Dinosaur Dracula!
Dinosaur Dracula

2019’s Best Halloween Junk Food, Part 1!

For a minute there, it looked like the 2019 Halloween season was going to be pretty weak on the junk food front. There were some new cool things, but not many, and people were feeling it. I don’t know why we correlate with the quality of a Halloween season with the quality of its junk food, but it’s a thing.

Fortunately, business picked up in a big way. What’s making this season uniquely special is that so many restaurants and other “dine-out” locations have gotten in on the fun, with everything from spooky cocktails to slimy milkshakes.

So like, it’s not a great year if you just keep going to Target a thousand times in a row, but if you really explore, there’s so much great garbage waiting to be devoured.

With that, below are six of this year’s best Halloween junk foods. (I already have enough for a sequel article, too!)

The $1 Vampire!
(Available at Applebee’s)

This is one of my very favorite things about the 2019 season. What’s not to love? It’s a purple cocktail that has plastic Dracula fangs swimming on top of it. AND there’s a maraschino cherry!

Best of all, there’s no fine print. This really is just one dollar, with no asterisk. You don’t have to order a meal to get it at that price, or any other bullshit. (Me and Jay did a Halloween bar crawl last week, and our grand total for two of these was $2.14.)

As for the flavor, Jay compared it to a grape Fla-Vor-Ice. He was right. That’s exactly what these taste like. Melted grape Fla-Vor-Ice. Applebee’s insists that it’s a blend of rum and tropical fruit juices, but all you’re gonna taste is grape Fla-Vor-Ice.

GRADE: A+. Ordering ridiculous cocktails from chain restaurants in shopping malls is one of the lowkey must-do experiences of the 2019 Halloween season. Just don’t expect to get drunk — you could chug ten of them, and all you’d feel is a stomach ache. Read More…

Trick-or-Treating Memories. In Crayon.

You know that thing I do every Christmas season, where I write about holiday memories but also draw them with crayons? I’ve done it for Thanksgiving, too. I am so bad at going viral.

Here’s the Halloween version, which will specifically deal with trick-or-treating. Below are five memories of my childhood candy-hunting adventures, badly drawn with a Sharpie and then colored with crayons that are still all over my office floor.

Hodgepodge Haunter!

Only rarely was I determined to be any specific character for Halloween. It was Dracula in kindergarten, then ALF a few years later, and… I think that’s it?

Most of my costumes were just mixes of whatever could be found at local pharmacies on like, October 29th. That became a tradition in of itself. My old best friend lived right across the street, and just before Halloween, our mothers would take us to CVS or Rite-Aid to rummage through Aisle 7.

Pharmacies carried more costumes in the late ‘80s than they do now, but when you went that close to Halloween, there wasn’t much left. Actually, there was hardly anything left, and certainly no “complete” costumes that self-respecting kids would’ve wanted to wear.

We’d instead cobble our costumes together from various accessories. In the example illustrated above, one year I wore a Jason mask, a cheap Freddy glove and a nylon vampire cape. Add in a plastic scythe, and I gotta say, I probably liked that costume better than any “real” one I might’ve found two weeks prior. Read More…

The Toxic Avenger Ruined My Life.

“Ma, I don’t want to grow up.”

That was me in 1987. No, I wasn’t quoting the Toys “R” Us commercials.

One night, my parents were out of town — Atlantic City, no doubt — and I was left in my sister’s charge. As was usually the case, she only “babysat” me in quotes. She made sure I ate and made sure I wasn’t on fire, but beyond that, it was a you-do-your-thing situation.

If I’ve done my math right, I was eight and she was sixteen. That night, she had a few friends over. Three girls and two guys, as I recall. While I often tried to obnoxiously integrate myself into her soirees, those guys were loud and tall. One of them wore a leather jacket. I was too intimidated to get close. I’m sure my sister didn’t mind.

It was the typical teenage get-together, with them watching movies while devouring pizza. I hid out in my bedroom, which was fine by me, because my parents weren’t there and thus couldn’t stop me from running off with all of the junk food. (I have a distinct memory of eating a big bag of Ruffles chips, which I did in Classic Matt fashion: I’d put each one into my mouth sideways, and use my chipmunk teeth to break it down, ridge by ridge.)

Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me. What was all the hooting and hollering about? I tiptoed out of the bedroom and down the wood-paneled hallway, to peer into our living room.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

More specifically, I couldn’t believe what THEY were seeing.

It was a scene from The Toxic Avenger, though I didn’t know that at the time. It was the sickest and most disturbing thing I’d ever seen in a movie, at least up until that point. (Even today, I’d still put it somewhere on the list.) Read More…

How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds!

It’s pumpkin season! If you don’t have one already, surely it’s on your radar. So I’m here to make a preemptive pitch:

When you carve that sucker, DO NOT throw away the seeds. Instead, roast those mofos. Roasted pumpkin seeds are fantastic, and with a bit of extra work, you can make them so incredibly delicious that you will NEVER toss the seeds again.

Today, I’ll show you how it’s done. (…with a heap of credit going to Jessica Gavin’s and Valerie Brunmeier’s recipes, which helped me map out the below.)

Beautiful, aren’t they? You’ll be amazed at how easy they are to prepare, and how much better they taste than the ones from the store. In fact, the beauty of pumpkin seeds is that you can make them taste like whatever you want them to taste like. Sweet, salty, spicy, whatever. They are blank canvases, waiting to be primed with oil and painted with spices.

I picked up this trick from my late father, who was a total pumpkin seed hound. He made several batches every October. When I was a small child, I assumed they just tasted like pumpkins and stayed far away from his annual trays — even if I still quietly appreciated the tradition. Eventually, I discovered that they’re basically just mutant sunflower seeds.

Tl;dr: You don’t need to enjoy the taste of pumpkins to adore the seeds. Don’t be afraid!

Here’s what to do: Read More…

Madd Matt’s Latest Bag of Halloween Junk.

In case you couldn’t tell by the dead leaves, the chilly weather and all of the Santa Claus stuff at Dollar Tree, it is now OCTOBER. The greatest month of the year. Time for me to celebrate with two pounds of zombie makeup:


Madd Matt returns to the Halloween Countdown with another bag of SPOOKY GARBAGE.

Spend an eerie eight minutes watching me talk about disembodied hands, bright blue pumpkins and what the package clearly described as a “horror robe.”

Oh, and there’s also a bit about an old McDonald’s menu sign. You’ll probably be most interested in that.

Gorgeous, isn’t it? I just had to splurge. Been after one of these for years. May even order a custom frame. (I mean, I won’t, but I’ll at least think about it.)

Enjoy the video! Felt good to get back on the saddle. The very weird saddle.