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Tis the Season that we have dozens of posts regarding Halloween merchandise so I thought I would add one more. After making the rounds to the Halloween specialty stores, the big box stores and a few smaller one's I must say I was completely, totally, utterly and undeniably disappointed in the Halloween merchandise that was available for sale this year. Usually Spirit, Home Depot or Michaels (I expect advertising checks from each of you) have a few new pieces that are interesting and new. Or at the very least they completely ripped-off, mass produced, branded and packaged based on what a home haunter created the year before. I guess they are running out of ideas to “steal” (I mean borrow). Did anyone else notice the lack of creatively new stuff available this year?
 

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Me too. I haven't seen Walmart yet but I have watched videos. Same old stuff they have every year.

The pirate ship is pretty cool. I was like the scarecrow guy. I was excited about the Pennywise prop until I seen it's mouth doesn't move with the voice.

I will do most of my prop shopping after Oct 15th. Thats when items will be going to 50% off
 

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Tis the Season that we have dozens of posts regarding Halloween merchandise so I thought I would add one more. After making the rounds to the Halloween specialty stores, the big box stores and a few smaller one's I must say I was completely, totally, utterly and undeniably disappointed in the Halloween merchandise that was available for sale this year. Usually Spirit, Home Depot or Michaels (I expect advertising checks from each of you) have a few new pieces that are interesting and new. Or at the very least they completely ripped-off, mass produced, branded and packaged based on what a home haunter created the year before. I guess they are running out of ideas to “steal” (I mean borrow). Did anyone else notice the lack of creatively new stuff available this year?
Me too. I haven't seen Walmart yet but I have watched videos. Same old stuff they have every year.

The pirate ship is pretty cool. I was like the scarecrow guy. I was excited about the Pennywise prop until I seen it's mouth doesn't move with the voice.

I will do most of my prop shopping after Oct 15th. Thats when items will be going to 50% off
Home Depot's pirate ship impressed me, but I don't and won't do a pirate theme, everything else was either the same, or crap. As I mentioned in the Home Depot thread, the Headless Horseman was extremely disappointing in person. It looked like a child on a miniature pony. I haven't seen target yet, and don't really bother with Party City/Halloween City. Not really expecting anything from Target. This year is saving me money though because all I have really spent money on is pink/green insulation foam for tombstones.
 

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I agree. I do a traditional cemetery and a dragon or pirate ship would look silly and out of place in it. I usually pick up a few tombstones from Target but they're very cutesy this year. I told my husband it's a good year to stock up on more skeletons and possibly add another projector or fog machine because theres nothing else of interest out there.
 

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I agree. I do a traditional cemetery and a dragon or pirate ship would look silly and out of place in it. I usually pick up a few tombstones from Target but they're very cutesy this year. I told my husband it's a good year to stock up on more skeletons and possibly add another projector or fog machine because theres nothing else of interest out there.
The Target tombstones are so disappointing. I'm terrible at making my own.
 

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Not only am I disappointed in the lack of new things, but in the quality of the things they carry. Is it just me or do things seem more cheaply made this year? I haven't dug out my 3 foot skeleton yet that I bought after Halloween in 2017, but I swear it was a bit wider than the 3 footers out now. I know I had to replace the head of the one I bought in 2017 because it was too small and just didn't look normal with the rest of the body. It looked more like a shrunken head. But this year the small heads don't look quite so abnormal to me and they are still tiny heads.

I don't usually buy any of the animatronic props as I can build my own for less and have them last longer. But I do like to buy some of the skellies and lights and other small decor. Most of the small decor currently out is stuff that I already have and don't need more. Not much selection in the lighting as well and I will wait until things go on sale to buy more skellies. Not going to pay full price for poorer quality.
 

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Part of the problems with the size of props I think stems from the cost of shipping over the years. Expensive for the companies ordering it for their stores, expensive for the shoppers needing to have it shipped, and then factored into the shipping is the size of the boxes the items come in. With changes in shipping rates (think FedEx started this a few years back on how it was calculated), box dimensions really matter. For lightweight items, weight almost became a non-concern because rates were affected by box size more so I think. So it really left corporate buyers seeking out products that were more compact and could fit in boxes that would save more on shipping. More like fit the prop to a box. It's a real concern for them.

I love pirates and haven't done my pirate them yet and would absolutely love to get the HD pirate ship. Sounds like the quality is there and for the size of it seems like a pretty good price. I simply don't have the room any more to store something so large though and can see this being a problem for many who would like to buy it. Of all the props I've seen in the traditional stores, I have to say this is the one that rates the highest on my chart but I'll have to admire it in the store. I do love that HD is able to sell such large props for halloween though. I own the 9 ft T-Rex and the giagantic spider, both of which have boxes that are pretty huge. I think it must be HD's purchasing scale, profit made on other construction items in the store, shipping deals with carriers, that allows them to still offer such oversized items. Certainly gets people into the store to see them and buy other construction and halloween decorating items for their yards.

I really did like the Shark Tank themed set up in Spirit this year but have to say the store seemed more muted than in past years.
 

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I agree. I do a traditional cemetery and a dragon or pirate ship would look silly and out of place in it. I usually pick up a few tombstones from Target but they're very cutesy this year. I told my husband it's a good year to stock up on more skeletons and possibly add another projector or fog machine because theres nothing else of interest out there.
Now I read your post and immediately thought pirate shipwreck near land where pirates have been buried. Pumpkins in the cemetary or even one on the ship. Dragons evoke a medieval theme and you have your castle with cemetary of fallen knights, hunchback, etc.
 

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This is the exact reason why I started building my own props. I got tired of the same old, same old stuff. I do mix store bought things with my homemade props. If im able to find anything I like.
I never see anything I like. It's all cheaply made, jerky movements and terrible soundtracks. If I ever was to buy one of these garbage props, the first thing I'd do is disconnect the speaker. It's all terrible. But I've been doing this since before there was any such thing as a commercially available prop. If you wanted something, you had to make it yourself. You had no choice. I get exactly what I want and I know how to fix it if it breaks because I made it in the first place. I'd never buy a store bought animatronic. Parts and pieces, sure, but never anything pre-built.
 

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I agree.. I went to Home Depot yesterday for the first time and the pirate captain skeleton is tiny compared to the one I bought there 4 years ago. Plus, mine has a talking parrot on it and is made so much better.. I payed about the same price as the new one. dissapointing for sure.
 

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This, a thousand times THIS.
As I said in the Spirit Halloween thread, I finally have money to buy some of this stuff and the quality is garbage now. I know it's not that I've learned how to make my own and it seems like everything is overpriced throw away stuff. No, it's full on margin maximizing on the part of the companies trying to squeeze out every last penny of profit. I wasn't expecting props and animatronics to be on par with professional stuff, but at the same time the store bought stuff used to be built to last at least a few years (longer if you took care of it of course). Now you're lucky to get a single night out of the stuff and you're paying even more for it.
I am literally being forced to build things myself if I want something halfway decent. While I'm mostly able to do this, I do have health issues that make it difficult to really do everything I want to do. Couple that with the fact I rent and I'm limited on building space, and I'm frustrated that I can't just walk into a store and buy a few things instead. It would be so much easier to buy a few cool things that would take too much space/effort to build and just focus on the few things I can do. I want to continue supporting stores selling Halloween stuff, but they're making it really difficult!
 

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@The Skeleton Crew I could not agree more. There definitely seems this year to be very lackluster offerings. And even if you find a piece here or there the stores that stock these items are so inconsistent! I’ve said it before but I can’t remember the last time I had suck a hard time giving stores money.

As stated by others, in prop world pre-built, HD’s pirate ship was a clear winner. Kudos to them for giving us something fun. I’m not going rag on construction and painting cause when buy a prop I think there’s always the understanding you’re getting a mass produced item with potentially poor quality. Not justifying pricing cause for the cost I agree they should be better. I’m not a prop builder and often buy the premade props. I think we could debate back and forth over which is better and clearly making your own gives you more customization and for those of us limited on time or knowledge I’m glad someone makes them.

I wonder though... do we do this to ourselves? Let’s be honest we all are scouring stores and websites for merchandise. I know I have lists saved and I will go as far as checking items in January thinking someone might have slashed a price. I think we all appreciate a new trend bringing in a fresh bit of Halloween air, but if we are always trying to push the boundaries is it fair to ask big box retailers to be THAT creative?
 

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Have to agree. I don't know if it's because I'm now making my own stuff which is usually better than store bought anyways. But went to 6 stores and ended up with only a few minor items which I plan in incorporate into my own items.
 

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I do appreciate that more stores are starting to offer Halloween decor and that folks who do not have the time or abilities to make their own have some place they can buy premades. My biggest disappointment is more in the price of items that are cheaply mass produced. Prices keep getting higher while quality only declines. There are items in the animatronics that I would like to buy as it would be easier in some ways than making my own. However I can not afford or justify spending $150 and upwards on one prop that may only last a couple of years that I could make for way less and last longer. Even if I spend the same amount they are asking for one prop to build my own, my own will last 3-4 times or more longer.

In the overall grand scheme of things Halloween decor offerings have come a long ways over the past 10 or so years. But it just feels like this year the makers of Halloween decor has hit some sort of road block in creativity, at least in most of the smaller item offerings.
 

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@HauntedWyo since I’m new with props and only do a pop up display I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ve had a prop not working. When we get there, I’ll probably be hitting you up for prop tips.

Agree with you completely. After a while I can’t remember which spellbook or which raven or which black cat I saw where cause it’s all blending together. Not sure what I’m looking for, but definitely feeling like it’s a very “rinse and repeat” type shopping experience.
 

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I'm 50/50. In relation to the Spirit & like animatronics, I agree they are getting more expensive for lesser quality.

While I go way overboard as far as most regular folk who aren't obsessed with Halloween, I like my indoor lighted decor & tabletop stuff equally as outdoor stuff. My gripe is I comb pages of Manufacturers catalogs showing what is coming for the following season & can never find most of the pieces I would look for. Some Mfr sites are so secretive & you have to go through the backdoor to even see what they would be selling. Let the people see & request what they would buy & then get it out there. Example; Raz pumpkin candle waterglobe. On their site, they show a Frankenstein right next to it. I've been 4-5 places that have the pumpkin (won't buy it since Kohl's is better & looks like a pumpkin & not just a face) but haven't found the Frankenstein yet & I have asked every store about it that has the pumpkin. Frankie is very unique.

I also wish I knew how to get ideas out to some of the artists/designers for some of the decor I really like & would like to see more of. They could run with it if it is something good. Adding timers to decor was genius in my opinion. An example of this was the Everlasting Glow Jack-o-Lantern indoor/outdoor candles with timer. I bought all 3 sizes & the batteries lasted all the way through Thanksgiving & didn't have to touch them. I thought "this would be cute if they did them in green with Frankenstein hair & face, white with Bunny face for Easter, etc. I would've bought them all. Another example is some water globes have so much plain glitter in them you can't see the scenes in them. That is why I love the Pumpkin from Kohl's. The acrylic is orange & glitter is hologram making it sparkle like diamonds. I would by it if it came in a clover for St. Pats, an egg for Easter, a heart for Valentine's Day, etc. but NoOOOO, they stop at a pumpkin.
 

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@HauntedWyoAfter a while I can’t remember which spellbook or which raven or which black cat I saw where cause it’s all blending together. Not sure what I’m looking for, but definitely feeling like it’s a very “rinse and repeat” type shopping experience.
That's EXACTLY how I feel this year! I don't know what I'm looking for but very few things are grabbing me. Not in the stores anyway. Most of what I've gotten has been online & mostly indoor decor or crafting stuff.

I'm also trying to be more selective in what I buy now. I've got more than enough stuff to work with as it stands now, I really don't need any more. If anything I need a GIANT purge.

That said, I'm glad more stores are getting into the mix. It does seem like there's a wider range of decor in general even if it's not all my "thing" (like dragons or pirate ships), it's still great to see it all out there this time of year.

A couple of years ago you wouldn't have seen a "lifesize" dragon or pirate ship or those weird little gnomes that are everywhere now. The makers seem to realize that to make money they need a wider audience & things like gnomes & pirates are appealing to those that don't want gore or super scary things.
 
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