Oct 31, 2020

Monthly Media Recap - October 2020

Well, we made it! However you plan on celebrating tonight, please be safe!

For the first time since 1997, I will not be in Salem tonight. I might finally try out one of the new spooky games I got for my birthday and/or try to get Mrs Dex to watch a horror movie. If you're looking for something to watch tonight, there's plenty suggestions below! This may be the longest Recap post in the blog's history so get comfy and grab some snacks and a drink!

Oct 30, 2020

A Dynamite Monster Halloween

 Kids of my age no doubt have fond memories of ordering Dynamite magazine from the Scholastic Book Club flyer. As long as I can remember I've loved to read and while I was lucky enough to have an independent book store in town that I could ride my bike to, there was always something special about placing that Scholastic order. Part of it was having to wait a few weeks before your books arrived in school and part of it was these catalogs had stuff you wouldn't find in a book store, like Dynamite!

If you want a shot of nostalgia to the brain (or just want to see what this old guy is talking about), head over to Branded in the 80s where Shawn looks over some 80s book club flyers as well as one from 2011.
Enough dithering down Memory Lane, let's get to the Halloween!

I went on a pretty hard core scouring of the internet and while there are scans of Dynamite covers and the occasional article, complete issues are hard to find anywhere in digital form. I have seriously been considering scooping up magazines from Ebay and scanning them. This stuff needs to be preserved!
A bit of spooky Dynamite trivia: over 100 issues were edited by Jane Stine, wife of author RL Stine! He also contributed the occasional scary story to the magazine under the name Jovial Bob Stine.

Head over to Stranger Finds for the monster related content in the above 1975 issue and view a brand new post featuring stuff I don't have! The chap on the cover is Count Morbida, Dynamite's resident vampire who hosted puzzle pages.
Your visit to the Haunted Library this week will get you some Dynamite monster goodies: magazine covers, a couple of posters, some Count Morbida activity pages, and the complete issue 62 (above). While the cover promises monsters, there's really only 3 pages dedicated to them, but you get a healthy dose of 1979 pop culture too!

Click on the library card below to have a Dynamite Halloween!

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers! 

Oct 29, 2020

2020 Halloween Hot Wheels - Poppa Wheelie & Super Stinger

Here we are with the final two Halloween Hot Wheels of 2020. 
If you missed the first two posts, you can find those here and here.

Drivers start your engines!

First out of the gate we have HW Poppa Wheelie. I don't get the design on this one at all. Is it coming or going? Here's what the 2014 card back has to say: This 3-wheeled stunt ride was literally made for popping wheelies. It boasts a supercharged V8 engine with dual-quad induction and a specially weighted bar so it can pop a wheelie every time!

Regardless of the directional ambiguity, it's got some cool slimy eyeball deco on it and it's translucent green. This one lands about in the middle on the Halloween scale.

Our final vehicle for 2020 is Super Stinger, which premiered in 2010 making it one of the older models revived for this year's batch. It's got a smooth pearlescent white body with blue and purple flames giving it a ghostly vibe.

The cutouts in the front make it look like a skull, don't you think? 
And the best part?

It glows in the dark! How's that for a finale? I'm really happy with how this pic came out. It can be difficult to get a good shot of something in the dark.

So there you have it, your 2020 Halloween Hot Wheels!
On the Halloween scale, I'd rank them (from most to least)
Hover & Out
Super Stinger
HW Poppa Wheelie
Night Burner
Epic Fast
 Be sure to visit all the other houses with their lights on for you by clicking below. 

Oct 28, 2020

Halloween Web - Dann

We're wrapping up the 2020 Halloween Web interviews with a member of the DinoDrac community.

Hi, please introduce yourself for the readers.

I’m Dann, I’ve been following X-E/Dinosaur Dracula since Fall 2000, so this marks 20 years with the community. I have a million sites, but starting last year I began a daily countdown storyline featuring two skeletons and a lot of chaos. The landing page is Dannarchy.

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

Halloween as a child was, like anything else, a more grandiose experience that stretched from the preparation at school, to the costume parades, parties, and finally trick or treating. Our neighborhood wasn’t ideal for door to door, but I ended up traveling to a friend’s house who lived in a network of interwoven streets that let us travel for hours. Also being in the New England area of the US, there’s a lot of ingrained lore going back to colonial times that add a bit of of the paranormal to everyday life.

 Do you have any special Halloween memories that stand out?

My best memory growing up was with my school’s ‘haunted house’. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a sectioned off area of the school with the lights dimmed and a few stations you could visit to feel peeled grapes and half-cooked spaghetti, or see some giant owl creature. But near the fire exit, there was a coffin with a real person in it. I was small, so I had to be lifted up to see her. She remained deathly still until her eyes opened and she started reaching for me. No jump scare, just the realization that she was aware of my presence and wanted to get me. I kicked my dad so hard, it’s a wonder I had younger siblings. I ran through the paper streamers into the lobby.

 How do you celebrate the holiday today?

Nowadays, I try to live through the kids and rekindle the magic. It think it’s common around age 12 or so to lose it, and have a difficult time finding the proper ‘scare’ from the season. Now I find joy in the décor shopping and seeing what places like Target offer each year.

 Do you have any annual rituals to get you in the spirit?

My only rituals are to try to visit the pumpkin farms, hit up a haunted walkthrough, and then try new 
things. Sometimes the key element to the season is something I hadn’t yet considered when it began. 

What about favorite music for the season?

October Rust by Type O Negative is a good one to set the mood, but I tend to associate Christmas more so with a soundtrack. I don’t get into spooky music all that much.

 What is it about Halloween that sticks with us as adults?

I think the magic of Halloween is allowing the macabre and darker side out, but in a completely benign and fun way. It isn’t the purge, we just want to feel a little unease for a while before life returns to normal.

Inside the Spookster's Studio
The worst thing to get while trick or treating were Sugar Daddies. My parents were sticklers for sugary things that stick to teeth, and I didn’t care for them anyway.

My favorite thing to get was Peanutbutter Cups

My favorite monster cereal is n/a (Never had them growing up)

Where can folks find you online?
I try to stay active on Instagram (@gosh.zilla) September - December for the holidays.

Again, a huge thanks to Dann and all the Halloween Web participants this year. I always enjoy hearing people's Halloween memories and I'm happy to get to expose these people to a new audience.

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers! 

Oct 27, 2020

2020 Halloween Hot Wheels - Hover & Out & Night Burner

 Let's roll on with the next two Halloween Hot Wheels!

First up we have Hover & Out. I get they're going for over & out but no one pronounces hover like over do they? Anyway, this model debuted in 2018 and this is only the fourth release of it. The original card back offers this description: Is it a car? Is it a plane? It’s the future of driving! Get ready to get airborne with the Hover & Out. It’s powerful dual jets will propel you to tomorrow so you can say "so long!" to the ground!

I don't quite get the design. It's supposed to hover but it has wheels? It's kind of giving me a Wacky Races vibe. At any rate. Hover & Out is the most Halloween vehicle this year in a traditional sense. Black and orange, flaming eyes, and skulls & crossbones down the sides. 

Car four is Night Burner, originally released in 2006. I really like the profile on this one. It's got a 70s futuristic look to it. The Halloween multi-color flames are great. If you're a long time reader, you know how much I appreciate using purple and green.

It has what looks like a vat of some kind in the middle which trails out to an exhaust pipe. Fun fact I would never have figured out on my own: if you blow into the tailpipe, it spins the blades in the vat to make a sound.

Be sure to come back in two days to see the last two vehicles.

You can visit all the other houses with their lights on for you by clicking below.

Oct 26, 2020

Halloween Web - BonfireDances

 Reader beware! You're in for a scare!

Welcome! Please introduce yourself.

My name is Teagan. I’m 23 years old and have loved Halloween as long as I’ve been old enough to store memories in my head. My nana was the first to really get me into Halloween, she would take me to our local craft store and let me pick out anything Halloween I wanted to take home. My dad was another big influence, and introduced me to many classic horror movies.

I love Salem, Massachusetts and Halloween so much that I’m actually getting married in Salem on Halloween of 2020!

I’m really thankful for Instagram (@bonfiredances) because it has allowed me to meet so many people that are share the same love of Halloween as I do as well as share my Halloween experiences with other people! 

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

Like I said, my nana and my dad were two of my biggest influences for Halloween enthusiasts.  
However, growing up in my childhood home, I can still vividly picture all of my old Halloween decorations that I had. We had the “scariest” porch in the whole neighborhood with motion activated ghouls and hanging ghosts. I lived in a huge subdivision so trick or treating was magical.The majority of the houses went all out with decorating and there was just a serious magic in the air every Halloween night. 

Do you have any special Halloween memories?

My most fond Halloween memory was probably shared with my nana when I was really young. She would drive me around our town just to look at Halloween decorations.

My most recent memory was Halloween in Salem of 2019. It’s an experience that you really can’t put into words unless you’ve experienced it for yourself. It’s shoulder to shoulder with people but everyone is friendly and having a great time. The most ELABORATE costumes you could ever imagine. Halloween in Salem is the most radical Halloween experience. 

What about favorite costumes?

My favorite Halloween costume is probably either my May Queen from Midsommar and my fiancé was Paimon from Hereditary or when we were the Goosebumps haunted masks characters!

How do you celebrate the holiday today?

We now have an annual tradition of visiting sleepy hollow for a night and then driving the rest of the way to Salem for Halloween! It’s the best Halloween vacation ever!

Do you have any yearly traditions that help you celebrate?

Yes, actually. The day of Halloween I listen to This is Halloween from the Nightmare Before Christmas as soon as I first get into my car for the day and then People are Strange by The Doors immediately after. It’s just a tradition that seems small, but is significant to me. My little brother who is 14 now and I carve pumpkins the night before Halloween every year! Now that we leave for Sleepy Hollow/Salem every year, we’ve been doing it the night before we leave for vacation. 

What is it about Halloween that sticks with us after childhood?

I think it’s that fond childlike high that everyone searches for as they grow into an adult. It’s the one night of the year where I, and many others, feel normal. My fiancé and I leave our Halloween decorations up year round, we watch horror movies every single night, Halloween for us isn’t just a holiday, it’s a lifestyle. 
Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was a toothbrush! Fun suckers!

My favorite thing to get was Reese’s pumpkins! 

My favorite monster cereal is Count Chocula!

Where can people find you online?

I’m @bonfiredances on Instagram! Spooky content year round!

Thanks to Teagan for joining us today. I wish her the best on her upcoming wedding.

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers!

Oct 25, 2020

Halloween Playing Cards

I can't believe we are less than a week from Halloween! I feel like Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas. I know it's the season and I'm supposed to feel a certain way, but it's just not the same this year.

Let's not dwell on my Halloween existential crisis, here's some playing cards.

Oct 24, 2020

Halloween Web - The Spooky King

Our final artist of the week goes by The Spooky King!

 Thanks for coming. Please introduce yourself.

Hey! I'm Ryan Caskey aka The Spooky King on social media. I'm an illustrator & designer specializing in all things Halloween and spooky! You can find my illustrations in books like Visions From the Upside Down: A Stranger Things Artbook and Ghostbusters: Artbook. Most of my time is spent writing and illustrating horror comics, designing t-shirts, and working on my tarot deck project.

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. There were always those couple of houses on the block that went all out for Halloween every year, decorating with skeletons and lights and fog machines. All the kids couldn't wait until Halloween night to stop by those houses. There were also a lot of Halloween attractions nearby like haunted houses and hayrides that I would beg my parents to take me to. Halloween is very nostalgic for me because it was always the most exciting time of the year, and there was never a lack of fun (and spooky) things to do.

Do you have any special Halloween memories?

Trick-or-treating was always a blast, but I remember one year that I held my own "haunted driveway" in lieu of getting candy. I was always more interested in dressing up and scaring people than eating candy anyway. I played my favorite Halloween mixtape out of my parents' car with the windows down, posted my small strobe light up in a tree, and hung all kinds of spiderwebs and drapery around the front porch where my brother was handing out candy. People would come to get their candy and I would jump out from behind a tree with my Freddy Krueger mask and claws equipped. 
 What about favorite costumes?

My favorite as a kid was my Leatherface costume I wore when I was about 9, but I don't have any photos. I did make a DIY Babadook costume in college that I was pretty proud of, which I do have a photo of!

How do you celebrate Halloween these days?

I celebrate Halloween every day. I thought at one point, why wait until October to have all the fun? Now, if I'm not drawing pumpkins & ghosts or writing a scary story, I'm watching horror movies and buying masks on the internet, haha. It's a great way to live!

Do you have any yearly rituals to help celebrate?

I have a few movies I watch every year like Hocus Pocus and Trick 'R Treat. I find myself listening to a lot of Tom Waits as well. One of my favorite places to visit around this time is a Halloween store by my hometown called Foy's. They are open year-round and always make Halloween time a spectacle. That was like my wonderland as a child.
What is it about Halloween that sticks with us as we get older?

I think a big part of it is nostalgia. Another part is fear. I think we embrace and make light of things that are scary to us like death, spiders, etc. and it's fun to be both surrounded by and become things that are scary while knowing that it's actually harmless. Maybe it's for the adrenaline, or maybe it's because it's our way of facing it. Also the weather is nice.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was peanuts.

My favorite thing to get was gummies!

My favorite monster cereal is
Count Chocula.

Where can people find you online?

You can find my art by following me on Instagram @thespookyking or at www.thespookyking.com!

Thanks to Ryan for dropping in and rounding out artist week!

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers!

Oct 23, 2020

Haunted Library - Crestwood Monster Books

 Many a monster kid cut their teeth on these books from the 1970s and 80s in the time before home video allowed you to see classic films. While I did grow up religiously watching the Saturday afternoon Creature Double Feature, I don't remember ever running into these books myself.

If you want to read a little bit more about the books, time travel over to Branded in the 80s 2007 Halloween post here. This is a Haunted Library field trip, not a Haunted History lesson!

I've compiled 22 of these books for you to check out at your leisure. The books come from various online sources. Some started out as image files which I converted to pdf to make them easier to read and compress their size. I'm not going to reveal which books are included to hopefully give you that "just got home from Trick or Treating and dumped your bag out on the floor" feeling.
 Click the library card to check out your books and remember all returns are due back by midnight on Halloween!

Be sure to visit all the other houses with their porch lights on by clicking below.

Oct 22, 2020

Halloween Web - Gentlemen Bats

 Today we're joined by a local (to me) Salem artist who has a talent for majestic animal portraits.

Tell the readers about yourself.

Hi I'm Nick Demakes I'm an artist and I paint with coffee and acrylic paint . I've always been influenced  by horror or weird things. I'm from the Salem Massachusetts area and always loved Halloween. I paint bats in Victorian suits, almost like family portraits and sell them in Salem mostly.

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

When I was I kid I loved to dress up at Halloween. I think my first costume was Bugs Bunny this was before I saw the Batman costume and I was set to be Batman next Halloween. We only had one pumpkin light up for Halloween and I always wanted more. It wasn't til Nightmare before Christmas that we had a Halloween tree and lights and more light up characters. We would play a Halloween record outside the door and would open the door when the Dracula on the record would say come in.

Do you have any favorite costumes?

My favorite costume was always Batman from a kid to the 80's when the movie came out to now I still dress up as Batman for Comic Cons. Lately I've been the Gentlemen Bat, like a living model for my bat company. I'm dressed as the Gentlemen Bat around Salem for the past few years and even got him in the new Hubie Halloween Movie on Netflix this October, hopefully I'm not on the cutting room floor but I was an extra in the movie filmed here in Salem and they rented my vending table of art too. 
Note: This interview was done before the movie was released. You can catch a glimpse of the Bat in this scene to the left of the mayor.
 How do you celebrate today?

During the world as we know it now I would love to walk around as the Bat to enjoy Salem.

Do you have anything special you do every year to get into the spirit?

During October I always like to revisit the universal Horror movies like Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon. It's not like I don't see them every day! My house is decorated in Halloween all year except for the Halloween tree that goes up in October and stays up til January next year. I do have a Creature From the Black Lagoon Bathroom that has memorabilia and has been featured on Salem Horror Fest.

Why do you still enjoy Halloween as an adult?

I'm a kid at heart and still collect toys and model kits. I've always loved dressing up for Halloween and have never stopped.

 Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was an apple or toothbrush, that sucked!

My favorite thing to get was peanut butter cups.

My favorite Monster Cereal was Frankenberry but I broke out in hives once so I had to stop.
Where can people find you online?

You can find me online at The Bat Art of Nick Demakes and also on Facebook and Instagram (@GentlemenBats). My art is available at Count Orloks Nightmare Gallery, Vampfangs,and The Witch House Located in Historic Salem. My art is also located in Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans and The Glass Coffin in Texas.

Thanks to Nick for dropping in! I've seen his art in person in Salem and it really is fun and a little different. Check out his site for more!

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers!

Oct 21, 2020

2020 Halloween Hot Wheels - Epic Fast & Twinduction

 I had planned to start Hot Wheels Wednesday last week but didn't receive the cars until the day before. Does it have to be Wednesday? Not really, but who doesn't love an alliterative post title?
Anyway, let's kick off the 2020 Halloween Hot Wheels! 
Any trivia mentioned here was taken from the Hot Wheels Wiki.

The card art never fails to impress year after year. I'm not sure if the cars are escaping the ghost or if it was there to start a drag race, you know like in the movies how a girl stands between the cars and signals them to go? I really dig the jack o'lantern style lighting on the house.

First up is Epic Fast, which is a relatively new model having debuted in 2015. The skull wheels are back with a vengeance this year, you'll be seeing more of them! 
Here's the description from the original card back: 
Check out the ultimate modern racer: The moving center wing helps the car slow and corner, while the twin turbine power plants supply electric power to the storage unit and distribute it to 4 electric motors in the wheels. The future is here and it sure is fast!

Overall, this one is low on the Halloween scale. It's got those skull wheels and uses black and orange with a purple metalflake paint job. I think it looks like an alternate Batmobile design, especially now that I know those wings would flare out while the car is driving!

Twinduction ups the spooky a little with some sort of demon on the side. This model came out in 2011 and that card back description is even more fitting for this new release:

The future version of a Hot Wheels classic muscle car-with a menacing face, muscular haunches, twin induction manifold, and powerful engine. This baby screams power. If you see one in your rear view mirror, let him pass or he'll devour you..

This model was used in 2017 for Yosemite Sam in a Looney Tunes line and as Han Solo in 2018 for a Star Wars series. I really like the paint on this one. It's like the quintessential muscle car red.

We'll have more Halloween Hot Wheels next week, but on Tuesday and Thursday!


Be sure to visit all the other houses with their lights on for you by clicking below.

Oct 20, 2020

Monster Spookshow Radio

I initially started blogging all those years ago so that I could join in on the Countdown to Halloween. I was visiting all the blogs and amassing my own digital archive of Halloween goodness. In particular, I enjoyed finding people's digital mix tapes that they had created. The best source I found for these was George Van Orsdel's Monster Spookshow Radio.

 Sadly, the site stopped updating in 2012. But, while the links were still active, I managed to download all of the compilations. So now I'm sharing my joy with all of you.

There are 38 shows altogether, including 4 Halloween, 3 Sci-Fi, and 3 Cryptmas specials. Each one is about an hour long and has songs, audio from TV/movies, radio ads, and other things mixed in. They're all a lot of fun and I try to fit in as many as I can in my Halloween rotation every year.

Each track has notes in iTunes with the listing of what's in each show. You can still check out the site, which also has the track listings. Click on the above banner to drop these treats into your digital goodie bag and join me in a toast to the gone but not forgotten George Van Orsdel's Monster Spookshow Radio.

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers!

Oct 19, 2020

Halloween Web - Change the Color Toys

It's artist week for Halloween Web interviews!
Our first one may be someone you recognize...

Thanks for coming by, please tell the folks about yourself.

Hey! I’m Nikki aka @change_the_color_toys on Instagram. I’ve dabbled in many creative avenues over the years - graphic design, gallery work, illustration - but currently becoming increasing obsessed with custom toys. A year ago, I dove headfirst into the toy collecting community and it’s starting to intertwine with my artsy background. I’m currently writing and illustrating a series of children’s books, which I hope to accompany with toys of the characters, much like Wuzzles back in the day. 

How was Halloween for you growing up?

Halloween in Bucks County PA, a suburb about an hour from Philly, was incredible and much like that in the movies. Our development flowed into three or four other large developments of single homes spaced out just enough you could conquer 100 homes or more running lawn to lawn. Only a few houses were “black-outs” unlike today where it seems that’s more popular where we are now. Booooo! (thumbs down boo, not scary boo). The neighborhood crawled with kids of all ages for hours. There was always the Raisin House, although my favorite was the Soda House! By the time we got around to the swankier neighborhood, the homes were larger and the lawns became wider to cross. You get pretty thirsty sprinting from house to house for a few hours, so a lukewarm Acme soda was just the best thing ever. 

Do you have any special Halloween memories?

I was lucky enough to have a whole crew of girlfriends my age all within 2-5 houses from mine but when I was about 4 (the new kid on the block), I hadn’t gathered a trick-or-treatin crew. It was just me and my dad. Our own street was long and by the time we’d gotten to the top, we reached the house on the cross street that had set up a few dummies during the month of October. Obviously we passed the house coming and going and I knew the dummy scarecrow and clown or whatever it was that was set up. So I went up to the door while my dad waited at the street...but it was the ole bait-and-switch. I reached for the candy and one of the damn dummies came alive and scared the crap outta me. I’m pretty sure that was the last house for the night but I had a full bucket anyway, so all good. Now that I’m a “growns-up”, I copied that idea and set myself up as a dummy on our driveway alongside a few real stuffed ones. As a kid, this is cruel, but as an adult it is such a freaking delight to scare munchkins (and some wussy teenagers). 

What about favorite costumes?

I was costumed from less than a year old til a few years after college but as an adult, haven’t dressed up much. I still was dressing up even in High School. Out of our class of about 700 kids, I was one of three dorks who still participated. I don’t think it was even made clear if we were allowed or not. I was Lisa Simpson senior year, of course. My mom stitched almost all our costumes but E.T. as an 8 month old was pretty dope.

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

Our fam decorates the house and we take my daughter trick-or-treating. Nothing crazy compared to the days of bar-hopping in costumes down Main Street in Manayunk back in the day… Nowadays, I usually dress up as a skeleton and stay home to give out candy. My husband takes my daughter around. Did you know you can hang out with your neighbors and drink beer and give out candy while scaring little kids?! And I thought Halloween was great when I was young!

Do you have any must watch movies or specials for the season?

Movies - yes! Obsessed with Hocus Pocus. My daughter is 7 and even though she’s outgrown Curious George, I still make her watch the Halloween special every year. #guiltypleasure

What is it about Halloween that makes it special?

For a lot of us, I think it is the nostalgia of the magic that is Halloween night (and possibly Mischief Night as well) as a child. Ever go back visit an old school? One of your reactions is probably ‘this is much smaller than I remember!’ As a child, experiences seem more intense and epic so all the fun and terror and thrill during the Halloween season is exponentially penetrating. It’s a visceral holiday as well. Itchy hayrides, sweaty costumes, candy bellyaches. For me, the thrill of running around town with friends in the dark, anonymously, whew - can’t beat it! I mean, I guess this could have been any other night if I wasn’t a nerd.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was Laffy taffy.

My favorite thing to get was 100 Grand

My favorite monster cereal is uh, cereal is my jam but never had any monster cereals! Does Lucky Charms count…? Leprechauns are creepy…

A monster-sized thanks to Nikki for chatting with us today. 
Please check her art on Instagram @change_the_color_toys

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers!

Oct 18, 2020

Haunted Mansion - Call of the Spirits Game

 Just released at the end of September, The Haunted Mansion Call of the Spirits Game from Funko may be just the place to get your Mansion fix if you're missing the ride.

This is the fourth official board game based on the attraction and only the second that wasn't a Disney exclusive. The first was simply the Haunted Mansion Game in 1972 which is a work of art in and of itself. The Disney exclusives were re-themes of existing games: Clue (2002) and The Game of Life (2010).

Enough history, let us call in the spirits! I haven't had a chance to play the game yet but the art design all around gets an A+.

This is the inside of the box lid featuring the stretching portrait room. How perfect!

The interior sides of the box each have a different set of portraits that can be found in the ride. I also love the way the game board folds so that when you open the box, you are greeting by the Mansion and "Welcome, foolish mortals".

This is the back of the board, the back! How great is this scene?

And here is the front of the board with different areas of the ride. Madame Leota sits in the seance room in the middle. It has a rotating feature which is why you see that large circle opening on the back of the board. The endless hallway surrounds the room and connects to the ballroom, dining room, attic, graveyard, mausoleums, and crypt.

Players are represented by these bat stanchion tokens. If you're not familiar with these, they are in the ride's loading area queue holding up the chains. More info here. I love that they included this guy but why not make the player tokens Doombuggies?

To win, you move around the mansion socializing with the ghosts (collecting them). At the end of the game, you score points based on the sets of ghosts you have. Ghosts of the same color score more points depending on how many you have. Some special ghosts, like the Bride, don't have a set but score better if you collect specific other ghosts. The art on the cards does a great job of capturing the...spirit of the ride.

You didn't think there would be a Haunted Mansion game without the Hitchhiking Ghosts, did you? These guys move around the board haunting the players. Whoever has the highest haunt score at the end loses some of their collected ghosts.

Unlike other Funko games, I haven't seen this one hit a major retailer in my area yet. I couldn't wait so I got my copy from Amazon.

Click the image below to see all the participating Countdown bloggers!