Back in 2003, if you walked into a Target at this time of year, you would have seen something like this. As far as I'm concerned this was the best Halloween campaign by any retailer in ages.
Here's what they have this year. It's not as impressive by any means, but overall, when it comes to picking up cool Halloween decorations, Target still rules.
This year, they have divided their Halloween decorations into four categories; "Harvest Hollow", which is essentially more or less realistic pumpkins, squashes, etc., for people who want to decorate for the season but without bringing Halloween into it. In other words, people whose houses need to be egged and toilet papered.
"Creepy Cottage", seen here in the abundance of pebbly translucent rubber jack o'lanterns as well as skulls and ghosts. These items are brightly colored and friendly. Eh.
"Festival of Fright", an El Dia De Los Muertos meets Tim Burton inspired section full of nicely designed paper plates, luminara, etc.
I picked up this large luminescent skull, which could easily serve as a waste paper basket. Apparently, there were also really nice Day of the Dead style mariachi skeletons, though I never saw them. If anyone has a Target near them still stocking these, please let me know.
"Macabre Mansion" ie; Disney's Haunted Mansion rip-off. This was pretty much some pseudo paintings with voice chips in them and eyes that opened and mouths that opened and stuck out their tongues, a trio of talking, cackling busts, and two different crystal balls with a choice of either a skull, or witch head that moves and speaks inside.
The busts are actually pretty cool. I picked up the old lady, and plan to get the other two. I only wish they'd break out in a chorus of "Grim Grinning Ghosts."
The animated spirit ball with the skull was pretty cool, but the witch head was hands down the best. It's very effective, and I'm still amazed that I can have a somewhat animatronic floating witch head in a crystal ball, with synched voice and lip movements and lights, all for under $40.00. This would have been unheard of back when I was a kid.
If you're looking for authentic Haunted Mansion decorations, and have a deep pocket book, then Disney Store.com was the place to go. They offered the trio of hitchhiking ghosts as light up figures, graves for at least two of them, the haunted mansion sign as a plaque, and the bride with light up heart. Unlike Target, these were not cheap. Each of the light up hitchhikers was $169.00. Gus, the one remaining figure in their outlet store has been marked down to $69.00, as has the bride.
If they'd been less expensive, I'd have snapped up the entire lot. As it is, I feel that it's just price gouging of dedicated Haunted Mansion collectors, and passed. They do look great though.