No, not Crapmas, although one unnamed retailer began running ads with a Gingerbread man in September this year (seriously: fuck you guys). Rather, my favorite American holiday, one to be celebrated with the frantic accumulation of cheap consumer goods, is not Christmas, Black Friday, or even one of those "let's honor the sacrifices of our veterans with a bitchin half-off sale" Memorial Day shindigs.
I'm talkin' 'bout Halloween.
October is my second-favorite time to shop for clothes, housewares, and makeup. My absolutely favorite time to shop for all these things is All Saints Day- aka the day after Halloween, when all that awesome crap is 50% off! Hey-oh! It's not all crappy plastic fake bones and rubber bats, though. You can get some fun stuff that you can use year-round that doesn't necessarily scream "HALLOWEEN BLOOD PUMPKINS!" and isn't super chintzy.
Here are some of my favorite scores from years past, as well as the best of this year's finds so far! Naturally, these Halloween finds are used and enjoyed year-round in my household:
Do you love it? I love it! I got it at Ross! These three nesting bowls are really nice and have a repeat skull print on them. And yes, I got them at Ross.
Look at these sparkly skull votives! They look classy and sophisticated because they are. These are straight-up Pottery Barn, y'all. Nicer stuff that upper-middle class folks buy at full price to complete their DIY Martha Stewart tableaux. I bought these at the Pottery Barn in The Castro the day after the 2008 election. It was an emotional time- we had just elected our first Black president, but Californians had also made same-sex marriage "illegal."* I found comfort in the simple things, like insane discount clearances of nice housewares with bones on them. In addition to these votives, I also picked up a lovely set of glossy black salad dishes with various animal skeletons printed on the underside with silver, but I think maybe my ex ended up with those in the split. It's okay, we're still friendly-- so I can stop by some day to hang out and then steal them back when he goes to the bathroom.
*How'd that work out for you, bigots?
Seriously, do NOT touch the thermostat.
The last season of David the Gnome went to a really dark place.
There may be a bit of zombie overload in popular culture today, but as long as that results in zombie garden gnomes available for purchase, I'm okay with that. I got this little guy (suggestions for names? I'll take them) recently at a Spirit Halloween store. You know, the roaming seasonal stores that, for a brief two months, revive all the vacant retail spots that are likely proliferating in your local American city. This dude was was with a bevy of other zombified gnomes (and one zombie lawn jockey), but they're all pretty pricey, so I may have to go back for his friends in November. I actually think this is a bit too scary to put out front where the little Trick-Or-Treaters can see it, but it's definitely going to be a year-round fixture in my back garden (once I get it going).
Lately I've taken to saying (in reference to Spirit) "what the fuck is Halloween? This is my favorite new clothing store!" It's my corny schtick, for now- once November hits, I'm going to move on to addressing any and all females (including cats and babies
) as "girlfriend." Anyhoo, these skeleton leggings are not only going to be happily worn year-round by me, they're also the most slimming pair of leggings I own!
Seriously. There are Adventure Time knee socks with Finn and Jake and I'm expected to only wear them one day out of the year? I love the Jake sock- he's saying "I'm a sock!" I like to look down at my calves, chuckle, and say "you sure are, buddy!" Also check out these sexy metal/goth chick cross tights! Oh, sorry-- I meant 'sassy.' Sassy is the new sexy.
One of the best parts of Halloween is all the fancy lady stuff you get to buy! Like extra gory nail stickers. I got these two packages at Walgreen's this year. Spiderwebs with a blingy dewdrop and a golden spider, and vampiric stickers that alternate between dripping blood, splattered blood, and sexy red lips with jutting fangs. I've heard of vagina dentata, but digital dentata is just craziness. Halloween is also a good time to source and stock up on glow-in-the-dark nail polish!
My friend Katie alerted me to the fact that every year Wet-n-Wild puts out a line of Halloween makeup called "Fantasy Makers." Wet-n-Wild does not do any animal testing, so any of their products which contain no animal products are vegan. I spent a while in the aisle of my local Walgreen's trying to read the erratic ingredients printed on shrink-wrapped plastic, but I'm pretty confident that I came away with a few good vegan items.
The mascara was way more subtle than I had expected it to be. I like the green, even if I think it could be punched up a bit more, but the pink was hardly there and if anything had the effect of making my eyelashes disappear. There was also blue but I didn't buy it. The eyeshadow palette ("meteor shower") is the only one in this year's line that I am pretty sure is vegan. The ingredients have one of those "May contain" caveats which lists cochineal, but as this palette was the only one without any pinks, reds, or purples, I figured it was safe.
Overall, like the mascara, the eyeshadow and the eyeliner (in "techno," ha) were decidedly underwhelming. When I gave it a go I didn't look like I was ready to hit Carnivale so much as I was recovering from a glittery black eye. So I used a little more to make it more realistic- this may end up being my Halloween costume: Sassy Glamorous Faerie Prizefighter.
I'm a winner!
Yeah, well, you should see Tinkerbell.
Happy Shopping, and Happy Haunting!