Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spooky Cola

Last year, I talked about the lack of Halloween edition Cola's (2011 Halloween Soda's.)  I was surprised to see so little in terms of advertising and marketing when it comes to Pepsi and Coca-Cola branding their cans and bottles during the Halloween season.  Maybe they simply don't have to, because their loyal customers aren't going to jump ship over a logo, but who knows?  

Remember when Coke released their Polar Bear cans?  My God, I never thought I'd see such an uproar over a can of soda.  Is it diet?  Is it regular?  Oh no, I can't tell!!!  Seriously, relax, and maybe read the label.  That always seems to help.  I get that people don't want to be bothered with any extra effort throughout their day, and I agree that soda should require no effort at all, but why can't we all appreciate the creativity?  Those white cans were pretty awesome and I actually bought a few just because of the design.  I guess for every 10 people who flip out negatively, there's that one nerd who does the opposite!

Unfortunately, last year, there was nothing available for me to get excited over.  I didn't find anything, not even Mountain Dew Pitch Black or Jones Soda, so I had to make my own, custom, soda graphics.  A Holidaze reader, Shawn Robare, informed me that there were Halloween soda cans in store, and that's great, but I guess my area was all out.  BUT.. not this year!!

These are the mini cans that I heard about in previous years.  I think I've seen them once before, but it was well before I started The Holidaze.  Regardless, I found them this year and you really should have seen my face when I did.  

Whenever I'm at Target, I walk way ahead of my girlfriend because I can't wait to look at the Halloween stuff while she is usually focused on the make-up and clothes.  These cans caught my eye and I stood there pointing to nobody.  I had to tell her to come over and look at them!  She was excited, but probably more so for me than these cans.  

It's crazy how happy I get over these things, but this made my day!  Look at those Canada Dry cans!  There's a Mummy!! I don't know what a Mummy has to do with Canada, and I can only assume that those Lobsters have something to do with Canada, but it doesn't matter either way.  The fact that there is a Mummy at all, especially one that's giving us a smirk, its just awesome!

This one is my absolute favorite in both flavor and design!  First of all, black and orange are the two true Halloween colors.  After that?  Purple and green.  Now, I know the logo features blue, but it's close enough and, with that green leaf, we have everything we could have wanted from a Sunkist Halloween can!  Now, you throw in an amazingly designed Vampire and his bat brothers, and we've found perfection.  Ohh, and I didn't even mention that tiny tombstone in the right corner.  You know you've made a great product when the tombstone is an after thought.  Come on!

If you read last year, or clicked the links I posted above, then you saw the Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Cherry Pepsi, Code Red, and Coca-Cola designs I made myself.  Well, the new Sunkist can gave me an idea for a new Orange flavor and it will be revealed by the end of this post.  For now, we're moving on!

AhhrooooooooooooooT Beer!  That's the only correlation between A&W and the Wolf Man that I can find.  That and the fact that they're both brown.  The latter is probably the reason for this partnership, and I'm completely cool with that.  I love this can.  I would have made the Wolf Man look less like Wile E. Coyote, but it's a minor complaint.  We still have the spooky woods and full moon.  The fall atmosphere is depicted perfectly and it makes for one of the best cans I've ever seen.  It's playful, it's fun, and it's worth buying for decorative purposes, let alone for flavor!

The Sunkist Vampire is my favorite, but man this is a close second.  A haunted castle, lightning surrounding the can, and Frankenstein!  So awesome.  He looks like he's holding the 7-UP logo, but I can't be sure.  But it doesn't matter, I was sold after I saw the first can.  At this point, we're just getting bonuses here.

Now, I know I said my girlfriend wasn't excited as I was, but I think that might have been said a bit prematurely.  Because, as soon as I started taking pictures, she created this..

It's a Haunted Castle of Spooky Soda Cans!!  You have to give it up for the symmetry here!  We have 3 Canada Dry cans on the bottom, 2 Sunkist Orange cans in the middle, 6 Root Beer cans wrapping around those, and the lightning struck Frankenstein can up top!  I've seen champagne fountains before, and they're beautiful, but I think she's topped it.  These cans don't even need to pour and I'm already convinced that they belong at weddings.  All weddings.  All the time.  Let's take Halloween and make it a year-long celebration.  I'm in such a 'daze right now, that I'm ready to stay in this season forever.

The coolest part about these mini cans, and I assume this was the motive, is that they're perfect for Trick-or-Treaters!  I know kids usually want candy and candy alone, but this probably packs more sugar per sip than a bag of skittles.  Plus, I know what type of impact this will have on kids that truly embrace the Halloween season.  

I remember when Pizza Hut branded their entire store, boxes, and cups to represent the Universal Monsters.  I don't know how I old I was, but it's an image that stands out in my mind as one that really captured the spirit of the season.  Somewhere, there's a kid who's going to get a few of these cans and remember drinking them with their Mom, Dad, Brother, or Sister.  It's going to create a memory for somebody and that means more to The Holidaze than anything else.  To some, it's just a cool graphic.  But, to others, this is more than a piece of art.

Speaking of art..

Picking up where I left off last year, I created a new Halloween Soda graphic design label.  Looking at the Sunkist Vampire for inspiration, I went with Crush Orange soda this year.  If I were to produce my own Halloween version of this tasty soda, I'd definitely change the flavor and rename it "Blood Orange."  I changed the color of the logo and added dripping blood to the border.  Of course, it'd be a limited edition.  If I saw this in stores, it would be an immediate purchase.  I would probably buy a few 12-packs and just keep them sealed.  That's one of the perks of being able to work with graphics.  I'm able to make what we all want to see and share it with whoever reads this blog.  Hopefully you enjoyed this design and, once again, please check out last year's and let me know what you think.

If you have any designs of cool product ideas you've had, share them with me @HolidazeBlog on Twitter and I'll post them on The Holidaze!  I'd love to see your work!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Halloween Oreo 2012

Halloween Oreo Cookies have been a staple of the Halloween Season for years now.  It's one of the things I always look forward to most around this time of year.  There's just something about orange creme that makes everything spookier.  The flavor doesn't change, but it doesn't need to.  The fact that it's in a Halloween costume, inside and out, makes it that much better and, every year, I appreciate the fact that Nabisco goes all out.  Of course, this year, they topped themselves with the Candy Corn Cookies.  I thought that might have been this year's "Halloween Edition" and while that would have been a suitable replacement, I am proud to tell you that the classics are alive and kickin'!  They're back again and, this time, they're in brand new bag!

They didn't use the new bag that the popular Candy Corn Oreo Cookies received, but with graphics like this, you don't need to put these cookies in anything else.  This is amazing.  Nabisco  never lets me down with their designs, but every year, they seem to make the previous edition look like it was done by a 5-year-old.  I was thrilled with the carved pumpkin design in 2011, but now that I've seen the 2012 edition, I can't help but get all giddy over what 2013 may bring!  

We have these eerie witches mixing an orange concoction in their enormous cauldron.  What I love most about it is we now know where that orange creme filling comes from.  These witches, who I've named Melinda, Belinda, and Pearl, are responsible for the Halloween recipe.  Every year, Nabisco gives them a call, puts in their order, and they get to work.  It's obviously not easy.  Who knows what types of ingredients go into the Boorific shapes every season.  That's a pretty big book Belinda is reading from.  No matter how many times they bake these cookies, I have to believe it's a strenuous task each year.  

So, besides having amazing graphics to appreciate, let's also give a round of applause for the terrifying trio who do our bidding every Halloween.  If not for them, we'd probably be stuck with the boring, old, white filling. 

I love opening the bag this way because, like last year, it creates a face.  If you use your imagination and look close enough, you're bound to see something staring back at you.  Last year, I saw a monster.  It didn't take much creativity.  I saw some teeth, a nose, and a place for a nose.  He actually popped into my head without much thought at all.  I guess that's because my mind works in ways that probably aren't normal.  I don't have the best math skills (I hate mental math), but ask me to create a monster from a box of Oreo cookies and I'm good to go.  Priorities?  What's that all about?  Hey, I have a calculator.. What do I need to think for when I can create?

So, what was going to fly into my head this year?  Well, seeing as how we have a school of witches on the front of the bag, it was pretty obvious that whatever came flying in, would probably be on a broom.  Take a look!

Isn't she beautiful?  I mean that in the worst way possible which, for Halloween, is the BEST way possible!  She's your traditional witch!  She's green, with a big nose, yellow eyes, sharp teeth, and, of course, the wart on her nose!  This is my favorite incarnation of the witch.  I know, if witches were real (which they apparently are) that they would be human just like everybody else, but I don't want them to be.  I want them to be alien colored, deformed, hideous, and scary beyond belief. That's what this Oreo Beast is!  She and the blue demon from last year would form one "Hell" of a Tag-Team!

What do you see when you look at the Oreo Bag?  I'd love to see it, too!  @HolidazeBlog on Twitter!

The back of the Oreo bag has new designs as well, but the BOOrific shapes never change.  I understand why they don't change them, but I'd like to see something new.  Maybe Dracula, or a Mummy, or some type of Zombie.  It would be really cool, but Nabisco has done enough already.  I'm sold, they don't need to do any more for me this Halloween to put me in a 'daze!  I'm good!

But, because the shapes are exactly the same, I'm not going to review them again.  I'm simply going to direct you to the 2011 Halloween Oreo Cookies Review if you're interested.  That's where you'll get to hear all about the Ghost, the Pumpkin, the Black Cat, the Witch, and the Bats!

But, if I'm going to review these cookies again, I have to come up with something new.  I have to figure out something different to do with these cookies in order to spice things up.  Nobody wants to read about these cookies over and over again every year.  There's only so many things I can say about a new bag and awesome graphics.  So.. what will I come up with this year? Hmm...

Ahh Got it!  While walking through the aisles of Target, I glanced at the Ice Cream.  First, I thought "Man, why did they get rid of the Soda flavored Ice Pops?"  Then, I thought, "Hmm..Cookies and Cream.. I wonder why they don't do that with The Halloween Oreo cookies?"  Wouldn't that be cool?  The flavor wouldn't change, but we'd have those tiny hints of orange creme throughout the vanilla ice cream and that would be amazing.  You could even do it with chocolate Ice cream!  It would be great!

Well, I'm a big fan of doing things myself to make what I want.  If the big companies won't capitalize on it, I can use the ingredients I have to capitalize on it myself.  It wouldn't be hard.  I already have the cookies, so all I have to do is pick up Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream and get busy!

My girlfriend scooped out the Ice Cream, and I chopped up the Halloween Oreo Cookies by putting 8 in a plastic bag and crunching the hell out of them.  That was actually a lot of fun.  I wasn't angry, but I'd imagine that's a great coping mechanism for anybody who is.  

In my case, the problem was that the Orange cream got stuck to the sides of the bag.  So after I poured out all of the cookie pieces, we had to use additional cookies for their Orange creme.  We took each tiny circle whole and mixed it into the ice cream.  The results?

Halloween Oreo Ice Cream!!  Look at that!  It's just a small amount, but it screams Halloween!  It kinda looks like Butterfinger Ice Cream, but rest assured, this is pure evil!  This is everything Halloween represents.  It's fun, it tastes great, it's creative, it's black and orange, and it's homemade.  That's the best part of this season.  It's all about doing things on your own, making the most of very little, and making memories on an otherwise unimportant night in September.  At the end of the day, I'll never forget the night my girlfriend and I made Halloween Oreo Ice Cream.  No matter how good or bad it might have come out, it was an experience I'll cherish for Halloween's to come.  Embrace that during your Holidaze!!

I'll admit, the pictures don't truly do this Ice Cream justice.  It looks like a big mush of classic and Halloween Oreo Cookies, but I'm tellin' ya, this is some good stuff!  This has the exact same flavor as the traditional Breyers' Cookies and Cream Ice Cream and, because I wanted this to be different, I changed it to Cookies and Scream.  Creative?  Eh, it was fairly obvious, but enough to make me smile.

To enhance things even further, we put this batch into my Skull Cup.  We're still over a month away from Halloween, and I'm already satisfied with everything I've found and have yet to cover.  This has been a good season and we're far from through!

Breyer's Halloween Cookies and Scream Oreo Cookie Ice Cream is a product that would be very easy to produce, and one that would probably sell like hot cakes around this time of year.  I really believe this would lead to great profits and I would certainly be in line to buy a carton.  Just on attention to detail alone, I'd stock my freezer with whatever type of Halloween Ice Cream were to be released.  It's awesome and, really, I hope to see this carton staring back at me through the frozen glass next year.  I made this one, but I'd be happy to see anything!  Make it happen, Breyers!

Monday, September 24, 2012


What is Hall-GLOW-een?  It's just a play on words, but it's fitting for today because this blog post is about two decorative items that..well..glow!  See, there's something about Halloween that makes everybody want the lights out.  Throughout Summer, everybody is looking for light.  Everybody wants the Sun and to be out and about.  But Halloween?  It's about darkness.  It's about being scared.  It's about not knowing what is around the corner and, even if you know it's just the coat rack, you allow your mind to let you see a demented clown laughing at you!  That's a part of Halloween that I love and I look forward to it every year.  

However, a little light doesn't hurt and, at times, it can even add to the atmosphere.  For example, for as scary as a pitch black Haunted House may be, isn't it just a bit freakier when you're walking through high speed strobe lights?  Now you don't know if how close that demented clown is or how long before he wraps you up and pulls you into his underground circus.  Lights can be just as beneficial to the Holidaze as darkness and the atmosphere you create comes from you and your imagination.  A red room can represent blood, or it can flash like a heartbeat.  A blue room can be cold and ghostly, or you can just pretend Boo Berry had a field day while you were out.  A purple room can look like an ominous graveyard as the sun sets and clouds roll in.  You can even add a fog machine to make things spookier.

Here, I have a Jack-O-Lantern.  Get it?  Lantern?  Clever, right?  It doesn't say that anywhere, but I thought of it, ran with it, and I'm not giving this product any credit for it.

This lantern is a bit of an oddity because of the way it's promoted.  It's obviously for Trick-Or-Treaters as they venture out on Halloween night in their quest for free candy.  Safety is always a great cautionary measure, but I don't think I ever took any measures at all when I was a kid.  We just went out and walked around the neighborhood.  In fact, I think I would have been embarrassed to carry this lantern around as I traveled the city as Freddy Krueger.  It kinda kills the costume.  But now, as an adult, this lantern is awesome!!  

 Plus, it comes with a free box of Dubble Bubble Gum!  As if the lantern wasn't enough to sell me, they through in a pack of classic candy just to make sure they got me.  Great job!

How cool is Jack?  He's the type of pumpkin that makes other pumpkins jealous.  He's rocking an awesome suit, with a batty tie, and is smiling so wide that you can't miss his one tooth.  He's got one red eye, and another with a hint of yellow in it.  Lady pumpkins have to think that's a major turn-on!  This guy is legit.. He definitely he has me convinced.  He has enough confidence to light up a room!

Bring this Jack-O-Lantern into a dark room, and all four walls become a bright orange.  It's perfect for Halloween.  If you threw a Halloween party, this is the type of decoration you'd want to hang from the corner of your room or out in the backyard.  It's obviously not the focal point of any party or room, but it's enough to change the tone of any space in a flip of a switch.  All of a sudden, you're in a Haunted Pumpkin Patch, surrounded by possessed pumpkins, coming to life to feast on your body.  Tonight, YOU are the pie, pumpkin! Bwahaha..  Seriously, use your imagination and turn your room into something different.  Don't be afraid to think outside the box and get a little stupid.  Halloween is supposed to be fun, you're allow to be dumb and stupid and if anybody says anything, then they're obviously missing out on an amazing time of year!

If this were the Christmas Holidaze, this would be called a Snow Globe.  But for Halloween?  I don't know what you'd call it.  I guess it's just a Spook Globe, but regardless, this thing is awesome!  My girlfriend found this soon after Halloween 2011 and even though I love the Holidaze, once October is over, I've usually moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So, I didn't really give it much thought when she got it.  But, now that we're in the swing of things once again, I'm so excited over this Spook Globe that it's become one of the highlights this year.  When I talk about creating an atmosphere, I don't think I own one Halloween item that does so better than this.  First of all, look at this design.  It's an inferno of green ooze burning over a fiery cauldron!  It's creating a world of toxic ash that swirls around the heads of souls that once roamed the earth.  Now, thanks to whoever this witch is, the world has come to an end and Earth is nothing but a wasteland.  Little does she know, you and I are the last people on earth and it's our mission to survive!  Man, that's better than The Walking Dead!  AMC, get cracking!  That story was pretty good, but it gets even better when we light it up!

Look at how green this makes everything around it!  It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West's evil castle.  Remember how creepy that was.  There were flying monkey's and eerie soldiers chanting throughout the building.  No matter how old I get, that will always be one of the scariest scenes I've ever seen.  I literally felt stressed out for Dorothy and the gang as they struggled to find what they were looking for.  That's what this Spook Globe represents for me.  Once the room goes green, the ash begins to whirl around us like the tornado that ripped Dorothy from her home.  This globe and the world it creates is unsettling.  It makes you feel out of place and, you know, something bad is about to happen.  But the best part about this Hall-Glow-een product?  It's all make-believe.  It's fake.  It's all imagination and when you know nothing bad is going to happen, you're able to embrace the evil and immerse yourself in it for a while.

Unfortunately, for these three souls, make-believe was a reality and they're forever lost in that world of mayhem.  The toxic ash has taken their lives and they'll never live to warn us of what's to come.  

If you really want to change the mood of your room, for at least a moment, here's something you can do.  Turn out all of your lights and open the following video.  I recorded this Spook Globe in action because, when on, it truly is something to be seen.  Pictures just don't do it justice and I want you to experience it as I did.  This is the best we can do, but I've added scary music, wind, rain, and thunder to the mix to make your transition from safe to unsafe complete.  Enter that world I've discussed today.  Turn the lights off, open the video, and make it full screen.  The green light will surround you and your imagination will take over.  Only you know what it may come up with, but I'd love to hear your stories.  Have fun!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cups & Coffin Creepers

Today, I'm discussing two Halloween novelties that I recently picked up at two different stores.  As the very uncreative title and banner state, we're talking about Halloween cups and Coffin Creepers.  What are Coffin Creepers?  We'll get to that in a bit, but let's begin with the cool cups we found at Wal-Mart!

While looking for Halloween treats, my girlfriend and I found a selection of Cool Gear Halloween Cups on the end cap of the Birthday aisle.  I have no idea why they were so randomly placed and not put in the Halloween section, but sometimes that enhances the excitement.  When you find something Halloweeny in an area you weren't expecting, your heart jumps a beat.  I know, that's pretty sad, but I can't deny how thrilled I get over Halloween and the various products released every year.  The little things are always the big things and, in this case, these cups are huge!  Not only do they keep things hot or cold, but they also glow in the dark!  Oh yeah..

There were at least 8 different styles of cups at Wal-Mart, but we only purchased two.  One for me, and one for the lady.  The purple cup above is hers.  I almost got this one for myself until I saw the one I ultimately picked, but we'll get to that next.  Let's just talk about this one for a second because I really love the design.  It features a Haunted House surrounded by wicked trees in a spooky town.  The purple color makes it look so ominous.  Obviously, all of those things are shrouded in the background by what's up close and way too personal.. Skeletons!

Ya can never tell what skeletons are thinking.  Are they happy?  Mad?  Sad?  Without any skin or muscles, all facial expression has faded and we're left with a blank stare.  I like to think that these bodiless creatures are friends, because they're dancing as if they're at a rave, but I'm not sure.  It also looks like they're trying to keep us from walking up the Haunted Path, but maybe that's just so they have us to themselves.  Maybe all they want to do is steal our body, wrap it around them, and live again.  Last year, I mentioned how I was far from frightened by skeletons, but this cup has changed my views.  On this cup, they're unpredictable and completely untrustworthy.  Hey, after all, they were once human.  If that's not scary, what is?

There were a few cups I had in my hand before I decided on which I would take home, but this was hidden behind the others and, as soon as we saw it, I knew this was the one.  I felt like I was picking a puppy.  The others were great, but as soon as I looked into Frankenstein's eyes, I knew he was coming home with me.  I mean, just look at the monster!  He can't walk straight, he's wearing jeans that flare, sneakers that appear to be Chucks, and he has some type of boa around his neck.  He looks like he should be in a remake of The Warriors rather than a Halloween cup, but that's why I like him!  He's not your average Franky, he's a hip, modern day version of the beast.  He still has the same motive, but he's going about life with more style.  He's changing with the times!  Now, if only a dermatologist could tolerate his temper for a moment to help him with his head scar.  You're getting there, Frank!

Frankenstein would have been enough for me, but there are two more characters featured on this cup and the next is Dracula.  I guess you could call him a generic vampire, but I refuse to believe that this isn't the lord of all vampires, Dracula himself.  He looks great.  Whoever designed him did a terrible job and he's obviously very poorly drawn, but that's what make him so perfect!  It's Halloween, I'm not looking for perfection!  Save that for Christmas.  For now, give me the cheap decorations, choppy edges, a head to big for a body, and feet too small.

Looking at Dracula a bit closer, I wonder what he has behind him.  It appears to be a black hole filled with demonic eyes peeking through the darkness, but I'm going to make something else up.  I'm going to say that Dracula has either picked up Skateboarding or Surfing as a new hobby.  This guy has been undead for over 500 years.  You must get really bored in that time.  I've only been alive for 25 and I write in a blog to pass time.  Imagine year 250?  I'd definitely transform into a bat, fly to Hawaii, and go surfing for a few hours.  Not a bad life if you ask me.

What's best about this Dracula?  The fact that his shoes are tied.  I've never imagined Dracula awaking from his slumber, bags under his eyes, sitting down on the edge of his bed and putting his shoes on.  He ties them one shoe at a time before beginning his night?  It's hard to believe.  I can picture President Obama doing so.  I even believe the Queen of England dresses herself.  But Dracula?  No way.. I have to imagine that he has somebody do that for him.  Then he bites their neck and hires somebody new.

Our third character is the Mummy and, looking at him, I can now tell that the demonic eyes surround the entire cup, not just Dracula.  So maybe he wasn't surfing, but I still stand by what I wrote and think he's definitely hit the waves at least once in his hundreds of years.  Now, the Mummy, on the other hand, is having a rough time.  His face is weathered, his teeth are rotten, his wrapping is falling off and he has to have a few blisters on those uncovered feet.  Poor guy.  What is a Mummy's purpose in after-life?  He restlessly wanders around looking for his tomb?  I don't know, but I feel bad for the Mum.. All he wants to do is rest in peace but, instead, he's falling to pieces.  Frankenstein and Dracula are both living the high life, really stepping up their game, while the Mummy has become emaciated.  All he wants is a Big Mac.  But look, he's no bum, I know he can afford to live better.  With all the royalties he's receiving from Cool Gear, we all know he can go out and buy some new Charmin.  Yea..thinking this over, you only have yourself to blame, Mummy!  ;)

Moving on, it's time to talk about Coffin Creepers!  Sure, I could have split these two topics into separate posts, but nahhh.. I was really busy this past week and didn't get a chance to post much, so I'm attempting to overload on a lazy Sunday.  For any loyal readers that I do have, I don't want to leave anybody hanging during the Halloween season.  I may slack off during other times of year, but not during THIS season!  Christmas is my favorite holi-day, but Halloween is my favorite Holi-DAZE!  So, let's keep this big chunk rolling with Coffin Creepers Lollipops!

These caught my eye because of they way they're presented.  Lollipops packaged in a boxed coffin?  Awesome.  Great designs on the coffin, specifically the characters' face next to the flavor?  Even better.  As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to get one, but wound up with two out of three.  Only the green Mummy was left hanging and, for Holidaze purposes, I regret not getting him when I saw him.  But alas, I have two to talk about and, above, we have "Vampire Very Cherry."  They probably could have done something with the word "blood," but I can live with the flavor since they included "Vampire" and didn't get all cheap on us by not printing his awesome face.

Check this guy out!  At first, given his blue coloring, I thought he was a zombie.  But now that I look at it, I was wrong.  He's a skeleton.  "Bone Rattlin' Blue Raspberry!"  Now that's a bit more creative than the Vampire variety.  They went for alliteration on this one and I appreciate the effort.  Again, we have that printed face design which, upon further review, looks like a South Park character.  I'm cool with that.  We get to see what these monsters would look like if they were on television.  I say they'd make great characters on any Halloween series.  But most of all, I'm just happy this knucklehead is blue!  They could have made him white, as would be traditional for any skeleton, but they stepped it up and lured me right in with the blue!

Look at how the boxes open!!  They open like real Coffins!  That's such an awesome touch.  I really thought these guys were going to pop out from the top or have to be ripped out from the bottom, but this was the best possible way to get them out.  It seems simple, but so often do big companies overlook the little things and figure you'll just buy it anyway.  Believe me, I've passed up on multiple Halloween items already this year just because they only went half-way.  Look at it this way, I have the Jets game on right now.  If Sanchez only gets that ball to the goal line, it isn't a touchdown.  Go for your field goal, take your three points, that's great.  But if you want to win, go all the way.  Go all out!  And that applies to the companies that release Halloween products every year.  If you want my money, make the extra effort!  Coffin Creepers did!

When I first saw these, I thought they were marshmallows.  I'm not a huge fan of marshmallow candy items.  I can eat marshmallows, but when it comes to things like peeps or marshmallow lollipops, I have to pass.  There's something so artificial about them that they taste too fake for me.  Luckily, when I looked closer, I realized these bad boys were hard candy like a real lollipop should be! 

Now, without the plastic wrappers, I can get a good look at them.  First, look at Bone Rattler.  He's amazing.  He's blue, appears to have a crack in his skull, has a nose like Michael Jackson, and completely rotten teeth.  I don't know how I have a problem eating gooey boogers, but actually get excited over the thought of eating his little yellow teeth off.  Sometimes, I don't even get myself.

Dracula.. I mean, the Vampire.. looks great too!  But, he looks more like a Filipino man dressing up for Church than he does a vampire.  His teeth are the only thing that make it obvious that he's a blood sucker.  Other than that, he has a bit of a 'fro, a big smile, ears like me, and a wide nose.  Last time I checked, vampires are known for their long, pointy noses!  We may have an imposter on our hands.  Perhaps it's another case of Dr.Acula?

Cool, right?  That picture is another reason for today's combo platter.  Since the straws are so big, the Coffin Creepers slid right in and made for a fun time!  However, these cups were not bought for this sole purpose.  In fact, the comparisons were a complete coincidence.  A fortunate one, but certainly unplanned.  Regardless, I love that photo.  I have a smile on my face that's almost as big as Filipino Dracula.

Now, on to the flavors.  Beginning with the Bone Rattlin' Blue Raspberry, I can tell you that it tastes verrrry good!  It's not up there with the Blue Raspberry Blow Pop, but it's tasty!  I enjoyed eating his teeth and turning my tongue blue.  Always a Halloween highlight.  BUT.. that Vampire Very Cherry?  More like Very Boring!  I hardly tasted anything at all.  If anything, it was way too sugary and tasted like cheap Easter candy.  You know those little balls of sugar they put on the chocolate bunny's face for eyes?  That's what this entire lollipop tasted like! I didn't like the Vampire at all and that's disappointing because everything else about him is on point.  I had no complaints until I tasted the lollipop.  It might have had something to do with his black hair, because that was the worst, but I can't be sure because it was all pretty bad.  Kids would love this though and, for The Holidaze, these Coffin Creepers were amazing purchases.  I really enjoyed reviewing them but, unfortunately, only one of these Creeps can survive.  For the Vampire, it's only fitting that his Coffin goes where it belongs.

I put this Vampire back in his casket, dug a hole, and placed him into his eternal slumber.  It's sad, because he means so much to us all here at The Holidaze.  We will remember him for what he brought to the table, but it's time to say goodbye as we bury him.  Had he only tasted better, he would have lived on forever.  Of course, if he's a real vampire, he'll never die and will most likely haunt me in my dreams.  Just in case, let's cement this Creeper down!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Apple Cider Donuts

About a week ago, I went camping with my family for the second time in my life.  The first time was around 1999.  I went with my Parents and cousin.  We went in the middle of April, it was freezing and, to make a long story short, we wound up "camping" in a heated hotel room with our tents stored in my Dad's truck.  This happened two nights in a row so, looking back on history, I didn't think I'd be cut out to make it through another round of camping, no matter how much older I am.  But, thankfully, it wasn't as cold, I was better prepared, and this city boy spent a night in the woods without any sign of Jason Vorhees or Racoons.  

But is that's not what this blog post is about.  See, before we made it to Cheesequake Park, we stopped at Path-Mark to get some snacks.  You know, the typical popcorn and smores.  We needed some drinks, too.  But, the first thing that caught my eye were donuts.  They're not the name brand variety, but they're not Path-Mark's either.  They're that in-between brand that never gets any recognition, but should because they're so good.

They had Pumpkin donuts, but here's what I went with..

Harvest Time Apple Crisp Donuts!  That's their official name, but Path-Mark had one of those hand drawn posters calling them "Apple Cider Donuts."  I like that much better!  I had amazing Apple Cider donuts last year while apple picking with my girlfriend, so I had high hopes for these.  They're made by Country Treats, but that doesn't mean much.  That most likely means they were made on some farm in the tri-state area.  Who knows what that means?  As far as I was concerned, these were new, looked good, and I had to try them!

These Apple Cider Donuts didn't actually get opened until we got home from our camping trip because I didn't want any bugs invading my beauties and getting a chance to try them before we did.  I absolutely hate bugs and because of a scary daddy long leg spider, I almost didn't get into my tent.  He was guarding it well with his tree-like legs and big black body.  No matter how big I am, I will always be more afraid of bugs than they are of me.  I can handle flies and tiny aunts.  But anything bigger than a quarter that flies?  I'm outta here.  I'm a big baby.

So, I popped the plastic open as soon as I got home and was very pleased with the scent.  It's appleicious.  That's not a word, but as soon as I smelled them, that word came to mind and I had to share it.  The donuts were also very soft so I knew they were fresh.  Sometimes, the baked donuts from grocery stores aren't so good.  Maybe they're made there and sit for a while, maybe the farm is slow with their delivery.  I couldn't tell ya, but I know these are good to go!

I used my Iphone to snap the pictures because I like the way the flash makes them pop.  They look more like cinnamon donuts than apple, but that's okay.  In fact, they're called Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donuts.  I know I told you they're called Apple Crisp, but obviously Country Treats has problems making up their minds.  That's why I just call them Apple Cider Donuts.  That makes things much easier and sounds better.  Even Path Mark didn't want to waste their time writing out "Apple Crisp Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donuts."  Other than Martha Stewart, nobody talks like that.  And by the time they do, I've usually lost interest.  Apple Cider.. Boom! Done!

No matter what you call these donuts, or who made them, they absolutely delicious.  These were soo good!  They're actually some of the best donuts I've ever had.  They taste like Apple, they have a hint of cinnamon, and are perfectly textured.  I sound like a fat guy, but look, I love these donuts.  They didn't last very long here because they're so addictive.  

I tried Googling Country Treats to find out where they come from, but I didn't find anything.  I wanted to tell you guys where to get them, because I know you'll be pleased with the Apple Cider Donuts, but I have no idea.  I don't know if they're exclusive to Path Mark or to my area.  I can't tell you where to go, but I do advise you to find them and give them a try.  I'm not usually into this type of donut, but I wanted something for the cool, Fall season and thought this would be perfect.  I was definitely right.  If you're looking for the same thing, check out your local Path Mark and see if they have it in stock.  It might be a long shot, but a worthy one.  But, if you happen to live near Jersey City, NJ, check out the Path Mark on Rt. 440 and you're guaranteed to find this Fall gem.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Halloween Dollar Candy

Yep, it's Candy Time! Work has been a bit busy lately and I haven't had as much time as I would like to dedicate myself to The Holidaze, but this is my favorite time of year and, really, not much can stop me from Halloween cereal, treats, drinks, decorations, haunted houses and, in tonight's case, candy!!

When you go back to the root of Halloween, you'll most likely find candy as the number one reason behind your love for it.  When you're a kid, there are two things you care about on October 31st -- Dressing up in your costume and Trick-or-Treating.  Who didn't love walking from house to house, ringing the doorbell in hopes that somebody would open their door and greet you with candy!  Sometimes, you'd get a Milky Way.  Other times, you'd get a Snickers.  Hell, I even found a dollar every now and then.  As a kid, I pushed right past that.  As an adult, I'd love to go Trick-or-Treating for dollars.  That's why there's a donate button on the right-side column ;)

Now that I'm too old to go Trick-or-Treating, I don't care about the big bags of candy or mini Hershey bars.  Don't get me wrong, they taste great, but I look for candy that ignites an emotion.  I want something that represents Halloween more than I want tasty snacks.  In fact, I don't even care if it tastes good at all.  I just want to look at fancy Halloween art and cool candy.  Taste, at this stage, is just a bonus!

There are three varieties of Halloween Dots that come out every year.  Last year, we covered the Candy Corn and Bat Dots.  One was good, the other wasn't.  Go back and check which was which.  But by looking at the sign above (found at Stop & Shop) you can see there is yet another flavor that I never got to last year... Ghost Dots!!

I never picked this box up last year because I wasn't thrilled with the flavors.  Bat Dots were a cool Blood Orange.  Candy Corn was obviously Candy Corn flavored.  But Bat Dots?  Boring assorted fruit!  I totally get why they went this route.  A ghost is mystical.  You can't see him until he decides to present himself to you.  That's the catch here.  Since every Dot is the same color, each and every one is a mystery.  Is it Orange?  Is it Lemon?  You won't know until you chomp into the happy ghost and find out.  The concept makes sense, I just like unique flavors.

So why did I buy them this year?  Well, for one, I already tried the others.  But more specifically, that box is awesome.  I love the smiling ghost Dot with his transparent arms and body.  I like the way he hovers and looks as if he's wearing an invisible cloak.  The glow around the logo is ghoulish and the purple box works so much better than black.  

The box is cool, and so is the color of these Dots.  Who doesn't love eating green candy?  But, like I said, I'm not really into the assorted flavors.  However, at least they actually chose a unanimous color and didn't choose the rainbow path.  That would have been a deal breaker.  Really, the only thing that sells this box is the art, the color, and the "mystery."  Other than that, I'd say go with one of the following dollar boxes!

I absolutely love this box art!  Black background, Orange text and border, along with a man wrapped in toilet paper.  No, I know, he's supposed to be a Mummy, but that's not as fun.  I'm pretending that he's a 25-year-old guy who talks about Halloween candy and chose to wear 3 rolls of toilet paper to embrace the Holidaze.  The world needs more guys like that, don't ya think? ;)

I bought this box because of the art, but also with the hope that this "Mummy Mix" is black and orange.  Even though I know it's assorted, just like the Ghost Dots, I would absolutely love seeing black and orange Mike and Ike candy pieces.  You couldn't ask for better colors and fruit flavored black candy is a hell of a lot better than fruit flavored green candy.  This could be legendary, but the fact that the names of those flavors are rainbow has me on alert.  What do you think they're going to be?  Let's see!!

Booooo!  And not the type of Boo a ghost makes, the type of Boo I make at a Knicks game!  This was a disappointment.  With a box so cool, how in the world do you not sync things up on the inside?  There are a few orange pieces, and the purple can pass for black, and that would have been close enough for me.  But they didn't change a thing but their box.  Again, BOO!

I love Hot Tamales, but never enjoyed Mike and Ike.  Had it not been for the box design, I would have never ever purchased these.  And now that I know they haven't changed the candy colors to be more Halloweeny, I will never buy them again.  Even though I don't like the taste of Mike and Ike, I would have suffered through them just to say I had some black and orange candy.  But now, I'll probably let them sit on my counter until I make some type of gingerbread December.  These aren't going anywhere near my Haunted House!  Ah well, if you do happen to enjoy Mike and Ike candy, then you're lucky to get such an awesome box with a candy you love.  That obviously creates a better 'daze!!  Luckily for me, I have more candy!!

Lifesavers Gummies presents us a simple box, but one that features three monsters that make it perfect.  Frankenstein (I don't call him Frankenstein's Monster,) Dracula, and a real Mummy!  They're drawn so well and we know they're evil because they live in a Haunted House surrounded by bats.  We can't be sure if they're using their bags to Trick-or-Treat or steal our candy.  One thing is for sure, if they want to take out Lifesaver Gummies, there's no doubt they'll do it!  And in the case of Mike and Ike, I'll make them take it just to get it out of my kitchen.

I've had Lifesavers Gummies before.  I remember the first time I ever saw them.  If I remember correctly, there was an awesome commercial featuring the Gummies bouncing around to show off their durability.  Obviously, we needed to know how soft they are compared to their counterparts.  They're great.  They taste good and I've never had any complaints.  So, for the first time ever, I had to get the Spooky Shapes edition.

Here, we have a lime green Moon, a maroon witch, a forest green pumpkin, a red ghost, and a maroon black cat.  There aren't any flavors listed anywhere on the box, so I can only guess which each one is supposed to be.  Ya figure we have lime, cherry, strawberry, and possibly watermelon?  I can't be sure, but I can tell you that they're all tasty.  My only gripe, and this isn't Lifesavers Gummies' fault, is that they aren't more like fruit snacks.  Obviously they have to my gummy textured, but I just can't get over how cool these would be if they were more like the "Sharks" fruit snacks!  Those were, are, and will forever be my favorite fruit snacks and I'd love to see a Halloween version.  Instead of looking for the rare Great White shark, we could go hunting for an orange pumpkin or a black black cat!  Actually, come to think of it, this idea seems too simple to not have been done.  This will now become a 2012 mission -- to find Halloween Fruit Snacks!!

While there may not be a white shark in my box of Lifesavers Gummies, there was that monster shrouded in a sea of tiny shapes.  It's the classic Lifesaver Gummi that somehow made it into my box rather than it's traditional home.  I feel bad for the guy.  Despite his size, he stands no chance up against the Spooky critters lurking around him.  They'll eat him up quicker than I do.

Boogers!!  Flix Candy brings us gummy BOOGERS!  The box is awesome, especially the demented chef, but Boogers? How gross is that?  It's so gross that I actually picked this box up and put it back before convincing myself that this is just candy!  I couldn't get that into my head.  For Halloween, we'll find brains, arms, legs, teeth, and eye candy.  With them, I have no problems accepting that they're a fun novelty.  But these Boogers really played with my mind.  Look at the description!  "Tangy Gummy Boogies that Look & Feel Real!"  I appreciate the fact that they called them "boogies," because that's funny, but it just sounds so disgusting.  But since it didn't say "taste real," I convinced myself that they're candy, even if it's "SsssNot Your Regular Gummy!"

Ever had a gummy bear?  They taste great.  I've never met anybody who doesn't enjoy a gummy bear every now and then.  Well, imagine putting a gummy bear in your mouth and struggling to keep your vomit down.  That's what this was like.  Not because they taste bad, because they don't.  But because I kept thinking that a tiny Mexican in a sweatshop picked their nose for days to create my box of boogers.  I knew it wasn't true, but they gooey feeling and texture after I chewed had me fooled.  But, luckily, I'm not crazy enough to actually believe I'm eating Boogers for long and I was able to enjoy a few of these without any mind games.  Believe me, if you can get past the Boogers theme, or if you just enjoy eating disturbing items, then this is the perfect Halloween candy for you!

Out of all the dollar Halloween candy I found so far this year, Caramel Apple Sugar Babies candy is my number one choice!  I don't know if they're new, but they're new to me and this box caught my eye immediately.  I love the bright green and yellow colors.  The confetti, despite what seems to be bacon falling from the sky, evokes a party atmosphere.  But the clincher?  The sugar babies appear to be coated in a green shell!  Did they actually change the candy to match their Fall box?  Or are they messing with my senses to make me waste a buck?  Either way, I had to find out!

They're GREEEEN!!  Yes!  They weren't lying and It's sad how excited it made me.  They look like baby pears or peas on steroid, but no, these are Caramel Apple Sugar Babies and they couldn't look cooler.  I mean, maybe they could have made them red, but green is cooler for Halloween.  Now, I haven't had a Sugar Baby or Sugar Daddy in years, but even though they've always gotten stuck in my teeth, I've always liked them.  Now that they're green, this is a win!

The flavor is so distinct and easy to describe.  At first, you taste Sour Apple.  It's like eating a Charms Sour Apple Blow Pop.  Only, this time, there's a caramel Sugar Baby in the middle, rather than bubble gum.  They taste great and, believe it or not, the green candy coating lessens the amount of caramel that gets stuck in your teeth.  So not only have they enhanced the look, they've enhanced the texture.  I guess you could say that these are technically Sour Caramel Apple Sugar Babies, but I just choose to call them GOOD!  Buy them!

So those are the dollar Halloween candy boxes I've found so far.  Some are good, some not so much.  But they each bring a little something different to The Holidaze and, at the end of the day, that's all that matters!  Check out what you want and try as many as you'd like.  None of these are horrible and, really, you can't go long with any Halloween candy!  Go out, buy more, and enjoy!  If you find any that I haven't seen, let me know @HolidazeBlog or leave a comment!
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