Our collective fascination with those damned plastic "spider rings" is something I find difficult to explain, but for the sake of avoiding a single-sentence countdown entry, I'm going to give it a shot. I think the big point of interest with these things lies in the fact that they're a Halloween constant -- not just a staple. For as long as I can remember, and that's pretty long, these rings have looked perfectly the same, and have always arrived at a price of five cents each. There are no surprises with spider rings: you know what you're getting, and unless there's a rapid shift in the universal balance, the schematics will remain the same until the day you die. In truth, they're nothing special and they never were, but sometimes, simplicity is divine. Spider rings are simple, and they're certainly divine. And they make your fingers look like they're crawwwwlin' with bugs!
Aside from their usual base of operations -- party stores -- I've seen the things countless times at Jersey shore video arcades. Amidst the 700,000-point video game systems and equally unattainable but less interesting Hummel statues, the spider rings remained a quick five-point bounty for any kid who just didn't understand the nuances of "Pop-A-Ball" or video poker. Nevertheless, the toys are tuned for Halloween, and if you've went through this past month without tacking one of these beasts over your ring finger, you're missing out on the bestest best way to capture the holiday spirit.
The rings most typically arrive in the classic Halloween colors, though much more frequently in black. The orange ones are neat and seasonal, but come on...orange spiders? Course, they're sized more for kiddy fingers than adults, but the band is easily chewed apart to allow entry for chubbier digits. Better yet, chew off the band part entirely, and you've got some pretty decent fake spiders to prank your friends with. When placed on the floor, a quick glance paints them as the real thing, and if there's anything more fun than tricking someone into thinking they've got a big spider crawling on 'em, I've never experienced it.
Though sold by the piece for a nickel, you can buy these little guys by the gross for dirt cheap -- there's little chance that you'll find a use for 144 plastic spider rings, but trying to sounds like it'd be a fun project. "#37: Eyebrow scratcher... #123: Something to throw at TV during unwanted reruns of Frasier..." They're not the grandest of the gamut of Halloween toys, but they're one of the classics.