Sunday, September 11, 2011

Halloween Treats

Growing up, Trick-or-Treating was one of the highlights of my year.  I loved everything about it.  That cool crisp air whistling through your Halloween mask.  The sound of dead leaves crunching as you walked over them to get to the next house.  The sights and sounds that come from highly decorated houses.  Everything about Trick-or-Treating contributed to the amazing memories I have now and, if I wasn't as tall as I am, I'd probably throw on a Scream mask and do it again!

But..come on, the atmosphere may provide an extra hint of spooky, but we all know what Trick-or-Treating is all about...The CANDY!  Halloween and the season I love to celebrate has become an unofficial holiday in The United States with 9 out of 10 kids in America hitting the streets in search of free goodies.  In recent years, over 2 billion dollars worth of candy flew off the shelves and you can bet your jack-o-lantern that this year won't be any different. 

Now, I may not be out there with the kids, but I sure as hell like the candy and, as I've gotten older, I've grown to love the Fall and Halloween packaging that distributors develop every year.  Anytime you take an ordinary Kit-Kat package and enhance it with cartoon bats, color me interested.  Anytime you change the actual candy itself, consider it bought.  I love those things and, every year, I look forward to seeing what these big companies are going to roll out.

To my surprise, we're already starting to see Halloween merchandise.  I'm pretty sure this is earlier than ever before, but that may just be my own experience.  Either way, here are a few things I picked up while out at Walgreens.

Here's a perfect example of packaging playing a major economic role.  I'm not the biggest Tastykake fan.  I don't dislike their donuts, but I don't love them.  I'd much rather pick up a dozen Dunkin' Donuts than this box but, unfortunately, DD hasn't impressed me with any orange donuts with chocolate bats just yet so, until then, these will have to do.

Regardless of which flavored donut you prefer (I'm boring and go with the plain jane cinnamon), you can't deny how great this packaging is.  It's completely fall with the perfect hit of Halloween.  Those pumpkins make me happy.  The one on top of the powdered donut gets me downright jolly.  I mean, if that pump isn't excited for this season, then I don't know who is.

Even the back of the box is completely decked out in Autumn.  Not only is this how you sell a box of donuts during the Holidaze, but it's also how you get a jump start on the competition.  September?  As soon as my family saw this box they said "wow, pumpkins already?"  Yep, already.. That's why there's a box of uneaten Tastykake donuts in my kitchen and not Entenmann's..

Next up.. Candy

Reese's, Butterfinger and York Peppermint Patty all have their Halloween candy out already and that's just how I like it.  This is nothing new but, for me, these packages are a symbol of tradition.  As soon as I see them in the aisles, I know the ominous spirit of Halloween is nearby.

Now, knowing that the flavor never changes in these legendary candy recipes, we have to look at the packaging and candy size and shape to see just how invested Hershey and Nestle are to pleasing that die-hard Halloweenies like me.  First up, York Peppermint Patty..

This is not your grandpa's Peppermint Patty.  No, this is a horrifying York Peppermint BATTY.  Nice touch.  Now, it's not the greatest looking package art I've seen, but I like what they've done.  They stayed true to their classic color scheme but added an overly round bat with yellow eyes.  I'll take it!  But most specifically, I like the fact that this isn't a pumpkin.  Everybody seems to make pumpkins.  Where's the love for Frankenstein and Dracula?  I'd love to see Hershey make a Frankenstein shaped Symphony Bar.  That would be insane but, oh well, at least they created a mint bat.  At least we're making progress here.

Now, let's see what this bat looks like unwrapped..

This is supposed to be a bat. I mean, I see it but he'd have to be mostly deformed.  It's, again, overly round and his sides are uneven.  I was also expecting the filling to be orange when I should have figured it'd remain white.  But, yeah, he's a bat.  See?


I know I've seen this packaging before but I like it so much that I don't mind that they haven't changed it.  Unless you're into the disgusting white chocolate Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, you know Reeses rarely strays from their orange wrapper.  But, every Halloween, they bring out that black and purple.  In my opinion, there are only 4 Halloween colors:  Black, orange, purple and green.  Yellow gets an honorable mention.  Reeses gives you three out of those four.  I love it..

With packaging like that, you know they pulled out all the stops on their peanut butter pump!  Right?

Are you serious, bro?  This is what I get for falling for that same old packaging every year?  This looks like they took two melted peanut butter cups and smashed them together to create a circle.  This is just unacceptable.  I love the taste of Reeses, but no flavor makes up for this complete lack of disrespect...

Obviously, I'm not taking it that serious.. but almost..

Regardless, this is one sad Pump

Ok, we have one left and we're breaking away from Hershey here to see what Nestle has in store for us with their Butterfinger Pumpkin.  Yep, another pumpkin..

Give it up for the package art!  This Butterfinger pumpkin obviously comes from an evil patch and one that we probably wouldn't want to pick from.  Not unless we were gullible enough to believe that Scarecrow Pump wasn't going to come to come alive, unhitch and chase us.  Ha, there's no fooling me, Nestle!

However.. Pedazos en chocolate con leche??  Last time I checked, this was America and our one and only official language is English.  If you don't understand the language, then you don't get to know that this candy features Butterfinger pieces in milk chocolate.  Come on, Nestle.. stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Anyway.. ¿Qué hace este dulce parece?

To quote one-hit wonder Montell Jordan, "This is how we do it!"  Look at this Pump.. He's perfect.  Not only does he have a face, not only does he have a stem, but he actually looks carved.  He appears to be your typical Jack-O-Lantern and, for that reason, I am willing to forgive Nestle for forcing me to use Google translator.

So, in conclusion, which treat should you pick up when the time comes to make that decision? Well, I'd say get them all but, if you can only pick one, it comes down to who you are.  Are you the type who only wants to eat some candy?  Then go with what you think tastes best.  BUT, if you're the type who cares about the little things and attention paid to detail then, there's no decision to be made.. Butterfinger wins!

This was fun.. I enjoyed reviewing the Holidaze treats and I'm sure there will be many more to discuss in the coming weeks.  Like the Holidaze, this was a nice break from the real world.  But, on this day, there are obviously more important things to keep in mind and remember.  There's a reason why we're able to spend hours talking about candy and donuts and that reason is freedom.  Thank God we have it and may He continue to bless the United States.

Never forget.

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