If you’re like me, you love Halloween. If you’re also like me, you don’t have a money tree growing in your backyard.
While there are millions of Halloween and horror fans all over the world who are fortunate enough to be able to decorate their homes and private haunted houses with rare, top-of-the-line merchandise and collectibles, there are just as many who do most of their shopping and horror creating on a budget much more comparable to my own. Many fantastic filmmakers, artists and close friends that I know take items they find for pennies on the dollar and turn them into fantastic collectible items that they either sell or use to accentuate their personal Halloween shrines.
While I absolutely love Halloween, I also love a good bargain. Rummage sales and Goodwill stores are gold mines for the budget-conscious horror fan out there and today, I’d like to share a few of my favorite finds from over the last few years. With the summer heating up and yard sale signs sprouting up on nearly every street corner, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for anything and everything that goes bump in the night!
GOOSEBUMPS: SHRIEKS AND SPIDERS GAME
If you are in my age bracket and have been a horror fan all your life, not only do you know all about the amazing Goosebumps book series by the master of teen scares, R.L. Stine, but you also know that the merchandise for the franchise was out of this world. Everything from school supplies to shirts to toys to games, you couldn’t go down many aisles without seeing one of Stine’s fantastic creations on a box. This game was found for ninety-nine cents at the local Goodwill and is fully intact. This game is a mix between Uno and musical chairs, except you’re playing with plastic spiders and Goosebumps chips. While the box has some moderate wear-and-tear to it, that doesn’t keep me from having it on a bookshelf in my office!
THE LUCKY RAVEN CAFE MENU BOARD
In my home, my wife and I made a deal that was fair to both parties – I had full control over the office when it came to decorating and furniture decisions. She got the rest of the house. This awesome little decoration found at a nearby dollar store adorns the door to my office. Featuring bat wing biscotti and gangrene tea for quite the affordable prices, I actually am going to have to make these items for this year’s Halloween party here at the Hamelin residence. Cute enough to be given the thumbs up from approval by my wife and cool enough to be one of my favorite decorations, this was the best dollar spent that day!
A close family friend who lives in Alabama messaged me one day saying she found something she knew I’d just love. She sent it to me a few days later and I was delighted to find this wonderful little cretin in the box! I did some research and learned that this was actually an item from Target a few years back during the Halloween season. It’s vintage look really caught my eye and the price tag my friend paid for it ($1!) certainly caught hers.
For scale, I have two other Goodwill finds standing upright next to this little lady. She sits atop my book-case, overlooking my office and prepared to take flight at a moment’s notice!
I really gotta visit Alabama sometime! About a year after sending me the little old witch above, my same friend send me this awesome piece of Halloween goodness. Picked up at a thrift shop for one hundred pennies, there’s nothing incredibly unique about this mask except for the fact that it’s in fantastic shape and is downright awesome looking! I’ve had a ton of fun with it, from going to my niece’s birthday party as The Wolf Man (“The Wolf Man is my friend!”, my niece shrieked excitedly to her friends as I hugged her) to terrifying the living daylights out of my three black cats at home. It’s the little things… Most of the time, this mask is over a mannequin head and propped up on a shelf in my office.
THE FRANKENSTEIN OMNIBUS
If you live in the Chicagoland area, you absolutely must get down to Berwyn and visit two little shops that sit right beside each other – Horrorbles and Reel Art. While Horrorbles is everything and anything horror, both vintage and new age, Reel Art celebrates the world of celluloid since the beginning of film. One one fateful visit, I found this beautiful book among several other purchases that made me a very happy (and fairly broke) fella at the end of the day.
Basically the Bible of all things Frankenstein in entertainment, this book was released in 1994 and can be found online for between $1 and $5. I paid the lower end of that spectrum, around $1.50 for this copy, which is a hardcover edition in fantastic shape. Well worth the minimal price tag and a heck of a resource for horror fans!
So for the grand total of $5.50, I have shown you a handful of my favorite bargain-priced items in my collection. With yard sale season in full swing, here’s hoping my next $5.50 in purchases is as awesome as the last! Happy rummaging, freaks and ghouls!