Although the past year-and-a-half has been filled with real-life nightmares, it’s important to let your inner trick-or-treater go wild. Pittsburgh, with its ties to Hollywood horror history, is a great place to celebrate the season! Stock up on horrific gifts, drink a pumpkin beer, visit a haunted locale, stroll through a cemetery or host a Steel City-themed monster movie marathon in your own home.
When Robert Woods was a kid he’d turn his G.I. Joes into makeshift monsters. Horror toys were hard to come by in the ‘80s, so he had to improvise.
It’d be a crime if a new generation of slasher fans had to go without them, so Woods, a licensed attorney, opened Time Bomb Toys. It’s a place where you can stock up on masks, action figures, clothing, creepy collectibles and haunted home furnishings.
The company started in 2015 as an online business that hit up horror conventions around the country. Time Bomb Toys commercials were even featured during “The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs” on Shudder.
The brick-and-mortar location debuted in 2018. There, Woods communes with fellow fright fans while a constant loop of horror-themed videos play on the TV.
Despite the gory inventory, Time Bomb Toys is a family-friendly business. Sometimes Woods’ daughter will drop by to check out the latest Funko Pops. It’s a great place to introduce boys and ghouls to the genre without breaking the R-rated movie rule.
Before you get sick on Halloween candy, head to The Monster Mart and say “What’s up(chuck)!” to Richie Vomit.
In May, the veteran tattoo artist moved to Pittsburgh from Sioux City, Iowa. A lifelong horror fan who directed the low-budget slasher “Farmlands,” Vomit can be found slinging ink in Oakmont. The tat shop doubles as a spooky emporium filled with weird wares. Vomit’s wife, Heidi, will ring up your order and you might see the couple’s teenage daughter painting another zombie-themed mural on the wall.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Halloween gift or you want a souvenir that you can take to the grave, you’re likely to scream at The Monster Mart.
Not only can you buy cool zombie-themed merch at Monroeville Mall you can also take a self-guided tour through undead history.
The Living Dead Museum & Gift Shop is located inside the shopping center where director George Romero filmed 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead.” Owner Kevin Kriess is an expert on the flesh-eating creatures and their local ties to Hollywood legend.
For a nominal fee, you can shamble through the museum, a multi-room exhibit that explores the zombie’s slow rise to stardom through screen-worn costumes, props, scripts and other artifacts. Once you’ve graduated from ghoul school, take a bite out of the merchandise, including T-shirts, novelty items and autographed posters.
Shop until you drop … then make like a zombie and get back up again.
Sink your teeth into specialty foods
It’s the Great Gnocchi Pumpkin Bowl, Charlie Brown!
Through Oct. 31, DiAnoia’s Eatery is serving its signature seasonal comfort food. They’re available for dine-in and takeout. From Oct. 26-30, you can snag a Gnocchi Pumpkin Bowl kit for a festive, home-cooking experience.
Say trick-or-treat to a freshly roasted pumpkin filled with house-made potato gnocchi in a pumpkin cream sauce made with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mozzarella, parmesan and pecorino cheese, and fresh basil.
“It’s a fun Halloween twist on our Gnocchi Sorrentina Bread Bowl, a year-round favorite at the restaurant,” says chef and co-owner Dave Anoia. “The entire pumpkin ‘bowl’ is edible, so you can scrape bits of roast pumpkin from the sides to enjoy with each bite of gnocchi.”
If you have a gargantuan hunger, go to any Caliente Pizza location and order a Godzilla, a pie topped with pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, green peppers, onions and black olives. Pair it with the regional chain’s new house brew, Hazy Dough Dazy. The New England IPA is 5.3 percent ABV, and will be on tap starting Oct. 15 at all locations. A nice, cold pint can soothe the savage beast.
Like a monster that won’t die in a horror movie, summer keeps rearing its ugly head. Might as well cool off with some Halloween sugar cookie i-scream.
Frightening foodstuffs aren’t just for late-night binges. Start your day with a stack of pumpkin pancakes and a bottomless cup of coffee at the Dor-Stop and unleash the caffiend inside of you!