Thursday, October 19, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19

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 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.


Smurfwreck said...

There might be a Mariachi Skeleton guy left at the store near me. My e-mail is

Kirk D. said...

I totally agree that it was the greatest Halloween campaign ever!
It was done by my all time favorite design firm Charles Spencer Anderson..
I took a bunch of pictures back in the day and I plan on blogging about it sometime.

I actually got to talk with Mr. Anderson about a month ago and one of the things I asked him was if they had plans to do any future Target Halloweens. He said they had drawn up proposals but Target basically said "We've done you." They think they must consult a different design firm each year. (even though I'm confident that CSA would have done a very different and amazing job if given the chance)

Back in the day I asked Target if I could buy one of those giant masks and they said no. They said they were donating them to a local school I'll bet money that the school didn't do a thing with them. I've seen them go on ebay for lots of cash. I sure hope I can afford one someday (especially Frankenstein).

Steven Altis said...

Target stores only just started showing up in my neck of the woods a couple of years ago (that's right, I live in northern Siberia) and every Halloween I just get all gloomy and depressed thinking about how many cool Target Halloween promotions I've missed over the years. Those giant masks are amazing and really hit right at the nostalgic heart of your average Halloween fanboy. If there's an Oscar for in-store promotions I hope that CSA took it home that year.

Rozum said...

Kirk, I had similar results trying to get one of those Frankenstein masks. They didn't give me the same reasoning, but I was told no. Maybe I should have offered the manager a bribe.

I hope to have one some day. I'd love to center one of those on a wall and surround it by regular sized vinyl plastic masks.

Nemo, I feel your pain. for a long time I lived away from one. I remeber seeing an ad where they were selling these great, I'm guessing resin, reproductions of classic halloween buckets of the 1920s and 30s. They had a cat, skull, and jack o'lantern. I was finally able to get some one to look for me and scored two jack o'lanterns, but still haven't come across the others.

smurfwreck, I'm sending you an email now.

Trevour said...

That definitely was a great campaign. Has it been 3 years already?!?

As a MN resident (home of Target Corp.) I've had Targets around all my life. Except I don't remember the extravagent halloween decor when I was younger - let alone the stylish displays. Or was it that I just didn't pay attention? It seems they started to get better with these campaigns within the past decade.

And John, great content you've been posting! I haven't had much time to check out your blog (been busy with a new caricature gig for the holiday season). A bit late, but excellent work on the library display, from all the pictures I've seen! I'm sure everyone loves it!

Rozum said...

Thanks, Trevour. As always, it's good to see you back. I'm gld you're keeping busy, but miss seeing new stuff posted at your blog.

Lance Uppercut said...

After Halloween '03 I managed to snag four of those giant plastic display masks. Frank Monster, Princess, Clown and Fireman have adorned my studio wall ever since.

Viva La Dumpster Dive!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a Frankenstein head for sale or for trade? I have a Black Cat head and the Bear I would be willing to trade. contact me at

Anonymous said...

Where can i get the witch floating in Crystal ball?

John Rozum said...

Eight years ago you could get it at Target. Now ebay is probably your best bet.

Rene Bevan said...

I have the clown. I got it from a thrift store a few years ago. I didn't even know what I was buying.