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.
Haunted Ghost Pepper Paqui Chips!
(Found at 7-Eleven)
These are neither new for 2019 nor specifically Halloweeny, but guys, the flavor is HAUNTED GHOST PEPPER. Hell, just “ghost pepper” would’ve been enough for me to push ‘em through.
They’re stupidly hot, and not in the mainstream Flamin’ Hot Cheetos sort of way. All you really taste is burning, stinging heat. I’m a fan of spicy foods and never shy away from them, but I gotta admit, even for me, this was a test.
I’m surprised there aren’t sterner warnings on the bags. With this level of heat, I think the average person would need to consider the chips a “novelty food” — you’ll eat one or two to feel proud, but you might not make it further than that.
GRADE: B. They’re too hot, but I admire that about them. These chips aren’t fucking around. I assume they’d work best on a beer night, when your senses are duller.
Creepy Cocoa Crisp M&Ms!
(Found at Target)
I like these, but I like the idea of them more than the execution. It’s not that they’re bad, but I don’t think they quite deliver on the promise of (generic brand) Cocoa Krispies. They’re crispy, yes, and chocolatey, yes, but not in that very specific Cocoa Krispies way.
I guess the tl;dr version is that I feel like I’ve eaten these exact same M&M’s under some other name during a prior Halloween season. Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’m making these my sacrificial lambs for heavy critiquing just so I’ll seem less gushy on the whole.
In any case, Creepy Cocoa Crisp M&M’s are delicious, and I am wholly capable of drinking a bag like water. Great packaging, too. It’s like 2019 by way of 1997, and that is so my vibe.
GRADE: B+. (A+ if you’re German, because aren’t those almost your colors?)
Boo Batter Ice Cream!
(Available at Cold Stone Creamery)
If you live near a Cold Stone Creamery, get there now! They have a bunch of fall specials on the menu, including this ridiculous “Boo Batter” ice cream. It’s black and covered with broken candy, and it looks like what might happen if you turned your car into a monster and then taught it to vomit.
Judging by the flavor, I’d say this is regular birthday cake ice cream mixed with a shot glass of black dye. It looks like trouble, but it’s very tasty. My photo doesn’t prove it, but they really do mix in all of the promised candy — everything from Kit Kats to Halloween Oreos.
You’ll look like you’re wearing blue lipstick after eating it, but my God, Boo Batter is SO Halloweeny.
GRADE: A+. It tastes great and looks like death, and there’s also the fact that you’ll get to turn a trip to an ice cream parlor into a veritable Halloween adventure. That’s what you’re really in this for. The actual ice cream is just a bonus.
Maple Creme Oreo Cookies!
(Found at Target)
They’re old news by now, but y’all were right: These are GOOD. I’d say they were a touch sweeter than I was expecting, but still had a flavor that absolutely read as maple syrup.
There’s no guarantee that Nabisco will resurrect Maple Creme Oreos next year, so if they sound appealing, get on the bandwagon now. They’re not quite “Pancakes & Syrup” Oreos, but they’re close, and marrying them to autumn just makes the deal all the sweeter. (I get a dollar for every lame pun.)
GRADE: A. Sometimes limited edition Oreos come off as weird for weirdness’s sake, but these are well-balanced with a flavor that actually works for cookies. Pair them with coffee and discuss the weather.
The Fangtastic ‘Rita!
(Available at Chili’s)
Yep, another vampire-themed cocktail from another chain restaurant, with another pair of plastic fangs thrown in for good measure. What blessed universe was I teleported to?
Available at Chili’s, the Fangtastic ‘Rita costs five bucks. Yeah, that’s five times as much as the Applebee’s version, but this is certainly a more “sincere” cocktail that doesn’t just taste like complimentary punch from a sketchy beach club.
The mix of tequila and blood orange juice creates a pinkish drink that contrasts super nicely with those black fangs. I just love this. Cocktails garnished with plastic fangs are my new obsession. So rarely am I given multiple excuses to spend time at chain restaurant bars, surrounded by backwards hats and giant ESPN screens.
GRADE: A+. Just make sure they have the black fangs in stock before you order, because there is nothing at all Halloweeny about this drink without ‘em.
More to come in Part 2! Stay tuned if you like reading too many paragraphs about too much candy.