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 Whoever originally made these spent that extra little bit sculpting and designing FIVE unique spirits, when they could have done one and knocked off early for the night.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 

Come Listen To A Rabbit Hole Of A Tale (TAIL?!)

Did I tell you?
I'm on this show, once a month, now:

It's a podcast in which I and a panel of funny people try to click our way from one Wikipedia page to another, stopping to chat about whatever topic we land on.

I had fun. I hope you do, too.

I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam.

CVS Halloween Junk Update - Part 1!

I told you there would be an update to my last CVS piece ...
THIS is that update!
* * *
Guys, my local CVS does it right. They don't just sell Halloween stuff, they decorate in an extravagant manner that says to me "someone who works here cares". Alternately, it could say "someone who works here would rather spend a day decorating than actually working the register". To me, the ends justify the means.

More evidence that they care: Their widow-wide display includes items that you can't buy at CVS. This just reinforced the fact that Halloween is a labor of love, here. Some worker goes out and spends their own money at another store, to make sure the window display is on point! I certainly don't have that kind of chutzpah.

More evidence that they care: No one who works here has dared to suggest that over-covering the aisle signs with fake spider webs would "detract from the customer experience" by obscuring the signage. Who cares if some sick old lady never finds the minute clinic? Nope, it's all in service of the great god Halloween!

Some day, one of the workers is going to strip this mannequin and wear the clothes, themselves, to scare the b'jezuz out of entering customers. My only wish is that they "spring the trap" on the person who enters the store right BEFORE I do. That way, I get to enjoy the experience, but my pants stay dry.

No foolin', there are at least 56 varieties of these skeleton hang-y doll things. Every time I thought I'd seen them all, I'd round a corner and there was a new one. Best I could figure, there was a crew of "world builders" walking just ahead of me, creating my custom experience.

Above are two of my favorites. I like the devil version because A) who doesn't like a quaint stereotype devil costume? but also B) is this supposed to be the skeleton OF the devil?! Is that even possible?
I love the "moonshiner" because beards on skeletons are hilarious. The beard SHOULD have fallen off when the corpse's face rotted off... yet it didn't. Maybe the skeleton picked it up and reattached it ... or bought a fake beard?! Either way, it tells a story. I like my Halloween decorations to have hidden depths.

No one has ever picked anything up in the weird way that the hand model on these boxes is. That aside, it looks like people are finally getting on board with the "Teal Pumpkin" movement of offering non-food treats to kids. And by "on board" I mean "they smell money to be made so they'll market their thing slightly differently, this year". For Halloween, I'm going as a Conspiracy Nut.

I can't remember if I enjoyed getting "alternative treats" when I was a kid. On one hand, I think I'd have liked getting something that I could keep forever - and agonize over where the "perfect" place to put the stickers would be ... until I took so long to decide that I literally went off to college. On the other hand, Halloween was the one time of year my mom allowed me unfettered access to sugar, so I probably would have seen non-candy as a waste of an exhausting climb up the five stoop steps of the neighbor's house.

To my recollection, I never used anything other than the free trick-or-treat bags that a police officer would hand out at our school (you know, the ones that said "CARRY A FLASHLIGHT OR DIE!" on them, somewhere), so @#$% these pails.

These "pumpkin stands" say "I'm too good to put my Jack 'o Lantern on the stoop, like my low-rent neighbors!" Simply place your pumpkin on top of one of these decapitated bodies and create a delightful character for all to enjoy! Once the gourd starts rotting and creates a hard-to clean mess, deep down inside there, it'll be less delightful, sure, but think of the joy you brought to your classless neighbors!

Here's an actual Teal Pumpkin that you can buy to set out and attract all the little kids with food allergies. A great idea in theory ("Oh boy, this year I don't have to find teal paint and buy an extra pumpkin!"), I'm just worried that a lot of unaware people (eg, most people) will buy one simply because they look "interesting". Ignoring the little informative tag that's included, these dum-dums will display it, resulting in a lot of disappointed - and possibly anaphylactic shocked - kids.

I spend a lot of time worrying about "worst case scenarios". It's what's kept me alive this long, so I'm not ever going to stop, regardless of how many "interventions" people want to spring on me.

There's a lot more to show you, but I'm stopping here. I have a feeling that you're all at your limit of hearing about CVS Junk, for today.
But I'll do another update soon. Thanks for reading!

Please share and tweet about this, as I'm trying to fill this bucket I have that's labeled "love". It's always slightly emptier than I'd like it to be.

PS - I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam 
AND all through October, I'll be doing a series of 31 Halloween-themed stick figure drawings on Instagram @StickFigureHeros

OK OK OK... NOW you can go...

Halloween Comes To Rite-Aid Town - 2016 Edition!

I continue to document cheap, pharmacy-sold, holiday garbage in the hopes that this will lead to Internet fame and fortune. Or at least a modicum of attention from strangers.
* * *
Previously, I showed you the first Halloween items to arrive at CVS ... now it's Rite-Aid's turn.
* * *

As you'll see, Rite-Aid is a little more "dollar store" than they are "Grandin Road". (Would that sentence have been better if I'd said " 'Skid Row' than 'Grandin Road' "? ) I mean, just look at those peg boards! But I don't mean to shelf-shame Rite-Aid! There's a whole lot to love, here, if you can look past the ugg-o shelving units... and the fact that they keep bothering us to sign up for "Plenti", despite no clear value in doing so. But I digress.

Here's some Halloween ephemera, with hilarious comments:

As you'll see, much of Rite-Aid's Halloween decoration is sign-based. Why sell a spooky witch, when you can sell a sign that talks about something a spooky witch might have to do?

More signage! This one, I feel, is a bit misguided. At worst you're going to realize that your children already know the originating expression, when they find this sign just a bit too funny. At best, you don't have any children, so your family name dies with you.

Bonus: Draw your attention to the cheap makeup kit, off the side, there. How many of us bought those things, thinking we could recreate the sample looks on the package, only to wind up looking like Susan from the Sprockets Dating Game skit?! (Not me, I have always -- and will always -- hate wearing makeup... yet I'm OK with having a beard. Takes all kinds!)

More signs! Though, technically "stickers? "Clings"? I don't know if you can zoom in on the image of the 'frige cover, but if you could, you'd see that there are brains in a crisper drawer. Which makes a lot of sense, because nothing I put in the crisper drawer stays crisp. Guess I should take a page from this Halloween decoration and not keep my veggies in there, either, but, instead, murder people!

BTW: "Black Hat Convention" is already a thing. It's a meeting of security experts and oh my god it's really a meeting of witches isn't it?! I've just blown the lid off of something. Expect me to mysteriously disap

"Mayday mayday mayday. Uh this is uh Witch fifteen forty nine hit birds, we’ve lost thrust on both brooms we’re turning back towards LaGuardia. I’m not sure we can make any runway. Uh what’s over to our right anything in New Jersey maybe Teterboro?"

BONUS: Look very closely on the right of the witch sign and you'll see someone hanging themselves.

Pretty sure the one on the right did some acting in Labrynth. She's retired now; selling herself in Rite-Aid for $7.99. Hollywood is a meat grinder, people.

QUESTION TO PONDER: When we depict a ghost, is the sheet something the spirit is wearing, or is that "sheet" actually their skin? The answer could turn this adorable "raggedy ghost" with a second-hand sheet into a monster who repairs her own skin with swatches from an 80's interior decorator's sample book.

For brevity, I won't talk about the witch, but I am staunchly refusing to talk about the scarecrow people.

 I love these bulb-signs (more signs?!) I want all three. Even the ghost swallowing / regurgitating a light bulb is cool by me, as it evokes Uncle Fester. I did NOT buy them, because my lovely wife was not with me and I like her to "ok" all my Halloween purchases, as I have questionable taste and I know it. Being self aware is awesome, you guys.

Despite it having a tissue paper and balsa wood feeling of whatever-the-opposite-of-"sturdy" is, I would have bought the one on the left (checking with my wife be damned!) had it not been illuminated with one of those cheap LED lights that randomly cycles through a rainbow of colors. Seriously. When has that type of bulb EVER enhanced a decoration?! Maybe during pride parades. Ok, I take it back, I want a pride haunted house.

I don't really "get" what these bottles are supposed to be, and I don't like them. Are they a play on a "ship" in a bottle? More like @#$% in a bottle. Are they supposed to be mimicking / mocking those home decor magazines that tell you to spruce up your Halloween by putting things under a cloche, even though who the @#$% has a spare cloche just sitting around?! Cloche but no cigar.

"We're taking a BATH on these "red Solo cup" light strings. Can we repaint them for other holidays?"
--Guy who just got himself a promotion.
That's it! You're free to go about your business...

Actually, hang on! Would you please tweet about this post, or share it on Facebook, or just email it to all your friends with the subject line: "Number 9 will melt your heart!" ? It would mean so much to my, a person who just wants attention probably because of something my parents did/didn't do when I was a child.


PS - I can be followed on Twitter @sommerjam 
AND all through October, I'll be doing a series of 31 Halloween-themed stick figure drawings on Instagram @StickFigureHeros

OK OK OK... NOW you can go...