My Rotting Jack-O-Lantern Smile

October 27, 2010 – Generally, deserts, candies, and other teeth-eroders should look as good as they taste. There are two major exceptions. The first is brownies. The second, Halloween treats.

Now, Halloween treats, and especially candy, are often just a wrapper-covered dare at this time of the year, with candy makers trying their hardest to make you buy their product out of sheer revulsion. And we do. Because we are still trying to figure out what to do with this human consciousness thing we’ve only recently discovered.

This year, I saw a good bit of disturbing candy, mostly in gummy form, but not a whole lot of innovation. Anybody can make a mold for a gelatin body part or creepy crawly (and I want them to keep doing so, of course), but I also want more. For instance, two years ago Target sold a candy dissecting kit, where you took plastic tools and cut into a gigantic limp gummy frog to pull out its candy innards. That’s both disgusting and novel, and if you come up with something like that, I will buy two of your products, one to play with and eat and the other to throw in a time capsule to show future generations that we were a lot cooler than the record of our television-watching habits would have them believe.

But that’s not to say there aren’t pleasant Halloween treats, too. I didn’t see a whole lot of innovation in this area, either…but I’m kind of okay with that, as the past few years have seen companies roll out tons of cool stuff. I mean, Hershey’s currently has a million Fall flavors of Kisses, Halloween Oreos have already attained black-and-orange double-stufed perfection, and Peppermint Patties come in both pumpkin and bat shapes. I can get by on that for a few years.

So here is a selection of the treats we picked up this season, all designed to give your jack-o-lantern a run for the money over whose smile will rot first, yours or its. Not all of the stuff below is new, but all of it stuck out to me as not only worth buying, but worth facing the silent judgment of the cashier for. There are disgusting-looking treats, delicious-looking treats, and some treats that are only kind of connected to food in the first place. But it all goes to show that Halloween needs its own special food pyramid. Nutrition need not apply.

Faces of Death: The Edible Version

"Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide gorilla?"

These kind of things come out every year...and every year I face the same heart- and headache over whether to eat them or display them. The cliche writers were so right. You can't eat your Creepy Crawlers and have them, too.

I reckon I've introduced candy into my body using just about every verb. Candy spray is a new one. It's like mace for diabetic attackers. And it glows when you presss a button on its base, so that's an added safety feature.

New Halloween design for these A&W and 7Up mini-cans, and like their predecessors, the white spaces still turn a weak blue when cold.

I'm not a beer drinker at all, but I really had to fight the urge to buy every Autumn- and Halloween-themed beer in the store. They always have the best label artwork. Actually, I shouldn't have fought it. That would have been a great photo essay.

The new box art is a bit bland (as was the previous box art), especially with subjects of such classically spooky potential, but I'm just happy I found all three this year. If, as is often the case, I can only find one or two, then I won't buy them that year. After all, it takes all three to make Count FrankenBoo.

When a major brand like Pop-Tarts finally goes Halloween (and Thanksgiving), it's a big deal. Might have been my favorite find of the season, although suddenly having an option for breakfast besides monster cereals felt like something akin to my first three crises of faith combined.

Friends of ours made us lady finger cookies and brain-topped cupcakes one night. Then we watched a movie about giant alien octopi that wasn't about giant alien octopi.

Sonic gave out these Halloween Creature Specs in their kids meals this season (Thanks to Pat, without whom I wouldn't have been able to "Collect All Four!").

Few things are more Halloween-nostalgic to me than McDonald's Halloween pails. Although these aren't the McBoo pails of yester-decades, they're still the closest things we've had in a long time.

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