Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Round-up of the Limited Time Only Foodstuffs of Halloween 2014!

It's our fourth annual whirlwind tour of seasonal, Halloween-themed junk foods ... and it might just be our most tummy-ache inducing expedition yet!

Every year, we here at the Internet is In America celebrate the mass-marketed, diabetes-and-cavities-causing foodstuffs that line store shelves ever so briefly for the Halloween season. In 2011 we had Pumpkin Delights and Halloween-flavored Pop-Tarts, in 2012 we had Candy Corn M&Ms and Butterfingers shaped like Jack O Lanterns and last year, we tried out orange frosting and Chips Ahoy cookies with little specks of ocher in them. And that's not even counting all of the extra-curricular stuff we've gotten into, involving Jones Soda's "horror" beverages and, of course, the miscellaneous General Mills Monsters goodies

Needless to say, the bar has been raised very high for 2014, and as "The Dream Master" surely proved to us, it's around part 4 that most series begin sucking hard. Alas, there were quite a few all-new items hitting America's grocers and big box marts this Halloween, and some of them might just set a new standard for most over-the-top seasonal tie-in. 

Dump out your McDonalds pails, kiddos -- it's time to chow down on the finest novelty snacks to grace our pantries, and lower intestines, this witching season...


In some ways, Peeps offer one of the more mundane seasonal Halloween offerings, but then again, since when was traditional a bad thing? They're marshmallows shaped like Jack O Lanterns -- surely, anyone who doth protest against these are less than human.

This eight pack of welded pumpkins is no doubt cute, and I really dig how each individual pumpkin is just mildly malformed. The size of each bottom row pumpkin fluctuates, and it seems like all of the top row marshmallows don't know whether they want to be Jack O Lanterns or Valentine candies

Ultimately, Peeps are one of those foods that I really, really like for the aesthetic, but really don't enjoy gustatorily. Marshmallow aficionados will certainly disagree, but to me, these things just taste like sugary Styrofoam. But as a plus? At least it's sugary Styrofoam that looks a lot like really fucked up pumpkins.  


Considering the fact that half of my postings this year have been about the various, kooky Oreos permutations released by Nabisco, the appearances of Pumpkin Spice Creme Oreos here shouldn't be surprising in the slightest.

Note, the official name of these products are Pumpkin Spice Creme Oreos. See, it even says it on the box, albeit in an almost subscript text -- so the next time someone asks you if you've tried "Pumpkin Spice Oreos," you can totally embarrass them in public and stuff. 

As for the taste of the products, come on, you know they are freaking outstanding. Of course, "Pumpkin Spice" is really nothing more than code word for "cinnamon and nutmeg," but who in the world would complain about having more twist-top cookie options at the supermarket? That's right ... only communists, that's who. 


The thing about most seasonal Halloween candies that irks me is how innocuous the brandings are. Don't get me wrong, it's cool and all that Little Debbies is releasing vampire bat brownies, but when the products are just splotchy brown and black things, you can't help but want just a little bit more character with your snack food.

That nugget in mind, I really have to give Twix props for their special edition "Ghost" candy bars, which are not only wild deviations from the standard product, but one of the cooler -- dare I say, even sinister -- looking junk foods on market aisles this Samhain season. The detail on these things are very, very impressive -- they may very well be best-sculpted foodstuffs you'll encounter this autumn.

Those are some bad motherfucking ghosts right there. Just look at them, with their unholy eyes and gaping wide smile, no doubt a portal to the deepest recesses of Hades. Forget your cutesy, mass-market friendly mascot ghosts, those two look like they'd jump Boo Berry, take his wallet, and potentially sodomize him. And if you're thinking that just because they happen to be brown ... congrats on being a racist. 


Now, I know what you're thinking. "Hey Jimbo, didn't you already cover these things two years ago?" Well, you're partially right -- I indeed covered a variety of Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins, but those were the standard chocolate versions. This, I assure you, is an entirely new bag -- in more ways than one.

One look at the exterior and individually-wrapped packaging, and you'll make the same assumption I did. "White bag," consumer mathematics tells us, "equates white product." So imagine my surprise when I opened up these suckers and discovered ... holy shit, these things are orange!

Yep, these are indeed the most authentically hued Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins yet to hit the market. The amber shell, thankfully, tastes very much like traditional chocolate, and the innards are still nice and peanut buttery. The only thing that would have made these things better? Had the company taken the time and effort to paint little green stems atop each candy. Hey, if Peeps can afford to do it, every company should be able to


Candy corn is a really polarizing food. The people who loathe it REALLY can't stand it, and those who enjoy it are downright passionate in their admiration of the product. In general, artificially-flavored candy corn things tend to fluctuate in quality, so I really didn't know what to expect hopping into Hershey's Candy Corn Candy Bits.

First off, I really, really like the packaging. It's so generic, yet so seasonally appropriate, as if it's the wrapper for some dime store candy bar circa 1971. With a swatch like that, the thing really could be an all-purpose autumnal candy -- it looks just as fitting for the late summer harvest as it does the ass-end of November. 

As for the mini-bar itself, it looked a lot like Hershey's white chocolate peppermint bars from a few Christmases ago. Thankfully, these bars look way less like they have shingles, and more like chunks of soap with carrot peelings embedded on it. Ultimately, it doesn't taste all that much like candy corn, but it's a rather unoffensive treat for the most part. And unlike those Candy Corn M&Ms, whiffing the bag doesn't appear to give you a case of black lung, either. 


Even with "chewy" as an in-moniker adjective, granola bars are hardly what I would consider Halloween-caliber snack offerings. That said, the semi-lazy packaging on this one really caught my eye -- black cats, spiders, a cauldron with the words interjection "boo!" engraved upon it ... man, that shit is trying so hard to say "Halloween," ain't it? 

As much as I loved the Candy Corn Hershey's packaging, I adore the wrapper for the Market Pantry (read: Target) Candy Corn Chewy Granola Bars even more. The red, the white, the Jack O Lantern so innocuous it borders on being ominous; if John Carpenter ever directed a snack cake, it would probably look something like this. 

And the bar itself? Eh, it was okay, although for the life of me, I'm not entirely sure why this thing was labeled "candy corn" flavored. Unless someone forgot to flavor this one box, my batch tasted pretty much identical to your standard breakfast bar. Maybe if you just slap some orange on your product, it's good enough for "Halloween status?" You know, I really want to know the FDA rules on that one. 


Pillsbury is known for releasing myriad holiday-themed frostings, but holy shit, has Betty Crocker taken it to a whole other level. Yeah, candy corn frosting is cool and all, but have you ever dreamed of eating baked goods that taste like an IHOP grand slam breakfast? Well, apparently, they did, and hard.

A maple syrup flavored dessert topping is one thing, but to include ground up bacon bits as an extra? That's not just insane, that's criminal genius insane, and I for one believe humanity is all the better for its invention. 

The pre-processed goop may resemble extra creamy peanut butter, but I assure you it tastes quite a bit like chemical-drenched pancakes. The texture is pretty comparable to your basic frosting -- a bit frothy, but nothing too heavy. And the Aunt Jemima scent, I must say, is really, really fierce. 

Of course, you're not really eating this stuff unless you're also opting to drench the pudding in four or five ounces of crumbled up pork dust, which is precisely the path I elected. Now, you may think it's gross that I jammed a spoon in the pell-mell mixture and wolfed down a few chunks, but it really is a taste to behold. Indeed, it tastes just like a potpourri of bacon and pancake batter, making this product a much, much improved  (albeit unofficial) formula for Soylent. But hey, why stop with just the bacon powder -- I've got some buddies right here who want to go for a frosting dip too!

What a way to end the golden season of novelty junk foods, no? We ate misshaped Jack O Lantern-mallows, jammed "Basic Bitch" flavored sandwich cookies down our cakeholes, digested delicious, extra crispy souls of the dead, jumped headlong into several candy corn things that really didn't taste like candy corn and for the grand finale, chowed down on chocolate pumpkins coated in a thick carapace of pancake-scented frosting and salty, smoky pig hide

All I can say is, if Halloween 2015 is just half the seasonal foodstuff hootenanny Halloween 2014 was, I don't think any of us are going to survive it. Primarily, because we'll all have to have our legs hacked off due Type III Diabetes. Yeah, Type III. It's coming, folks. 

Now pardon me, dear readers ... I think I have to vomit profusely for a few hours, 


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