franchises that everyone seemed to love.

It was just such an “untouchable” property. Nobody ever spoke ill of that show. Even as kids grew older and began shunning the things they enjoyed only a year prior, RGB always stayed on that weird pedestal. People talked plenty of shit about Garfield, but nobody messed with Peter Venkman.

Its Happy Meal series was one of my favorites, because it so completely hit every note that made Happy Meals such major moments in our lives. The set had amazing boxes (easy candidates for “best ever”), and the free toys were wonderful, even despite the fact that they adhered to McDonald’s sometimes-standard of giving us toys that weren’t exactly toys.

You’ll see what I mean in a minute. Let’s eat! Read More…

Gurglin Gutz. That’s what they’re called!

Gurglin Gutz was a smallish line of gruesome “stress balls” that made rude noises when you squeezed them. That about says it all, but I live to stretch!

The collection debuted in 1995, and as you can tell from the above example, the toys weren’t much different from the “unpackaged” novelties you’d find at most party stores at this time of year.

…and that’s partly why I like them. I’m hesitant to call a blood-filled, baseball-sized eyeball “simple,” but if you’re familiar with this sort of thing, it kind of is. It’s barely a step above what you’d find in Oriental Trading’s Halloween catalog.

When I took this thing out of the package, I was aghast at the notion of doing a full blog entry on it. But 4Kidz had a strategy, and brother, it worked. They branded the holy hell out of these toys, providing pretty plain doodads with their own little universe. The line’s mascot was Dr. I.M. Gorey, and if I’m piecing everything together correctly, the various eyeballs, hearts and brains were meant to be HIS eyeballs, hearts and brains.

Bloody eyeballs are much easier to appreciate when you can imagine them being plucked from a mad scientist in dollar store scrubs. Read More…

Ghoul-Aid Jammers ARE HERE!

I finally found them. THANK GOD. Now I can breathe again. I’d like to introduce you to the greatest thing that’s ever been served in a foil pouch: GHOUL-AID JAMMERS!


It’s great stuff. Amazing flavor, amazing packaging, amazing everything.

One note: I didn’t notice this until I was done filming, but the Ghoul-Aid Jammers aren’t dyed. They taste like Ghoul-Aid, but the juice looks more like vinegar. I have no issues with this. Between the foil pouches and the bold yellow straws, it’s not like you’re ever going to see it, anyway. (Course, if you’re dying for truly purple Ghoul-Aid, the traditional powdered mix is back this year, too!)

And now, for posterity, some additional photos of my new favorite drink: Read More…

Deadsites: 1995’s Halloween Mart!

At some point over the next two months, you’ll probably find yourself wading through the glut of online costume shops, hoping to find that rare glow-in-the-dark Predator mask that I’m pretty sure I just made up. If so, there’s a good chance you’ll land at Halloween Mart, which boasts that it was “the web’s 1st Halloween store.”

That claim is hard to prove, but I’ve uncovered some evidence in the company’s favor. In this edition of Deadsites, we’re gonna take a look at Halloween Mart’s original web store… from 1995!

When I found this, I had no idea that the company still existed. That was just the icing on the cake, because I absolutely would’ve covered this goldmine anyway. The super ancient design, with its borrowed clipart, red fonts and “deep space” background, reminds me of the internet at its glorious simplest.

For its time, the site was well-structured and very, very thorough. You have to remember, the internet of this era was busy, but it wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it is now. If you found Halloween Mart and were interested in its gory wares, it was the kind of site that might’ve eaten hours of your time. (Partly because the images would’ve taken an hour to load, but also because there weren’t two million other things diverting your attention.)

This will sound strange, but websites felt more like “books” back then. (Note the trend: By today’s standards, there is virtually nothing I write that couldn’t be summarized with a “tl; dr.”) I know it’s hard to apply this to an online store that offered little beyond photos and prices, but I think the shoe still fits. By 1995’s standards, you could totally lose yourself in here. Read More…