It’s that time of year again! That glorious but finite occasion where confectionery in stores become suddenly horror themed, costume parties are aplenty and we garb our homes in cobwebs, plastic spiders and other seasonably fiendish items. Or if like me you live in the UK, you’ll probably treat Halloween as a minor inconvenience or fail to even acknowledge its existence at all, vaguely trying to puzzle over why the cakes in the supermarket aisle are suddenly green.
To kick off the countdown, I’m going take a look at something from my childhood which I’m pretty sure wasn’t available in the United States. As such, American readers may look upon the next image with confusion and unfamiliarity.
Kinder Eggs, or Kinder Surprise are small chocolate eggs made by the Italian company Ferraro since the 1970s. Not only is the chocolate egg an extreme delight to the taste buds (being half milk chocolate and half white chocolate) inside is a plastic capsule that contains a toy. Over the years the toys have varied from simple clip-together vehicles, to solid figures and even movie licenses like Star Wars and Transformers.
Unfortunately for Americans with an appreciation for chocolate and small toys, Kinder Eggs cannot be sold legally anywhere in the United States due to an act passed in 1938 by the Food and Drug Administration, which prohibits confectionery products which contain a “non-nutritive object”. Small toys nestled inside chocolate eggs do not provide any nutritive value, so they have never been allowed to be sold in stores although a bit of a black market supposedly exists to meet the demands of the many people wanting their fix of yummy chocolate and small toys at the same time.
I had many Kinder Eggs as a child. Most of the toys were little cars or planes though I do remember some little plastic turtles and gnomes. It wasn’t until 1996 when I encountered the ‘Glowing Ghosties’ that I really wanted a full set of a Kinder Egg collection. I loved spooky shit, and these little cartoon glow in the dark ghosts were right up my street.
Sadly, I only ever owned two of the ghosts as Kinder didn’t used to mark what series was which on the wrapper, so there was every chance you could end up with a toy car or something. Nowadays they are a lot more specific, as you can see in the picture above which clearly has a Hello Kitty picture on the wrapper (my girlfriend is currently collecting them), but back then it was just luck as to what toy you would get.
Anyway, two decades later and with eBay at my fingertips, it was very easy to pick up a full set of the Glowing Ghosties (and at a cheaper price than if I would have paid as a kid!).
So enough babbling, here they are in all of their spectral glory:
Now I know they don’t look like much, but when I was six I really wanted all of these. I already collected Monster in My Pocket and stuff, and though these were a little more cutesie, they were still ghosts. And they GLOWED IN THE DARK! I’ve had and always will have an unwavering appreciation for things with luminous qualities, and though these aren’t as cool in my head now as they were when I was a kid, they are still somewhat cool just because I can charge ’em up with the light on my phone and see them glowing in the dark.
Drip Dry Dougal
This was the first one of the two that I got as a kid, and I am still a bit disappointed by that fact. I can appreciate the humour in the fact he is hung up to dry like a bed sheet, but there isn’t much play value with a ghost just pegged onto a washing line. You can take him off the washing line, but he still has pegs on his hands so he can’t really look threatening or scary when hanging out with my MIMP toys.
As awesome as it is, I can’t be bothered to take a photo of every ghost glowing in the dark so here is the first one.
The unfortunate thing about these toys is that they don’t glow for very long. After about five seconds they start to dim and by ten they’re back to normal. I’m not expecting aaaages, but it would’ve been nice to have been able to take a decent photo before the glow started to go.
This figure had less play value than the first, seeing as you couldn’t remove her from the bath, but I didn’t mind too much because I loved the details of the bubbles in the water. As an adult I think appreciate this figure a little less, perhaps because I’m more aware that it feels a bit intrusive looking at someone bathing, especially when they are unaware they are being watched. This lady spook doesn’t look like she has a clue anyone is looking at her.
Not my favourite of this bunch but I do like the idea of a ghost being scared by ghost stories. In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine people being scared by ghost stories in a book, as we are exposed to a lot more stuff with shock value on a day-to-day basis, but I guess in bygone days people actually were.
The book actually has words in it, but as I don’t speak Italian I don’t really know what it says. If you can speak Italian and would like to enlighten me, drop a comment!
I quite like this Ghostie but don’t understand why anyone would iron anything they’re still wearing. It just sounds like a hospital visit waiting to happen really. Maybe after you have departed the realms of the living, hospital visits wouldn’t be a thing anymore, but you would think ironing wouldn’t be either. If there is any benefit to dying, I imagine it would be not having to do stuff like washing clothes and other household chores.
This one is a little sad. I doubt I’m supposed to overthink these toys but this Ghostie must have died young. I think it’s probably my least favourite Ghostie out of the lot as there isn’t much play value with a toy baby in a crib. I guess lots of girls (and perhaps some guys) with fond memories of Baby Born dolls would disagree (or perhaps even actual parents with actual babies), but for me it’s a bit “meh”. On to the next!
Soap Sud Susy
I quite like this Ghostie, but at the same time I am a bit confused by the expression on her face. She’s looks like she has a sore head and is obviously dizzy, probably from the fact she has just taken a spin in the washing machine. Surely she must have known that she would get dizzy from washing herself in there? She could have had a bath like Lukewarm Lucy but she opted to climb into a washing machine instead. Even if you aren’t among the living anymore, surely it would still seem like a bad idea? Again, I’m probably overthinking it.
Out of all of these toys, this is probably the best use of being a ghost that I have seen so far, despite the fact he is still having to do mundane household shit. The more I think about it though, the more I wonder why Walter doesn’t just go around the wall to paint it? Is it really better to be protruding through the wall to paint something? Also, if there is wet paint on a wall, and you walk through a walk, do you end up with paint on you? One of life’s big questions there.
It’s a shame that with all of the possibilities of being able to walk through walls, his imagination is limited to just being able to paint from the other side of the wall. Which I don’t see the benefit of anyway. Perhaps you think differently? Leave a comment if you wish you could paint a wall from the other side. I doubt anyone wishes that.
Okay, this one really confuses me. As you can see, this Ghostie has tied a knot in himself, like the old fashioned way people used to tie knots in handkerchiefs as a way to remind themselves to not forget something. He also looks puzzled, like he has forgotten something, so let’s assume he has. He comes with a suitcase, with travel tags on it. Has he forgotten to go on holiday somewhere? Did he forget his tickets? Is it so that he doesn’t forget his suitcase? Puzzling over what relevance the suitcase has to his confusion has made me look far more confused than he does.
Stroller and Rover
I love this set, just because it has a ghost dog, and ghost dogs are rad. He isn’t on the same par of awesomeness as Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas, but he’s still cool. I also really dig that Stroller has a newspaper tucked under his arm with the headline “Horror”. I’d love a newspaper full of spooky shit from around the world. That’s all there is to say about this pair really. On to the final figure, which is the one I REALLY REALLY wanted as a kid but sadly never owned.
Cuckoo Clock Charlie
It’s just a boring plastic clock. Or is it?! Well no, obviously not as it wouldn’t be my favourite out of the bunch if so. It is a little clock, but if you pull it open, you will discover a hiding Ghostie.
Okay, so he doesn’t look amazing but he does have the most ghost-like expression on his face than any of the others. Well, an expression that I would imagine a poltergeist to have when busy scaring the shit out of people. I dunno, the more I look at it, the more I wonder if he has the expression of a sex pest more than a ghost.
Yep, he definitely looks like a pervert.
So I think that concludes my look at these Kinder toys from 1996! I would like to say that Kinder toys have gotten better though I don’t think this is actually true. The Star Wars ones from fairly recently were absolutely fucking abysmal, which I may look at another day, when we are looking at less spooky things.
If you liked Day I of the Halloween Countdown, come back tomorrow for more horror and consider following me on Twitter, Instagram, or liking The Forgotten Starship on Facebook. If you don’t, a horrifying curse will befall you and ancient demonic spirits will haunt you until your dying day. Or they might just paint your walls and wash themselves in your washing machine. Who knows?