The Oh Lantern Family

Halloween was always serious business when I was growing up.  I was very lucky in that I had a family who felt the same way.  I've got a lot of great memories stored away from those past years but one thing always bugged me about one of those earliest memories.  My Grandmother had given me a few gifts, the first was a small plastic haunted house.  It was semi featureless and had a speaker built into it, when you pressed a button it would play a handful of Halloween sound effects.  The other was even cooler, a foam pumpkin with a very horrified expression on it's somewhat humanoid looking face.

I'd always wondered what happened to those two items, I'm guessing they were eventually tossed in a box and sold for a few quarters at a garage sale.  While I'd love to re-buy them, things aren't always that simple, the haunted house was likely put out buy some small company and most of my google searches have turned up zilch.  But a few years ago I discovered a website called "The Gallery of Monster Toys."  Yeah, it seems I had finally died and reached Nirvana.  This website displayed everything monster-toy related from as early as the 60's to the more recent stuff put out in the 80's and 90's.  Sure enough while I was browsing the site I saw a very familiar face and now I had a name to go along with it.

Feeling a bit like Columbo I began to google and soon I had a slew of information at my fingertips.

The Oh Lantern Family was created FX artist Todd Masters.  Todd's resume was pretty loaded too, everything from Night of the Creeps to (the more recent) Slither.  I guess at some point in the later part of the 80's work  had dried up so he created these small pumpkins with various human faces and sent them to a handful of studio heads in order to get his foot in the door.  What he got was a bunch of people clamoring for more of these pumpkins and it wasn't long before he was manufacturing the things.

The Oh Lantern Family would hang around for a few seasons before various legal issues would shut production down.  I guess all good things must come to an end, it's a real pity though because compared to a lot of related Halloween decor of that time period, these pumpkins really stood out.  Hell, compared to the stuff most companies have managed to churn out recently, these little foam guys stand out.  With 2012 being their 25 anniversary it's really surprising someone hasn't came along and gave the line the resurgence it so rightfully deserves.  You would think some company out there would be willing to breathe a little life into such a clever product, but the news is bleak and it's looking like that's very unlikely.  It's too bad, as of today a recent google search has proven that the line is more popular than ever.  Back when I first started looking into this line there weren't very many pages dedicated to the Oh Lantern Family, now we've got all that and more (a facebook group for example.)

So if you want to obtain these critters your best bet is ebay, I've had a saved search for the line for a few years now, not a whole lot pops up.  When they do they tend to go for a bit of change.  It seems like when I've got full pockets there's nothing, yet every time I'm having to count quarters a few manage to make their way onto the auction circuit.  Go figure.  Anyhow I've got high hopes that one of these days I'll stumble onto a few of these at one of my various flea-market hunts, until then I'll hang on to my memories.

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