Over the weekend I was haunting my local Haight Street shops and went into one of my favorites: Cheap Thrills. This store is like what Hot Topic wishes it could be. It’s packed full with everything from tiny rubber chickens to Day of the Dead skull dresses. The Baby Ventura (whom I should really start referring to as The Toddler Ventura) LOVES this store almost as much as I do. The second I walked in the PJ Harvey and Nick Cave duet Henry Lee started playing over the speakers (one of my favorite songs!) so as I browsed the mermaid tattoo patches and stripey socks, I was feeling pretty good. Imagine the “cheap thrill” I got when I looked over at the books and saw my very own The Book of the Bizarre stacked neatly on top! Like a total nerd, I still get excited over such things, and I exclaimed to the shopkeep, “Hey! I wrote this!” And no, she didn’t ask me to sign the copy but did smile nicely and seemed pretty tickled that I was so tickled. This got me thinking I needed to plug their awesome store, and while I’m at it, I decided to create Varla Ventura’s Gruesome and Ghoulish Gift Guide for the Holidays.
So here are 13 (or so) fun, freaky, and fabulous gifts for every man, woman, beast, and child on your list. (Not necessarily in that order.)
I’ll start off with one of the a real cheap and thrilling item from Cheap Thrills. Their online store, http://www.thrillomatic.com/ features such great categories as Bacon Stuff, Cupcake Stuff , Monkey Stuff, Devil Stuff, and Unicorn Stuff. This one is a perfect stocking stuffer, sweet little gift for a girlfriend, babysitter, co-worker, etc. It’s a Day of the Dead mirror, cute, compact and only $2.99!!
And speaking of magic mirrors, did you get my e-book collection, The Poison Apple and and Other Tales of Magic Mirrors and Wicked Queens? No? Well it’s pretty cheap ($2.99) too. If you are a fan of Snow White here is the perfect gift for every wicked or white witch on you list. A super-charged magical apple charm from one of the coolest purveyors of witchery, White Magick Alchemy. According to the witches at White Magick, Aventurine (the apple in the picture in the gallery is made of Aventurine but other options are available) “promotes relaxation, recovery, and regeneration. You should never buy a lottery ticket without aventurine in your left pocket!”
Some of you may be familiar with my other favorite shop on Haight, Loved to Death, thanks to the show Oddiites. This is one of those stores you can basically randomly point in any direction and find the ideal gift for the likes of me, or any other pirate/goth/archeologist in your life (I’m talking bout you, Pirate Chris). But one of the recent stand outs is this gorgeous skull decanter set with glassware. It’s a little pricier at $150 but so divine!
Get thee to the Bone Room and purchase me the skull jewelery. Or a gravestone locket. Or a Spider poison ring. Or order up a realistic replica skull for your bookshelf. Or….Just be sure and call the store for availability on the jewelry. It’s artisan fortified and not mass-produced.
For the little adventurer in your life, this awesome collage kit can be purchased from Paxton Gate online or in their real-world kids store (Curiosities for Kids). I mean really, what kid doesn’t love sea monsters? You’ll also find freaky jewelry, terrariums, taxidermy, and orchids.
Of course I’ve got to add my own books to this list. Both The Book of the Bizarre and it’s sister Beyond Bizarre are cute lil’ 5 x 7 packages with flaps, lots of fun and freaky art, and packed to the gills with bizarre stories, paranormal tales, and things you need to know for your next cocktail party. And for you e-book geeks out there, I have collections of Paranormal Parlor and Magical Creature books too, which are very affordable and fun. Available on Amazon, B&N, and where ever books are sold!
Make household chores a little less boring with this amazing purple skull pot scrubber from Plasticland.com. This store, by the way, has a bit of everything cool you could imagine. Dresses, shoes, (I like the Spineless X-Ray shoes) Mermaid Tattoo pillows, and so much more. It’s very affordable, fun, and offers a great flat rate shipping on all orders–so fill up your cart and check it out!
This website offers t-shirts from pop-culture to horror to humor and all for just six dollars! It’s actually $6.50 for a cute babydoll cut shirt for the gals in your life, but still an amazing deal. You can also get 10 shirts for 50! They’ve got a couple Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King themed shirts that I’ve already ordered! But this Overlook Hotel t-shirt, featuring the freaky twins in the center of a maze, is a must have for any fan of the horror movie (or book. Of course nerds like me know it’s not a hedge maze but hedge animals in the book…)
I’ve already purchased a gorgeous cameo and two rings from this amazing website, Starrlightjewelry and Design. She also has an Etsy shop that offers an array of incredible items at incredibly low prices! Seriously, $11 dollars for this gorgeous little bookmark, I can personally attest to the quality of this woman’s work! Plus, she donates money to bat conservation. And she is a cat lover. Oh and runs an animal sanctuary. Word to the wise, her etsy shop is currently closed for the holidays. But you can shop through her website (which is linked above for the bookmark.) Go Lady Starrlight!
Piratemod are the premier purveyors of pirate themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, doggie shirts, and baby/toddler items with amazing quality and a wide variety of super sweet Pirate themes. Plus these people are the master minds behind the Northern California Pirate Festival. Check out their online shop and get something for your dog, your baby, and your husband/lover/girlfriend/wife. My other favorite–a black t-shirt with the wise words: The beatings will continue until morale improves.
One of the most magnificent artists of our time, Vierling uses old world Renaissance techniques to create a layered depth rare in painting today. His painting Sacred Heart features botanicals and creatures aligned with witchcraft and high magick. This high quality limited edition print Sacred Heart, has been produced via 6-colour offset lithography and printed on archival coated stock, the 16” x 20” print is strictly limited to 250 copies, hand-signed and numbered by the Artist. It’s reasonably priced (under $75) and makes a unique and incredible gift for the witch, alchemist, lover of the macabre, or art fanatic in your life. (Check out the image in the gallery to see the splendor.)Vierling offers his original paintings and a limited number of prints through his website here: http://www.bvierling.com/
This perfume from Tokyo Milk is described as having hints of White Orchid, Vanilla, Ebony & Exotic Woods. With a super cute skull and crossbones, the Lady of the House will be delighted with this gothically minded gift. Comes also in a hand cream!
13. Monster High Doll: FrankieThis enchanting alternative to Barbies (the Monster High crew look like they’d carve Barbie, Ken, and Skipper up and eat them for a midnight feast) my personal favorite is Frankie Stein, the daughter of Frankenstein of course. Her favorite color is black and white stripes, and claims that her biggest pet peeve is that every morning when she comes upstairs her father shouts “It’s alive!”
I’m proud to tell you my nieces are obsessed with these dolls, so be warned. Once you buy one (Draculaura is cute too!) they will want them all.
Check out the gallery below to see pictures of all these fun gift items. And now, as the mommy zombie said to the toddler zombie, go forth and consume!