Monday, September 23, 2013

WWE Ice Cream Bars

I'm taking a quick break from the Halloween Countdown because my friend James (give him a follow!) gave me a cool idea and I couldn't wait to get cracking.  If you've read The Holidaze, you know how big of a wrestling fan I am.  Growing up, it was always my dream to design for the company and work for the greatest entertainment organization in the world.  After all, it was the WWE that inspired me to start designing in the first place.  So, after seeing my Hi-C juice boxes, my friend said I should make modern versions of the classic "WWF" Ice Cream bars.  Remember those?  The cookie, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream bar was always my first choice whenever Mr. Softee stopped by the block.  They were awesome and even C.M. Punk has been waiting for them to make a comeback.  They may not be returning any time soon, but just like those juice boxes, we can all take a look at what they would look like if they were a reality.

Using an old ad from WWF Magazine as base, here are some current WWE Superstars in retro form!
Of course, the original "WWF" logo and mentions have all been edited for today's use.


I think they're pretty cool and look like the ones you'd actually find when you ripped one open, rather than the drawing on the box.

If you're not a wrestling fan, don't care about these, or think they're garbage -- no worries.  It's back to Halloween!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hi-C Horror Collection - Series TWO

When I decided to kill time and enhance the Halloween season by substituting products with creativity, I never expected that the Hi-C Horror Collection would gain so much attention via Social Media.  While I love when anything on the site gains traction, my intention is always to add to our collective Halloween experience.  Thanks to Strange Kids Club, John at Freddy in Space / FEARnet, and WES CRAVEN (!) more people saw what Series 1 had to offer than I would have ever been able to reach on my own.  So, a huge thank you is owed to them, and anybody else who shared the boxes through Twitter, Instagram, on Social Media.  I always knew there would be a Series 2 but, with so many people loving the first set, I knew the pressure was on to bring it!  I used a lot of the most popular characters and films in Series 1, but I think Series 2 lives up to my first go-around.  In fact, I actually like this collection better!

First up, from Hatchet, I introduce you to Victor Crowley's "Swamp Cooler" Cherry Limeade.  The collest part about this box is the fact that it was named by Adam Green, the creator of Hatchet 1, 2, and 3.  I asked him if he had any ideas, and this was his suggestion.  I couldn't have named it better myself.  It's a great nod to Ecto-Cooler and stays true to the film.

Rosemary's Baby is one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen.  I still remember the first time I ever watched it.  It was dark and gloomy with all the lights out.  I knew I wanted to make one for this classic, and "Rosemary's Berry" just made sense.  Obviously, the box is based on the legendary cover.

"Saw Berry Swirl" was going to originally remain "Saw Berry," but I love the little red swirls on Jigsaw's Puppet and I knew I could incorporate that into the name.  I'm a big fan of Saw, and this was almost in the first set, but I wanted to save it for Series 2.

Leatherface is one of the most iconic horror characters in movie history and there was no doubt that I'd include him into the collection.  He was supposed to be in Series 1, but I illustrated him differently and didn't like it.  Originally, he was making a "sour face" to go along with his "Lemonface" flavor.  It just wasn't working and certainly didn't mesh well with his personality and reputation.  This box is much better, chainsawing through bloody lemons and all.

"Evil Red" was a pretty simple flavor name to come up with, but I think it works well.  My favorite part about this box is the way the blood drips from the star burst.  For as gory as that movie is, I wanted to do my best to add as much "red" as possible to signify that without straying too far away from being a kid's juice box.

I've never been a fan of Seed of Chucky, but I always loved the way he looked.  When I though "appleseed," I knew this was the best correlation.  Then when I read that Hi-C once had a real Candy Apple flavor, it worked out even better.  I wish I could really try this one, because I think it'd be great.

I'll admit, "The Pining" is kinda corny.  It's not the greatest name in the world, but it does rhyme with The Shining and that was good enough for me.  Besides, I needed a pineapple flavor and this was the best route in terms of finding one.  Despite the debatable flavor name, I love the way this came out.

Jumping from modern boxes to retro, I wanted to design a retro box for Psycho because of the classic black & white feel.  "Psycho Peach" is a play on word, but associating it with the film is a bit of a stretch.  Use your imagination, I guess.  But, here's a teaser -- Series 3 (or 4, depending) is already in the works and will be completely retro.  It will also feature actual images, rather than cartoon drawings, because legends shouldn't be tampered with.  That's all I'm going to say.

If you've seen The Conjuring, you're familiar with Annabelle the demonic doll.  Well, the actual Annabelle, stored away in Connecticut, is a Raggedy Ann doll.  That's the one I wanted to use for the juice box.  The flavor name, "Strawberry Banannabelle," is one thing, but if you look closely, the doll from the film is transparently hiding behind the case and over the Hi-C logo.  Just a way to bring the best of both evil worlds together.

I'm not sure how a Cotton Candy flavored Hi-C would taste, but just "Drink IT!"  In all seriousness, it would probably be pretty good.  Regardless, I wanted to incorporate a classic circus treat into the mix for Pennywise.  Prior to that idea, it was just going to be Kiwi Strawberry.  I'm happy I changed my mind.  This is one of my favorite boxes, especially because of the confetti background.

Nothing but alliteration for the flavor name, but I knew exactly what I wanted for the box.  Because Hi-C juice boxes are already yellow, I had to make it look like the original Good Guy box that Chucky came in.  This is one of my favorite boxes to date and, if anything was ever made for the new Curse of Chucky film, this would be what I want.

I absolutely love this box for so many different reasons.  "Mogwai Melon" was going to only be melon, but when I thought about the movie itself, watermelon made sense.  We all know what happens when Mogwai's come in contact with water, and if you look behind Gizmo, a mysterious Gremlin has already been exposed.  So there's a lot going on with this box and there's actually more of a story than just a design, which is why this might be my favorite box in the collection.

If you'd like to share these boxes (which I'd appreciate!) here is an Instagram formatted image for you to use.  You can also check out for individually formatted images!

I hope you enjoyed Series 2 of the Holidaze Hi-C Horror Collection!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Halloween Superstore

I love shopping for Halloween.  Whether I'm looking for treats or a cool decoration, I always seem to find joy from a black and orange something or other.  Even when I'm not looking to buy, I can spend hours just browsing the aisles.  Halloween, more than any other holiday, provides me with such a sensory overload that I just can't get enough.  So, to give this fiend his fix, we went to Belleville, NJ to check out their "Halloween Superstore."  It's a site we visit regularly during the season and, in past years, has been my go-to spot for Halloween costumes.  I know the "Spirit" stores get most of the notoriety, but this place deserves more credit!

As soon as you walk through the doors, there's a smell of rubber masks and old Halloween make-up that rushes through your body like any good nostalgia should.  You're in a Halloween wonderland, surrounded by hanging devils, looming ghosts, and life-sized skeleton figures dressed for the wedding that never was.  Being there for only a matter of seconds, you feel as though you're in a haunted house without the threat of being scared.  That's why kids love this place, too.  It's the full Halloween experience for all ages.  And the best part, coming so early in September, is that there was no crowd at all.  I've been here the week of October 31st and, trust me, the enjoyment level drops to a two.  Much like Toys R Us on Christmas Eve, the Halloween Superstore gets crazy as we approach the big day, so getting a jump start was a great idea.

I see these dummies every year and, no matter how many times I look at them, they always freak me the hell out.  It's bad enough that they move and startle me when I walk passed, but they look way too real to boot.  If you ever see one of these butlers or maids, take a really good look at them.  I mean, really get up close and personal.  Stare them directly in the eye and tell me you're not creeped out!  It's like they took human eyes and put them into the mechanical bodies.  With that said, I'd love to one day own one of these to have set up at a party.  They're phenomenal and always attract attention.

This old hag wasn't turned on, so I have no idea why she's worth so much money, but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I got scared when I took the photo.  Because she looks so real and had her eyes locked on mine, I thought she was going to move for sure.  In fact, I started telling myself that there was a person inside the costume and she was going to lunge out at me.  Even though I knew it wasn't going to happen, my mind started to play tricks on me.  Ahh, the power of Halloween!

What's wrong with this guy?  Why is he making such a painful, disgruntled, face?  He just got to Target and realized they still have their school stuff out.  Oh, the terror!

Downright morbid.  This is something I would not want to own or keep in my house, but fun enough to look at as I pass by.  Dead babies turn me off.  They're the one thing I don't like to associate with Halloween or the season.  That might sound hypocritical considering I don't mind dead men and women zombies or homicidal maniacs killing innocent strangers, but I'm just not a fan of this one.  But, I'll admit, it's extremely creepy and would work well in a haunted house or on somebody's porch.  None of the animatronics were turned on, but I can only imagine how awesome they all are once they're moving and making sounds.

Yeah so, like I said, dead babies are a no-go, but I'm all for beheaded men and the limbs of women.  It all makes sense now, right?  Really, at the end of the day, anything goes on Halloween.  Some people can stomach and accept more than others, but everybody knows you're going to be exposed to horrific things on Halloween.  That's one of the reasons why I love it so much.  Unless you're deranged, you shouldn't be taking Halloween so seriously.  It's meant to be a fun break from reality into the supernatural.  So, for me, decorations and props like these are A-Okay.  I just stray away from the dogs and babies.  It's like any good horror movie; you can kill 100 people and nobody cares, but kill the dog or kid and people are writing letters.  I guess I'm one of "them."

The Halloween Superstore really does have everything.  If you want the haunted house props for hundreds of dollars, you got it.  If you want plates, cups, and candles for a few bucks, those are yours, too.  That's why I like this store so much.  You get a little bit of everything and more than enough to leave your pockets empty.

This part of the store was a bit overpriced.  I've seen, and own, some of these items and they were purchased at Walgreens and the Dollar Store for only a buck or two.  Here, they were about $4.99-$5.99.  So, like anything, you have to shop around and Google a bit before you buy, but these are great products to own.  I know my goblet has been getting a lot of love on Twitter, but those shot glasses and colored cups are just as cool.  I'll have to look around for something similar before I spend the money here, but they're worth having to enhance the season.  Who doesn't want to drink Ghoul-Aid from a goblet or Fall beer from a skull shaped glass?

People can talk about and love the modern decorations of our time, but I'll always have a soft spot for cardboard cutouts and window clings.  To me, they're the most suitable decor for Halloween and the most nostalgic.  I remember, as a kid, my teachers always stapled the same Dracula head cutout on the bulletin board every year.  It was cheap, yet effective.  They're the same decorations you see in old episodes of Roseanne and Home Improvement and I just love them.  They're corny, they're older than I am, but they mean so much for what they were and what I remember.  On Christmas, you can be fancy and elegant, but Halloween is the complete opposite.  Only in September and October can you tape a cardboard mummy on your wall and consider it art.  Hey, I even consider it fashionable.  These are my favorite types of Halloween decorations.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Halloween Superstore without Halloween costumes!  Belleville has plenty to offer for children and adults!  We walked up and down every aisle at least twice to get a good look at every old and new costume for sale.  As we did, my only wish was that I had invitations to multiple Halloween parties because I want to wear all of them.  For the last two-years, I've gone as Macho Man Randy Savage and made the costumes myself.  This year, I have no idea what the plan is and it's already stressing me out.  Halloween costumes should probably be low on my list of priorities, but you'd be surprised by how high it ranks.  President Obama has Syria and the economy, I have cereals and costumes.  Tough jobs, I know.  But seriously, I'm super excited to show it off, I just don't know what "it" is yet.

I really like the Beetlejuice costume because you can wear it again and go as Robin Thicke.  Hey Hey Hey!

I don't think any fully grown adults should ever go as Chucky, but I have a friend who's a little person and he loves dressing up as the good guy doll.  That's how you use what God's given you to your advantage.  He puts on the costume, stands still in a corner, and runs after anybody who gets too close.  I'd do the same thing, but I'm too big for Chucky and too small for Leatherface.  I'd channel my inner Billy Loomis and go as Ghostface, but I did that when I was 12.  I'm all confused, now..

There's a new line of costumes out called "Wicked of Oz," and they're all really... Wicked?  They're obviously based on "The Wizard of Oz," but are much more ferocious looking than the original costumes.  Take this Cowardly Lion, for example.  This isn't the lovable wimp we've all come to know and love, he's a ruthless killer.  The Tin Man was also for sale and looked like he was put together with old machinery, brass parts, and steel.  I guess they're taking a more realistic approach.  Maybe it's the "Dark Knight" version of "Wizard of Oz."  Either way, they'd look amazing if you dressed together as a group.  That's something I've never done, but wouldn't be opposed to as long as I'm the post popular character from any group we choose.

More hanging props and decorations, all of which were for sale.  Even if I had the room, I'm not sure what I'd do with them, but I want them all.  For now, I'll stick with the "Beware" sign.  I could put it on my door to scare away the 30-year-old men who Trick-or-Treat without costumes in Jersey City.  But they'd just steal it.

My favorite section of the store is their mask display because they have so many masks, from so many years, that they obviously can't get rid of.  Nobody wants to spend money on a wrestling mask from the Attitude Era when they can buy something brand new, but that works for window shoppers like me.  I love looking at old masks, and the fact that they're wrestling masks makes it even better.  

 I used to have the Vince McMahon mask.  My Dad wore it in Salem, MA while my cousin went as Mankind and I went as The Rock to form The Rock & Sock Connection.  I was about 13-years-old, so it didn't look all the believable, but I probably couldn't pull it off any better today, anyway.  My cousin looked a lot better.  Lots of people were chanting "Foley, Foley!"  Meanwhile, they thought I was a tiny Mexican man.  I guess the glittery shirt didn't help matters.  Oh well, I tried.

The Superstore obviously ordered too much inventory in the late 90s because those South Park masks came out around the same time as the WWF and WCW masks.  Napoleon Dynamite and The Grinch came out soon after, but they manage to hold up well.  I really like the Frankenstein and and Burger King masks, but probably wouldn't waste my Halloween dressed as them.  Although, I did go as Frankenstein in the 2nd grade.

This is probably the only photo from that Halloween, but it was one of my favorites.  At school, we were all allowed to dress up in our costumes, but we couldn't change until after lunch.  That only gave us a few hours to rock our macabre and I couldn't wait to dress like Frankenstein.  But, from what I remember, it was a disaster.  I brought my costume in a plastic bag, took it into the bathroom, and changed myself.  But the make-up and rubber head top were not working out.  You can hardly see in the image, but my face is green.  It doesn't look great, and that's with the help of my inartistic teacher, but it was the best I could do.  God only knows where the rubber piece went, but that was the selling point.  I still remember seeing this costume on the rack at Toys R Us thinking, "Whoa.. I need that Franky head."  Had we been allowed to dress up all day, my Mom would have made sure I left the house looking like Herman Munster, but we're lucky we got any party at all in elementary school.  Regardless, I love this image for the memories I have attached to it, but have no idea what I'm holding in my hands.  Looks like I swiped a cupcake and Reese's.

As you walk down the aisle, the masks get more and more scary.  This end of the wall was insane.  We have Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Hannibal the Cannibal, Jigsaw, Leatherface, and a Nun that creeps me out the most.  They're all awesome.  I've been looking for a Freddy mask that moves with your face, like those silicone latex masks that sell for over $500, but no such luck.  In the meantime, I might settle for that bloody Michael Myers mask.  I've never seen that before, but that's gnarly.

Every year, I look for a decent Freddy or Jason costume.  I've always wanted a movie quality version that would stand up well next to any other seen on the street, but I never seem to find one.  These over sized creature reachers would definitely attract attention, and I almost bought one a few years ago, but decided against it.  They're awesome, and are close to what I've been looking for, but I know how difficult it is to see and move in one of those costumes.

I bought the giant pumpkin head creature reacher for a family Halloween party in 2008.  It was a huge hit...for about 15 seconds.  Everybody loved it, we took a few pictures, and then the party started.  I had two choices - I could either stand there, in the house, unable to move my hands, see, and breathe, or I could take off everything pumpkin related and go as a hay sack.  Unfortunately, hay sack was the easier route and, in a matter of minutes, I went from wearing a $350 costume to being a regular Joe Schmoe.  Needless to say, I put that bad boy up on Ebay the following year.

Are these new?  In recent years, I've seen countless Mario & Luigi combinations, but they're usually homemade.  This year, I see they've released the hat and obscenely large mustache.  That's pretty awesome.  I think you kinda have to already look the part, but the duo always makes for a great tag team on Halloween.  Personally, the best I've ever seen is "Fireball Mario."  Somebody went all out in Salem, making their own costume and throwing colored tennis balls at the ground, bouncing them toward visitors.  He must have spent a fortune on his bag of balls, because he never went to pick them up, but it was worth it.  If you've ever been to Salem for Halloween, you know how important it is to stand out if you're getting dressed up.  I need to get back there.

I'm willing to bet that I used one of these exact make-up packages when I painted my face green in 1994.  The design and images never seem to change on the cardboard backing, and I like it that way.  That clown and witch on the bottom pegs have been around for at least 15 years.  If I have it my way, they'll be around for 15 more.  They're just as big a part of nostalgia and Halloween as anything else.  They're underrated, sometimes forgotten, but always bring back memories whenever I see them hanging there.  I would never buy them, now.  Unless I was using make-up on a consistent basis or needed something quick, there's no way I wouldn't choose something better over the cheap stuff.  If it's Halloween, I'm going to go the extra mile.  Besides, my face always felt itchy when I had that stuff on.  For the price, ya gotta figure something's up with the ingredients.  They're fun to look at and cheap to buy, but that's about as far as it'll go these days.

When I was a kid, that make-up was all to be offered.  Now, you can buy fake teeth, fangs, colored contacts, fake noses, and big ears.  God already gave me a pair of Dumbo's, but now you can apparently go as me, this season.  It's crazy how much is offered, but I always wonder how this stuff holds up compared to higher quality products sold online.  I'd love to hear from somebody who knows their stuff because, honestly, I have no idea.  I tried using spirit gum for a Macho Man beard, and it didn't all.  I had to draw the beard on with eye liner and I don't know if I've ever written a more manly sentence than this.

There are new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes for 2013, but they were completely sold out!  I don't know if I would have purchased one, but I wanted to see what they looked like in person.  Online, they appear to be based on the original cartoon which, for me, would be amazing.  The Shredder costume I saw made my jaw drop, but only the four turtles were once available at the Superstore and they were all gone.

Kids, on the other hand, have the opportunity to dress as their favorite Ninja Turtle and I LOVE that!!  Thanks to Nickelodeon and a new generation of fans, the TMNT are reaching a level of popularity that hasn't been seen since the early 90s.  As a fan of the franchise, this is great news!  The more money they make, they more merchandise we see.  Thankfully, they're smart enough to market to me and my age-group which means even more nostalgia.  I'll take that, but I'm even happier to know that there are a group of kids out there who are excited to pick their favorite turtle and act like them on Halloween.  It makes me happy to know that, 20-years from now, they'll be looking back on 2013 with the same fond memories I have for Frankenstein.

I saved this one for the end because, honestly, I don't think I've seen a more impressive Halloween costume in years, especially for $60.  I'll never forget the mass hysteria caused by Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Halloween costumes in 1995.  In my area, they were sold out everywhere!  And this was before the Internet age where you can just go online and find whatever you want for a higher price.  When something was gone, it was gone.  I would have been devastated if I was unable to dress up as the Red Ranger, but my Aunt found one at a Mom & Pop Toy Store in Bayonne, NJ and wound up paying 5x the retail value just to make sure I wasn't disappointed and could make my friends jealous.  I remember how cheap the costume was made, with one of those plastic masks and elastic bands, but I really felt like a Power Ranger when I had it on.  The only downside was that it wasn't the Green Ranger.  In my recollection, the original Green Ranger costume was never officially available... until now!

The body suit is one thing, especially with that gold armor, but the helmet is what makes this a childhood dream come true.  Could you imagine having this as a kid??  I wanted a real Power Ranger helmet more than anything in the world and, looking back, I can't believe how lucky I was to have that be the worst of my problems.  But compared to my plastic mask, I would have killed to have a helmet that snaps on and off the way theirs did.  Now, with this new costume, we get a version very close to the original.  Basically, you get two sides that Velcro together to create a helmet.  It's still plastic, but there are no eye holes.  You see through the helmet the same way you'd see through sunglasses.  The Red Ranger was also available, but it had two eye holes cut through the mask.  Ew!  This one is a trillion times better and I'm debating whether or not I want to buy it.  I know there are much more "official" costumes available online, but they're expensive.  For the price, this may be the best route.  Now, if only I knew some karate..

Overall, this is one of the coolest Halloween stores I've ever been to and that's why we continually go back to visit Belleville every year.  If you're looking for something, chances are they'll have it.  Now, I haven't been to a Spirit Store in years, but I can't imagine it being much better than the State Fair Halloween Superstore.  I'm trying to think of what can be offered there that wasn't here, and I can't think of anything.  However, I think there's a Spirit Store relatively close to me and I'll probably check it out, soon.  Until then, I need to figure out what to be for Halloween.  What are you wearing on October 31st?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...