Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wreck the Halls with Bowels of Ghoulies 2017

Okay, I didn't really wrap up this season's posts.  I'll finish with these shots from this year's haunt.  Pretty much the same as last year, with the addition of a new "Grave-in" Theater theme. 

Happy Days Die(cut)ssected

Welcome to Day 31, and you know what that means. It's Halloween! Every year when I post my first Countdown, I can't imagine how I'll come up with a post for every day, but here we are. I hope I've added a little to the spirit of the season.

Growing up, my love of both Halloween and television blended in the month of October with the Halloween specials of my favorite shows. Back then, it seemed every show paid their respect to the season with injections of orange and black and ghosts and goblins.

One of my favorites is the 1974 "Haunted" episode of "Happy Days". I make it a point to re-watch it every year.

During this year's viewing, I took special notice of the decorations used in the show. Although the show is set in the 1950's, popular Halloween decorations of the early 1970's from companies such as Beistle and Peck are used. I decided to freeze frame scenes in the episode and identify as many as I could.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sounds of Terror (and Bad Acting)

I found this record at an otherwise unassuming estate sale over the summer.  The majority of the contents of the sale (and there wasn't that much) was modern.  This record was sitting by itself in a bedroom.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Another Dynamite Poster

As a follow up to my previous Dynamite poster, I present this one done by fantasy artist Walter Velez. I don't think there's anything hidden in this poster, but if you're looking for some kind of challenge, count the number of eyes you see. Okay, that's not much of a challenge. Maybe try counting them in the dark.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Night with a Cassette Tape

While the '60's and '70's kid got his Halloween sound scares from vinyl (probably played on mom and dad's Hi-Fi), the 80's kid could listen to them privately on his Walkman.

The 1980's saw an explosion of cheaply produced Halloween sound effects compilations released on cassette tape. Most were rehashed tracks from past records, some were direct swipes from competitors' tapes. 


Friday, October 27, 2017

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Having read some of my posts, you might begin to think I was a deprived child, living vicariously through the toys of my neighbors and friends. And indeed, I never had as many or as expensive of toys as my friends (I'm sure many kids felt that way). But every once in a while, my parents would come through.

Somewhere around Christmas of 1976, I received a gift for which I'm fairly certain I hadn't asked.  In fact, recently browsing Wishbookweb, I couldn't even find a page in either the Sears nor J.C. Penney's catalogs (our staple of Christmas toy perusal) displaying this toy.  But under the tree that Christmas Eve I unwrapped a Hasbro "Ghost Gun".

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Weebles Wobble...And They Glow in the Dark!

I had two toy nemeses growing up.  One was my best friend from grade school and the other was my younger neighbor.  They always seemed to have the best toys.

I remember walking into their house one weekend morning (yes, walked right in. I was the Dennis the Menace to their Mr. Wilson) and found their son who was a few years younger than me playing with this:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


My daughter and I were browsing through some vintage Halloween-themed commercials on Youtube a few weeks ago when we came across this commercial from 1986.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halloween Clubbing

I found this toy club at an estate sale last year for 50 cents.  At first glance, it seemed like a pretty cheap toy, being made of hollow blown plastic.  It was clearly Halloween related, so I picked it up.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Top Ten-ish Worst Vintage Halloween Costumes

I found this costume in a box lot of masks and costumes last year. I had no idea what it was supposed to be, but a little Googling revealed it to be an American Greetings "Urchin". They already owned the rights to "Holly Hobby", so I'm not sure why they felt they needed another character in this style.  But apparently, they also thought it needed to be a Halloween costume.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The New Guess Who Halloween

Frankly, I didn't expect to find such an unintenionally freaky story in a Dick and Jane book, but here it is. From 1963, it's "The New Guess Who". Enjoy.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Frankenstein -- Universal Truth

This 1972 postcard from Universal Studios presents a universal (pun intended) truth about Frankenstein: Kids love him.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Jack O' Lantern Whirly Toy

I had a variety of these whirly toys when I was a kid, but I don't believe I ever had a Halloween-themed one.  I found this with the original box about a month ago.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Melted Plastic Popcorn Witch

During the earlier part of summer this year, I was driving home from my sister-in-law's house in the city of St. Louis when I spotted this sticking out of the top of a dumpster.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

13 Black Cats

In hindsight, I should have posted this last Friday.

This pack of Peck "13 Black Cats" die cuts was still sealed when I found it. However, the staples were barely clinging to the plastic, so I didn't feel too bad opening it. The die cuts are flocked for that fuzzy feel.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wacky Memories

These days for Halloween treats, people favor handing out pre-packaged candies; the treat you receive from one house indistinguishable from the next.  When I Trick or Treated as a kid, I might receive a candy bar at one house, a comic book at another, and wax Wowe-e Whistles, money, popcorn balls or apples at others. One of my earliest Trick or Treating memories when I was around 7 involved what I thought was an odd treat at the time, but in hind sight was pretty cool and appropriate. I received this Wacky Packages sticker.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Busy Bee Holiday Fun

Have some Holiday Fun coloring this Trick or Treat picture. Halloween is coming.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ripley's Believe It or Not True Ghost Stories

This copy of Ripley's Believe It or Not True Ghost Stories comic was among the coverless comics I picked up a while back. It features four stories of Comics Code approved horror (translation, not horror). But as it turns out, the comic does have justification in calling these "true ghost stories" as at least a couple are in fact based on true legends.

"The Weeping Ghost" tells the story of the murder of King Charles II's illegitimate son by his mistress Nell Gwyn.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Dynamite Count Morbida Poster

This poster was included in an issue I picked up of Scholastic Books' "Dynamite Magazine", the "People" magazine for the 1970's and 80's prepubescent crowd.  Each month brought a celebrity spotlight along with jokes, cartoons, magic tricks, child psychology advice (I'm not kidding) and puzzles.  One of the featured puzzles was hosted by an insult-spewing vampire called "Count Morbida".  This poster features Morbida's girlfriend, "Horibella", his dog "Transylvester" and many of the Count's friends.  What may not be immediately evident is it also features Count Morbida himself among a host of bats, mummies and other critters hiding throughout the trees and sky.  I counted 9 bats, 2 mummies, and 2 witches and the Count.  Have fun finding them.

Count Morbida was drawn by Arthur Friedman, a Hasidic Jewish illustrator from Brooklyn. There's not much about him on the internet (except that he was a Hasidic Jewish illustrator from Brooklyn). He drew for a few children's educational books as well as illustrated the children's book "Hershel of Ostropol" about a Jewish folk hero.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


The sight of this VHS tape at a recent garage sale brought back memories of one of my childhood Kindertraumas

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Halloween Throw

This is out of line with the usual "finds" I post, but I thought this Halloween throw blanket (actually I found 2) I picked up for 50 cents was pretty cool. It's not vintage, but has that look. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Magic Secrets

I previously wrote about my childhood love of magic and magicians, my desire to learn its secrets and how Scholastic Books fed into that desire with doses of disappointment.  "Magic Secrets" was another book I bought as a child in the hope that maybe, just maybe, this one would finally come through.  It didn't.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Haunted Operation

It's 1977 and I'm playing with my neighbor who's a couple years younger than me.  He pulls out this game that looks like Operation (you know, the one where you disembowel a drunken, naked man with tweezers), but this has a completely cool and different design (I swear that kid had everything). The premise is you "dig" for treasures while being careful not to wake the Sea Captain's Ghost (a buzzing red light).  I remember loving the art on the game and the box. I'm not sure what happened to the game, because I don't remember ever playing it again.  For years, I wondered what the heck that game was.  I came across it at a garage sale this past year.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Giant Jiggling Spiders!

What this spider lacks in action compared to my previous spider, it makes up in size.  Measuring 6 inches long and 10 inches across, this rubber jiggler is also a squeaker (squeeze his abdomen) and is ready to scare (or at least amuse) your Halloween guests.  He's made in Hong Kong and probably dates from the 1970's.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Phantom and His Visiting Fiends...er...Friends

It's another postcard today. This one from a set of Universal Studio postcards.

Since the original was a black and white movie, I guess it's open to interpretation, but I don't think The Phantom (who's name was "Erik" by the way) was blue.  The general consensus was he was born disfigured and was extremely pale from living in hiding for years.  "The Phantom of the Opera" is receiving a reboot this year courtesy of (or discourtesy based on "The Mummy") Universal's Dark Universe.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Funny Bones

I recall one Halloween in high school, back in those magical years known as "the '80's", when a friend (you know who you are) showed up to school with this guy tucked in his pocket.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Witchy Women

I was at the annual Canterbury Subdivision sale in Affton (where participation dwindles with each passing year) and spotted what was clearly a newer, clear Jack O' Lantern plastic container, something that probably contained pretzels or some snack like that.  But this one contained some smaller Halloween decorations. I might have ignored it, but I saw a smaller version of the Wilton witch cake topper I wrote about here pressed up against the inside. Upon further examination, I saw it was a whole family of witches, 5 in all.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Good Halloween Fun with Billy and his Neighbors

If you've followed this blog for a while, you know I'm a sucker for kid lit.  I enjoy both children's fiction as well as classroom books.  All the better when they include a little Halloween.  

"Billy's Neighbors" dates from 1957 and attempts to steer children away from their natural devilish ways.  Rather than vandalizing their neighbor's house and property this year, their teacher Miss Dale persuades her students to make posters with positive statements like "Think of Others on Halloween" and "Do Good on Halloween". Booorrrring.  Wait until Billy finds where his parents hid the cherry bombs and eggs.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Russ Jumping Spider

This jumping spider novelty was produced by the Russ Berrie company, probably in the 1970's.  Russ, known mainly for their trolls, also marketed novelty items like this spider.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Halloween Reflections

When I was a kid, I took many superstitions seriously.  I always put on my left shoe first (good luck), I never stepped on a crack (and my mother's back thanks me), I never rooted for the home team (jinx), and my constant personal challenges (if I don't catch this ball 10 times in a row before the next car goes by, I'll fail the math test) bordered on obsessive compulsive. I wonder if kids today believe in any superstitions or if the age of information has wiped those clean.  That would be a shame.

I found this turn-of-the-last-century Halloween postcard at an estate sale this past year.  I was surprised to find it as it was mixed in with a lot of other travel postcards not nearly as old. Plus it was priced the same as the others at $1. It shows a popular superstition of the era: If you take a candle and look in a mirror at midnight on Halloween, you will see the reflection of your future spouse.  What he's doing in your bedroom at Midnight is none of my business.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Halloween -- It's My Bag, Baby, One Mo' Time

I know another year, same old lame joke.  But as long as I keep finding Trick or Treat bags, I'm going to use it. Like this one!

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