Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Halloween Trends for 2016 Season!

Michael's Craft Store

Anyone who thinks it's too early to talk Halloween can leave the room now!

I've been checking out where the themes are going this year so we can prepare for our season. I began by publishing my new book, Adult Halloween: Taking Back the Season! 

Now, I'm focusing on the favorite places to shop for the season and the innovators who set the trends.


AtmosFEARfx a few years ago came out of nowhere it seemed like, but boy did they take Halloween by storm by using our projection technology to create settings that mean no yard props that can be stolen or ruined in the rain, but chilling homes and atmosphere for parties, yard haunts, and entertainment! 

This year, AtmosFEARfx took on projection themes for what we most wanted - more phantoms and ghostly specters. "Phantasms" and "Witching Hour" are two new ones this season. Add that to the fantastic zombie horde, Jack O'Lantern projection faces, ghosts, 80s slasher (Night Stalkers) and more. 

Spirit Halloween

Spirit Halloween shops start cropping up around empty shops and strip malls usually around Labor Day and a little bit past. It gives us plenty of time to visit it multiple times to play for hours on end. 

Above is the seance answer board. The planchette moves on its own (nice job) and it lights up, but has an awful fortuneteller voice. I would rather hear a deep booming "GET OUT" The Amityville Horror kind of voice. 

You know you're going to go into a Spirit Halloween shop and activate every single animatronic on display. It's a yearly pilgrimage. But what makes you actually decide to buy one? It's a combination of things, no doubt, involving the aesthetics of it (does it look real, unsettling, raw, or realistic?), are the movements startling or real? Is it unpredictable to the viewer what it will do? What kinds of sounds or voice does it have? 

This sitting scarecrow above is a a pretty good idea. How many people man the candy bowl like this and jump out at kids, but what if you can have the kids doubly scared that it isn't a person? 

This year, they added some new animatronics. The voices and noises can be overbearing and annoying (come on, we all feel that way in the store). Some of the figures are really chilling and some are hilariously bad like this werewolf - 

This mannequin (below) is a spectacular piece. I love that it's just part of the mannequin and the eyes light up and it moves jerky like something in a person's attic that came to life. The only thing, of course, that ruins it is the voice. 

I'm pleased to see them moving away from the zombies and more toward the gothic and terrifying - things that were abandoned, dolls, ghosts, gothic manor home decorations, cemetery items. This is the way to do horror without the cheese! 

Spirit Halloween

I was thrilled to see Spirit Halloween has this dummy body (above). How many of us try to rig our own stuffed bodies and cannot get a body that looks like anything other than a stuffed body - It's a big hassle every year. I guess the question now is - where do you store the body the rest of the year? 

I can imagine some great pranks year-round with this fellow!

Sugar Skull doorway panel

I love the idea of door panels. We all run into the situation when we watch horror movies and get into the Halloween mood that we want the feeling of being cocooned and the room darkened a bit, a mood set. This is a great way to set the mood!

The gargoyle statue above is an animatronic that is 3 feet tall. It has a delicious feel to it. I love the truly gothic-looking and Poe-like items. Each year they have advanced the amount and quality of headstones and statues and fencing. You can now create an amazing cemetery with Spirit Halloween items.

I am thrilled that they have expanded the Yard Haunt items like ground fogging machines, lighting, and projections from AtmosFEARfx.

Michaels Craft Store

Halloween lovers are so stoked to see what Michael's brings in because the craft store sets its Halloween items up in the middle of summer (bless their souls!). It gives us time to stalk the aisle. It's also great that if you sign up for Michael's mailing list online, they give you wicked awesome coupons pretty much daily! 

When it's muggy hot and nasty outside and the sun is glaring down on me, I have to rush into a Michael's and make a day of it. I might get an iced coffee next door, relax a bit, get my head together and my feet well rested because I'm going to be examining tons of details on the shelves. 

The store added some Poe-esque items that were black, goth, and awesome from crows and goth pillows to black bottles and black pumpkins. 

They also added some great ornate witch hats and Day of the Dead mask, and other beautiful almost Victorian-feeling items.

They also added a lot of glitter bejeweled items which for some of us is a big turn off, but for those who want their decorations to be "pretty," I guess it works. There's something for everyone! 

They still had the usual pumpkins you can carve in orange, white and black and this was a nice addition - a half pumpkin you can carve and put over a porch light or just hang on the wall (maybe with a glow stick inside). 

They had a wide selection of stacks of witchcraft books and bottles with creepy labels and beakers and measuring cups for party drinks.

They also had the usual Lemax Spooky Town sets with so many fun figures and moving and lit-up buildings and vehicles. I know some people who make big sets to place these on for display and they are fascinating!

I admit to being a bit of a snob about Halloween. I'm not thrilled by tons of zombie things and tongue-in-cheek humorous stuff. I just don't like mixing horror and campiness. I was thrilled to see a turn toward Victorian Era/Haunting/Edgar Allan Poe feeling gothic-like items. 

I keep hoping that at some point, they bring back some vintage since we are all of an age to appreciate 1950s, 60s and 70s Halloweens and mid century is such a hit. There's lots of potential there. 

In the mean time, I'm going to hunker down and work on my collection. Indoors, I like a purely haunted/gothic feel, but outdoors - I have plans for a future "The Fog" theme or "Doll Island." 


Costuming for 2016 will continue the superhero and Day of the Dead themes that we saw last year emerging. As well, the new Pokemon Go trend, Batman, creepy dolls, pirates, and Suicide Squad. 

Spirit Halloween

Spirit Halloween

Some of the decorating accessories have been stepped up a notch with some gothic, doll, sugar skull (Day of the Dead) and urban legend feeling items.

Party City 

Party City, as always, has hundreds of costumes, easy to find, wide variety of sizes, and best prices. They also have the party items to run your theme to the extreme. It is my usual go-to costume store. I might get the shoes or accessories at Spirit Halloween, but I can usually find the biggest and best priced costumes at Party City. 

Grand In Road

Grand In Road is one of my favorite catalog shops ever! They have very novel and gorgeous items that are keepers. These are not one-season hit wonders, these are stored lovingly into a box to be used next year.

Grand In Road always has classy and well thought out items. I don't know who their buyer is, but they sure know what they're doing. The items coordinate nicely and they carry themes beautifully with novel and not cheap-o stuff. This is a classy Halloween. Martha Stewart would no doubt approve.

Katherine's Collection is about horror and art - interwoven into magnificent pieces that are collectibles.

I have seen the most beautifully executed and stylish items in Grand In Road and they continue to do a brilliant job at elevating the class level of Halloween while retaining the spectacle of fear and atmosphere. Well done!

My Halloween 2016 
Offerings Review

I remain excited about this coming season. A few years ago, I dreaded it during the over-zombification phase. I like to see the shops offering us a wide variety of choices to suit everyone. Some of us don't like loud, gory zombies after almost a decade of their reign. We are ready to move on. I tend to get more excited about and anxious to buy anything that gives a Victorian gothic spooky feel, so the Ouija board, great headstones, lanterns, black crows, and fog machines and projections - that's my stuff! I am glad to see that category expanding.

Costumes are a bit lackluster for me because they are too bright, happy, and superhero-oriented. I'd like to see more colorless, haunting, and gothic items. But, these trends come and go depending on what's happening in pop culture. If I see one Pokemon playing Pokemon Go this Halloween, I might turn off the porch light and eat the acndy

If this has gotten you in the mood, you will want to pick up my "Adult Halloween: Taking Back the Season!" available at online stores and Kindle. There will be a post tomorrow detailing it! 

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