Get set for another batch of 2016’s best Halloween junk food!
(…with the same asterisk that we had last time. When I say “best,” I just mean “most interesting.” Sometimes, pretty things taste pretty bad!)
Butterfinger Peanut Butter Skulls!
These are terrific! I’m not sure if they’re new-for-2016 or just something I overlooked last year, but I hope these wackadoo chocolate faces are here to stay.
You’ll notice that the skulls look precisely as good as the ones on the package, which almost never happens with this sort of candy. (Ever get one of those “Christmas tree” cups from Reese’s? They look like Dittos.)
Between the chiseled teeth and the bolt-shaped cracks in the skulls, these are as much art as candy. I wasn’t sure if I should eat them or mail ‘em to MoMA.
I won’t claim to prefer these to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but I definitely prefer ’em to regular Butterfinger bars. They’re creamy and they’re rich and they look like chocolate versions of Halloween coloring book pages.
GRADE: A+. I can’t think of any reasonable way to improve them.
It Came From Herr’s!
I love these silly bags of chips way more than is defensible, and were it not for the laws that govern us, me and this one would already share a villa and a child.
The small spooky bags of Herr’s chips are sold by the box at select Targets, and though there’s nothing special about the actual chips, the bags are INCREDIBLE with a capital everything. They even use the Friday the 13th font, like everyone who ran a horror site in 1997 did.
I already had a soft spot for chip bags as trick-or-treat “candy,” because in a sea of five cent lollipops and ten cent lollipops and chocolate whatever-the-fucks, oily bags of potatoes really pop. The pumpkin graphics and vague Jason Voorhees reference just sweeten the pot.
Cinnamon Donut Chewy Chips Ahoy!
I’m impressed that Nabisco didn’t pick pumpkin spice or some variation thereof, because they certainly could’ve, and it would’ve been an easier pitch. I feel like they were determined to do something different, and that alone gets them a high letter grade.
In fact, I wasn’t totally sure that this was an autumnal release until spotting those few “dead leaf” graphics on the packaging. That sort of thing usually annoys me, but it was fun to find these and then have to fiddle with them like a Rubik’s Cube to determine that, yes, they were indeed applicable to the Halloween season. I felt like an excavator who hit bone.
The cookies smell sweet and taste even sweeter. Admittedly a bit too sweet for me. The chips are actually cinnamon and apple flavored, and methinks the apple was unnecessary. I wanted these to taste like Entenmann’s donuts, but instead they taste like Entenmann’s donuts mixed with traces of Jolly Ranchers. Some may be fine with that. Others, like me, may elect to use the cookies more as a potpourri.
GRADE: B. The cookies have their flaws, but in a year with so much repetition, I’m gonna spike Nabisco’s grade just for trying something that I haven’t already seen a million times.
Jet-Puffed Caramel Apple Marshmallows!
I always buy Kraft’s seasonal marshmallows, even if I can only rarely think of anything to do with them. They usually just sit in our kitchen cabinet until they become hard enough to use in mutant games of paddleball. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Gotta be honest here: These aren’t a fave. They don’t taste bad, really, but Kraft’s seasonal marshmallows seem to do better in the smaller sizes. When they’re this big, you feel like you’re eating too much to taste so little. The fact that they look more like colorblind acorns than caramel apples doesn’t help much, either.
GRADE: B-. (It’s really a C+, but “C+” sounds harsher than I mean it. I’m such a pushover.)
Snyder’s Oktoberfest Pretzels!
I understand that Oktoberfest only has incidental ties to the Halloween season, but that doesn’t bother me. I’ve had Oktoberfest beer and considered it a Halloween activity, so why not pretzels?
I’ll confess that I still have no idea what Oktoberfest is or means, and only know it as the thing that prompts my German neighbors to party like they’re being filmed for a reality series.
According to Snyder’s, the pretzels honor Oktoberfest by being baked in the “Bavarian style,” which apparently means crunchier outsides and airier insides. To me they just taste like regular sourdough pretzels, but since I could happily live on regular sourdough pretzels, that’s A-OK!
GRADE: A. Nothing fancy, but I feel like they’re what they should be.
Thanks for reading about junk food. Again. Have an excellent spooky weekend, and remember, Dino Drac After Dark updates at midnight seven days a week! Stop by if you’re having a sucky Saturday.