Okay, I’m ready to upgrade my opinion. This hasn’t just been a “pretty good year” on the Halloween junk food front. It’s become absolutely stellar. In terms of sheer volume, it’s certainly one of the better seasons of the past decade. I’m digging it, and I’m gaining dozens of pounds because of it.
Last week, I gushed about six things that y’all need to eat before Halloween. Tonight, we’re gonna run through another six, and this batch is even stronger than the last one!
(Available at Carvel)
My sympathies to those who don’t live near a Carvel, because nobody deserves to miss this. In a cross-promotion with Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween (aka Hocus Pocus ALL DAY EVERY DAY), Carvel has unleashed the SLIME SHAKE.
It’s a cookies-and-cream milkshake made with soft serve ice cream, Oreo cookies and EDIBLE SLIME. The slime is comparable to decorating gel, and obviously, it’s why you’ll want this. Milkshakes aren’t normally my thing, but this monster was delicious. As an added bonus, eating it made me feel like a victim from Troll 2.
GRADE: B+. The only reason I’m not going higher is because it’s so dependent on your local parlor’s execution. If they overmix it, it’ll just look like a Shamrock Shake. If yours is made correctly, I’ll bump to an A.
Kettle Apple Cider Vinegar Chips!
(Available God Knows Where)
You wouldn’t believe how hard I worked to find just ONE BAG of these chips. I saw a photo of ‘em back in August, but to date, I’ve never seen them in any store, nor spoken to anyone else who has. (I eventually located a bag on eBay, but even there, the pickings were slim.)
When Kettle describes these as a “limited batch,” they goddamned mean it. If you spot them out in the wild, you’re Indiana Jones.
I’m glad I went through the trouble, though. Positioning apple cider vinegar as an “autumn thing” manages to be both on-point and outside-the-box, and the chips taste great. I wasn’t expecting the flavor to be dramatically different from everyday salt-and-vinegar chips, but these have a distinct cider kick that you’ll recognize right away.
GRADE: A. These are so my style, and I love that they found a way to do an autumn release without making the chips weird.
Double Bubble Ghoulish Gum Balls!
(Found at CVS)
Holy shit, why isn’t everybody talking about these? Dubble Bubble’s set of Ghoulish Gum Balls is legitimately one of the coolest Halloween candies I’ve ever seen — from this or any season. (Weirder still, these have apparently been out for years! Why wasn’t I informed?!)
Each package contains 10 gumballs, featuring a mix of four distinct and completely over-the-top gimmicks. If you don’t read the wrapper closely, you’d just assume them to be normal gumballs in Halloween colors. NOT SO, my friends!
There are Slime Balls, which are green, bumpy and filled with gooey lime “slime.” Then there are, good God, PUMPKIN SEEDLINGS, which come stuffed with sprinkles that are meant to resemble pumpkin seeds.
Next we have the Horror Eyes gumballs, which lack any filling but at least look like bloodshot devil eyes from Hell. Ending on the strongest possible note, the Count Dracula gumballs have secret centers of cherry “blood.”
HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT TO ALL OF THIS.
GRADE: A+++. Any one of those gimmicks could’ve carried a Dubble Bubble Halloween release, but getting all four in one pack? My God! Someone high up at that company really loves Halloween. I haven’t been this obsessed with gum since Cinn-a-Burst was a thing.
Killer Klowns Cotton Candy Bars!
(Available at Halloween Horror Nights)
Yes indeed, there are official Killer Klowns from Outer Space candy bars. Before you get too excited, they’re only available at Halloween Horror Nights in Florida and Cali. (I assume you can find them online with a little digging, but don’t expect to see them at Walgreens or anything.)
Jay picked these up for me a few weeks ago, and they’re even cooler than I imagined. I thought they’d just be normal chocolate bars with badass wrappers, but nope, Universal went all-in on the theme.
The bars taste like cotton candy mixed with white chocolate, and have jelly beans randomly embedded within them. They absolutely look like alien clown food. Flavor-wise, it was like an entire basket of Easter candy condensed into a chocolate bar. Whatever you’re imagining when you hear that description, I promise you, that’s exactly what these taste like.
GRADE: A+. The flavor isn’t necessarily my speed, but the total commitment to the Killer Klowns theme is worth a perfect score.
Brach’s Mini Candy Corn & Chocolate Peanuts!
(Found at Walgreens)
I’m not a candy corn guy, but I appreciate how Brach’s continually manages to make it seem “fresh,” year after year. They’ve done more dramatic “modifications” in prior seasons, but even the simple addition of chocolate-covered peanuts changes everything. Now it seems less like candy corn and more like trail mix from Homer’s Land of Chocolate.
They pair nicely together, too. The candy corn’s sickly sweet notes are somewhat neutralized by the peanuts, and eating them together creates such an unusual mouthfeel that it’s hard not to be charmed. (I dunno, can you be charmed by mouthfeel? If nothing else, I bet you can name your debut album that.)
GRADE: B. It wasn’t enough to put me on Team Candy Corn, but if you were already waving that flag, I think you’ll find this to be good “car food” for those long drives when the weather is chilly and your body is craving soy lecithin.
Count Chocula Pizookie!
(Available at BJ’s Restaurants)
A few nights ago, we ended up at BJ’s. It’s a restaurant chain that I’d never even heard of before that day. If you’ve never been to one, the aesthetic is “Applebee’s, but as a dystopian speakeasy.”
The food in general was good, but we were really just there to try this ridiculous Count Chocula Pizookie. (I assume “Pizookie” is a portmanteau of “pizza” and “cookie,” even if, in practice, it hardly resembles either.)
Served in a 1930s bedpan, it’s basically a giant brownie topped with scoops of ice cream, and sprinkled with Count Chocula. It looked totally inelegant, but was crazy tasty. I don’t know what sort of magic BJ’s works into this, but as good as a brownie/ice cream/cereal combo sounds, the actuality was ten times better.
GRADE: A+. It’s been a weak season as far as Halloween cereals go, so kudos to BJ’s for taking the sting out of that. Also, kudos to BJ’s for believing me when I said I didn’t want mayo on my burger. So few restaurants do.
Thanks for reading, and happy hunting. I’m still deciding if I’m gonna add a third chapter to this series, but if I don’t, just know that I could’ve. There’s a lot of Halloween junk food out there!