Just judging by what we’ve already seen, this is one of the greatest years ever for Halloween junk food. There’s so much of it! New stuff and returning favorites. I’m overwhelmed in the best way.
I figured I’d better get to the second edition of 2021’s Best Halloween Junk Food *now*, because with the way things are going, it’ll be April before I’ve covered it all. Enjoy this look at everything from candy corn to cat treats:
Cheetos Cinnamon Sugar Bag of Bones!
(Found at Target)
These are Sweetos in everything but name. It’s a surprising twist, as Cheetos previously limited its sugary snacks to Christmas and Easter. Nobody saw this coming — least of all that skeleton on the bag, who can’t believe that he tastes like cinnamon.
I’m not a big fan of Sweetos. I don’t think they’re “bad” or anything, but I’m never gonna prefer cinnamon and sugar to cheese and salt. Still, I admit that they smell heavenly (like Eggo French Toast) and taste a-okay. For what they are, they work.
You know what’s weird? I can stare at those skeleton heads, hands and tibias without batting an eye, but the rib cages seem positively ghoulish to me. Maybe it’s because they’re less often used as inspiration for junk food, or maybe it’s because they remind me of Owen and Beru’s charred caracasses.
GRADE: B. I love Cheetos’ dedication to its “Bag of Bones” spinoff, which has been a consistent part of Halloween since 2014. Keep it up, Chester! More bone-shaped corn puffs, every September!
Monster Mash Fruit Snacks!
(Found at Sam’s Club)
If I may make one criticism about this year’s run of Monster Cereal products, it’s that General Mills sent everything to stores a few weeks too early. It’s wild that we’re only halfway through September, and Monster Mash Cereal — the inarguable “big thing” of the 2021 season — already feels like yesterday’s news.
It could be another 50 years before they throw this many goodies at us, so try to stay aware of how special this is. Take these Monster Mash fruit snacks, for example. You *better* be hunting for them, because if we’re being honest, they might be even cooler than the cereal!
The snacks include Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy, represented by lemon and orange pieces. I’ll put this in caps so you can truly grasp the situation: WE NOW HAVE FRUITY YUMMY MUMMY-THEMED FRUIT SNACKS. If I may borrow Marla’s line from Gremlins 2, “this is very big, Billy.”
GRADE: A+. The cereal is a one-and-done for 2021, but General Mills should at least consider keeping these fruit snacks around. It’s a great way to leave the cult favorite mascots in rotation without a ginormous investment. Think about it, General Mills!
Nerds Candy Corn & Gummy Clusters!
(Found at Walgreens)
I’m grouping these together for obvious reasons. Nerds Candy Corn is the big draw, and based on what I’ve seen, lots of people are totally in love with them. I understand why. They have the chewy mouthfeel of candy corn, but they definitely taste like Nerds.
What strikes me most about the candy corn is the volume and complexity of the flavors. There are six different pieces, and each of those six has its own distinctly-flavored candy shell and chewy center. Like, one has a strawberry-lemon shell with a blue raspberry-fruit punch center, and it literally took me that many words to describe just one of the six flavors. Kudos to Wonka!
The Gummy Clusters are no different from the non-Halloween versions, except for the spooky wrapper designs. I might not have mentioned them if they weren’t so freakin’ delicious. Oh my God, they are dangerous!
Picture a Cake Pop, but take out the stick, make it 75% smaller, replace the cake with a fruit snack, and use Nerds instead of nonpareils. That’s what a Gummy Cluster is. (Course, now that I’ve typed it out, I get why they’ve never been advertised as such.)
GRADES: Let’s give Nerds Candy Corn an A, and the Gummy Clusters a B. My particular palate is more suited to the Gummy Clusters, but I cannot deny that Nerds Candy Corn is a conceptual grand slam.
Rice Krispies Treats Mini Squares!
(Found at Target)
If there’s a problem with these, it’s that the box overpromises. You look at that illustration, and you expect the treats to be a little larger, way more rectangular, and wearing their wrappers like snug masks. In reality, they’re teensy tiny squares with loose-fitting wrappers. They don’t hit quite the way you want them to.
Even so, they’re still Rice Krispies Treats, and you get a lot of them for the money. You won’t win awards from the neighborhood kids if you give these out on Halloween, but they probably won’t egg your house, either.
Oh, and can I just give it up for Snap, Crackle and Pop’s costumes? Glowbra Kai in the hizzy.
GRADE: B. I guess that’s a little generous, but there’s really nothing “wrong” with these. I’d suggest using them as goodie bag filler, as they’re small enough to leave plenty of room for Snickers and spider rings.
Temptations “Tasty Human” Cat Treats!
(Found at Target)
I’m not sure if including cat treats in this series is appropriate, but I didn’t know where else to stick them, and they obviously needed to be stuck somewhere. Tasty Human cat treats! Manganese Sulfate is people!
I adore it when pets get their own Halloween-themed snacks, but this might be the first time there was an outright horror theme. While the box clearly shows a cat making stew out of human body parts, the treats are actually made from chicken and beef. (I say that like you didn’t realize they weren’t made from humans.)
Last week, I enlisted Halloween the Cat to provide his personal review. You can see the results over on Instagram. In the treats’ defense, Halloween only rejected them because he was in an unfamiliar room, and wanted to go back to his usual hiding spots. He’s been gobbling them up just fine since then.
GRADE: A. This is going to sound lame, but I don’t have children, so whatever warm fuzzies all of you parents get from sharing Halloween stuff with your kids, this was my version. Also, after the treats are done, I’ll have a bitchin’ cardboard mansion for my 4” Cobra Commander.
Thanks for reading! If you missed the first edition of this series, it’s over here. Several more are coming, too. Every time I go out for eggs and bread, I come home with more eyeballs and bats. I love this season.