Countdown to Halloween Begins… Weird Walmart

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Greetings, foolish mortals!  Our official 2017 Countdown to Halloween begins today.  But, we want to make sure you have seen our special September post for the Universal Monsters “Monsterville” line of decor and costumes at Target.  These are, hands down, the most exciting finds of the season.

Today, however, we are highlighting another major retailer…  Walmart.  This year, their selection of scares is a bit disappointing, but there are some real treasures hidden in the eerie aisles.

First, is this amazing vintage-style black cat mask.  It’s backlit and glows bright.  It is much larger than the traditional vacuform masks of yesteryear, but a bit smaller than the wall masks offered by Retro-a-go-go… and a lot cheaper.  At less than ten bucks, it’s an absolute steal.

Backlit Vintage Mask

Backlit Vintage Mask

 

Next, we have two very vintage figures.  These items are real gems and a perfect price, coming in less than three dollars.

Vintage Walmart Halloween Figures

Vintage Walmart Halloween Figures

 

And finally, check out this great unlicensed Universal Monsters Rice Krispies Treats kit!  We’ll let you know how they turn out in a few weeks…

Rice Krispies Treats Monsters

Rice Krispies Treats Monsters

We’ll see you in a few days with another Halloween update.  Remember to stick with the Big Scare all October-long.  We’ll have more fun decorations, treats, and more that you will definitely want to add to your haunted house for 2017!

 

 

Halloween Highlights: Vintage Vampires

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There are few monsters more closely associated with Halloween than the Vampire.  Vampires have been haunting our nightmares even before Bram Stoker unleashed Dracula upon the world in 1897.  Since the first printing of the famous vampire novel, Dracula has been haunting our nightmares for over a century.  Most famously portrayed by Bela Lugosi in the 1931 screen adaptation, Dracula is the quintessential creature of the night.  Featured today are two vintage Halloween decorations featuring the undead count.

First is a vintage Halloween cutout of Bela Lugosi in his most famous role.  This Halloween decoration was released by the C.A. Reed Company in the early 1980s.

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Bela Lugosi Dracula Cardboard Cutout

 

Next up is a large, jointed Dracula from Eureka, originally marketed as “The Count – 55″ Jointed Halloween Decoration.”  This cutout was released in the late 1970s.

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Eureka “The Count” Jointed Cutout

 

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Creatures of the Night

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The Big Scare is proud to announce the final installment of this year’s Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery.  We hope you have enjoyed all of the frightening images you have seen here.  We will be back with even more images next year.  Until then, take in the terror-ific sights of these Halloween frights.  We’ll be back in two days with another post.

 

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Jack-O’-Lanterns

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Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!  Today we continue our series on The Big Scare featuring images that will bring the Halloweens of Yesteryear to electric life!  Today, we highlight the magic of the Jack-O’-Lantern.  Enjoy these boo-tiful creations.

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Witches

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They call it the season of the witch, so what better Halloween character to feature in today’s gallery than that of the Wicked Witch!

Evil Green Witch

Today’s gallery features depictions of the craftiest old crones in the history of Halloween.  The images seen here were produced from the early 20th century through the 1980s by a variety of manufacturers.  There are certain traits that most of the witches share.  Green complexions, long noses, warts, and capes appear on several of the witches in the gallery, and nearly all of them are seen riding brooms.  (The association between witches and brooms stretches back the Dark Ages where the first images of witches riding brooms were depicted on elaborately illustrated manuscripts.)  And while the broom is but one of a series of similarities, there’s really only one thing that all of the images truly have in common: the tall, pointy hat.  That conical hat was first associated with witches in the early 18th century; it became popular in Victorian storybooks, was donned by the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, and, as such, has remained a staple of the witch’s wardrobe ever since.

Now that you have been educated on the origins of these witches’ outfits, feel free to delight in the devilment of the delightful die-cut art!

Spook Spotter: Masks and Vintage Decorations

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Big Scare spook spotter

Halloween 2015 is brimming with creepy creations in all sections of the retail market.  From kooky candy to dastardly decorations, there is a lot to track down.  That’s why we’re here: to make the whole process scarily simple.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

Monstrous Masks

Over the past few years, Trick or Treat Studios has gone from a relatively unknown mask maker to Halloween royalty.  They have been able to secure deals with major property-holders, unleashing latex creations beyond imagination.  From Bela Lugosi’s Dracula to Michael Myers to King Kong, Trick or Treat has captured a significant corner of the Halloween market.  Three of the most exciting masks they are offering up are the Halloween III masks, pictured below.  As you can see, the Pumpkin, Witch, and Skull look nearly identical to the Don Post counterparts as they appeared in the original film.  Check out the complete 2015 catalog of creeps on the Trick or Treat website.

Halloween III Masks from Trick or Treat Studios

Halloween III Masks from Trick or Treat Studios

Beastly Beistle

Another giant of the Halloween season, Beistle, is finding new life in its century-old library of Halloween art.  It is re-releasing several of its old Halloween cutout and die-cut decorations.  From honeycombs to cardboard wall-art, Beistle hasseveral vintage reproduction decorations on its website.  You may want to check it out, especially if you are planning a vintage-themed Halloween happening.

Beistle Reproduction

Beistle Reproduction

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Bats and Ghosts

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Welcome back, foolish mortals, to our haunted mansion of the macabre!  Today we continue with our series on vintage Halloween decorations!  Our ghastly line-up today features die-cut images of bats and ghosts!

 

Halloween cardboard cutouts reached peak popularity in the second half of the 20th century.  There are a few companies that were quite well-known for manufacturing these paper masterpieces.  The most renowned of these is The Beistle Company.  Beistle was founded in 1900 and, since then, has produced some of the most iconic images of the Halloween season.  Beistle is still in business today, and remains a giant in the party products industry, but the company’s current output pails in comparison to what was produced in the last century.  That being said, they offer a limited line of vintage reproduction products called “Vintage Beistle”.  The line-up is rather small and doesn’t delve too deeply into the massive catalog of products released from the 1920s through the 1980s.

Another manufacturer of macabre images is Eureka!  Eureka created dozens of die-cuts that defined October in the 1970s and 1980s.  Enjoy today’s images, many of which are of Beistle and Eureka products, and stay tuned for more devilishly delightful die-cut art!

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Black Cats

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Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!  Today we begin a new series on The Big Scare featuring images that will bring the Halloweens of Yesteryear to electric life!

Beistle Jointed Black Cat

We have created several galleries of vintage Halloween cardboard die cut decorations for your booing pleasure.  In the 20th century, these paper cutouts adorned windows and walls in homes and schools during the month of October.  The earliest ones started appearing in the 1920s.  By the 1950s, they were staples of the season.  Nowadays, there aren’t that many being produced, and the ones that are being created are nearly all computer-generated.  Fortunately, we have nearly 100 years of cardboard die-cuts to draw from for our galleries.  What’s more, every die-cut that will be featured in our galleries is hand-illustrated, designed by an artist or team of artists who captured the spirit of the season with old-fashioned ink and paint.

We launch our Halloween die-cut gallery series with images of one of Halloween’s foremost icons: the black cat!  Enjoy!  And come back in two days for more devilishly delightful die-cut art!

Halloween 2013 | Spook Spotter

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Hallmark

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

To get the hearse wheels spinning, we’ll share with you one of the coolest indoor decorations we’ve seen: The Hallmark Haunted House Shadowcaster.  Part tabletop display, part light show, this Hallmark creation is one-of-a-kind.  The display looks great during the day, but really comes to life at night.  Each window features a spooky silhouette that only appears when the display is activated.  An evil enchantress cooks up a crazy concoction in the doorway, while jack-o’-lanterns stand guard on the porch.  Cats, spiders, and skeleton-men haunt the windows, and a ghost hangs out in the rafters.  Each characters appears with the help of a flickering LED light strategically placed behind the facade.

However, the real treat is what’s behind the mansion:  a flock of frightening fanged-beasts!  Through the magic of modern technology, dozens of bats, of all shapes and sizes, are projected onto whatever is directly behind the house.  Illuminated in orange and purple, the light show shifts between two basic positions (plus a third transitioning scene) and lasts anywhere from half-a-minute in “try-me” mode to an hour when the button is held down for several seconds.

Although the house itself doesn’t seem too sturdy and the plastic it is molded in could be thicker, this is still a great little decoration that really captures the essence of Halloween and the magic of the season.  It can be purchased for $19.99 at participating Hallmark retailers.

TJ Maxx

This Halloween season is not unusual in the fact that the best products are not found in the traditional retail stores, but at the discounters.  The TJX group (T.J.MAXX, Home Goods, and Marshall’s) has some of the most interesting offerings.  In addition to the traditional devilish dinnerware and lethal linen, they are offering up both vintage-inspired designs and classic Gothic elegance.

The most unique pieces at HomeGoods and Marshall’s, though T.J.Maxx does end up with some of the overstock.  If you love to keep things dim and grim, you may be interested in some of the faux-stone busts and statues.  Or perhaps creepy candelabras are more your thing.  They have plenty to choose from, including this one that comes complete with LED candles.  Battery-operated, it retails at $24.99.  The light is that harsh, cold, traditional (almost blue) LED style, but it’s ghostly in its own undead way.

The next offerings come from Christopher Radko.  HomeGoods usually carries his vintage-reproduction line of ornaments named after the famous “Shiny Brite” Christmas ornament company.  This year, they serve up some Halloween-themed bulbs that would be perfect for any vintage display or Halloween tree.  In addition, they also have several wooden tabletop and wall pieces with artwork taken right off of early 20th century postcards, like this lovely little witch pictured above.

Tuesday Morning

The main rivals of the TJX group, Ross and Tuesday Morning, have fewer options for the season of the witch, but — every now and then — a spooktacular find materializes.

Such is the case with Tuesday Morning’s Original WoWindow Posters.  Usually only found at the big name Halloween stores, Tuesday Morning is offering up two discontinued designs.  The creepiest of which is the “Vince the Vampire” two-poster set.  When they put “Wow” in the name, they aren’t kidding.  One of the posters in this set could almost cover an entire door.  Now imagine two of them at that size!  These massive decorations really fill out and (fill up) any window, wall, or door.  The first poster features the vampire’s giant face.  The second is a continuation of his body, with his hand taking up the majority of the second display.

Vampire Window Scene Setter

What is most notable about this poster is that it is not made with the same cheap plastic you used to find in this type of decoration.  This is made of a thicker, heavier film, which makes it great for use year-after-year.  The best thing about it is also the biggest drawback: the size.  Unless you have giant windows, it will be hard to place this set.  Fortunately, you can put up the one poster with the vampire’s face and get a decent effect.  At $4.99, it’s hard to pass up.

99 Cents Or Less

99 cent Haunted House display

While the regular retail offerings have been rather lackluster this year with Target, Walmart, and Spirit all failing to deliver on any noteworthy level (not to mention their tardiness in actually putting anything up in their brick and mortar stores), the dollar spots have not disappointed.  Usually, Dollar Tree has some of the greatest “cheap” decorations.  While they do have a few really awesome things that we will be highlighting in two days, 99 Cents Only is this year’s ultimate creep spot.  From outdoors to indoors, they provide wall-to-wall creeps and plenty of hot-and-cold running chills.

Dollar Tree used to be the king of cardboard tabletop decorations.  Now, 99 Cents Only has taken that honor and added some ghoulish delights that are certain to bring death to the liveliest of tables.

The most notable table centerpiece is the one you see pictured above.  Bats, black cats, and ravens surround a classically-designed haunted house.  Unlike some of the Dollar Tree decorations and the previous 99 Cents Only decorations, this piece solves the problem of folding edges and unaligned pieces by having a multitude of supports.  There are basically three layers to this piece, all adding to the spookiness of it, but also supporting the thin cardboard structure — an ingenious evolution of the dollar centerpiece.  It retails at 49 cents, but prices may vary by location.

Dollar Halloween Yard Signs99 Cents only also has some cool outdoor decorations, from window posters to door-covers to these Halloween yard stakes.  They are fairly sturdy — especially for a buck — but they won’t last in the ground if you live in a blustery area.  They are large enough, however, to make good wall signs.  Made of a coated plastic that is more weather-resistant than some of the other outdoor signs around, these are pretty nifty.  They come in four designs: vampire, witch, devil, skeleton; and they retail at 99 cents each.

These Frankenstein decorations are now available at 99 Cents Only.  One is a jointed tabletop figure that is being sold at closeout.  The other is a plastic wall poster that retails for 99 cents.  We’d say more, but we think we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree has a wide variety of window clings, plastic toys, and cardboard characters, as well as some interesting 3-D decorations made out of wire and tinsel.  They have felt cutouts, plastic skulls, and foam tombstones — basically all of the usual suspects.  So what are the standout items at the one-dollar-retailer this Halloween?

Surprisingly, napkins.  Napkins and paper plates.  For years, it seems, Dollar Tree has been pitching the same basic pumpkin party plates.  This year, that has all changed.  They not only have these great ’80s-inspired Haunted House napkins (pictured below), they also have a full set of paper tablewear (featuring a raven and a rat) that is far superior to any party goods in the big box stores.

Dollar Napkins

In addition, Dollar Tree is offering up massive window posters, much like the ones from Tuesday Morning, only less durable and… busier.  In the case of the Bates Mansion poster, however, busy is somewhat acceptable,  Wait…  Yes…  You heard correctly: BATES MANSION window poster.

Dollar Wall Banner

No, it’s not licensed, but the house pictured on the poster is clearly inspired by the one Norman and Mother call home, or maybe even Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.  While the house is the centerpiece, it is surrounded by giant tarantulas, jack-o’-lanterns, candelabras, and lightning — virtually every spooky thing they could fit  So, no.  It’s not going to win any art awards, but it has a creepy haunted house on it!  How can you beat that for a buck?  More than anything, it’s reminiscent of a somewhat garish store display for soda, chips, or some other Halloween-themed party treat… and this is really why we love it.  Also, did we mention how massive this thing is?  It’s huge.  Turned on it’s side, it could easily fill a doorway.  If you do pick one up, good luck placing it!