Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Asda Does Halloween!

I am well impressed with how our chain stores are pimping Halloween out this year.

I went into Romford today because I wanted to buy Trick ‘r Treat (which I’ve never seen) and seeing as it was now early October I thought I’d also tour some of the shops there that usually have a Halloween isle and see if they had anything worth buying, plus see if I couldn’t get a ‘Romford Sells Halloween’ type post out of it as well. My. God. Everywhere I went didn’t just have a Halloween isle, it had a Halloween celebration, Asda, Poundland, Sainsbury’s, The Range and Wilkinson Wilko are filled with delightful tack to drape all over your house (Lawn Haunts tend not to work so well round here, most people have got drives and those who haven’t know full well the scummy kids will just come and kick everything to pieces while half-pissed on cheap cider from the Co-Op) and our new party shop Party Delights had turned an isle into a Halloween Toys R Us and our old party shop Pairs just is a Halloween Toys R Us at the moment (I didn’t go in Pairs though, I don’t like their dummies1 and anyway they don’t allow photos). There was such an embarrassment of riches I’m having to do a post EACH for the shops, I'm calling these articles Chain Gores, because I excel at wordplay. I went to Asda first so we’ll start there, now are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

I was hopeful that Asda might have something good for me, last year they turned an isle into a kind of ‘Tunnel of Halloween’ and it was superb, this year they’ve been a bit more reserved and themed it kind of like a…monster club and dance-floor? I didn’t’ even notice they’d put a decal on the floor at first, I was way too magpieified by all the cool shit on the shelves - it appears to be some kind of weird mix of Simon Says, Dance Dance Revolution and Snakes & Ladders, colourful though.      

George-ina and the Moster Disco!
Never been attracted to a supermarket mascot before, it’s weird, so thank you Asda for George-ina who mixes Vampire, Gravity Falls, Monster High and the Bride of Frankenstein into one naughty, Gothy, delicious mixture - and also apparently mans the cloak room in this monster disco, though whoever did the artwork seems to think cloakrooms are some kind of magical makeover centre and not depressing dark-wood cupboards manned by the terminally bored and disinterested. Mind you if someone as sassy as George-ina was running it maybe it would be a fun place for all. Incidentally I think the big zombie is supposed to look Gangsta but to me he just looks like he’s bunked off school.

George at Asda presents Tasteful Tat!
All of the supermarkets have seemingly gone in for own-brand Halloween merch this year, which bodes well for the popularity of the holiday if the sales are good enough it makes Asda and Sainsbury’s want as much of the profit as possible. George at Asda is handling all of Asda’s own-brand Halloween goodies this year, they’re the store’s fashion and house furnishing people (it was started by the bloke who headed NEXT throughout the 80’s) and in keeping with their ‘fashion label’ aspirations they’ve very much gone for the ‘tasteful’ side of decorations – it’s all the crap you’d find in an average cheap seaside shop but made of better plastic and in minimalist packaging. It don’t half work though, their stuff feels swanky and like it somehow means more, the difference between buying a Barbie doll and a generic loose fashion doll. I actually meant to go back and buy one of those plastic ravens and maybe one of those REALY SHINY black china skulls but I completely forgot, how could I forget about plastic ravens? I’m a heathen.

Super Adorable Shit!
I’m fascinated by cute Halloween decorations, it’s the paradox of them I think, or just because there’s always something super adorable amongst ‘em. I want to be going ‘ugh, Halloween is supposed to be scary’ but I always end up going ‘awww, lookit that widdle skeleton, he has a little Spooky sign and he’s going ‘oh, I dunno, maybe spooky?’ he’s just so loveable’ – I blame the Care Bears. I’m very impressed by the sponge revenant who may well end up being the scariest thing in the next Mario game but what especially fascinated me here was the Gay Clockwork Orange Frankenstein’s Monster; I have no problem with being gay, or dressing as  Droog for Halloween, or for that matter being a Frankenstein’s Monster, I just never thought I’d ever see the three combined, with real fabric bow-tie, especially not in a supermarket.

Those Hand Bowls!
These things never work, we had one and it lasted about 35 minutes before it stopped grabbing and just sat halfway as we mocked it and took all of its chocolate eyeballs. I have no idea what the Halloween Dildo Set for kids is but Pumpkin Push-Ons! Have I just been totally ignorant of these all the years? Or are they a thing that’s just getting popular now? People are making plastic faces for Jack O’ Lanterns to turn them into macabre Halloween Mr Potato Heads? Do you think you could get the light to shine through? That might be something to look into later in the month…

Trick or Treating Pails of Various Kinds!
I was surprised by Asda having a whole section for Trick or Treating accessories, I was under the impression that over here Trick or Treating was generally the most frowned upon tradition of the holiday, what with everyone hating people, joining in and fun, not wanting to give things away and every house having at least 2.7 paedophiles per room. Apparently this isn’t the case and I couldn’t be happier, I just wish I knew some 6-10 years olds I could take trick or treating now. Asda’s various pails are all incredibly precious, the rubber bat bowls look like they’re frolicking do they not, so adorable, I really wanted to buy one of those hands - they’re a marvellous contraption I’ve never seen before, a big plastic hand with a long tube-like bag in the centre, so people put things in the palm of their hand and they fall into the bag, ingenious! But I couldn’t think of any uses I’d have for one, I did think of something - right after I’d gotten home: fuck nuggets.     

Asda are really winning the Supermarket Halloween Mask Competition this year (it’s totally a thing, you just don’t know about it because you don’t work in a supermarket, and if you do no-one told you because you weren’t cool enough), while the other shops are happy with the cuter and cheaper stuff, Asda have got a whole range of downright gruesome exclusive masks, while I was looking around a mother gleefuly let her son try one of those hairy horned Satan monster masks in the top right, the most normal, white, middle-class mum and she was so happy to see her son dressed as satanic imagery, Halloween: the great leveller. Shall I just run through the gory highlights and see if you can spot ‘em? There’s a shiny gold mechanical ghoul; a red thing that looks like a Scooby Doo villain; a werewolf mask that’s far too good to be an own-brand supermarket item; a monster with a massive cut down his face and a shredded, falling out eyeball; I’m pretty sure that’s Pumpkinhead; randomly paired combinations of brightly coloured skulls and cheap wigs; alien skulls and the panda. I actually think the Panda’s the scariest thing here, it looks so real, and while you may think it’s random I think it must have done something really bad to have been grouped with all this lot, what on earth did the Panda do?

Glow-in-the-Dark DVDs
These look so good and I nearly missed them, they’re back against a column, tucked into a little corner like monsters waiting to strike – which is because they totally are monsters waiting to strike! Each classic monster movie (I’m guessing they’re all owned by Universal?) has a new glow-in-the-dark box and each box has a textured feeling to its central picture. They’ve picked some real good ‘uns too – Child’s Play 2! The Mummy! John Carpenter’s The Thing! Tremors – fucking Tremors!  Frankenstein! An American Werewolf in London! (bluuuue moon!). The only problem is… I have all of them bar Dead Silence (which I’ve never seen)…so I bought Dead Silence. They’re a fiver, they’re glow-in-the-dark, I’m only human - it took all my will power not to buy Frankenstein again just to have a glow-in-the-dark Boris Karloff face in my DVD racks. 

Halloween Baking!
I nearly passed out from glee when I saw this, I’m not kidding, I went a bit giddy, Halloween baking. I don’t know exactly what it is about combining these two concepts that made me so excited but by god how wonderful, you and you children can make little mummy cupcakes, how wonderful is that? And little ghostly cake-pops! And a Haunted Gingerbread House, fuck yeah, that is so fucking sensible a thing, why is this the only one I’ve ever seen in stores? I actually read the box for that one with the intention of making it, it looks really complicated, like more complicated than Lego complicated - I put it back for now. And they have really gone all-in with the theme too, they’ve got specially branded Halloween frosting and icing, special seasonal Halloween sprinkles – including ones in the shapes of bats, they’re not just normal sprinkles in a new packet, they’re especially made for Halloween sprinkles, I’m so pleased by this my paragraph isn’t even interesting to read anymore, I’m just pointing at things and saying what they are in excitement and I’m not even in the shop! *takes a deep breath* Even though I’ve never consider it before I am now adamant everyone should bake for Halloween, and Asda has made it so you have no excuse and frankly no choice, lookit them little mummy cakes, how can you resist.

I’m not gonna top Halloween baking, so I’ll leave Asda and go to a different shop, Poundland’s just across the shopping centre, shall we go there?

1 a fittingly Halloween admission: I suffer from Automatonophobia, specifically the fear of life-like and semi-life-like human mannequins, Pairs has hundreds of the bastards, I keep out of there.  

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