The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

October 31, 2010

Scary For All the Wrong Reasons: The First Ever Sledgehammer Halloween Kitsch Roundup

Filed under: Random Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 2:25 am

Some of my favorite Blog posts that I’ve done on this site have been the ones covering some of the dubious merchandise inflicted upon an unsuspecting populace in the name of the various holidays that occur throughout the course of the year.  Valentine’s Day has been by far the most abundant source of material (read: the biggest offender) but Easter and Christmas have also been rich sources of questionable kitsch as well.  Nonetheless, over the three-plus years that I have been blogging here, the one big candy holiday that has eluded this site has been Halloween.  Part of this is because I really don’t do Halloween for the most part.  Since I grew out of trick-or-treating back when people rode unconvincingly costumed dinosaurs around the neighborhood collecting candy (with about twelve razor blades in each piece, no less)  I have mostly just ignored Halloween, aside from a token annual pumpkin carving session (the results of which usually range from mediocre to disastrous) and the acquisition of a bag or two of candy which, aside from the few pieces that go to the 2 or 3 trick-or-treaters I usually get, usually ends up contributing to what I’m sure is going to be a humongous payout to a dentist someday. 

Nonetheless, anyone who’s been through the Halloween aisles at your friendly neighborhood mega-mart knows that there’s no shortage of dubious Halloween merchandise out there.  If I was so inclined, I could probably get plenty of material out of just the ridiculous costumes they’re trying to pass off these days, but I think I’m just going to skip those.  After making a brief visit to one of the various fly-by-night Halloween stores that seems to pop up around this time of year I concluded that virtually every costume in the store was slutty, and that was just the stuff for guys.  Fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be) there’s plenty of other Halloween stuff out there that is, as the title of this post implies, scary for all the wrong reasons.  You’ll find the first (and quite possibly last) ever Sledgehammer Halloween Kitsch Roundup after the jump.

Halloween is a holiday rich in various traditions in one form or another, including the time-honored tradition of throwing eggs as the houses of various people you happen to dislike for one reason or another.  This, of course, tends to be frowned upon by various state and local authorities and parents everywhere, for obvious reasons.  Thanks to the miracles of modern science we now have reusable, eco-friendly throwing eggs that can be peeled off the wall and reused over and over again.  This obviously misses the whole point of throwing eggs at people’s houses, but at least there’s a chance you won’t be calling your parents from the back of a police car with one of these.

I think at some point I’ve already been over the questionable logic of wrapping various forms of caution tape all over one’s place of business in the name of Halloween decorating, and the mixed messages that may be sending to your customers in the process.  Even so, it seems that most people haven’t figured that out, and it’s becoming an all-too-common phenomenon around this time of year, as you can see here.  Then again, what would make this truly scary is if they had the health inspectors doing the decorating for them.

Wait…  How are these supposed to work?  Last time I checked, you’re not supposed to actually look at the bottom of a cupcake wrapper unless you happen to want to wear a generous dollop of frosting for some unknown reason.   And even if you do, what are you supposed to do when you see that, scream in panic?  Then again, you might actually be able to get these to work if you’d just put spiders on the bottom of the cake cups.  Real ones, of course, or the whole thing just looks silly.

Ah, the famous animatronic Halloween grabby-hand candy bowl.  Ever since these started being produced a few years ago, they’ve now started showing up everywhere you look.  Which, quite frankly, ruins the whole effect.  By now, I’m sure just about every kid out there over the age of four has been through the whole routine about six dozen times.  There’s a bowl full of candy, you reach in to get a piece and the hand grabs at you accompanied by a genre-appropriate  lo-fi spooky sound bite.  Yeah, it might get them the first time or two, but by now, I suspect virtually every trick-or-treater out there can see this one coming a mile away.

And if you can see the tricks coming from a mile away, why not try collecting treats from the same distance?  Sure, you’ll probably look like an ungrateful little snob when you’re using one of these, but at least you probably won’t get the Swine Flu.  Or whatever the current popular epidemic happens to be at the moment.  I’ve haven’t been keeping up with the popular communicable diseases lately, so you’ll have to excuse my ignorance on this one.

Oh, and don’t forget the cheesy animatronic dancing skeletons.  After all, if a holiday doesn’t come accompanied by an appropriate set of cheesy animatronic dancing something-or-others, it’s not a real holiday, right?  Unless it’s the Fourth of July, of course.  Then you can get away with cheesy explosive dancing something-or-others instead.

If you’re looking for something a little lower tech, there’s a fine (sort of) selection of Halloween nutcrackers that apparently got on the wrong bus and showed up on the shelves two months early.  Since the stores haven’t quite gone into wall-to-wall Christmas mode yet, they had to find some way to make them look appropriately seasonal.  Maybe if the trend catches on they can even reanimate the corpse of Pyotr Tchaikovsky and have him write an appropriately seasonal sequel to the Nutcracker.  Then again, when was the last time you had to crack nuts on Halloween anyway?  Aside from that time you went trick-or-treating at the creepy health nut lady’s house down the street, that is.

If there’s one day out of the year when it’s actually OK to have some skeletons in the closet, it’s Halloween (unless you’re a politician who happens to be running for reelection in less than a week) and there’s no shortage of skeletons out there with which your closet may be outfitted.  Some of them are even quite realistic.  This one, in spite of its labeling, isn’t one of them. Then again, given how much a realistic skeleton that’s actually realistic costs, this is probably about as close as you’re going to manage for your little Halloween shindig.


Then again, if you’re not picky about realism, you’ve got plenty of options, including these skeletons in five designer colors.  All of which will clash with the decor of any room that’s been painted at any time since the Reagan administration.

Some of the other skeletons serve as a friendly reminder that the true meaning of Halloween is a convenient excuse to dress up in insipid costumes and get yourself completely plastered.  Or something like that.  Judging from the contents of some of the above mentioned fly-by-night Halloween stores, the whole thing’s basically one big frat party, but with slightly fewer Greek letters involved.  After all, there’s no chance that any of this stuff is going to end up on Facebook, right?

So you’ve got your decorations, now you need some sort of costume.  Or at least some sort of non-infringing No-Celebrities-Were-Harmed wig to pull off the look.  Fortunately, in a pinch the “Billionaire” wig looks like it could also double in low light as the hard-to-find turban for that “Genie of Questionable Character” costume you’ve been working on. 

Um…  Wait a minute, wasn’t there a restraining order issued against this type of thing?  (Too soon?)

If your Halloween parties tend to involve reenactments of Beastie Boys videos, they’ve got you covered.

But sometimes, all you really need is a pair of Very Evil Eyes.  For those times when Moderately Evil Eyes just won’t cut it, but you’ve not quite reached the point of needing Extremely Evil Eyes.  And Ridiculously Evil Eyes are right out. 

Oh, and before you head out for an evening of haunting, don’t forget to carve a pumpkin.  Personally, I think I’m good for about one pumpkin a year before I completely run out of ideas and remember just how much of a pain scooping out pumpkin goop and messing around with one of those cramptastic pumpkin saw thingies gets to be.  So why not save yourself the trouble and automate the  process (or at least part of the process?)  Sure, you’re about 27% more likely to put an eye out with this thing than you would be otherwise, but at least you’ll do it a lot faster than you would with the hand tools.

And speaking of the latest innovations in pumpkin technology, there’s this brand new pumpkin powered light.  Surely years of research and development has harnessed the power of science to make our Jack-O-Lanterns power themselves…

…Oh wait.  Never mind.  Turns out it’s powered by standard AAA batteries.  Then again, I suppose that “AAA Battery Powered Light With Some Sort of Vague Pumpkin Functionality” would be a whole lot more difficult to fit onto the package.

Oh, and when you’re done, don’t forget to wash your hands.  But remember, this is Halloween, so even the soap has to be spooky.  Oh, and there’s probably some minor issue with the stuff causing your hands to spontaneously drip with the blood of the innocent, but the test results were inconclusive enough that they conveniently omitted that from the label.

Oh, and one last thing.  You need candy.  Lots of candy.  For some reason, casual pretend cannibalism seems to be in vogue these days, with gummi body parts being found all over the place.  While there’s nothing wrong with snacking on the occasional Gummi duodenum or a Super Sugar Spleen, remember that people tend to be picky about this stuff.  After all, you eat one little foot, then all of a sudden everyone thinks you’re a cannibal.

Anyway, have a safe and happy Halloween, and if you don’t mind, at least try to make it to Thanksgiving alive this time, OK?


  1. “Sure, you’ll probably look like an ungrateful little snob when you’re using one of these, but at least you probably won’t get the Swine Flu” Hilarious! Made me laugh out loud! Good post Brian, I enjoyed it.

    Comment by Jacki — October 31, 2010 @ 3:14 am

  2. This is hilarious Brian!

    Comment by Valerie — October 31, 2010 @ 7:12 am

  3. Haha… great write-up!

    Comment by Eddie — November 1, 2010 @ 9:39 am

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