Christmas gifts and birthday presents are fine for some people. But for all the groovy ghoulies in your life, Halloween is the only true gift giving season.
Considering how many such persons are counted amongst our friends, BlackBook did the only reasonable thing, contacting that renowned impresario of all things mystical and macabre, Ryan Matthew Cohn to help us with this year’s list. For those of you yet unfamiliar, RMC was the star of the fantastical Discovery Channel show Oddities, and is currently the co-founder, with his wife Regina, of the Oddities Flea Market Curated by Ryan Matthew Cohn. He is also the co-owner and curator of Brooklyn’s iconoclastic House Of Wax bar.
To compile the ultimate Halloween Gift Guide, then, we had him open his cabinet of curiosities and, naturally, we were anything but disappointed.
As an obsessive collector of antiques, predominantly those geared towards the theme of natural history, I am constantly scouting for new items to help accessorize my home that combine the quality and aesthetic I so painstakingly seek. I recently discovered “House Of Hackney,” an English based brand from London. Their products are perfect for an eclectic, aristocratic goth with a propensity for patterns. I am especially enamored with their line of serpent themed home goods, including lamps, tables, vases, and mirrors. They just opened a NYC showroom which is situated in the exterior of an antique shop on Elizabeth Street.
When I sit and ponder about the “oddities” genre, many of the now household categories of the strange and unusual come to mind. Taxidermy, medical specimens, creepy dolls, etc. I have to admit to becoming a little desensitized to what I find superior after a lifetime of researching the items of the bizarre. Then an artist like Beans of John comes along. Her artistic mission is so peculiar and abstract that it almost makes perfect sense. Shells with human teeth. Large bird eggs that have human glass eyes with long eyelashes. I dream of walking down a secluded beach when I notice a beautiful shell in the sand, I excitedly pick it up and then I turn it over…and it starts talking to me out of its human-like mouth.
My father used to explain to me that in his “college years” he would sit in his dorm room and stare at a lit candle for hours on end…thinking, contemplating, meditating. Keep in mind, this was the 1960’s, so perhaps you can concoct your own hypothesis on what was going on there. Like father like son, I found myself doing the same thing with Creepy Candles‘ Melting Coffin Skeleton candle. Over a lengthy period of melting, you are finally rewarded by a little metal skeleton greeting you. Perfect for any Halloween decor or if you are like me, year round.
Why collect reproduction artwork when you can have the real thing? I recently discovered Ossua Et Acromata while perusing Instagram’s suggestions based on pages I might find interesting. They fashion rings and other accessories entirely from real bones, which are meticulously hand-carved in England. Members of Slayer, Lenny Kravitz and Jason Momoa (Aquaman) adorn themselves with these unique one of a kind wearable artworks.
Can you imagine entering a lavish 19th century wax museum where all of the medical anomalies were edible and made of delicious cake?! No seriously, it crosses my mind all the time (I’m a little peculiar that way). Conjurer’s Kitchen makes the finest in creepy handcrafted delicacies. Her anatomical cakes are so realistic they are often mistaken for genuine medical teaching models.
When I wake up in the morning I am naturally thinking about old horror movies (especially during the Halloween season). I am also thinking about waking up with a particularly strong cup of coffee. Dead Sled Coffee covers both. Their new coffee blends include titles such as Vampira, Vincent Price, and, of course, Oddities Flea Market. All of these blends are made in Transylvania…I mean New Jersey.