Spookylicious Pop-Tarts Are Back!

I was glad to see Spookylicious Pop-Tarts make their triumphant return. Even if Kellogg’s has only been at it for a few years, Halloween Pop-Tarts have already become one of my absolute needs for a great season.

The saga began in 2010, when Choc-o-Lantern Pop-Tarts were introduced. Then, in 2011, Kellogg’s brought ‘em back with very minor adjustments and the new “Spookylicious” moniker. I guess focus groups showed that “Spookylicious” was a palatable title, because this year, they went with it again.

Save for the faintest upgrade to the box design, they’re exactly the same as last year’s version. This is no flaw, since last year’s version could only have been more perfect if $50 bills were taped to each Pop-Tart.

Reviewing the same exact Pop-Tarts three years in a row may seem like a stretch, but I ain’t here for that. You already know that they’re delicious and covered in Halloween sprinkles. Still, even if the formula and box design is mostly the same, there is one thing that makes this year’s offering worth another go on the blog fodder front.

Kellogg’s added an all-new recipe to the back of the box!

They would’ve had it anyway, but changing the ridiculous box-back recipes each year has guaranteed Kellogg’s my continued business. I’ve long been a sucker for bizarre snack recipes that feel more like third grade arts and crafts projects, but something about working with Pop-Tarts makes it especially special.  It isn’t a common medium, but Pop-Tarts beats the shit out of clay and crayons.

This year, we’re challenged to create Fudgy, Spooky Spiders. Okay, I agree, that’s nowhere near as legendary as the Pop-Tarts graveyard I got to make in 2010 — but I do believe that this may defeat last year’s toothpicked bonbon deals.

You’ll only need a few ingredients. Aside from the Pop-Tarts, just grab some marshmallows and licorice. I could only find Twizzlers, but a better bet is that really thin kind of red licorice. You know the one. It reminds you of Grandma, and it’s only sold in packages that look like they’re from 1972. Use that if you can.

First, you add little marshmallow spider bodies to the Pop-Tarts. Their directions for this were weak, and pretty much amounted to “smoosh whole marshmallows into flatter shapes with your hands, use those as bodies, and then cut up some other marshmallows for the heads.”  This process all but eradicates any chance of precision.  I can’t say that this is a recipe for anyone prone to freaking out over edible spiders that don’t really look like spiders.

After doing that, you broil them for around two minutes. Maybe less. You have to keep a close eye on the things when they’re in the oven, because marshmallows are funny: One second they’re raw, the next they’re the smoldering corpses of Owen and Beru. If you’re the type to multitask while cooking, I implore you not to do that. You will kill your spiders and they will never be cute.

When they come out of the oven (you want them just slightly browned and gooey, really), it’s time to add the legs. That’s what the licorice is for. In my case, I had to snip several Twizzlers lengthwise, and an additional three times crosswise. It was arduous and demoralizing, and for a moment there, I honestly believed that I’d spend the rest of eternity cutting up Twizzlers.

Now you understand why the thin licorice strands would work better.

The whole process only takes a few minutes, and the results are actually not that bad!

A little bad, but not that bad.

Can’t blame Kellogg’s, though. I like my spiders, but I admit that they’re junk by any objective measure. The reason I leaned on you so hard about watching the marshmallows is because I didn’t, and all of my spiders came out looking like they’d just finished Round 12 against Agni, the Vedic god of fire.

On the other hand, this isn’t my first time eating roasted marshmallows. Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons be damned: They’re just so much better burnt.

In terms of flavor, these are impressive. You know how some candies are so over the top in their indulgence, you get that instant sense of sex and euphoria and of being tickled the second you bite them? This was that. Not since Corn Pops came with free Starbots has anything from Kellogg’s given me a semi.

They’re seriously delicious, to a degree that deflects any complaints about how crude they look. Besides, I like them crude. If I’m going to spend an afternoon building bugs out of Pop-Tarts, I want to be a stomping child, not a careful painter.

This is the exact sort of thing that anyone can do to nail the Halloween spirit in an absolute way. Doesn’t matter how old or busy you are. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. It’s a box of Pop-Tarts and it takes five minutes to turn them into spiders. If you won’t do this, you have no right to complain about Halloween not being the same.

I shall end this review with a quick look at my two favorite Fudgy, Spooky Spiders.

Harold survived the incinerator better than the others, so I guess he’s my favorite. His ass looks like a lemon meringue pie.

Greg was completely killed in there, but I like his look of defiance. This Fudgy, Spooky Spider is not giving up. Why should he? Harold’s ass may look like lemon meringue, but Greg’s looks like molten lava. It’s never been made official in a rock-paper-scissors sort of way, but I’m pretty sure that lava beats pie.

Oh, you’ve probably noticed the tiny green spider eyes. Kellogg’s didn’t mention eyes, but I had some lumpy green candies on hand, and the shoe seemed to fit. Why bring Fudgy, Spooky Spiders into a world they cannot see?


52 Responses to Spookylicious Pop-Tarts Are Back!

  1. I was so excited to find the pumpkin Pop-Tarts last year, but then they were disgusting.

  2. The Pumpkin Pie ones are back this year, too.

    They seem to be the fan favorites, but they aren’t mine. And I didn’t see anything new on the box. Same “make Pop-Tarts turkeys” deal. That sounds much more like a November event.

  3. Yes! I was hoping you’d do these.
    I saw these yesterday at walmart and scared a woman in a motor cart when I gasped and made a high-pitched sound of joy.

    I’ll have to find some licorice now.. Maybe i’ll use candy cigarettes for legs.

  4. god i love these poptarts, and yes i do love the pumpkin pie ones, i can have chocolate any time of the year, but pumpkin is a lot more seasonal

  5. i am resolved to do some of these halloween crafts this year–i always mean to, but never get around to it, and the season blows by me. not this time!

    hey matt, I just noticed your comments aren’t being “ghosted”. is that a limitation of the new site, or a conscious decision?

  6. Damn, Greg made me spit my Pumpkin coffee. Poor guy. He was the chosen one!

    He deserves a Vader comeback. If he is still around.

  7. I generally prefer the super sweet faux pumpkin to the super sweet chocolate Pop Tarts, but spiders? How can you NOT love that?

    My graveyard didn’t really materialize, & I remember doing some crazy, bourbon ball-esque take on those toothpick things last year that was…well, quite horrific (and quite potent), but this year – THIS YEAR I will make a respectable Pop Tart craft!

  8. I don’t remember the pumpkin ones, I just hope they bring the sugar cookie ones back for Christmas.

  9. @Bill, I almost named Greg after you but then I figured, it’s easy to take being named after a burned candy spider the wrong way.

    Also, @gristle — I didn’t change it to “Ghosted” just to keep the amount of edited files down. Maybe we’ll do that in October, though. (I’d love to come up with some ways to make October feel a little more Halloweeny on the site, since by then, most people are already tired of it. So I guess my strategy doesn’t make much sense, now that I type it.)

    @Crystal: Candy cigs would work nicely as legs. But if you’re able to find candy cigs, I imagine that same store will sell the rare thin-strand red licorice anyway.

  10. Those look very tasty. I’m gonna go find these, and give this little activity a try. I love doing stuff like this.

  11. I want to eat Greg.

  12. Matt where did you get these, Walmart? I just was at Key Food and bought Pop Tarts for the kids and didn’t see these, now I feel jipped.

    Don’t know which line is my favorite of this article, “One second they’re raw, the next they’re the smoldering corpses of Lars and Beru” or “Not since Corn Pops came with free Starbots has anything from Kellogg’s given me a semi.” :)

  13. JohnV, I found them at Waldbaum’s, and was surprised to, since they’ve been the weakest link of all my Countdown hunting locations through the years. But Waldbaum’s is fairly local, so I’m not sure if that helps!

    Target would def have them, though.

  14. Awesome article except for one Star Wars misreference. Luke’s uncle and aunt were Owen and Beru, Lars was their last name. Yes, I am a loser for knowing that.

  15. Damn it, I can’t believe I made that mistake. Fixed. There’s nothing worse than an insider joke gone awry.

  16. I’m luxuriating in all the Pop Tarts varieties available to me, after years of two flavors only- strawberry and chocolate-in the UK. (Honestly, it’s Orwellian over there: Victory Pop Tarts!).

    If this tops Ice Cream flavor, I will be very happy indeed.

  17. Soon will be the day when I walk into Dollar Tree with $50 and cram every Halloween thing I can see into a shopping cart

  18. Actually the Key Food I went too used to be a Waldbaum’s. I’m in NY also (Long Island) so we should get the same products in stores. Will check Target next time I’m there. I didn’t catch the Star Wars mistake but in my geek mind I read it the correct way.

  19. Greg reminds me of Shelob from LOTR.

  20. It’s times like this when I wish I liked Pop Tarts and marshmallows.

  21. By the way, I’m surprised those Chips Ahoy! actually say “Halloween” on the package. Seems like most Halloween-themed junk foods avoid the H-word, kinda like how Christmas-themed products are called “Holiday” instead of “Christmas” even though they’re red and green.

  22. YIPPY!! I am going to go get some. I also want to try the pumpkin pie ones this year.

  23. Matt, your Star wars joke still landed. And I would wear that burnt marshmellow name as a badge of honor.

  24. Nicely done. I am quite happy to hear of the return of the pumpkin Tarts this time around – I found them only once last year at Target, and apparently they only had one shelf’s worth of them, because once they were gone, they were gone. I guess that’s the nature of limited time offerings like that.

  25. You know what probably would work well for the legs, if no ones brought it up, Twizzlers Pull and Peel.

  26. Willbill, if it’s any consolation, I name all my ruined meals after you.

  27. I actually think Greg looks the most scariest/realistic because he is burnt. Burnt marshmallows suck, though.

    Doesn’t Twizzlers still make those “Pull and Peel” ones that would give you the thin strands needed, or are they discontinued?

  28. Upon first glance, I thought you had purchased the Twizzler Pull n’ Peel red licorice, but then saw they were regular full blown pieces on your spiders. While big, the legs came out kind of cool looking on yours…and I love the eyes! I think Greg is my favorite of your spiders. Yes, I love burnt stuff! :D

  29. Please replace any instance of “semi” with “Hollywood loaf” – it’s classier!

  30. I’m out of the loop. I didn’t know pull and peels were still around. This store didn’t have them.

  31. I haven’t seen Pull and Peels in a long time, but then again, I haven’t been looking.

  32. Rev., that is amazing. : )

    I eat Pull n’ Peels whole. For shame…

  33. No one knows what it’s like To be the bad spider, To be the sad spide Behind blue-green candy eyes.

  34. You know, a new series of articles/blog posts here called “Does it still exist/Do they still make it?” might be interesting. You could answer questions like “Do they still make Pull and Peels?” among other items.

  35. First off, I must say the Halloween banner is awesome. I wasn’t expecting that when I came here. I was deprived as a kid of those recipes, my mom never wanted to them. I might just have to try this one out.

  36. *Out of nowhere, random (necessary) post*

    At 9 PM Eastern TONIGHT, they are showing an hour long show LITERALLY called “Great Old Amusement Parks”, detailing the history of older theme parks in the United States. I am pretty stoked. I’m a ride junkie, and will always stop at any and all theme parks I encounter. (As a lot of others here, I imagine).

    That is all. :)

  37. Duh…It’s going to be on PBS. *smacks forehead*

  38. Wow- 7 minutes in, and it is amazing. *Gasps* “TV Magic!”

  39. I’ve sold these for over a week now in the grocery store where I work, and I was hoping Matt would try the new recipe. I’m not fond of Pop Tarts (too sweet, and I always manage to burn them), but I enjoy seeing the limited edition ones anyway. By the way, the Pumpkin Pie ones are also back, and the backs of the boxes indicated that Sugar Cookie and Gingerbread will be returning for Christmas this year.

  40. Matt, I didn’t realize pull n’ peels were still around until my nephew sold me on buying a bag of green apple Twizzlers a couple of weeks ago.

    Bill, I didn’t realize that they actually were pull n’ peels until I had tore my way through a couple of ropes. After that I could barely be bothered with the effort. I share your shame.

  41. Matt, Pop Tarts was a staple of my diet when I was old enough to have my first teeth to this day (although not eaten as much), and I have to say this is a kick ass way to improve on a tooth melting treat. In fact, I am now inspired to make Pop Tarts Ice Cream sandwhiches. Many thanks \m/

  42. I will admit there have been times in my life when I lived off of Pop Tarts. When I went to Disneyworld, we had NO $$$$ and carried backpacks of Pop Tarts around to eat all day.

  43. At my local Dollar General, they just ran out of foot-long Pull-n-Peels. But if I get a chance to indulge in Pop-Tarts and Crafts, I think I’ll use some pretzel sticks.

  44. Your website proves to me that I never have to grow up!

  45. These are stupid and easy to make. I’m definitely doing it. I did one of your craft projects last year it was a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

  46. I love Halloween and I love Pop-Tarts, but I just can’t stand these. They’re nasty. They LOOK awesome though, and my love of Halloween means I must buy them every year. Good to know they’re out. I was gonna check Target tomorrow to see what Halloween stuff they’ve put so far, so if I see these I’ll grab some.

  47. @King JLA – to build on that, and something Matt might find a bit more interesting is fielding emails from readers asking if it still exists and then actually going out and trying to find it.

    He recently mentioned it true, but he always seemed to enjoy the hunt for the item more than writing about it anyways.

    and let’s be honest, who wants to read a 50 word article that literally reads: Does this exist? Please let me know in the comments below…” Yeah it’d increase OUR discussion, but there wouldn’t be any substance. If “Reader V Langs asks ‘Matt do you know if Halloween themed pringles still exist? inquiring minds would like to know” and then matt actually has an article on the 500 varieties of halloween pringles would be kind of cool imo obviously.

  48. any time you make reference to yourself getting a semi, the article is aces in my opinion.

  49. Completely agree with these being number 2 to the Pop-Tarts Graveyard.

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