Party City vs Kmart is to Evander Holyfield vs Steven Hawking

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:

Cute! Her arm is almost chewed off

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.

"Mr. Lucas, this is an ARF Troooper. It's also dog talk."

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.







Eddie’s Trick Shop Revisited

In the Fall of 1987 I was an absolute little shit. A unconsoling, blubbering, ashole-ish child that pleaded night and day to his hard-working father who was merely trying to keep the family fed and sheltered for an inevitable “beneath the bed” toy. From the beginning of September to the second week of October, Dad held out until the four millionth “gimme gimme gimme, I need I need” was too much and he caved. He caved over a twenty-dollar Freddy Kruger glove. An item that was worth not even two dollars but that was no matter. In my mind this glove needed to be worn by me during all hours of the day and not just Halloween night.

You see, I never planned an entire Fred Krueger costume for that Halloween. All I wanted was the glove. And where can one find that particular costume accessory? Why Eddie’s Trick And Costume Shop in Marietta Georgia of course, the mecca of Halloween. Recently I came back to see if this home of the macabre was still operating as I remembered it, some twenty-four years ago.

The center to the city of Marietta is an unclosed square made up of 5 parts antique shops, 2 parts restaurants, and a dash of nostalgic glory that is Eddie’s Trick Shop. Today, of course, it has lost a bit of its luster due to the fact that half the store is dedicated to ballerina and dance apparel but the magic of the trick shop is still a focal point.

I know, I know…the picture is blurry. And it kills me that the most important shot of the post is screwed up but it’s all I got. So let’s pretend and just take my word for it, there is amazing stuff all over. Okay? We cool?

There are a few glass cases around Eddie’s that hold all sorts of wonder from severed limbs to novelty dollars with Obama’s face on them to fake dog shit to fake puke.  Hell, they even had…

Yup, liquid ASS. “The worst smell since the famous stink bomb” and only $5.95! The part, however, that was the real seller was the promise that there are thousands of uses. Thousands, eh? Why do I really want to see the Shamwow/Slap Chop guy pitch this?

Of course we had to take a look at the 2011 Halloween mask aisle that hasn’t really ever changed since the 1970’s and I love that oh so much. Sure, the masks look a bit more realistic but it is comforting to know that kids can still gaze at the display just as they did in ’78. Perhaps less risk of lead paint inhalation and sudden combustion. There were a lot more people who smoked back then, you know?

The glove/hands of a costume seem to be a bit more eccentric than I remember. They are 8 times the size of the mask so me being the bum I am, I have to ask, how does one hold a beer? This trivial dilemma is lost on a 12-year-old I know but seriously,  that is something to take into account. Moving on.

Another big innovation to the Halloween craft of dress-up is the anatomical or medically accurate, I should say,  scars and wounds that today’s kids can inflict on themselves. “Slashed Trachea” is one of those kits I can’t recall. Let’s see…I had fake blood, vampire teeth, witch warts and maybe pale zombie completion but a slashed trachea? I wonder if they have ocular contusion kit? I guess that would be just a black eye. I’ll stick with the masks.

Some people find beauty in a sunset. Some in the innocent wonder of a child’s eyes. Some people find it in a bond between people who are in love. Me? I find it in a plastic skeleton rock band. And that is why I want to be your president for the United States of America. If this was in my house it would be in the kitchen.

I will leave you with the ol’ cliché’ rabbit in the hat trick. Sure Eddie’s Trick Shop lost a few steps over the years and I really don’t know if that is the shop or me? Perhaps Eddie has not changed but seeing this as a man rather than a boy makes it a tad less wondrous. I would imagine that to be true but I also think Halloween was a bigger deal back in the eighties. It’s hard to tell the difference between our adult mind and the memories as a child. I think that is why I always come back to these places. I never want those to fade.

Wait a minute….I wonder. They couldn’t possibly still carry it could they?

Great Nell Carter’s Ghost they do!!!!

And it is still a piece of shit.



Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: