Monday, October 1, 2012

Cupcakes & Fruit Snacks

To quote my Jersey Shore brethren, "Yeahh Buddy!"  September was great, it provided many Holidaze posts and certainly topped last year, but October...Is...Here!!  This is it!  31 days of pure, unadulterated, mayhem!  This is the only month of the year where you can truly be and feel like a kid without feeling a single shred of guilt.  Want to dress up like a Pirate?  Go ahead.  Want to dress up like a Super Hero?  Sure!  Do whatever you want, and nobody will judge you because it's all about Halloween.  This is the best month of the year.  It's filled with Haunted Houses, pumpkin patches, apple picking, spooky stories, scary movies, candy, and, of course, that perfect Fall weather.  It's just an amazing time of year and I truly can't get enough of it.

To celebrate the dawn of a new October, I did a little Googling.  See, it's been at least two years since I walked through a Haunted House.  I always mean to make it, but something always prevents me.  Not this year.  I'm ready to go and, to be sure, I compiled a list of local attractions that I plan on attending this year.  There are a few that I never heard of, a few that I'm actually afraid of, and a few that I've been to before.  Regardless, I'm looking for the best of the best and, as I find them, I'll be sure to review them for all of you here on The Holidaze.  I'm avoiding spoilers so I can't tell you where or what I have planned, but I would like to share this suggestion list from  I'm looking at the NJ/NY area, but check out your own area and find one near you!

Now, on to the entry!

If we were judging October by the logo banner above, then we'd be in for a pretty horrible month.  I admit, it's not my best.  I quickly put it together in MS Paint and said "eh, it's good enough."  There's only so much you can do with Cupcakes and Fruit Snacks without giving away the actual product information and photos.  But hey, I made it black and orange, and wrote "Snax" instead of "Snacks."  That has to count for something, right?

Tastykake is back on The Holidaze with their Kreepy Kakes!  I'm a big fan of Halloween cupcakes, but my love really lies with the idea of these cupcakes.  I've never really enjoyed these boxed, processed, cupcakes.  I'm more of a homemade type of guy.  But, every year, I find myself hunting down Halloween Cupcakes.

The reasoning for that goes back to my childhood.  I used to walk down the block to the local "corner store" in search of treats.  At that point, I didn't really care about it being Halloween related.  I just wanted something good.  I had about $3 which, at the time, made me feel like a millionaire.  I would walk around for 20 minutes, looking at the same bags of chips and Now & Later's, until I ultimately wound up with Cheesy Checkers and Jolly Ranchers.  It was always the same outcome!

But.. One Halloween, these schemers bought a box of Hostess Scary Cakes and sold them as individual packs.  I walked in and, immediately, I was drawn to the orange icing.  I was enticed by the sprinkles and chocolate cake.  In fact, as I write this, the memories are rushing back and I remember exactly what edition Hostess was promoting.  At first, I thought I was making it up, but when I googled it, I found this..

Ahhhh man!  There it is!  I can't believe this just came to me!  That's exactly what lured me in and hooked me forever.  This came out in 1992!  I was 5-years-old!  I remember being with my Dad the first time I saw it.  I mean, no wonder I'm so into product design and graphics.  This is one of the most amazing boxes I've ever seen!  The way "Munster Pack" drips in green ooze and the fact that the Munster family is drawn around the logo?  Whoa.. I can't help but love it.  No matter how much I dislike the actual cupcakes, I'll never say no to a product that evoked that type of feeling when I was just a young kid.  I don't care if it's Hostess, Tastykake, or Little Debbie.  If you release a Halloween Cupcake, I'm buying it.  It captures the true essence of Halloween!

TastyKake does a great job, but they don't measure up the the classic Hostess designs.  That's okay, though.  I'm not looking to make this a competition, I'm looking to make this blog entry about a wonderful product.  The fact that TastyKake does anything at all is more than I can ask for.  

The cupcakes themselves are very similar to the ones I grew up on.  They're orange, they have sprinkles on top, and the chocolate cake has a white cream filling.  In that regard, they're pretty spot on.  And that's important because, as I said, taste doesn't mean much to me.  I eat them to say that I did, but I'm more fond of looking at them than devouring them.  It's about memories and opening up a window to the past.  Perhaps I should change the name of this blog from The Holidaze to The Nostalgia.  For me, that's what the holidays have become all about.

By the way, do Kellogg's own TastyKake?  Because look at those sprinkles.  Those are very similar to the ones found on Spookylicious Pop-Tarts!  The creepy moons have been replaced by baby pumpkins, but the shapes and sizes are very resembling.  Probably just a coincidence, but interesting indeed.  To me, anyway.

No matter who owns what, I'm impressed with the fact that there are sprinkles on the top and bottom of these cupcakes.  I don't know if this was their intention or if all the shuffling caused sprinkles to stray, but this is what I found on each cupcake I opened.  It's a great touch.  Nobody sees the bottom and, unless you're me, nobody cares about the bottom.  But, because I did, TastyKake is getting high praise on a blog that millions of people ready every day.  And by millions, I mean 148 people.

As soon as I bit into this cupcake, I was taken back in time.  I don't know if the flavor comes close to that of Hostess, but it did something to me that makes me think it does.  It's truly amazing how the mind works because, for a split second, I was taken back 20 years and it was 1992 again.  Obviously, the memories are all there, we just need to figure out ways of bringing them to the surface.  That split second was pure joy.  It summed up The Holidaze in a nutshell and symbolizes everything I strive for during these months.  Who woulda thunk a cupcake could do that?

As for taste?  It's what I expected.  It's processed, it's boxed, it's not bad.  If not for the representation, I wouldn't run to it for my snack fix, but it definitely isn't horrible.  I actually liked it more than I did in previous years and, if it's there, I'm not going to turn it down.  Basically, because I'm running on and on, It's good, but if there's a homemade cupcake there, I'm going to pick the latter every time.

When the Munster Pack was released, the back of the box featured a cut-out mask.  Sometimes it was Herman, other times Grandpa.  The cool part about that was the fact that they differentiated from box to box.  It wasn't necessarily a surprise, but it was nice that you had options.  Plus, for collectors, it meant purchasing more than one box.  That was pretty smart of Hostess.

TastyKake is keeping their competitors' tradition alive with this cut-out mask.  He's no Herman, but he is Frankenstein.  It's not the best artwork I've seen and I'm surprised TastyKake didn't put a little more effort into the box, but it's okay.  Little kids aren't going to care and even a grown Hallowgeek like me isn't going to bother cutting this out.  Well, at least not in reality.  Graphically?  Of course!

My good pal, Dr. Acula is back again and, as usual, he's confused!  If you remember last year's post, you understand what I'm talking about.  Dr. Acula desperately wants to be a real-life Vampire.  It's been his childhood dream.  But, unfortunately, he doesn't who or what he is and is stuck in limbo.  He's just a guy trying to find himself.  Last year, we caught him dressing up like a pumpkin.  This year, he's dressing up like Franky.  Poor Dr. Acula.  At least he can rest at day knowing that The Holidaze readers love him for him, whoever he may be.

Look what I fouunnd!!  Remember when I said that I wished they'd make Halloween Fruit Snacks instead of constantly producing Gummi's?  Well, ladies and gentlemen, here they are!!  A kind Holidaze reader, Linny, commented and brought these to my attention.  I was fairly confident that I had seen this box in previous years, but always overlooked it for some reason.  Maybe because the graphics don't pop enough for me to stop and stare, but I think I drastically underrated this box's design and it's content.  Sure, it's very orange, but duh, that's Halloween!!  We have Trick-or-Treaters along the bottom, dark, spooky grass, a grinning Jack-O-Lantern, and the snacks themselves, all decked out in appropriate Halloween colors.  I'm sorry I didn't buy you before, Betty Crocker.  But this year, you weren't getting away so easy.

Looking at the shapes and colors, which would you assume is the hardest to find?  Which piece would be Halloween's version of the Great White Shark?  If you're like me, you'd probably go with the Blue Black Cat.  It stands out the most and, like the shark, it appears to be a different type of texture.  But, guess what, that's false!  In fact, none of these shapes are hard to find and, if anything, the ones you'd expect to find more than the others are the ones I've seen less of.

What you see above are 3 packs worth of Fruit Snacks.  I didn't find a yellow ghost or red bat until I got to the final pack.  The blue?  I found those in all 3 along with the overpopulation of green spiders.  The witch hat and pumpkins made limited appearances in packs 2 and 3.  Crazy, right?  Boggles the mind.  Makes one question the universe.  I'm kidding, but what else can I say to pass time talking about Fruit Snacks?

They look cooler when you bunch them up together and put the flash on.  I know that the back of that yellow ghost looks like somebody licked him, but that's just the texture.  And maybe a fingerprint.  Ah well..

On to the taste, I have to say that these are really good!  And that's with good reason.  Little did I know, Betty Crocker also makes SHARK BITES!  Now it's all coming together.  Now it all makes sense!  All of a sudden, these Fruit Snacks taste even better than I thought before.  Whoa, Betty Crocker makes Gushers too?  Oh man.. This is just getting better and better.  Now I have to demand that you buy these treats!  Get 'em now and hand them out to each and every kid you find on Halloween night.

I usually go from box, to wrapper, to snack, but this is the only downside to the Fruit Snacks so I'm ending on a low note.  I know, it's going to ruin your day now, but it must be done.  The problem with these packages is that they're too small.  They're promoting 28 packs, but it's more like 10 when you're 25 years old and can't get enough of Halloween Fruit Snacks.  I know, I know, they're made and intended for 6-year-olds going door to door, but when was the last time one of them wrote on a blog?  When did they review for Betty, huh?  

Ha.. In all seriousness, I can't find a single problem with anything I've covered today.  This was a great, subtle way to kick off the month of October.  But rest assured, things are going to get rowdy around here.  It'll soon be time to up the ante and start going out on adventures.  Who knows where they will take us!  Time will tell, and so will I, so get ready!  If you have any suggestions, send 'em my way! @HolidazeBlog on Twitter or comment here!

To conclude, I had to include a photo of my Vampire Pez.  He's blue, the package is spooky, and it represents Halloween.  He's my end-shot because that's about all I can say about him and I plan on keeping him packaged.  But, the cool part is, my Dad actually bought this for me a few days ago.  It doesn't matter how old I get, my Dad will still be one of the main reasons I grew into such a Halloween fan.  This was a cool surprise and, if you read this entire post, you'll see that my love for this holiday has pretty much come full circle.


  1. I like to imagine that the jack-o-lantern is grinning in anticipation of eating the fruit snacks.

  2. Sure looks that way! I like the use of imagination :)


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