Thursday, October 18, 2012

HALLOWEEN CRUNCH!


It’s Captain Crunch, it’s Halloween-themed, it’s for a limited time only and it TURNS YOUR MILK GREEN. How could I NOT do a review of it? 


I’m not sure how I was able to overlook it, but last year, a new, Halloween-themed variation of Captain Crunch - called, fittingly enough, “Halloween Crunch” - hit store shelves. I may have missed the proverbial boat last year, but you know DAMN well that I’m not letting this one sail by me two autumns in a row.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the product (or, if you want to be a little more literal, grains and oats), I find it imperative to state that, all in all, I’ve never really been that big a fan of Captain Crunch. That’s not to say that I foster a distaste for the product, it’s just that it was never a cereal I regularly consumed as a youngster. Odds are, if old man Crunch were a werewolf sea captain as opposed to a regular sea captain, I probably would’ve been likelier to gravitate to the product - but alas, that is territory we are ALL familiar with by now.


What makes “Halloween Crunch” different from your standard box of Captain Crunch, you may be wondering? Well, a lot, beginning with the packaging, which I am now going to spend a ridiculous amount of time analyzing and assessing.

First off, the color scheme here is pretty great. It’s mostly black, with lots of orange and green splashed around the box. There are tons of sinister looking pumpkins all over it, too, which makes it even more awesome, clearly. Really, if it wasn’t for the Cap’s grinning Jack O’ Lantern mug carved on the pumpkin, most folks would be hard pressed to distinguish this box from the box art of some antediluvian VHS horror movie from the mid ‘80s. That’s worth so many points, you don’t even know.


As with most cereals, you get some mildly airbrushed, mildly exaggerated cereal bits painted onto the box, complete with splashing milk - because as we all know, if you ain’t eating your cereal and it’s going all over the damn place, you, my friend, aren’t really eating cereal. The attention to detail on the cereal bits is pretty impressive, as you can even see the little green granules on the grain. And this is important, for one MAJOR reason…


…BECAUSE THE CEREAL TURNS YOUR MILK GREEN. GREEN, PEOPLE, GREEN! Granted, just about every cereal I can think of ends up turning your cow juice into some color other than ivory by the time you’re finished with it, but in this case, it’s actually being marketed as a prominent selling point, just like that Reptar cereal from “Rugrats.” And really, what kid in the U.S. could turn down the prospect of eating a cauldron of slime and sugar-sweetened ghosts for breakfast, anyway?


The back of the box has some information about pumpkins and stuff, which, yeah, is probably cool for a read while you’re waiting in line to purchase it, but the clear reason to get excited here is that the manufacturer provides you with a Captain Crunch Jack O’ Lantern template.


You know, something tells me you’re going to be seeing some orange, candle-filled fruit with these things mutilated into them before the month’s over. Just call it a hunch or something.


As for the cereal itself, it’s very, very Halloweeny, with lots of orange and yellow and brown. I guess that would technically make the product more Thanksgiving-colored than Halloween-hued but hey - it’s the right season, at least.


Half of the cereal is your traditional Captain Crunch bricks, while the other half are these light red, ghost looking things that bear more than a passing resemblance to the denizens of a certain General Mills breakfast offering. With that in mind, I like the fact that the ghosts here actually look sort of like traditional, table-cloth-draped spirits than the kinds were used to seeing in cereal-form; you know, the variety that looks more like the monsters that chase Pac-Man around than an otherworldly being caught betwixt the worlds of the living and the dead.


As a general rule, I don’t eat my cereal with milk, because…I don’t know, I just don’t like milk, I guess. Since soy milk was on sell, I decided to use that for my initial Halloween Crunch taste-through. And if you wanted to see me losing my Halloween Crunch cherry live on the Intraweb, well, here you go, folks:


Honestly, I think I feel about soy milk the way most normal people feel about tofu. Yeah, it’s all right, but it’s clearly no substitute for the real deal. Some folks may dig that sweetened-corn-plastic taste, but to me, it just wasn’t thick enough to provide an optimal Halloween Crunch experience. That’s sage advice for anybody, even the lactose intolerant, you know.


Taste-wise, I thought the cereal was pretty good. Granted, it isn’t going to convert me from the Church of Chocula, but it wasn’t a bad specialty item by any stretch. I guess it’s sort of redundant to call a cereal’s taste “sweet,” but this stuff was just excruciatingly sweet, as if someone dumped the contents of a hummingbird feeder over a barrel of oats and marketed under the Capt Crunch flagship. To a lot of people, that probably sounds like a negative declaration, but this IS cereal we’re talking about here: if you want subtlety and refined textures, you’re marching down the wrong supermarket aisle, amigo.


Oh, and in case you were wondering? It DOES end up turning your milk green, to a certain extent. But then again, I was using soy milk…that shit may NATURALLY be that color, for all I know.

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