Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Skeletons

photo: Better Homes and Gardens

We were rather entranced by this standing skeleton in the 2011 Better Homes and Gardens special  Halloween Tricks and Treats edition of their magazine, and were further intruiged when we saw how light and poseable it was. We also liked that this is a realistic-looking skeleton, and that it is of a thick, durable plastic.

photo: Better Homes and Gardens

photo: Better Homes and Gardens
The magazine did not have a source for the skeletons but our friend Doktor Calamari was also searching for them and told us it was at a seasonal store, Halloween City, a division of the year-round Party City. we visited thier website to find locations and found a 20% off coupon, which we printed out. This brought the price of each skeleton down to $56 plus tax.

This is the first year we have seen these skeletons, and since they were hard to find and sold out quickly, this post is dedicated to them, in the hope that it helps other people who have seen the skeletons in the magazine and are also trying to track them down.

These 63-inch tall skeletons with eyes also have a small button on the head that activates flashing blue and green colored lights and some sound effects, which we were ambivalent about. I doubt that I'd ever need to push that button again, and really, I'd be fine if the skeleton came without the eyeballs. But because the eyes light up red, removing the eyeballs would reveal a hole where the electronics go (and also leave some giant eye sockets) so I guess my skeletons will have eyes for the time being.

Another good feature is that the entire skeleton glows in the dark.

One tiny negative: there is random brown paint on the glow-in-the-dark bones. One of my skeletons got a big dose of the brown paint on one leg and not so much on the other.

The skeleton's stand is very small and unobtrusive. Just some black metal plates, but they do attach to pipes that go up his legs and across his hips. The plates are not easily removed or adjustable. It is surprising how stable he feels on such a small stand.

The only assemply is to attach each thigh bone to it's respective shin bone. The right and left sides are even labeled 'A' and 'B' so it really is simple.

Here's the box:

We're not sure, but we think they are made by Halloween International, because there is a logo on the box that says that:

We also see on the box that they are distributed by Christmas International

To make it a little more complicated, the side of the box says Halloween USA

Something else I really liked about him was that his joints ratchet into place, so he will hold a pose with having to use glue or other means.

The skeleton from Halloween International

2011 was a bumper year for new skeletons on the market. For comparison, here is the above skeleton standing between two other new skeletal offerings:

The $30 Walgreens skeleton is hanging on the left. It has an aged appearnce and is super lightweight, but the plastic is thin and brittle. I returned it to the store, and saw another in the store had his neck torn.  Hanging from the right is the $40 Target skeleton, which glows in the dark, is of durable plastic and has ratcheting joints. I like his face and am pretty happy with him, but I do wish that he could stand on his own (the stand is a big feature in my book and worth the $17 price difference). I don't have a photo of it here, but I hung the Target skellie next to an expensive Bucky skeleton from Anatomical Chart Supply, and they look quite alike. I won't be buying any more Bucky skeletons, since there are these inexpensive and realistic options now.

So there you have it, a quick round-up of the new skeletons of 2011.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Magic at Boney Island

You may recall my post about the return of Boney Island, one of the most beloved home haunts of all time. Friday night saw the debut of Boney Island's new theme of skeleton magicians performing tricks. The show was a great success with a large turnout, including the press. You would never guess that the plan to put on a new show was hatched only this summer, and that many of the items to build this show were obtained in only the past month or two.

Here's creator Rick Polizzi:

 He made posters to highlight each magic act being performed. This poster is for the main event, a water show:
The 10 magic cauldrons shot green glowing water 12 feet into the air, eliciting applause:

The popular fortune teller answered questions and amused the crowd:

Neighbor David, on the right, is the secret voice of the fortune teller

The crowd usually gets deep for the fortune teller
A magician passed a hoop around a levitating skeleton:

Another skeleton levitated a bit too much and other skeletons climbed into a tree to chase him down:

One skeleton held a flashlight while another talented skeleton made shadow puppets with his boney hands, including a bird, a witch, a castle- even the Boney Island skull logo!:

A team of blind-folded knife-throwers aimed at a target:

Of course, to make things more difficult for the knife-throwers, the target had a skeleton in front of it:

Another favorite effect that returned was the spinning web gobo:

Like Houdini, The Man In The Can was a skeleton bound in a strait jacket, and wiggled to escape it while under water in this creepy confine:

Another skeleton magician sawed other skeletons in half...but he made a few errors:

In a window, one skeleton lures a skeleton rabbit out of a top hat by waving his magic wand, and another skeleton assists by bribing with carrots:
The collection of super-sized jack o' lanterns is stunning in itself, but these pumpkins sing to the music by flashing the lights inside them:

Oh yes, the pumpkins are in that crazy 3-story tall treehouse.

That's some - but certainly not all- of Boney Island. The crew did a fantastic job with the new display, and though the carnival theme is gone, I'm glad to report the old Boney Island magic is back.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Whether you are a Harry potter fan or just think this bottle would make a good Halloween prop mixed in with lab equipment, test tubes and potions, there are a few hours left to obtain a Skele-Gro bottle just like mine.

back view
side view
A magnet helps secure the bottle top in place

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry breaks his arm while playing quidditch. One of his professors, an incompetent named Gilderoy Lockhart, tries to help Harry but ends up removing half of Harry's arm. Harry spends the night in the hospital and is given a dose of Skele-Gro potion from a bottle shaped like this one. Skele-Gro is a medicinal potion that can regrow missing/removed bones, though it tastes terrible and the process is very slow and extremely painful.

 This Skele-Gro bottle replica is available from Hotshot, a member of the Replica Prop Forum. He has hand-made a limited number of about 60 of these bottles from foam and clay, and is selling them for $80 each including shipping. This item is for display only; it is solid- not a real bottle- and therefore unable to hold liquids, but it does look great, from all sides! A separate base shaped like skeleton legs (not shown) keeps the top-heavy piece stable and the clay skull bottle-stopper attaches to the bottle magnetically.

A life-size Skele-Gro bottle is not available anywhere else that I have found, so this is indeed a rare opportunity to own one!

The bottle stands about 12.5" tall and is 4" wide.

You must be a member of Replica Prop Forum to purchase one, but registering for the forum is free. The link for this Skele-Gro bottle is here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pictures of scared people at a haunted house

What kind of victim are you? Do you grab the nearest shirt (as I do), do you cry, crouch, jump into someone's arms, or just hide your head?

pic0038 by Nightmares Fear Factory

pic0046 by Nightmares Fear Factory
pic0256 by Nightmares Fear Factory
 all photos by Nightmares Fear Factory on Flickr.

Click here to see a set of photos of the hilariously frightened victims at the Nightmares Fear Factory Halloween haunted house in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

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