Spookylicious Pop-Tarts Are Back!

I was glad to see Spookylicious Pop-Tarts make their triumphant return. Even if Kellogg’s has only been at it for a few years, Halloween Pop-Tarts have already become one of my absolute needs for a great season.

The saga began in 2010, when Choc-o-Lantern Pop-Tarts were introduced. Then, in 2011, Kellogg’s brought ’em back with very minor adjustments and the new “Spookylicious” moniker. I guess focus groups showed that “Spookylicious” was a palatable title, because this year, they went with it again.

Save for the faintest upgrade to the box design, they’re exactly the same as last year’s version. This is no flaw, since last year’s version could only have been more perfect if $50 bills were taped to each Pop-Tart.

Reviewing the same exact Pop-Tarts three years in a row may seem like a stretch, but I ain’t here for that. You already know that they’re delicious and covered in Halloween sprinkles. Still, even if the formula and box design is mostly the same, there is one thing that makes this year’s offering worth another go on the blog fodder front.

Kellogg’s added an all-new recipe to the back of the box!

They would’ve had it anyway, but changing the ridiculous box-back recipes each year has guaranteed Kellogg’s my continued business. I’ve long been a sucker for bizarre snack recipes that feel more like third grade arts and crafts projects, but something about working with Pop-Tarts makes it especially special.  It isn’t a common medium, but Pop-Tarts beats the shit out of clay and crayons.

This year, we’re challenged to create Fudgy, Spooky Spiders. Okay, I agree, that’s nowhere near as legendary as the Pop-Tarts graveyard I got to make in 2010 — but I do believe that this may defeat last year’s toothpicked bonbon deals.

You’ll only need a few ingredients. Aside from the Pop-Tarts, just grab some marshmallows and licorice. I could only find Twizzlers, but a better bet is that really thin kind of red licorice. You know the one. It reminds you of Grandma, and it’s only sold in packages that look like they’re from 1972. Use that if you can.

First, you add little marshmallow spider bodies to the Pop-Tarts. Their directions for this were weak, and pretty much amounted to “smoosh whole marshmallows into flatter shapes with your hands, use those as bodies, and then cut up some other marshmallows for the heads.”  This process all but eradicates any chance of precision.  I can’t say that this is a recipe for anyone prone to freaking out over edible spiders that don’t really look like spiders.

After doing that, you broil them for around two minutes. Maybe less. You have to keep a close eye on the things when they’re in the oven, because marshmallows are funny: One second they’re raw, the next they’re the smoldering corpses of Owen and Beru. If you’re the type to multitask while cooking, I implore you not to do that. You will kill your spiders and they will never be cute.

When they come out of the oven (you want them just slightly browned and gooey, really), it’s time to add the legs. That’s what the licorice is for. In my case, I had to snip several Twizzlers lengthwise, and an additional three times crosswise. It was arduous and demoralizing, and for a moment there, I honestly believed that I’d spend the rest of eternity cutting up Twizzlers.

Now you understand why the thin licorice strands would work better.

The whole process only takes a few minutes, and the results are actually not that bad!

A little bad, but not that bad.

Can’t blame Kellogg’s, though. I like my spiders, but I admit that they’re junk by any objective measure. The reason I leaned on you so hard about watching the marshmallows is because I didn’t, and all of my spiders came out looking like they’d just finished Round 12 against Agni, the Vedic god of fire.

On the other hand, this isn’t my first time eating roasted marshmallows. Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons be damned: They’re just so much better burnt.

In terms of flavor, these are impressive. You know how some candies are so over the top in their indulgence, you get that instant sense of sex and euphoria and of being tickled the second you bite them? This was that. Not since Corn Pops came with free Starbots has anything from Kellogg’s given me a semi.

They’re seriously delicious, to a degree that deflects any complaints about how crude they look. Besides, I like them crude. If I’m going to spend an afternoon building bugs out of Pop-Tarts, I want to be a stomping child, not a careful painter.

This is the exact sort of thing that anyone can do to nail the Halloween spirit in an absolute way. Doesn’t matter how old or busy you are. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. It’s a box of Pop-Tarts and it takes five minutes to turn them into spiders. If you won’t do this, you have no right to complain about Halloween not being the same.

I shall end this review with a quick look at my two favorite Fudgy, Spooky Spiders.

Harold survived the incinerator better than the others, so I guess he’s my favorite. His ass looks like a lemon meringue pie.

Greg was completely killed in there, but I like his look of defiance. This Fudgy, Spooky Spider is not giving up. Why should he? Harold’s ass may look like lemon meringue, but Greg’s looks like molten lava. It’s never been made official in a rock-paper-scissors sort of way, but I’m pretty sure that lava beats pie.

Oh, you’ve probably noticed the tiny green spider eyes. Kellogg’s didn’t mention eyes, but I had some lumpy green candies on hand, and the shoe seemed to fit. Why bring Fudgy, Spooky Spiders into a world they cannot see?