I have amazing memories as a kid, strolling the aisles of Kmart looking for the perfect costume or Halloween decor. It was the king of the super store back then and if you wanted to dress as Chewbacca or E.T. there was no better one-stop-shop than the well recognized large red K. But like any strong racehorse, eventually there is a faster more sleek horse that will do it better, more elaborate and in this case, far more Halloweenie and make the racehorse look like the smelly pony that gives all the kids at the party a rash. This is how I compare Kmart to Party City. But in all fairness, you can’t by a toaster at Party City. Let’s take a look at the faster horse first. This is Part City. GET DOWN!!!
Here we are and don’t they all look the same. I don’t know about you but I am never too excited about Party City. You can find them in most all large strip malls that include a Ross, Target and Babies-R-Us so if you are like me and may get stuck on a shopping excursion, this is the time of the year that Party City can save ass. In April…shoot me.
Great Nell Carter’s Ghost! This is how you do Halloween! The smell of rubber and latex permeates the air as the musical score of the moment is a cheesy 1990’s Nightmare On Elm Street rap. It wasn’t blaring loud like a Hot Topic but I could definitely tell it was about Nightmare On Elm Street by the Fresh Prince style lyrics, “…burned up like a weenie and his name was Fred.” This is something to be blogged about!
With so many different Halloween items all thrust together in a couple aisles, it’s easy to have it turn into a casserole of nonsense but it blends really nice. You have the gore with the gore, the zombies with the zombies and the cutesy with the cutesy without having to search through mounds of severed heads and viscera just to find a bunny in a pumpkin.
Zombies are still a huge hit I guess. The store is about 3/4 zombie while the rest is fog machines and plastic axes. It amazes me how desensitized zombies have made young kids. I saw a mother holding her, I guess, three-year-old and asking her if she wanted the zombie window cover or the ghosts. The zombie window cover was this:
Well, I guess that is the way kids are these days with there Iboxes and there Xphones. Had I seen that on someones window as a kid I would have skipped the house and gone right to therapy. Long over are the days when Tim Curry blended in with his green screen asking if anyone has seen his tambourine.
For the kids and adults who would rather just pick out an already manufactured costume, Party City is renown for having about three hundred different themes and characters. This one caught my attention because as a kid who grew up in the eighties and absolutely hate the direction George Lucas took Star Wars, I couldn’t help notice this kid’s costume of an Imperial..ARF Trooper? What the hell is that? Are they the K-9 unit of the universe? God, I just don’t know the world anymore. Luckily they still sell these:
Ah the oldie and goodie. It’s nice to see the old masks are still a seller here and above all else, the villains like Jason, Pinhead, the weird Motel Hell pig mask and Mike Myers are among the most popular. I especially love Chucky with his mullet. To cost justify one of these, though, a kid at age twelve will have to be Freddy until he is twenty-seven.
Well, leaving Party City you have to dodge a swipe by the new Freddy. To be honest, he’s no Englund but I kind of like him. The movie made me a believer that a new generation of kids need to die in their sleep. Especially the ones who are responsible for Twilite and hipster apparel.
Now that we have seen a brief part of Party City’s Halloween presentation, lets take a look at the girl who still wears her high school letter jacket to the bar…Kmart.
Right away I knew Kmart was not the place to be by the mostly vacant parking lot on a Saturday afternoon. It is almost sad in a way because on my way in there were three employees smoking around the coin-operated rodeo duck and the sound of a rolling soda can blowing through empty lanes of the lot. This was the sign of a department store put out in the pasture.
As I went in there were no signs stating it’s the Halloween season like Target. No, I had to wander for a while before eventually finding it. I actually have a video of me doing so. Enjoy.
As you can see, there is less fanfare about the holiday Kmart used to own. Perhaps it’s just this particular Kmart but I really have a sense that this company is circling the drain and forty years from now I will be telling my grandkids that there was time when I used to ride my bike to the Kmart to buy slap-bracelets for five bees. Because that was the style at the time.
As you can see, the licensed Halloween ‘Totally Ghoul” is still putting out everything and anything for this asthmatic contender of a department store. I really like Totally Ghoul too because it is not cheap in design and it is cheap in price. Without breaking myself I can buy enough pumpkin lights to trick a 747 into landing on I-40.
This is proof that “Totally Ghoul” has nothing new in it’s product line for 2011. I remember Matt writing about these years ago and while I find this comforting to see a demon clown from years past, it is also a sign of the times. I don’t know why but I really love that guys tongue and his ability to floss with rope.
But this trip was not all for not! Oh no, it has inspired a new costume idea. Remember that disfigured white tiger in a zoo? Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny too. Imagine if he had a best friend who was a gorilla?
Whatever. I already know I’m going to hell.
I think Tim Curry is scarier than a zombie any day of the week. I’d fight a whole legion of zombies armed with nothing but my wits and a grapefruit spoon, before I’d get in the ring with Tim Curry, especially if it was a tag team effort with Eddie Izzard. Hell no.
K-Marts have always depressed me, although you kind of swayed me with the words “coin operated rodeo duck”. You must live in Shangri-La. They don’t have stuff like that in front of Bronx K-Marts. They’d be stolen in 30 seconds.
Shangi-La is pretty this time of the year. The leaves change and lightly fall on my new lawn ornament, a coin-operated rodeo duck. I mean, a flamingo! That’s it, a flamingo.
– my brother owns that giant animatronic Freddy.. it was a big hit last year at his Halloween party.. (think we’re going to shoot some video at the party this year for RtW)
– speaking of riding bikes to K-Mart, I used to do just that as a kid.. – pedal down a hill there, park, and go in and eat a fried shrimp basket in the little lounge which about a decade ago they walled off to hide its existence
– we reviewed one of those Totally Ghoul hanging character heads on one of the old RtW Halloween specials.. maybe ’07 or ’08
Last time I was at a Kmart and saw one of those lounge areas they had Mountain Dew Pitch Black ICEE. Oh those were glorious.
Man, you nailed it when it comes to Party City. I went in there last week and was really impressed by everything. They totally kick Target’s ass this year. It looks like yours is a little better than mine too. In the one I went to, Freddy was just standing on the floor in front of the check out lines near the door. The people working there looked as those they were a little sick of hearing him spout off ominous things as people walked by him. Not to mention that “1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you…” song that kept playing over and over. But yeah, Party City’s got it going on this year.
But the best part of this post wasn’t seeing new Freddy. It wasn’t the classic movie monster masks. And it wasn’t the Zombie Crossing sign. Nope, the best part of this post was getting to hear Billy muble/sing “Twist and Shout”. Halloween needs more of that kind of thing.
I think I would go mad if I had to listen to an animatronic song over and over. Gah!
I didn’t think I was audible. 😐
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