Spirit Halloween Store Opens!

The other day my beautiful wife and I took a trip up to visit our inlaws. (Well, her "laws", my inlaws.) They are great people, but their greatness was overshined by the fact that, while driving through their little Connecticut town, my wife spotted a Spirit Halloween pop-up store.

I almost grabbed the wheel and yanked us through traffic and over a grassy hill to get there faster, but I somehow found the restraint to NOT kill us over a Halloween store.

For those that don't know, Spirit Halloween are the people who open HUGE Halloween stores in locations that once were, I dunno, Staples or something? Anywhere there is a large, rentable property, they'll swing in for two months, vomit Halloween goodies everywhere, then disappear by November 1 without a trace. 

I've been into my share of these stores, in my time (I dunno ... three? Four times? Doesn't take a lot to "get your share" of these stores, they're kinda overpowering) but this one was the cleanest one I've ever seen. And the shelves were super-stocked. I'd never been in such a store that didn't look disheveled and ... used. This one was Mint In Box. (Mint-In-Big-Box-Store? Is that a good pun?) The orderly state of it was probably because we hit this store up on its opening weekend. How do I know this? Because all the employees still had that smiling, cheerful demeanor that means that they have not dealt with screaming, bratty children and demanding, exhausted parents, 8 hours a day, every day, for two months straight ... yet. Their future is a grim one. For those about to Halloween retail, we salute you!

I walked around like a goggle-eyed idiot, snapping pictures on my phone. These pictured TANKED my battery, so even if they're not that great, I hope you can respect the sacrifice I made in taking them. (That sacrifice was that I could not play DOTS on my train ride back to NYC. O! THE TRIBULATIONS OF MY LIFE!)

From left-to-right: Skeletons (20 tiny ones per gag!), Vampire Teeth, Glowing Eyeball, Witch Fingers, and Eyeball Pongball 
The first thing I saw was a four-sided rack of "Bags Of Stuff". If you remember my Oriental Trading Company post that I did for my day job, you'll know I'm a sucker for LOTS OF ONE THINGS, so I was immediately enchanted. Each of these bags ranged from $3.99 to $4.99 and included 10 to 40 of ONE LITTLE THING. Somehow, I got out of there without buying any of them, though. This fact saddens me, in retrospect. At the time I felt like I was "doing the right thing" but, *sigh*....

Boy was I glad that bags of vampire teeth are still a thing; it's always good to see that kids still have access to the classics. Also, if I had to guess, these "Witch Fingers" are so-called because the guy who was in charge of writing the text was unsure of the possessive case. "Witch's? Witchs'? Witches's? Which is?! Screw it: Witch Fingers it is!"

From left-to-right: Glow Bats, Grey Mouse, Squooshey Mouse
The Squooshey Mouse-es were gross. They were squooshey. I have never squeezed a mouse before, but I'm willing to believe that the company did extensive research and NAILED IT. I did NOT fondle the Grey Mouse-es, revealing that I am a poor reporter. I almost bought the glow in the dark bats, despite the fact that my wife's phobia could have led to a divorce. (Does that sound irrational? What if I tell you there were TEN of them in that package? Yeah. I'm not so stupid now, right?!)

From left-to-right: Spiders, Black Spiders, Glow Spiders, Glow Ants
I hate spiders. I have a great dislike, bordering on a phobia. (Scientifically, it's called "Spiderphobia".) And yet I love seeing oodles of fake plastic spiders. I will reverse my feelings on this the first time I reach to put a spider ring on, only to realize that it's a real spider. Not sure how this situation would ever occur, but I like to be positive and believe that anything is possible. Optimist.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Inflatable Costume from Ghostbusters
To me, one of the most fascinating things about Spirit Halloween - or any store, really - is trying to figure out how they made their decisions. The Stay Puft costume is a perfect example. Realize: Since this is an inflatable costume, this is a more recent design - they didn't have inflatables back in 1984. So someone, somewhere in recent years, had to think, "Let's put money into creating a Stay Puft costume to sell this year!" It's not like there's a new Ghostbusters movie out, or anything, either, to tie in this costume with a new mania for 'bustin. Why? Why is this costume?!

Then again, why am I questioning it when I love it so much? "If you love something, question it." That's a proverb, right?

Ditto this:

Slimer Inflatable Costume
T-Shirt Costumes: Batman, Wolverine, Super Girl
Sadly, they did not have any "This IS my costume" T-Shirts, but these were a close second. I almost bought the Wolverine one, even though I knew I'd never wear it outside of the house. (Too many people would mistake me for Hugh Jackman and I'm never be able to complete my errands, because of all the photo and autograph requests.)

Adult Bee Keeper Costume
After seeing hundreds of licensed-property costumes for kids and adults AND super-slutty costumes for adults and kids, I was super-heart-warmed to see that there is still a market for such sterile costumes for adults as this one. Yeah, some "clever" Blue Ribbon-drinking 20-something will transform this into a "Slutty Bee Keeper", somehow, but until then, I can imagine some adult out there having a simple, old-fashioned, non-slutty Halloween.

Bat With Light Up Eyes hanging thingy
I'm no biologist, but I'm not sure bats have hands like that. Though, if they do, it would explain why their clothes are all shredded up like that. And I'd be screaming mad, too, if every shirt I tried to pull on ended up in tatters. I think we all understand bats a little more, now. 

Giant Skull
Ever see those giant Santa Claus heads, around X-Mas time? This is what they look like, after the rats get to them, in the warehouse.

And then came an entire section of lawn ornaments. Each was a Halloween take on something that people with lawns often choose to place in their front yards:

Ghost Ducks
Zombie Gooses
Zombie Gnomeses
Zombies Cat
I don't have a yard, so I didn't buy any of these. Though ... I did buy an inflatable lawn mummy, last year. Hmm. Does the fact that I didn't buy any of these lawn decorations speak volumes about these lawn offerings, inherently? Nah, probably not. It does speak volumes about my inability to save up a down-payment for a house and I'm not getting any younger and do I want to rent for the rest of my life because renting is a fool's game SHUT UP, ADULT VOICE IN MY HEAD!

Trick-or-Treat Head Buckets
Another good example of how fascinating the decision-making process behind what this store carries must be. I mean, I get pumpkin pails (an evergreen that kids will demand year-after-year), but Darth Vader? Elmo?! Spiderman?!?! It's so delightful to imagine that there are meetings - whole meetings - about which characters to turn into candy buckets! 
"What licenses do we have?!" 
"Uh ... Spider-Man..." 
"Uh ... and Elmo..." 
"BUCKET IT!! Here, give me that list. *mutters* bucket bucket bucket ... Look, guys, most of these are buckets! What's next on the agenda?!"

Super Skins Body Suits
Skin-tight full-body suit? Sounds like a nightmare, but these are, apparently, a "thing". I once saw a kid wearing nothing but a red one of these and a Santa hat. He was on his way to the giant Santa Bar Crawl thing they do here in the city. I draw no conclusions from that story, nor should you. I just wanted to mention that I saw that and have not been able to wipe the image from my mind since. Spandex-clad junk is not something you forget. It's my Vietnam.

Scary Flying Ghost
The illustration belies the fact that this is probably nothing more than a bed sheet with some sharpie on it, yes, but it's still a zip-lining ghost! It's as if the ghost is on The Bachelorette and it's saying, "I NEEDED to do this, to get over my fear and show him that I CAN face my fears, so we can build a life together! Er... I mean, ooOOOOoOOooo!"

And then there was a HEAD SECTION:

Assorted Decapitated Heads
Assorted Decapitated Heads (But a Different Assortment Than The Others, But Still Heads)
Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... Alas, poor Yuric, I knew him well... etc. (Look, I know it was a crap joke, but I'm hoping the sheer VOLUME made you laugh.)

Hanging Spooky Things

Doesn't it look like that one just to the right of center is saying, "C'mere, you look like you need a hug!" and the one on the left is like, "Look, Jerry, just because they hung us next to each other doesn't mean we're friends!"?! And I SWEAR I didn't set that shot up! Crazy, but true.

Dead Baby Aisle
I really hope that at least once in every Spirit Halloween store an employee, straight-faced, has to say, "Linda? Could you straighten up the dead babies, before you go to lunch? Thanks!"

Somehow, we left this Halloween adventure land with almost nothing. (My wife bought socks.) Though, because it would go towards buying kids with cancer Halloween costumes (that's way better than cancer research, right?), we donated $2 and got these:

The Spirit of Children Glow-In-The-Dark Bracelets
THE SPIRIT OF CHILDREN?! Is that the best name for a cancer-kid charity?

It's still August.

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