#14: Mountain Dew Pitch Black II!
(Introduced in 2005)
The original Mountain Dew Pitch Black debuted during the 2004 Halloween season, and exactly one year later, we got a sequel!
Mountain Dew Pitch Black II improved on the formula with a blast of sour grape. I’m not towing old company lines when I say “improved,” because it really was the better soda. I miss the hell out of this drink, and I’m sad that all subsequent Pitch Black revivals have lacked this one’s acidic punch.
Don’t get me wrong. Pitch Black still rules, but if you’re like me and you’re not crazy about the core “Dew flavor,” tartness is a great neutralizer. I can’t help but notice that my favorite Mountain Dew spinoffs have all been on the sour side, and this was the ghoulish granddaddy of ‘em all.
Mountain Dew Pitch Black II never returned, and it’d be another six years before Pepsi did anything with the Pitch Black brand at all. Be grateful for our current Pitch Black renaissance, especially because 2023 is the first time in history that we’ve had TWO spooky flavors – Pitch Black and VooDew – on shelves at the same time!
#13: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Popsicles!
(Introduced in the ‘80s)
I’m not exactly sure when these Good Humor treats came out, but given that the only online mentions seem to be from me, they couldn’t have been available for very long.
These were orange-flavored double-sided popsicles, with Dr. Jekyll gracing the front and his eeeeevil alter-ego on the back. I’ve talked to exactly one person who remembers eating them, and he said that they were delicious. I’m not surprised. Orange is an extremely underrated popsicle flavor. (Remember Mickey’s Parade Ice Pops? Real ones knew that the Orange Donalds were the best ones.)
What compelled Good Humor to pick Jekyll & Hyde for a popsicle? Your guess is as good as mine. I don’t remember there being any particular cultural renaissances surrounding that story in the ‘80s. At least, none that would’ve been within a kid’s orbit. Maybe they were just drunk with power, like that Roman Emperor who made his horse a senator.
#12: Supernatural Salads!
(Introduced in 1989)
I covered Hardee’s Slimer Sundae earlier in this feature, and mentioned how it was just one part of the chain’s complete and total Ghostbusters II takeover. Not the biggest part, but not the smallest part, either. Further down the trough was this. Supernatural Salads.
Granted, nothing differentiated Hardee’s Supernatural Salads from their Natural Salads. And I’m pretty sure that they weren’t even called “Supernatural Salads” outside of this one advertisement. But I don’t care. I have decided to run with the Supernatural Salads ball.
In the ‘80s, every salad from every fast food chain was the same salad. I bet they all outsourced to the same grocer. You’ll notice that these Supernatural Salads were almost identical to the Chef Salads at McDonald’s, right down to the plastic trays, which for some reason carried the air of something purchased from an elementary school plant sale.
Barely healthy and barely even salad, “eating light” just meant adding lettuce to cold antipasto.
#11: Candy Corn Corn Pops!
(Introduced in 2001)
Every time I bring up Candy Corn Corn Pops, I get groans from people who assume it tasted disgusting. I never tried it, but I bet it was perfectly fine. In fact, I doubt the flavor profile was all that different from regular Corn Pops.
No matter what it tasted like, this is one of the most attractive cereal boxes I’ve ever seen. What a vibe! It’s like Fido Dido took LSD and visited a Play-Doh factory.
While Candy Corn Corn Pops was only around in 2001, it was part of a series of spooky variations that sprung up annually in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
Back then, Corn Pops was one of the cereals Kellogg’s *always* chose for Halloween makeovers, along with Rice Krispies and Apple Jacks. The latter two still get that treatment today, but I can’t even remember the last time Corn Pops wore a costume. What gives, Kellogg’s? I gotta have my Pops.
#10: BK’s “Choose the Ooze” Meal!
(Introduced in 2001)
Easily among my favorite things Burger King has ever done, the “Choose the Ooze” Big Kids Meal was all about the slime, baby.
Picture it. Burger King’s chicken tenders served with a tub of gooey green apple slime sauce. Fries with a packet of official Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup. A frozen cherry Minute Maid drink, dyed to look like swamp water. The tl;dr is that your tongue was gonna look weird for days.
What’s interesting is that the nostalgia surrounding this strange meal isn’t just because of its gimmickry. People really loved the way all of this stuff tasted. (Especially the green apple dipping sauce, which I admit does sound like it’d work pretty well with chicken tenders!)
#9: Vampire’s Deadly Secret!
(Introduced in the ‘80s)
From Good Humor, the history of these frozen treats is a bit murky. They arrived in the ‘80s and have been sold under several names, from “Vampire Bar” to “Dracula Bar,” but the gimmick and flavor have always been the same.
These were black cherry popsicles with bright red centers meant to represent blood. (Those centers were the “secret,” I suppose?)
Good Humor gave them a renewed push in the mid ‘90s, which was when most of their fame was achieved. During that era, there were actually two versions. The “Vampire’s Deadly Secret” bar shown above was sold individually, typically on ice cream trucks. There were also thinner versions sold by the box in supermarkets, simply called “Vampire’s Secret.”
While they’ve been gone from the States for decades, the bars still exist in other countries. Good Humor has hinted at their return more than once on social media, but so far, nothing has come of it. Keep your fingers crossed, and your crosses near!
#8: Pizza Hut’s Bigfoot Pizza!
(Introduced in 1993)
Some may challenge me about this inclusion, but it’s a pizza fronted by a cartoon Sasquatch. That’s spooky enough!
Pizza Hut’s Bigfoot Pizza was the arguable star of the 1990s “giant pizza wars,” where several chains tried to outdo each other with ludicrously huge pies that were impractical to produce but so much fun to eat.
Each Bigfoot Pizza was two feet long and boasted 21 slices. While the actual pizza was pretty pedestrian, this was really about the experience. Whether you were partying with friends or just fueling up for a long night in front of the TV, a Bigfoot Pizza could turn any night into a spectacle.
Many fans still pray for a revival, but since the pies required special pans and were reportedly a giant pain to bake, it’s sadly a longshot!