Saturday, September 17, 2011

The most beautiful sound in the world...

   I am sure we all have our version of the most beautiful sound on earth, but I am sure mine is pretty unique.
   Laughing children? Hardly!
   The popping and cracking of a camp fire? Getting warmer.
   The growl of a my super charged Mustang? Close, but no cigar.

   There is no sound more beautiful to me than the sharp crack of a carefully laid out Halloween spending budget as it shatters into a million pieces.
   We did some shopping today. We spent way too much. We don't care! It's all for the best holiday ever!
   We hit Halloween Express and BOTH Spirit Halloweens (Kingsport and JC) that are within our area and I am ready to rank these two for the 2011 season.

  I will start with the biggest let down. Spirit Halloween.

  This was our first stop in our haunted shopping spree today. I have always been a big supporter of Spirit,  but this year I was sorely let down by the Johnson City TN store located at the corner of SUNSET & N.ROAN 2219 N. ROAN STREET JOHNSON CITY, TN 37601
   It was poorly laid out, with isles you could barely fit one person down, much less the throngs of people that were out in force today. What few props they had out were hastily set up and missing pieces or were not even hooked up.
   The prices of items were through the roof. I saw items carried by Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart at nearly half the price such as LED black flood light for $15.99  (Target $8.99) and animated zombie hand $19.99 ($12.99 Kmart). The biggest disappointment was seeing the EXACT same Walgreen Skeletons ($30) on sale here for $49.99.
   The staff did not help this dismal scene. The workers were huffing and puffing with faces all screwed into frowns as if they were working in a turd recycling plant. Unfriendly, unhelpful, and full of lathing at working at a Halloween store... BOOOO!
   To be quite honest, the store looked as if it has been thrown together overnight, even though they have been setting it up for over 3 weeks. It was dirty and cramped and dismal. We briefly looked over the high priced packages of despair and quickly went on our way.
    The Kingsport store was a different matter. Located at EAST STONE COMMONS2003 N EASTMAN RD,  KINGSPORT, TN 37660. It was spacious and clean. The staff were all smiles and helpful. While they did have a good number of props that were not working, you could tell the displays were put together with more care than their sister site. We actually spent a good deal of time here shopping, but were still met with staggering prices for items you could easily build or purchase at other stores for less.
   A prime example of this were the skull torches :

    These were $12.99 and consisted of a plastic skull with peeling paint and a standard bamboo tiki torch.

    Compare this to my $2 dollar Skull Torches:

Article on the torches can be found HERE.
   I usually spend at least $500 or more with Spirit every year, but this year they will get $87.58 from me for the following :


   The candelabra is just amazing in person and I used a 20% coupon on it ($99.99 before coupon). It comes with LED candles or you can use real ones if you choose! The glow in the dark bottle labels could not be passed up for our glowing bar display this year.
   I found 2 of the 5 LED candles broken. The LED "guts" had popped out and I had to glue them back in. Small frustration seeing what I paid for it. but the finished product is pretty amazing :

   All being said and done I am very pleased with my first and last purchases of the year at Spirit Halloween. I would rank them a single Grimace but thanks to the superior service at the Kingsport TN store and the online/catalog ordering aspect, they are wicKEDly ranKED at two out of five grimaces this year!

   Halloween Express, located at 112 A Sunset Dr Johnson City, TN 37604 423-794-2810 was our second big destination of the day.

   I had high hopes for the store and it did not fail me. When you walk in there are HUGE and FULLY functional displays and scenes of the props and decorations (the dinner table scene was very disturbing). There was a ton of merchandise to view and we happily shopped away an hour in this store. I even bought my costume for the wicKED weeKEnD Halloween party this year (old west zombie sheriff).  Below is a the loot we brought back :

   The costume, wig, and badge are all part of my costume. The $1.50 wine bottle labels are for our glowing bar scene this year. The foot pad is to activate my Dead Lift Zombie I bought 3 years ago. Loot continues in next picture:

   These were for whimsical touches at this years party. The zombie hand out of a bloody toilet seat cover is great. The 3D scenes are AWESOME! One goes on the fridge and the other the bathroom door. They really look like there is a hole torn in the door and you can see this scene inside. They were a great buy (in my opinion) at  $6.99. The cat decal is for my girlfriend's car window(sigh).
   This is a great place to just go gawk at the VAST amount of Halloween merchandise offered as well as the great scenes they have set up. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and they had costumes galore! I still found a few items that you can get cheaper elsewhere, like black lights, fog machines, etc,  but overall they had some very unique items at good prices. This year, Halloween Express gets wicKEDly ranKED at 4 out of 5 Grimaces!

   We hit all the usual spots on this trip as well such as Target, Kmart, Walmart(ick), TJMax, and ROSS's. I was not overly impressed with the offering of any of them. Walmart really did not have much at all (at least in our neck of the woods). Below is the rest of our wicKED treasures :

    Target gave us some good items.We got our craft pumpkin for this year at a decent price. The glow in the dark skull was very cool, but not as cool as the fully articulate glow in the dark skeleton for $40!(gonna see if these go on sale as I have an idea for a nice ghost prop). I always try to get one of their poly stone tombstone each year. This year they had only one that was not covered in glitter or garish paint! Glad I only grab one a year. The metal serving hands are just great. I wanted them last year and let them slip away so I grabbed them! The Sleepy Hollow book for $1 is for my god daughter's treat bag this year.

   Walmart always has some home haunt items. I grabbed 10 bottles of tonic water for glowing drinks and potion bottles, black lights for the party and the yard haunt and wire hangers. I had "no more wire hangers!" for my cheapo ground breaker arms so I grabbed a 10 pack.
   Today was a great day for me and my girlfriend. What sane person would not love to shop for Halloween stuff on a beautiful Saturday? Not to mention testing the limits of the endless pasta bowl at Olive Garden.
   With less than a week away before we drag out decorations, I fear it was the calm before the storm. It's going to be so much work, but I cannot wait! I am sure I have the B.A.L.Z. to pull it off! Do you?


  1. HBA Welcome Wagon...
    Wanted to let you know, you part of the Alliance.
    Please stop by and check to make sure your link is correct.
    Remember to say Thank You and visit the other HBA Members.

    Jeremy [iZombie]
    HBA Staff

  2. Wow!! A lot of awesome finds. Have fun setting it all up!!!

  3. Great blog! I felt the same way about Spirit but felt Halloween City was overpriced as well. I saw the Walgreens skeletons at both stores for $50 when I bought mine at walgreens for only $30. Being a home haunter who builds most of his props I know a little better than to buy half the stuff they sell because you can always make it at a fraction of the price.

  4. I wandered over from Out of the Shadows and am a new follower! Loved seeing your decor haul. The skull torches were my favorite!

  5. We've have just returned from yet another Halloween shopping trip. I'm bone weary but very excited about all the treasures. Congrats for you for buying the floor candelabra. We were taking a serious look at it in Spirit Halloween as well! It looks awesome, I know your going to love that one. We also did the Walmart trip as well, but recognized much of the stock from last year...can't fool us hardcore prop shoppers. Not impressed with them. We are finding that different stores offer different things at vastly different prizes. This weekend was, light up pumpkins, a bag of bones, many strings of orange lights, two crazy looking witch hats, assorted vermin to squeeze in apothecary jars, another black cauldron and a couple of 3 foot skeletons (love them...named them Bert & Erny). Well that's my list for this weekend, need to order pizza and call it a night. Great blog post, my husband and I both laughed at your Halloween budget comments, ours shattered long ago. But hey...aren't we having a blast!

  6. Vivvienne : Thanks! That's the best part!

    Grimlock : Ignorance is bliss. I can recall a time that Walmart was my main source for haunting needs WAY back in the day. Too bad we all know what we do today ;)

    LuLu : Thanks for the support! You have a new follower as well! ;)

    Marilyn : If you take a second look, don't forget your 20% Coupon. It is a very nice piece!
    Walmart is a big disappointment this year. I already bough the best they had last year at 75% off :(. Sounds like you got a good haul as well and thank you for your support!

  7. That's funny, cuz my favorite sound is the garbled highpitched scream of the welcome mat at S*P*I*R*I*T.


Do you have wicked words of wisdom? Then please leave a comment.