Ghosts at the Grocery

Halloween Supermarket Treats: the Sweet, the So-So, and the Scary

A sugar rush is far from the worst thing that can happen if you pick the wrong snack.

By Joanna O'Leary October 13, 2017

2017 monster cereals boxes fugkfk

If you don't know about the Franken Berry pink poop scare of the '70s, we'll wait while you look it up.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well, at least, for those of us (this author included) who identify Halloween as their favorite holiday. Unlimited candy, pumpkins and no pressure to give gifts? What’s not to love? 

Starting in late August, supermarkets have set up displays hawking this year’s “seasonal” or “limited edition” Halloween treats and shoppers will find themselves paralyzed by a most pressing question:  “Is this pumpkin spice Rice Krispie treat shaped like a goblin really worth my shekels?” Don’t worry, I have done some advance legwork so you can make more informed choices with regards to your impulse purchases. You’re welcome, America. You can thank me by sending me just one big candy bar. 

The Sweet

“Sweet,” FYI, not necessarily by literal definition (though they may be) but in the James Taylor “awesome” sense. Kudos[1]to Little Debbie for her Bat Brownies and Brownie Pumpkins, whose dense, moist texture (thank you, hydrogenated oils) and strong cocoa elements make them sufficiently delectable on their own. The decorative glaze is an added bonus and fun to eat completely separately. It’s easy to pull off—just try!

Cgc35zwveaa9mek di17t4

Aren't we all really just looking for the Burns-Os?

Image: The Simpsons

If you’re flummoxed as to which of General Mills’ Monster Cereals to try, the standout is definitely the bloody good Count Chocula for its crispy chocolate grains and striped bat marshmallows that fail to succumb to sogginess even after prolonged submersion in milk. 

The So-So

Cap’n Crunch Halloween Crunch tastes exactly like regular Cap’n Crunch but has funky “ghost berries” that turn your milk seafoam green, which is pretty cool. Cheetos Bag of Bones suffers from similar issues in that the “white cheddar” taste is far too subtle to count as a different flavor. However, amateur osteologists will have fun constructing whole skeletons (albeit not-so-anatomically correct) from the snacks. 

The Scary

While Little Debbie may have nailed it with the brownies, her Pumpkin Delights should be renamed Pumpkin Disappointments. The paucity of squash flavor in the cookie and booger-like consistency of the jelly will leave consumers wondering if the seemingly initially innocuous smile on this jack-o-lantern cookie is more a sinister “Gotcha!” expression.

And speaking of (in)consistency, General Mills needs to tinker with their recipe for Boo Berries. Or actually, maybe stop tinkering, because I remember loving this cereal as a kid but now it has a weird artificially tart aftertaste that reminds me of rancid blueberries. And if you've read any of the above, you know it's not because I've outgrown a good Halloween treat. 

[1] Figuratively, not literally, because Mars is technically a competitor and that would be awkward.

Filed under
Show Comments