Tag Archives: props

2017 Halloween Merchandise Review: Walmart

I’ve gone over the fun Halloween merchandise to be found at Home Depot and Lowe’s this year, so let’s move on to the next store on my list: Walmart.

Love it or hate it, I’m sure you have a Walmart near you, and I’m pretty sure you spend a buck or two here each week.  I, myself, spend many bucks, but that’s beside the point.

I might not love the place, but it still makes me happy to walk in and see their display.

No. It’s not spectacular or anything, but just look!  There are costumes, big bags of candy, decorations, orange, and black everywhere!  Really, anything Halloween gives me the warm fuzzies.

Walmart’s decorations are pretty run-of-the-mill, but they’d still be enough to really spookify your house inside and out.  Hanging ghosts, skeletons, tombstones, lighting, cobwebs – you’ve got all you need right here.

And they did have these two little skeletal garden gnomes that I was quite taken with.  I haven’t seen these anywhere else, so Walmart definitely wins the Halloween garden gnome race.  That should be a thing if it isn’t already.  Just look at these cool, little things.

They have a small selection of skeletons and skeleton animals.  Because who doesn’t these days?

Walmart also has a great selection of Halloween-themed hats to keep your ears warm when you’re trick-or-treating.  You know.  If you’re lucky, and it’s not still 80 degrees by the end of the month.  Cross your fingers, folks.

And Walmart also has a nice selection of non-costume Halloween makeup and nail art.  Here’s some of my favorites.

So, no, Walmart might not be crazy innovative in the Halloween department, but if you’re looking for crazy animatronics, go to Spirit Halloween or Halloween Express.

Next up on my review is Target, so check back soon.

2017 Halloween Merchandise Review: Lowe’s

Home improvement stores have really stepped up their game in the Halloween area these past few years.  I’ve been pretty impressed, and Lowe’s has a really nice assortment of yard decorations and lighting to choose from.  Let’s check out their offerings.

Just check out all the pretty things.

They’ve changed this display since they first started putting out Halloween items, but I really enjoyed the skeleton’s setup.  It’s like he’s saying, “Finally, it’s my time of year.”  Love it.

They have a few animatronics to choose from.  I especially like the American Gothic skeleton couple.

I actually got a video of the vamp lady doing her thang:

They also have some pretty awesome inflatables:

 

2017 Halloween Merchandise Review: Home Depot

I had the pleasure today to go to the clear front-runner in this year’s Halloween merchandise race.

Home Depot is just killing it again this year with their stuff.  Just look at this spread:

See that?  I couldn’t even get it all in one pic.

Of course they had your normal stuff: pumpkins, silly dancing toys, skeleton dogs, cats, and dinosaurs.

*Record Scratch*  Dinosaurs, you say?

How cool is that?  You can also see from the pic that they have a skeletal pony.  What you can’t see (because they didn’t have it in the store) is that they are also selling an 8-foot-tall T-Rex to go with the babies.  Yes, you can see them in museums, but now you can have one in your home.  That’s pretty sweet.

They also had this cool gargoyle:

These hanging ghouls:

And this creepy, thin, animatronic werewolf:

For value, I think this 3-pack of skulls for $9.98 is a steal.  Less than 4 dollars for a realistic-looking, good-sized skull is too good to pass up.

And this full-sized poseable skeleton for $29.98 is an excellent deal, too.

 

I also have to give Home Depot props (no pun intended) for bringing back the peeper decorations.  There were a few angry, easily-offended people that called from these to be removed from the shelf this year, and Home Depot decided to bring back – not only the original – but a few different versions.

They also had quite a few great animatronics.  Just check out the videos below:

Pretty cool, huh?

So there’s my rundown of what Home Depot has to offer this year.  I feel like it’s got a definite lead over the other home improvement store this year, which I’ll go over tomorrow.  Be sure to check back then!

Reaper Madness: How to Make an Easy Floating Ghost

Nothing dresses up a yard at Halloween time more than a floating ghost.  Stores carry these guys plus floating zombies, monsters, and clowns, but they can get pretty pricey for some reason.  Luckily for you, these are crazy easy to make.  Please follow along, class.

First, as with all projects, you need to gather your materials.

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For your floating ghost, you will need the following:

  • A plastic skull
  • Creepy cloth
  • String
  • A wire hanger
  • Foam pipe cover
  • Pliers
  • Box cutter (not pictured)
  • Duct tape (not pictured)

You can buy a skull and creepy cloth from Dollar Tree, so this project is not only easy; it’s insanely cheap.  The foam pipe cover is pretty inexpensive, too.  You can get a package at any hardware store for a couple of bucks.  They actually sell white foam cover, too, but for this project I went with the dark gray.

After you’ve gathered your items, you need to make holes in the top and bottom of your skull.  Cut a small hole in the top and one that’s a little larger in the bottom.  You won’t be able to see them when you’re finished, so don’t worry about being exactly even.

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Next up, it’s time to make the shoulders (yes, your ghost will have shoulders) and attach it to the head.   My wire hanger was one with the cardboard middles, so I’d recommend using the same kind.  If you only have a full wire hanger, you’ll need to untwist the hanger and shape it so you have a hook in the middle.

Straighten out the sides of your hanger to make the shoulders of your ghost.

Add the foam pipe to the shoulders on each side and secure in the middle with duct tape.  Use outdoor duct tape for the best results.  That stuff works miracles.

imageTie your string together to make a circle, and thread it through the bottom of your head up through the top hole or vice versa.  Take the hook of the hanger and thread it through the string from the bottom hole.

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After you hook the string, pull it through to secure your ghost.  Add a few small pieces of duct tape to the top hole to keep the string from dropping through.  When you’re finished, it will look like this:

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Your last step is adding the creepy cloth.  Just drape it over the ghost’s shoulders and head, threading the string through a hole in the cloth to secure it.  You can add as much or as little as you want depending on how transparent you want your ghost to be.

Tada!!!  Your ghost is finished!

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Doesn’t he look cool?  It was so easy that I plan on making a few more.

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So there you go.  You just made a cool decoration for your yard.  And the beauty of this little project is that you can change it up quite easily.  You can do all sorts of variations to make different kinds of ghosts or other types of monsters.  Paint the head with glow paint.  Use a foam head with a mask.  Add lights.  Use cheesecloth instead of creepy cloth.  Add hands.  Use longer, stronger wire to make a gigantic creature.  There are so many possibilities.  Not to go self-help on you, but the only thing limiting yourself is you.

I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message through the contact page.  Happy Haunting!

Corpsing A Skeleton: An Easy Guide

I just discovered my favorite Halloween DIY project today: corpsing a skeleton.  I’d been hesitant to try it before because I’d only seen tutorials that used sticky adhesive or latex, and I’m cheap enough to not want to “mess up” one of my skeletons.  But after finding a tutorial online that only involved plastic sheeting, a heat gun, and some stain and realizing that I can pick up a new skeleton any time I need, I decided to try it out.

It’s way simpler than I thought it would be, and I love the results.  If you have a skull or skeleton or even just a bone lying around, you should seriously think about giving corpsing a try.

First off, let’s talk supplies.

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To corpse a skeleton or skeleton part, you need the following:

  • Skeleton/skull/bone
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Heat gun
  • Spray adhesive (optional)
  • Varnish (assorted colors)
  • Box cutter/scissors
  • Rubber gloves

Speaking of heat guns, just look at this beauty I picked up this weekend, care of a well-timed gift card to Lowe’s from my husband.  He’s a good man.

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I’m going to go through this step-by-step as if you’re doing a full skeleton, but you can use the technique for whatever part your corpsing.

If you opt to use spray adhesive (and I highly recommend that you do), lightly spray the torso of your skeleton.  Cut a section of drop cloth to the length of the torso, and start wrapping.  You can wrap the full plastic around the torso at one time, or you can wrap in sections.

After you’ve wrapped the torso of your skeleton, it’s time to break out the heat gun.  Focus the heat gun on the plastic, making sure not to stay in one area too long (you don’t want to melt your skeleton).  You should also focus the heat on different sections of your plastic to melt holes strategically around your skeleton.  Corpses don’t rot neatly (I should know), and you don’t want your nasty guy looking too Martha Stewart perfect.  Play around with it.  If you don’t like what you see, add more plastic, and melt it again.

Repeat on each section of the skeleton.  I recommend going in the following order:

  1. Torso
  2. Arms
  3. Legs
  4. Pelvis (overlapping the legs)
  5. Shoulders (overlapping the torso and arms)
  6. Neck
  7. Skull

This is what your skeleton should look like after torso and arms wrapped and shrunk.

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For the hands and feet, you need to use your box cutter or scissors to cut the plastic around the fingers and toes.  Then, shrink the cut plastic around the smaller bones.

When adding plastic to your skull, it’s much harder to wrap like the other areas, so this is where the spray adhesive really comes in handy.  Take smaller squares of the plastic and spray lightly with the adhesive.  Smash the sprayed plastic on the skull without keeping it straight.  It looks best when it isn’t perfectly flat.  Add heat, and when it looks right to you, you’re finished.

Next is my favorite part of any project: making it pretty!

Using a foam brush, dab whatever color of stain you’re using to the plastic on your skeleton.  You can use any combo of colors you want.  I went with a red and dark brown combo because I wanted my corpse to have that human-jerky look.

After dabbing color on a section, use a paper towel to smear and spread the stain around to hide any brush marks and blend your colors.  When you’re finished and the stain is dry, dry-brush the full skeleton to highlight the sinewy effect of the melted plastic.  I used a moss green here, and I really liked the result.

These are some other color combos you can use:

  • Bloody corpse: red stain with a little black stain added; bright red dry-brushing
  • Toxic corpse: green, gray, and black stains; lime green dry-brushing
  • Buried corpse: light tan and brown stains; black dry-brushing
  • Burnt corpse: dark brown and black stains with red highlights; orange dry-brushing
  • Moldy corpse: green, brown, and tan stains; light green/blue dry-brushing

Play around with it.  There are so many different kinds of paints and stains out there that you can get any look you want.

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And here’s a close-up of my guy.  The pic really doesn’t do him justice.  He’s much better in person, and I’ve already gotten quite a few compliments.

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I really hope my newfound corpsing enthusiasm takes some of the trepidation out of corpsing your own props.  I also had a little fun corpsing a Dollar Tree skull, but I’m saving that for another post.  Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or just send me a pic of your project!

2016 Halloween Merchandise Review: Dollar Tree

Oh, Dollar Tree, what would I do without you?

If you’re looking to decorate your whole house for Halloween and throw a party from scratch, I beg you to go to Dollar Tree to check out their awesome merchandise.  As the name implies, everything is $1, and you would be amazed at how good their Halloween selection is.

Just check out this awesomeness:

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They’ve got tombstones, cemetery fences, signs, holographic pictures, candy dishes, party plates, costumes, door hangers, napkins, treats, props, and so much more.

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If you’re looking for some fun party favors or treat bags, go here first.

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They have some great skeleton and skull merchandise.  No, they don’t have a full-size skeleton prop like some of the bigger stores, but they do have skulls, bone hands, and other items.  C’mon.  It’s all $1.

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Also, if you need to get creepy cloth, they have different colors to choose from.  It’s usually $3-$5 at most stores, so it’s definitely a deal here.

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I was also pretty impressed by their spider, rat, and bat selection this year.  Quite lovely.

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I’ll end my short review of my favorite cheap store by talking a little bit about the tongs below.  I bought a pair of these last year.  Target was selling something similar for $15, so these are a damn good deal.  Buy them. Buy five.

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If you didn’t get it already, I’m kinda in love with Dollar Tree’s Halloween stuff.  Another cool thing about this store is that the items can be dressed up or repurposed in Halloween crafts or other props since everything is so cheap.  I’ll even be doing a few posts about using Dollar Tree stuff in your Halloween decor.

So if you’re wondering where to go to start your decorating, run to Dollar Tree as fast as your little legs can take you.

2016 Halloween Merchadise Review: Gordman’s

Gordman’s has never been a big draw for me for Halloween merchandise because it usually only has the cutesier items just for decoration.  If you’re looking for just home decor items, you should check them out because they have a pretty good selection.  I was pleasantly surprised that they had an actual prop this year – even if it was a little overpriced.

It seems like there was more of a limited selection this year than for previous Halloweens, but they still had a pretty good mix of items:

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They had some pretty cool pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns for general fall decorating.  I especially liked the black/white and gold variety two pics below:

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A few items were less cute and more scary.  Check out these zombie and ghoul stand ups in the pic below.  They stood about 2 feet tall each, so they wouldn’t be considered a real prop, but they’re pretty cool.

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As always, skeleton and skull items get my attention faster than anything else, so you can imagine that I kinda fell in love with this little guy.  I might catch him when I do my post-Halloween discount shopping.

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Although I don’t like cute Halloween items as a general rule, I do love me a good countdown clock.  This one was pretty cool:

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And as I said before, they actually had a full-size prop this year.  Check out this bad boy:

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I got up close and personal with him to get a good pic of his face.  I really like the detail.

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With the exception of the prop, everything was reasonably priced.  I’d compare the prices to TJ Maxx and Home Goods.  The prop itself was priced at a little over $200, which for a prop that only lights up and doesn’t move, is a little too much.

2016 Halloween Merchandise Review: Home Goods

Home Goods always has a great Halloween selection, and they didn’t disappoint this year.  If you’re not familiar with Home Goods, it’s basically a bigger, fancier home section of TJ Maxx.  They even carry some of the same stuff, which makes sense because they have the same parent company. And like TJ Maxx, their prices are pretty sweet.

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When I first walked in, I was greeted by this cool display:

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I especially loved this tall grim reaper figure.  Most of their items are more decorative in nature, so they don’t have many things that could be used as props in a haunted house or yard.  But this handsome guy here  would look right at home in any cemetery scene.

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As you can see in the pic below, they had a wide variety of decorations, from the cool and creepy to the glam and cute.

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These skulls were also some of my favorites.  Yeah.  I know.  Surprise, surprise.  I liked the skulls.

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Of course, they had pumpkins of all types and colors for those that want to steer their decorating to the fall side of things.

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One thing I thought was really cool at Home Goods was the types of decorative skulls they had (again with the skulls!).  Just look at some of the different kinds in the photos below:

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There was also one that was copper instead of silver and one that was completely jewel encrusted.  I tried taking a picture of the jeweled skull, but my camera turned it into a sparkly blob.

And this little guy with his Burton-esque vibe had me almost getting out my debit card…but I stayed strong.  I can’t go spending all my Halloween moneys this early in the game.

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I would definitely check out Home Goods for your Halloween decorating needs, especially if you’re looking for more decorative items instead of actual props.  They had quite a few unique items that I truly liked.

Plus, if you’re throwing a Halloween party and want to stay away from paper goods, they have a ton of plates, cups, and food serving items to choose from.  Just check out the selection in the pics below:

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I’m pretty sure I’ll end up with that cheese plate at some point.

Make sure to check out my other Halloween merchandise reviews to know exactly where to shop to fulfill your needs.  Also, make sure to follow me on Facebook for blog updates and additional pictures of Halloween products.

2016 Halloween Merchandise Review: Home Depot

Well, I had the pleasure of going to Home Depot yesterday, and yet again, they have KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE FREAKIN’ PARK.

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Last year was the first time I really took notice of Home Depot’s Halloween decorations, and I think that’s because they had just seriously upped their Halloween game.  I’d been looking forward to this year’s display, and I wasn’t disappointed.

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They have a wide selection of prop items from fake lanterns and jack o’ lanterns to bone animals and animatronics.  And everything is priced pretty reasonably, too.

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Check out this cool Frankenstein’s monster:

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He wasn’t plugged in, but he lights up and says a few phrases.

They, of course, had a great display of animatronics.  My favorite was the dragon.  She flaps her wings and just looks pretty badass in general.

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As you can see in the second picture of the post, there were a lot of smaller prop items.  My favorite was this guy just because he’s pretty unique:

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That would be a great prank to pull on someone, too.  Imagine if you were to go to someone’s house to watch horror movies and secretly placed that outside their window until the perfect moment where you say you heard something outside the window and they go to check, move back the curtain, and promptly piss their pants.

You can tell that I’ve thought about this.

I really liked their hanging items.  A few lit up and talked, and they were only $19.98.  That’s pretty awesome.

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This cool trio of witches wasn’t lit up when I went, but I thought they were fun.

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I also liked this guy:

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Home Depot also has more light show items this year.  If you don’t know what those are, they are light stakes that project creepy shapes or lights on any surface you choose.  They’re great to supplement a sparse spot of your yard or house.

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So should you go to Home Depot to check out their Halloween stuff?  Yes.  You should run there.

Where to Buy Halloween Merchandise

I was out on the town this weekend, and I was happy to see that so many stores are already putting out their Halloween items!  Spirit Halloween and Halloween Express have still not opened their doors for the season yet (at least not here), and Walmart and Target are still peddling school supplies, but never fear!  You can  satisfy your Halloween shopping fix by visiting the following stores:

Hobby Lobby: They might not have a lot of truly creepy items, but if you’re looking for cutesy stuff, Hobby Lobby has you covered.

Michaels: My favorite thing about Michael’s Halloween merchandise is their cool Spookytown Village miniatures.  Minis make me happy.  Plus, Michael’s also has a lot of cool small props, decorative items, and craft supplies.

JoAnn: I love JoAnn’s skeleton animals.  This year they have two different kinds of dogs, cats, owls, and vultures.

Kirkland’s:  This is another one that doesn’t have any really creepy stuff, but, like Hobby Lobby, if you want cutesy, Kirkland’s has it.

TJ Maxx: Skulls, skulls, skulls.  I love the variety of decorative skulls and skeletons TJ Maxx has.  Check out my review of their 2016 merchandise here!

Home Goods: They have some similar stuff to TJ Maxx, which makes sense seeing as they have the same parent company, but check it out anyway even if you have both in your town.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’m slowly working on reviewing all of the merchandise at each of these stores, so I’ll post them as I finish them.  My favorite so far has been Michael’s.  I’ll post some pics soon.