Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Blame Spooky Blue

Everyone in life has their idols, whether they realize it or not. Americans seem to have many different kinds, ranging from pop stars and actors to politicians, to pop stars and actors who think they are or have become politicians.

For those of us who are prop builders, it's folks like Spooky Blue, or Rot of Pumpkinrot, or Grim of Grim Hollow (plus all you others out there!).

As I was surfing Spooky Blue's site last year, I went to his "Page 2" archive of stuff that didn't fit on page one. On that page was a link to his collection of vintage pumpkin lights. I glanced through it and went to another page. But later I went back. And I went back again.

I don't recall my folks having these when I was a kid growing up. My dad carved a pumpkin every year, and did a great job at it. But blow molds? None. In the back of my mind, I wondered what fascinated me so much about these cheesy little plastic decorations.

I could rhapsodize about the memories of bygone days these lamps bring out (I could, but again, we didn't own any), and wonderful memories about my mother's pumpkin pie baking in the oven, or the smell of cider mulling on the stove. But my mom never baked pies, or mulled cider, and frankly, she was a terrible cook. She hid from the kids on Halloween, so my dad would hand out the candy. And she hated horror movies.

No, the fact is, I like the unpretentiousness of them. These are simple lights from a simple time, and they don't aspire to be anything but that. They are Halloween In Plastic.

So when Christmas (and my father-in-law's usual Christmas check) came around, and I somehow found myself cruising eBay, I ran across a few blow mold style Halloween lights. Somehow, I started bidding on my prize: the 22-inch JOL made by Empire plastics. In truth, I'd been watching for one such as this for weeks on eBay, but the others were not up to snuff. One actually looked like it had been used for lawn bowling by a group of mutant chimpanzees. And that guy wanted $60.00 for it! This one was perfect, and in almost new condition. Considering it was made in the late '60s, it's in great shape. Probably better shape than I am. Though I notice after some considerable Holiday celebrating, I'm in serious danger of actually duplicating its shape. Eek!

Fortunately, there wasn't a massive bidding war for this piece, and I managed to negotiate downward about half of the shipping charge posted. When I got the, "You've won" email from eBay, I quietly went into a happy little orbit.

It arrived shortly before I left for L.A. for the Christmas Holiday, in exactly the condition advertised. I jumped up and down, laughing, as I opened it. I am REALLY glad Mr. ShellHawk wasn't home, as my leaping about would have blown my cool image with him. Hard to recover from that.

The others were a bonus find. With the exception of the witch holding the pumpkin on her shoulder, the others were sold as a lot for around $40.00 Shipping wasn't much more. I was excited to win these guys, as now I essentially got an entire collection in two transactions.

I dream of a few others I saw, but have (so far) refrained from bidding on because I really like being married to Mr. ShellHawk, and even his enormous tolerance for my odd taste in collecting has its limits. I dream of the little green light-up haunted house, and the orange one, and even that tacky orange, plastic light-up owl. I dream of the horrid-faced melting candle arriving in its oddly-shaped box, and the sound of the paper packing crackling as I tear it out, capering and dancing with joy.

Some girls go wild for diamonds and pearls. I go wild for vintage tacky plastic Halloween lights. Go figure.

I blame Spooky Blue.


  1. E-bay is addictive! Your large pumpkin looks a lot like one my family had when I was a child. Strangely, we had plastic pumpkins but no real ones.

    Love your blog :)


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