Top 5 Creepy Tiki Mugs

I love Halloween and the fall season — what little we have of it in California — and I’ve taken a break from eating all the pumpkin-flavored foods I can find to bring you my list of the Top 5 Creepy Tiki Mugs of 2014, a follow-up to last year’s round-up of spooky tiki mugs.

Severed Bob by Bosko

I love a good tiki mashup and that’s what Bosko has presented with Severed Bob ($80), putting together the iconic Tiki Bob mug from the defunct San Francisco bar and the rare (and disturbing) Severed Head from the long-gone Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village in Fort Worth. Only 40 of these were made but it looks like there are still some left for sale on Bosko’s web site…for now.

Three Dots and a Dash Fiji Mermaid mug

The sea urchin shell mug that Tiki Farm produced for Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago is one of the most beautiful mugs I’ve seen, so I was a bit startled by their latest signature ceramic piece: The Fiji Mermaid ($20, only available at Three Dots and a Dash). (Of course, I still added it to my collection anyway.) The design is inspired by the Feejee Mermaid sideshow attraction made famous by P.T. Barnum in the 1840s. The “mermaid” was actually a gruesome manmade creation composed of the top half of a monkey and the bottom of a fish. (Munktiki has also produced likenesses of the Fiji Mermaid.)

Munktiki Shrunken Fugu

Munktiki’s got a bit of a dark side, embodied in recent releases like Dead Summer, Fu Zomb Chu and this Shrunken Fugu. There were only 100 limited editions ($75) produced in black/white and “Dead Skin Brown,” and they’re all sold out since their release back in May this year. I guess it’s funny that I find it kind of creepy and yet I don’t think twice about seeing pufferfish turned into lamps at tiki bars (and my own tiki room)…

Taboo Island Skull Tiki Mug

Truthfuly I find these Taboo Island Skull Tiki Mugs more cute than creepy — I think they remind me of the “Beetlejuice” cartoon I loved as a kid. Anyway, one hundred skull mugs were produced, plus 25 of these super limited artist proofs ($70). Each one features a unique color glaze and comes packaged in a little wood coffin filled with coconut fibers.

Munktiki Halloween Coconut Monkeys

Coconut monkeys are a Hawaiian souvenir cliché but Munktiki takes them to another level with the ceramic versions they’ve produced over the years. For Halloween this year, they had eBay auctions for 11 unique designs paying tribute to “Friday the 13th,”Scream,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more.

Related Posts:
Top 5 Spooky Tiki Mugs
Tiki Halloween Craft: Shrunken Head Pumpkin
Tiki Sightings at Halloweentown

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Tiki Tablescaping & Luminasia at the LA County Fair

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Every year we go to the LA County Fair and every year I stumble across something related to tiki. (And every year we wonder why we ride this giant Ferris Wheel as we freak out when it reaches the top.)

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Our latest fried food adventure was fried Doritos, which were, in a word, unnecessary. They paled in comparison to Chicken Charlie’s previous triumphs of fried avocado and the fried Klondike Bar. (Though we may not eat any more fried food at the fair since we discovered the amazing duck confit grilled cheese from the Street Kitchen stand.)

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One of the halls housed the exhibit “Mid-Century Modern” which featured some gorgeous cars and vintage furniture sort of oddly interspersed with vending booths for artists with retro flair. (Among them was Rachel Walker, whose “Pina Colada” print provided the first tiki sighting of the day.)

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And surprisingly, that was the only tiki-related thing I saw in that exhibit. (The two often go hand in hand, as I’ve found at Palm Springs Modernism Week.) At any rate, the pièce de résistance for me was this amazing Arkay “Fantasia” television (aka Kuba “Tango” Stereo Console) produced between 1959-1962. Those lines!

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Last year I had lamented the lack of tiki representation in the tablescaping section of the arts and crafts building, but this year did not disappoint! “Turn the Table” featured a tiki from Oceanic Arts, Trader Vic’s salt and pepper shakers, Don Ho “Suck ‘em Up” glasses, Dynasty Easter Islander mugs, bamboo flatware and more.

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The judges awarded top points for originality/creativity for the upside-down table and its tiki torch legs, but points were docked in the correctness category: “Fruit for salad and dessert course is repetitive. Questioning the knife, as it does not go with the menu. Lobster pick is appropriate but nut pick is not.” Still, it scored 90/100 points, which was good enough for the fourth place ribbon.

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Another highlight was the new exhibit Luminasia, an impressive display of about 300 giant Chinese lanterns shaped like animals, flowers and famous landmarks near and far.

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The colorful creations were made by more than 50 Chinese artisans from Zigong, a city in the Sichuan province that’s known for its lantern festivals.

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It was an additional $9 to walk through it, but we thought it was worth it, especially when I spotted this trio of Moai in gold, silver and copper colors. They were placed among other icons like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower and…Morongo Casino. (They were a sponsor.)

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The 2014 LA County Fair ends after this weekend, so you better get going if you haven’t already!

Related Posts:
Tikis, Mermaids & More at the LA County Fair

Tiki Sno Cones & Tablescaping at the LA County Fair
LA County Fair: Tiki Cake

Tiki Stitch Featured at Disneyland’s 10K Race

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I don’t really like running, but runDisney makes it sort of fun with their races through the Disney parks. My mom and I had signed up for the Disneyland 10k this Labor Day weekend even before we found it was going to have a “Lilo & Stitch” theme. (I don’t think it was a coincidence that the starting line looked like the a-frame logo from Aulani, Disney’s resort on Hawaii.)

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To be even more specific, the 10k race was actually inspired by the Stitch tiki I’d seen at the merchandise event for the 50th anniversary of the Enchanted Tiki Room. He was the mascot logo for our bibs, t-shirts and even our medals, which had a tapa print lanyard.

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Tiki Stitch also made an appearance in a bamboo and thatch hut photo op set up at the runDisney expo at the Disneyland Hotel. Joining him was a tiki carving-style statue of the alien Pleakley. (I had to look that one up.)

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Part of the fun of these races is seeing the creative costumes people put together, like these ladies who donned Dole Whip hats.

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Most of the runners still wear something functional, but this guy really went out of the box with his Kronk (and Yzma) costume from “The Emperor’s New Groove.” I don’t know how he did the race in that!

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To get in the spirit, we decorated the backs of our shirts with tributes (made out of felt) to Pele from the Enchanted Tiki Room and tiki Stitch.

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Throughout the course there are cast members cheering you on and photo opportunities with parade floats and Disney characters. This race didn’t have as many costumed characters as the Tinkerbell 10k; instead they had several Elvis impersonators. (If you saw the movie “Lilo & Stitch,” you’ll recall Stitch was a big fan of The King.)

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However they did have “Jailhouse Rock” Elvis paired with Chip and Dale as a police officer and a prisoner.

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In the 10k race, each of the six mile markers had a different design, so that also helps with motivation to keep going.

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I even spotted an Elvis tiki on the sidelines. (The photo is a bit blurry but you get the idea.)

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At the end of the race there was a group of hula dancers welcoming everyone back. Up on the stage you can see another logo with the Stitch tiki and tikis from the Enchanted Tiki Room. If anything were to get me to enjoy running I guess it would be Disney and tikis!

Related Posts:
Trader Sam’s Tiki Juju from Adventureland Trading Company
New “Adventureland” Tiki Merchandise from Disney
Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Merchandise Event