Welcome to the Spooky Foods Graveyard! Check back every day throughout September as I dig up dozens of yesteryear’s freakiest snacks!
#33: Taco Bell’s Black Jack Taco!
(Introduced in 2009)
I’m still sore that I missed out on this! During the 2009 Halloween season, Taco Bell offered Black Jack Tacos, which were built the same as their ordinary tacos, but had midnight black shells. SWOON.
While Taco Bell didn’t exclusively market them as a Halloween thing, they very much were a Halloween thing. In fact, I’ve found evidence that many Taco Bells gave them away for free on Halloween night in 2009. (One per customer, of course.)
Can you imagine that? A free spooky taco on Halloween? It was like the adult version of trick-or-treating. Black Jack Tacos never returned after that, and if we can believe the Taco Bell Wiki, it may be because the shells caused the same scatalogical side effect as the Halloween Whopper.
#32: Hi-C Citrus Cooler!
(Introduced in 1969)
As perfectly themed as it was, Hi-C Ecto Cooler actually wasn’t specially formulated to tie in with Ghostbusters. In fact, all Hi-C did was (barely) rename one of their existing flavors, Citrus Cooler, which had been around since 1969 – TWENTY YEARS before Ecto’s arrival!
While the citrus-based formula had subtle changes over the years, I can confirm that prior to Ecto Cooler’s release, Citrus Cooler’s ingredients were an exact match. So no, Citrus Cooler wasn’t just a “close cousin” to Ecto Cooler – it WAS Ecto Cooler.
Needless to say, Citrus Cooler wasn’t meant to seem “spooky” or “slimy.” In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the market was flooded with similarly green citrus-based drinks. Citrus Cooler was more about fitting in than standing out.
PS: In 1970, Casper the Friendly Ghost temporarily graced Citrus Cooler labels for an NFL promotion. Incredibly, Slimer wasn’t even the first ghost to play mascot to this Hi-C flavor!
#31: Charms Dead Heads!
(Introduced in 2001)
What an achievement these were! The lollipops were tasty enough, which isn’t surprising given that they came from the same company that gave us Blow Pops. Still, it was the theme and gimmick that really made these special.
The skull-shaped pops had white candy “paint” on the fronts, to sell the whole bony motif. But secretly embedded in that paint were little specks of red food coloring, which meant that as you sucked the pops down, the skulls looked like they were BLEEDING.
It was a truly ghastly candy. My headcanon that Charms discontinued ‘em to avoid offending the puritans. Can’t risk cutting into those Blow Pop profits, y’know?
#30: Kreepy Rice Krispies!
(Introduced in 2001)
I’ve given it some thought, and I think this is my all-time favorite Halloween box of Rice Krispies. Yep, I’m ready to commit. Final answer.
It’s from 2001, but it looks like it’s from ten years prior. Were I to name every single thing I love about that box, we’d have the longest paragraph in Dino Drac history. Instead, I’ll focus on some key elements.
The “Kreepy” logo? Divine. The fact that Frankenstein looks like a grown-up version of Playskool’s Big Frank? Bitchin’. The olive-eyed skeleton who treats bowls of cereal like a jacuzzi tub? Inspired. The overall use of bisexual lighting? Here for it.
The cereal itself consisted of orange-dyed Rice Krispies, plus marshmallows shaped like bones, skulls and ghosts. All well and good, but can we talk about that box some more? It’s just so pretty. It makes me happy. It should be studied.
#29: Dem Bones!
(Introduced in 1993)
Brach’s Dem Bones quietly became a Halloween staple during the ‘90s, returning annually for around a decade before getting cremated in the mid 2000s.
These were chalky, tangy, bone-themed candies in a variety of pastel colors. Goth Smarties, basically. While Dem Bones paled in comparison to giants like Mr. Bones, the retrospective draw is that they felt so incredibly 1990s-ey. The punny name, the logo, the copious uses of firetruck red and banana yellow – everything felt so perfectly of its time.
While the packaging is what made these pop, it’s worth mentioning that similar candies are still on the market. Those cheap ass Candy Bones from Oriental Trading are virtually identical – like to the point where it’s easy to imagine that they were made from the same molds. If you’d like to eat Dem Bones but lack a modded DeLorean, try those.