The Halloween Creep of Rite-Aid!

My local Rite-Aid treats me like some kind of criminal.

Whenever I go in there to document their seasonal wares, I inevitably find myself crowded out of the aisle by no fewer than TWO workers. Ostensibly, they are there to neaten up the products on the shelves ... but they always seem to want to clean up the exact shelf I want to photograph, at the time.

I'm not paranoid.

Anyway, forgive me if this photo essay seems less-than complete, but that's because I was literally pushed out of the seasonal aisle by two workers rolling a large, heavy cart laden with empty boxes.

Though, maybe it's for the best? Rite-Aid never has anything that great, when it comes to Halloween

I wish I had put my own real skull next to this fake one to show scale, because you can't get a really good read on how big this thing is. For its size, it's surprisingly light, as it's made of foam -- just like a real skull.

I also don't want to know why it's "individually wrapped", like some kind of single-serve snack to put in a child's lunchbox. Lunchables: Lunch-a-skulls.


I took this picture because we'll all remember the limited edition Hostess Halloween Candy-Corn-Flavored Deep-Fried Pumpkin-Spice Snack Cakes ... but who will remember that Covergirl wanted to be your go-to face-goo for Halloween 2017?

Me. I will.

Because I'm easy, breezy, Boo-tiful... CoverJeff!

One day I would love to quit my job and write a book about the history of "leg-danglers" (or, as some call them, just "danglers" -- which sounds too risque for THIS blog!) I don't remember "danglers" being a thing, growing up. I first noticed them only a couple years ago, when my lovely wife and I bought one in CVS. Will their true history every be known? Will I be the one to tell it?!

Anyway, this Pumpkin-Man Leg-Dangler is brandishing two ears of corn, like knives.

Read this bit in a film noir detective's voice:
The ghost dame floated into my office. She had legs that went all the way up. Literally. It was weird and gross. But, hey, a dame's a dame. I offered her a Maltese Falcon, but she said she's just quit. "We all gotta die of something" I said, before realizing my gaffe: that she's already a ghost. She responded with "Boo hoo hoo!" I couldn't tell if she was crying or trying to haunt me. "Listen, Dollface," I said, because her face literally looked like a doll's... etc.

As I live in an apartment, my first thought upon seeing hay bales in a Rite-Aid is: Who buys these? I never consider that people would want to put them on their front stoop to make a welcoming, fall-type scene for visitors.

And by "visitors" I mean "roaches, mice, and rats" -- I DO live in NYC after all. (Complain Brag!)





And none of them are really that great, are they?

I mean... look at this last set. Light blue and green are hardly standard pumpkin decoration colors, Rite-Aid. (Yeah, yeah, please no comments about those jarrahdale varietals, I know all about 'em!)

And what about the hole in the top? Am I meant to hang these somewhere? Am I supposed to buy hundreds of them and hang them over a bed, recreating that scene from "Se7En"?

Pumpkin Spice... the eight deadly sin!

Not pictured: Some geometrical, sharp-edged wooden pumpkins that were even weirder than the ones pictured here. I was run out of the aisle before I could snap a pic of that one.

Ugh, and here's another employee, keeping tabs on me!

One last thing: Just in case you're not convinced that these Rite-Aid people have something against me -- that it's only an in my head -- dig this:

One time I was walking around the store chatting with my wife. An employee, her voice strained with worry and concern, directly addressed my wife with a sharp, "IS THIS GUY WITH YOU?" as if I was just some creeper, walking behind this lady, chattering at her.

To be fair, I was in my shabby, "going-to-Rite-Aid" clothes, probably hadn't shaved for, like, two weeks, and was walking a pace or two behind my wife at the time... but still!

Thanks for reading what this creep has to say!

I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam 

The Six Best Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bags at Dollar Tree Right Now!

I distinctly remember an officer of the law entering my fifth-grade classroom one October day. His mission: To instruct us all how to not die while out begging strangers for food on October 31. At the end of the presentation. he pulled out a huge stack of bright orange, thick-plastic bags imprinted with the silhouettes of witches, ghosts, and a haunted house.

"Thank you Officer So-And-So, we'd say, in turn, as he handed them out to us. Then we'd ooh and ahh over the cool Halloween scene. Then we'd turn the bag over, see a huge list of "DON'Ts!," and flip it right back, leaving the cautionary tale unread. We were young and invincible! If we wanted to wear dark clothing at night, darting in and out of the street we would! No... we SHOULD! Youth!!!

Plus, a witch silhouette is way cooler than READING.

In darker moments, I imagine the cop who came to our classroom was put on "Bag Give-Out Duty" because the previous Halloween he accidentally shot a kid who was holding a toy gun.

So, who's ready for some laff-em-up yuks, as we take a light-hearted look at the six best Trick-or-Treat bags on sale at a dollar store?!

Despite the fact that, narratively, I should build the anticipation in this post, starting with the sixth best bag and end with an image of my favorite, I decided to start off with the best of the best. Part of this decision is because this is the order that my blogging software imported the images into this post and I just don't have the energy to rearrange them.

Therefore, if you stop reading right now, I still get the "page impressions" AND you've seen the best Trick-or-Treat bag that $1 can buy! This is a win-win for all of us.

So, you've decided to keep reading? Good for you!

This second bag was a super close runner-up for my favorite bag in the store. See, I seem to be on some kind of "Frankenstein" kick, this year. I've found a love for the big brute that I never really felt in previous years. It's kinda like how I never used to like wine, but now I drink it all the time.

Frankenwine. (Er, sorry... I mean "Frankenwine's MONSTER")



The look on that cat's face seems to say, "Some a-hole broke my tail, so it could look like an 'S' for this picture ... but the pain meds they gave me, after, are sooooo gooooood that it's ok."

This bag, along with the "S-Pooky!" bag, above have something that sets them above all the rest*: Translucency. There's nothing finer than being able to see -- through the SIDE of the bag -- how high your candy pile is, like some kinda sugary thermometer. The slightly opaque material suggesting -- but never quite revealing -- what candies are in there. It's tantalizing and teasing; only hinting at the candy-based pleasures that await, once you get home.... Halloween just got erotic-sounding!

*TWIST! I was LYING about that first "Two Skeleton Gents" bag being my favorite! THIS bag is my actual favorite! (This won't have come as a surprise to the keen readers, as they will have noted that I set up my love of "silhouette bags" in the VERY OPENING PARAGRAPH! I'm the M Night Shyamalan of Trick-or-Treat bags!

This guy is FREAKING OUT. Possibly because some jerk just took a nibble out of his head. Alternately, he could be freaking out because he's looking at you, a human, and to his Candy Corn-based lifeform eyes, YOU look like the monster.
That's the second Shyamalan-like twist of this "article"!

One final twist:

In conclusion:
Look, I know I'm not revealing any "sneaky peeps" here. I know you've already "hearted" most of this Halloween merchandise on several Twitter and/or Instagram feeds. But I'd like to think that I add a little value with my sterling, rapier-like commentary and stories that I attach to each photo.

If you liked it, too, why not share it on social media? I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam 

Some Halloween Candles I Found, Once

This happened three years ago.
And it's all true.

Here is a house in New Jersey.
That morning, my friends saw a post on their local neighborhood blog that this very house would be giving away their Halloween decorations.

It's always weird pulling up to a stranger's house and seeing the bins of free stuff outside. Do I just walk up and start rummaging? Are the people I'm mooching off of IN the house? Are they looking at me, through their curtains and wondering what - from their LITERAL PILE OF GARBAGE - I'm going to take home with me? Or are they out apple picking?

This bin was garbage.

I was pretty sure that this bin was full of basement- or attic-spiders...

...but that Ziploc bag caught my eye, as any chock-full Ziploc bag SHOULD!


Candle jackpot.


Proud Homeowner Ghost

Each one of these candles is made of that ultra-light type of wax. The kind never meant to actually be burned. The kind that if you tried to burn it, it'd melt in the span of 30 seconds, lighting your house on fire it in the next 30 seconds.

Cap'n Skelet'n

Not every candle in this bag was a "winner". In fact, I don't think this one even made it all the way home with me. Did I leave it at my friend's house, as a constant reminder of the time I made them drive us to a stranger's house to look through old Halloween junk?
I'm a bad guest.

I'm not sure that's how a lobster skeleton would look. In fact... (flips through old biology textbook)... huh, well I stand corrected! Biologically accurate in every way. Tell your friends.

WICK-ed Witch (GET IT?!?!?)

Neither cute nor horrifying, this witch can only be described as "pendulous".

The things this cat must have seen, to be so scared it's crying.

Pumpkin votives!

They're a little too "smiley face" "have a nice day" for me, but they get a "P" for effort.
(PS - P-ing should not require an effort. Consult your doctor.)

I know you all wanna see what that pumpkin's butt looks like, so there's the verso detail, you pervs!

Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!
Finally, something worth the time you put into reading this stupid post!
A Trilogy of Terror, in candle form! Rest In Paraffin.
A+ Would decorate for Halloween with, again.

And the piece of resistance (sic): Ghost votives! Ghostives!
Look carefully, chums, there are FIVE different ghosts! Whoever originally made these spent that extra little bit sculpting and designing FIVE unique spirits, when they could have done one and knocked off early for the night.

Yeah, I guess I could have leveraged this same praise towards the pumpkin votives, above... but eff 'em. I like these ghosts, better.

More praise for ghosts!

A Double++! Definitely would decorate for Halloween with again!

Also in one of the on-lawn boxes was this child-size BOO! bracelet that I think accessorizes well with my wrist-hair. (Yes, taking it off hurt very much, as it pulled most of that out... but I suffer for my art. I suffer for you.)

And there you have it. Candles.
Street candles I found in 2014

Please follow me on Twitter @sommerjam 

Halloween Comes to CVS: The First Salvo

We're not in Peak CVS Halloween yet, but the goods have started to trickle in. So, rather than wait to get overwhelmed by it all, I'll try and stay on top of it with pictorial essays, like this one:

Glowy-Inside Mummy Head. What makes this mummy glow inside? The fires of hell? A demonic driver? The love for his fellow man? The mummy's heart grew three sizes, that day....

Glowy-Inside Frankenstein's Monster Head. CVS eschewed the traditional flat-topped-Frank's-Monster head, for a more anatomically-correct round one.

Glowy-Inside Vampire (possibly Dracula, himself?) Head. With this goofy grin, you can almost hear Vlad, during a night out with the boys, say, "Bleh! I hate the vay I look ven I smile! Do NOT put that on Instagram OR I WILL DESTROY YOUR SOUL! WHO VANTS SHOTS?!?!"

In the middle is a regal skull-lady that I assume is a tribute to "Golden Girls" in some way. Blanch(ed Bones) Devereaux.

I'm not sure if these mummies dance, or move in any way. They might just be "things". In this modern age, are we jaded into thinking a thing should also animate or talk. Are we not content with things just being things? Mummies really make you take a hard look at modern life. (Mummies can't take a hard look at life, because their eyes are over there, in a canopic jar.)

Whoever set up the "Fun Halloween Things For Your Poop-Time" end-cap at CVS is quite the prankster, because they turned ALL of them onto "motion-activated mode". A mere glance at the display would send about 10 of these into joke mode, ensuring that you couldn't hear a single one of the jokes, clearly. Therefore, I will make up my own quips:

"I'm not ' A Frankenstein' ... I'm 'A Frankenstein's POOP'!"
"Did you hear the one about the Frankenstein that fell into the toilet? He was a POOP!"
"POOOOOOOOOOOOOP! *lighting crash*"

I guarantee the above are funnier than whatever the thing actually says.

The name all but ensures that there's at least one razor blade in there....

Still... I'd rather eat a razor blade than a box of DOTS. Don't @ me.

I have REAL issues with the fact that this is depicting Vader with a complete skeleton. Did the bag makers NOT remember the duel on Mustafar?!

For god's sake.

I still hate the Full-Skeleton Vader, but the Ghost2-D2 is adorable.

These leg-dangers are what minimum effort Halloween decorations look like....

Skeleton animals have been a growing trend, over the years. I love them, because it's clear that the designers were given instructions NOT to do any research, but to just sculpt what they THOUGHT a skeleton would look like.

THIS. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS, WHEN WE DEMAND THAT THINGS DO MORE THAN JUST BE A "THING". We get "Twerking Mummies". It does a "butt-butt dance" to the strains of "Fireball" (Which I assume is a real song.)

With Twerking Mummy, have we seen the lowest-low (or the highest high) of this season?
More as the story develops!!

I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam 

Honey Nut Cheerios Spider-Man Homecoming Water Shooter "Review"

Come for the cholesterol-lowering power of a magic honeybee...

STAY for the free Spider-Man water shooter!
(Thwip + Squirt = Thwirt?)

Facts: The grocery stores in Astoria suck. They are so small that they rarely over-extend and get any any interesting limited-edition flavors. "MUST BE NICE!" I grumble, as I see all of your "MY LOCAL STORE HAD PUMPKIN FLAVORED PREPARATION-H!!!!"

Pause here to consider the ramification if Pumpkin Preparation-H was real.

So, when I see a promotional box of anything, I get extra excited. And when it's Spider-Man themed, I get extra extra* excited, because he's my favorite superhero. Don't @ me.

*Did you read that and think of the Extra Hollywood jingle? I DID!

Seems simple enough... but I've run out of H-20, so had to head back to the store.

I like how the illustration show you making "Thwip-fingers", but then using a second hand to activate the action. Still, this is the closest I'll ever get to being Spider-Man*, so I'll take what I can get.

*My doctor says that I have to stop letting radioactive spiders bite me, because their venom is elevating my cholesterol.

Many people think that the quote is "With great power comes great responsibility". This has, for years, been a misquote. The line, as originally written by Stan Lee was "All Rights Reserved, Made In China"!

And just to head off the letters: YES, nerds, I know the real line is "With great power THERE MUST ALSO COME great responsibility". At ease.

I have to admit, this looks great. I'd wear it all the time, if I were a kid. You might ask: "Why not wear it all the time, anyway, nerd?!" Well....


(With great wrists must also come great amounts of hair.)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for:

Take THAT, fridge door!!

Not since the "Diving Tony the Tigers" that my next door neighbor would throw over the fence to me, as a child, have I loved a toy premium this much. I have spent the last several days surprising my wife by jumping around a corner and shouting "THWIP THWIP THWIP" and dousing her with it. She takes it with good humor, because she is the Mary Jane to my Peter Parker.

Yes, this cereal toy premium even makes grownups realize how much they love each other. A Diving Tony Tiger never did that.

I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam