The seasonal series continues this year with 40260, Halloween Haunt. I've always enjoyed the vignette sets in the seasonals, and this one is no exception. Read on to find out why I think this set in particular is worthy of your consideration.
The front box art shows the set under a full moon and some mountains in the background. Could they be the mountains of Transylvania? There are a couple of bats pictured to set the scene. In the upper right of the box there's a graphic of a skull with two dotted lines, presumably To: and From: spaces.
The back of the box shows through a series of insets a small story for the two figures in the set. There's a gentleman (clearly a sorcerer of some kind) who has some nefarious plans for the unwitting skeleton in the set. The insets show the gentleman cooking up a brew, that once he convinces the skeleton to drink it, will turn the skeleton's head into a pumpkin. He's successful, much his amusement and the skeleton's dismay.
Inside the box, we find two unnumbered bags and a loose 4x10 plate plus an instruction booklet.
The two minfigs in the set are the sorcerer gentleman and the skeleton. The skeleton is made of parts we've seen in several sets before. However, the sorcerer (vampire?) gentleman is a slightly different story. His torso has been seen in only five sets previously (not surprisingly all having to do with vampires) and not since 2015. His Eddie Munster inspired hairpiece is similarly rare; only in six sets previously, and last seen in 76045 Kryptonite Interception.
The skeleton comes with a cup and a bone for accessories; the sorcerer only has the cup.
There are a couple of micro builds with this set. The first is a cauldron where the sorcerer cooks his brew. The set instructions show that the ingredients are rather unusual: some green cherries and a cookie. The pictures on the box show that a small pumpkin from the other micro build and a bone are added for full effectiveness.
The other microbuild is a small patch of greenery on which the small pumpkin and a mouse are added. It's unclear what purpose this adds to the set, but does add some additional detail.
The primary part of the build is a set of gates leading to a forbidding looking manor. The gates have flaming torches and swing open. They also have a red spider adorning them to deter anyone from proceeding further. There's some nice decorative work around the gate with the use of medium lilac leaves and pale lilac flowers (as a huge fan of purple, I love seeing this detail). In addition, there's some forboding decorations provided by the spikes on the top of the gate provided by 1x2 plates with vertical teeth in black, a piece that has only been seen in three pieces previously. The top of the gate is completed with a large pumpkin, which is also somewhat rare, having only been seen in four previous sets including the Disney Castle and a couple of the Scooby Doo sets.
For me the star of the set is when you open the gates. There's a path toward a castle that is outlined using a couple of 1x1 round olive green tiles. The castle is built purely in perspective; it's clearly some distance away from the gates where the sorcerer and skeleton are standing. This is the first time I can think of that this kind of building technique has been used for the seasonals and I think it's terrific.
I love this delightful little set. The scene is detailed, and what really sells me on this set is the building technique used to show perspective that we've not seen before. For the price (145 pieces, $9.99, £8.49, 9.99€) it's a great value for money. The relatively rare pieces of the minifig torso and hair, the plate with spikes as well as the larger pumpkin make up the icing on this Halloween cake.