And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
The Five SCARIEST 39¢ Halloween Cards!
by: Wes

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, everyone! Hopefully you're enjoying this spookiest of holidays (or that you enjoyed it, depending upon when you read this) and have plans to go out tonight dressed in all manner of scary costumes and eat lots of tasty treats and stuff like that. I'd say I hope you've addressed and mailed out all of your Halloween cards as well, but unlike Christmas, people don't really much of an emphasis on cards at Halloween time. Naturally, that doesn't stop the card companies from trying to capitalize on every festive day that they can, so from mid-August to roughly the second week of October (before the Thanksgiving and Christmas cards start crowding them out), you can find greeting cards with cutesy monsters and silly rhymes adorning the shelves of places that sell that sort of thing. Yep. And around here, we have a place that's just perfect for buying cards -- so much so that I pretty much only go there around Christmas and Halloween (the latter of which is conveniently close to my parents' birthdays). Hell, although the name of the store is The Party Co., in my house we actually call it The 39¢ Card Store, 'cause that's what it is to us. Why pay more? They're just cards, man.

So when I entered the store about six weeks ago, I got caught up looking at the Halloween cards, and thought it might be fun to try to find the scariest one of all. Forty-five minutes later, I left with a small stack of cards (not just Halloween cards, mind you) -- and then, six hours ago, I decided that they'd make great Halloween article fodder, so I scanned 'em, ranked 'em, and critiqued their scare factor for your entertainment. Read on, then, and enjoy!

The 5th SCARIEST 39¢ Halloween Card:

Boo! I'm gonna get you...There I go again, trying to scare people. Sorry...

This one made the cut -- barely -- for two reasons: 1.) It starts right off with a threat, and 2.) the picture of the skull does look sorta creepy, what with the one eye open and all. However, it doesn't rank higher because the interior of the card negates the threat, with the skull not only admitting that he was merely attempting to scare people, but even apologizing for it. Apologetic posers are not scary! And despite the spooky look of the card, you know what? Skulls aren't scary either. I mean, think about it. They've got no arms for grabbing or stabbing, no legs for giving chase, and without eyes or tongues or ears they theoretically shouldn't be able to see, speak, or hear either. They're like the ultimate cripples, and how do we treat them? Well, when we're not running from them in terror, we're sitting them on shelves and using them as decorative candlestick holders and shit. If they could do anything about it, we'd definitely have reason to be afraid, but until that day we should pity skulls above all among monster thingies and go out of our way to make them as comfortable as possible.

The 4th SCARIEST 39¢ Halloween Card:

It's Scary, My FriendWe're So Much Alike.

What makes this one so scary, you ask? Surely the skull was scarier than this! If you think so, you're not reading between the lines. You see a friendly cat and bat spending some quality time together; I see a serial killer shoving this card under the front door of the home of a casual "friend" he's secretly been stalking for the past six months. Sure, they catch a movie or have dinner at the Olive Garden once or twice a month -- but unbeknownst to her, he's also hacked into her e-mail account and has been privy to the most intimate secrets of her life. He's entered her home via the bedroom window while she's been at work; his nose has covered every square inch of her panty drawer and there's not a dress in her closet he hasn't squeezed into and modeled in front of her full-length mirror. What he means by "We're So Much Alike" is not that they share the same interests and taste in film and food, but that they wear the same bra size. And that, my friends, is some scary shit indeed.

The 3rd SCARIEST 39¢ Halloween Card:

If you don't behave......Mummy will teach you a lesson that you will never forget.

Again, I imagine you're wondering why this card made the list -- for to the untrained eye, it simply seems as if this boy's mother, dressed as a masked mummy, is about to tickle him or something like that. Something's obviously wrong with his eyes, mind you, given that they're protruding about an inch from their sockets, but he and Mommy are smiling and appear to be otherwise well. What makes this one scary, however, is the card's text. I mean, it's pretty weird to give someone a card threatening extreme discipline -- "a lesson that you will never forget" -- in the event of misbehavior. Imagine a nursing home attendant giving old incontinent Grandpa a card that says, "If you don't stop urinating on yourself... I'm going to cut your penis off and replace it with a trashbag. Happy Birthday!" Somehow I don't think that would go over too well. Also, I don't know about you, but I'm picking up the slightest suggestion of sexual abuse here, what with the lustful gleam in Mommy's eyes and the kid somehow being magically suspended in the air just in front of her crotch. And if parents are encouraged to molest their children when they don't behave, the long-term societal repercussions could be positively terrifying.

The 2nd SCARIEST 39¢ Halloween Card:

You're Not SCARED Are You?Not scared yet? Just wait.

And coming in second place is the card above, which combines both a scary-looking cover with some subtle yet effective text. That the image inspires terror goes without saying -- not only does it feature a coloring scheme indicative of decay and a graveyard in the background, but, as evidenced by the sharp-toothed zombie directly ahead, they're coming to get you, Barbara. The text on the cover, however, appears to mute the frightening quality of the artwork, as it asks the recipient if he/she is scared. Everyone knows that inquiring as to the emotional state of the victim kinda lightens the mood (unless the question is obviously sarcastic or sadistic, voiced even as the torment continues), as it implies that the person asking actually cares how the other feels about the situation. That's why they always say it on "Scare Tactics" just before they reveal that the victim is on TV -- even if the people don't appear to realize it, you can see them relax a little when they hear the question. It's comforting. The reason this card succeeds in spite of that, however, is that it makes it apparent that the question was asked in a rhetorical sense by immediately supplying an answer -- "Of course you are" -- and following it up with rationale that includes a frighteningly bad attempt at rhyming. Furthermore, the card suggests that even if the recipient isn't scared yet, he/she soon will be. Few things are scarier than the threat of future harm.

The SCARIEST (!!!) 39¢ Halloween Card:

Happy HauntingI'll be somewhere behind...

Finally, we have the absolute SCARIEST of the 39¢ Halloween cards. Why? Well, in addition to the horrific meter of the interior "poem", it's the only card I came across that actually promises death to the recipient. The interior text certainly includes the threat of terror -- "I'll be somewhere behind bringing fright into your night" -- but the real admission of murderous intent is to be found in the cover image and caption themselves. Consider the picture: Just a graveyard. No zombies, no ghosts, no black cats slinking around the tombstones or owls perched on the dessicated limbs of the tree in the background -- a quiet graveyard. But clearly this graveyard has some connection to the recipient. Note that I said connection to the recipient -- not to All Hallow's Eve. Why? And here we realize that this is the only card that makes no mention whatsoever of Halloween. Instead, it reads, "Happy Haunting" -- but consider that haunting can occur any day of the year. Furthermore, consider that only spirits, being dead, are capable of performing the act of haunting. But the card clearly wishes the recipient a happy haunting session. And how can the recipient be expected to haunt so long as he/she remains among the living? The answer, of course, is that he/she cannot -- and this threat of murder makes this the scariest card of all.

Honorable Mention:

Wishing You...A ''DINO''Mite Halloween...!

Okay, so it's not really all that scary, but it could be. I mean, unless this is a really ambitious kid here, wearing a masked witch costume on top of a dinosaur costume, we've got to assume that this is a freaking trick-or-treating Tyrannosaurus Rex (or maybe it's an Allosaurus or one of the other big carnivores; the three fingers are kinda throwing me) -- and if you've seen any of the Jurassic Park or Carnosaur films (or know anything at all about dinosaurs), you know what kind of candy these guys like. Also, the card makes me think of Jimmy Walker.

The SCARY-CRAYON Halloween Card:

I'm going to fucking KILL YOU in your sleep.By the way, Happy Halloween.

Utilizing the above wisdom, then, we have specifically designed the Scary-Crayon Halloween card to achieve its maximum terror potential. Unlike the scariest 39¢ card, however, we've chosen to mention the holiday -- as an afterthought, mind you, but still -- because without an explicit reference, the card wouldn't really be a Halloween card, would it? Also, we've used a skull in spite of the points noted in our analysis of the 5th scariest card, but note that our skull is special. Unlike the apologetic skull in that card, which was being used as a candlestick holder and didn't appear to be able to do much of anything else, our skull somehow managed to grip a crayon in its teeth, which at the very least suggests a certain amount of mobility on its part. Furthermore, its orange color seems to indicate either that it has spent time burrowing through red soil or is very hot and has the ability to spit fire, and the green color of its teeth suggest that it even eats, feeding on grass and green vegetables. Clearly, this skull is far superior to the average skull. Also, note the crayon. I know crayons aren't traditionally scary, but hey, the site is called Scary-Crayon! It fits. Not to mention the whole "kill you in your sleep" deal. Anyway...


For more Halloween fun, check out
Dusty Plastic HELL: The Halloween Special!!!
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