And now, Scary-Crayon presents... HALLOWEEN 2008 SNACKS by: Wes

For those of you wondering why we're just now reviewing Halloween-related products in November, I have one thing to say: welcome to Scary-Crayon! If the general look of the place isn't enough to communicate the message, we subscribe to the Ministry creed around here -- which is to say that everyday is Halloween. Unfortunately, the belated nature of the piece in terms of the Gregorian calendar does mean that you might not be able to find the products reviewed in the article at the moment (though as of November 9 some of the gruesome gummi snacks were still available at our local Dollar Tree), but there's always next year.

Gummi Frankenstein Brains are fat free!

Dollar Tree had quite a few Halloween-themed gummi snacks this year -- boogers, zits, vampire teeth, and, among other things, various bats and insects -- but I decided to go with the Gummi Frankenstein Brains for this review. Admittedly, a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm extremely cheap thrifty. Whereas you can get gummi bears in 9 oz bags at Dollar Tree, the Halloween gummis mostly came packaged in 3.5 oz boxes... and while some might argue that "looking and feeling" like a real booger makes up for the reduced volume, I could only justify grabbing a single box of the Halloween gummis. The Frankenstein Brains also seemed like the most BRAAAaaaaaIIiiNSsspalatable of the selections, since gummi vampire teeth just don't sound very neat to me and the mere thought of eating gummi zits and boogers (especially ones that boast of having realistic textures) kinda makes me ill. Can you imagine the damage to my reputation if, after triumphantly eating all manner of potentially nasty stuff for the site, I were made to retch by a flippin' gummi snack? Better not to take the risk.

But perhaps I made the wrong choice, since I wasn't terribly impressed with the Frankenstein Brains. I hadn't paid much attention to the image on the back of the box, so I was expecting the brains to look, well, a little more like brains. Pink or grey or even green would've been more fitting colors, but for some reason the creators of the product decided to make the brains cherry red with frosted tops (in terms of color; there wasn't really frosting on the candies) denoting the "flavor" of each piece. (Click the image to the right for a closer look.) I have "flavor" in quotation marks because, while the pieces did ostensibly have different flavors, none of them were terribly strong -- it was more like a hint of berry here or a taste of mango there, but nothing that I could really accurately identify. In other respects, they reminded me of some of the character-themed fruit snacks I'd get packed in my lunch as a child -- dry with a slight powderiness and a tough chewy texture. So while the Frankenstein Brains were pretty average taste-wise, they kinda fell short in terms of their main draw: with ill-chosen colors and a texture that was tough and dry rather than juicy and brain-like (even though they were apparently made with real fruit juice), the gummis didn't really elicit thoughts of brains or even Frankenstein at all. Couple that with the limited volume -- the package only contained about two child-sized handfuls of gummis -- and you've got a product that easily failed to live up to the lofty expectations it set for itself by choosing the name of Frankenstein.

Sour Gummi Sea Creatures should be made with fish oil instead of fruit juice.

Next up, Sour Gummi Sea Creatures! I suppose they're not technically Halloween-themed, but I'm reviewing them here since they were on the shelf with the Halloween gummi treats and have since disappeared from Dollar Tree (while the boogers and zits remain). Moreover, given the multitude of sea monsters that have eaten people and caused havok throughout fiction and legend, these gummis arguably have a legitimate place among the creatures that we associate with the spookiest of holidays. But really? I just like sour gummis.

Unda da sea~Fortunately, Sour Gummi Sea Creatures did not prove to be the exception to the rule. Unlike the comparatively dry Frankenstein Brains, the sea creatures truly did seem to have been made with real fruit juice, as they were quite juicy and even a little sticky. They lived up to their name in the sour department as well. In fact, combined with their "salty" look, the juiciness, and a tanginess beyond that of your average sour candy (though nowhere near as intense as Warheads), they really did seem like tiny edible creatures that one might find swimming among the seaweed in the shallows at the beach. You know, if sea salt were sweet and miniature jellyfish were comprised of processed starch and gelatin.

The only problem with them (besides the small sample size, though this box at least had 4.5 oz worth of gummis) was that the designs weren't all that clearly defined. (Again, click the image for a closer look at the gummis.) Yes, the outlines are there, but, seashells notwithstanding, good luck trying to discern what the gummis are supposed to be based on any details. And while that doesn't bother me much in my old age, I do recall being a kid and remember that half the fun of eating these kinds of gummis was identifying the candies. Ah well, at least there's a maze on the back of the box for the kiddies to enjoy.

Halloween Oreo cookies AT LAST!

In addition to the gummi snacks, this Halloween marked the first time ever that I got in on the spooky Oreo action! Every year for as long as I can remember, I've seen these Oreos with orange creme and thought I'd like to try them -- but every year I ultimately waited too long. I'd thought my unfortunate tradition would hold this year as well, since by the end of September they'd disappeared from our local supermarkets. For two weeks, I scoured the cookie aisles of the likes of Giant and Safeway and even Wal-Mart to no avail... but it didn't occur ORANGE CREME, same great taste!to me to check Target's Halloween section until about a week before Halloween. And lo, there they were! Stacks of them! Which means that Target is either the place to shop for cookies with radioactive filling or the only store that didn't get the memo regarding the poisonous chemicals in that freaky orange dye.

Having finally tasted the Halloween Oreos, I can now say that if you've missed out on them your life is not without meaning -- the package rightly boasts that, despite the notable color change, these cookies still taste just like regular Oreos. The other difference about them involves the five fun Halloween shapes to be found on the cookies, by which Nabisco clearly means designs since the characteristically round shape of the cookies hasn't changed at all. Anyway, I've never really looked at Oreos, so I can't tell you how wildly these differ from the regular offerings -- but I'm betting that the year-round versions don't sport images of ghosts, bats, black cats, witches, and pumpkins. And do they always sport four-leaf clovers, or are they dressing as Irish cookies for Halloween? (On that note, I kinda miss Caitlin.)


Domo-kun is THE GREAT PUMPKIN!Now Domo-kun is... naked.

Target wasn't just the place to go for orange Oreo goodness this year, though -- it was also the place to find exclusive Halloween Domo-kun plushies. Now, I'd mistakenly believed that Target was the only place to find plush Domos at retail, but I've since learned that that's not true; you can also find them at stores like FYE and Suncoast. What made the Target versions different, however, was that they featured Domo dressed up for the holiday! There was Dracula Domo, Frankenstein Domo, Red Devil Domo, Great Pumpkin Domo, and probably another Domo that I'm forgetting. Despite it being the least visually interesting of them, I went with GP Domo for one primary reason: it's the only one with a removable costume. The others don't even have a Fortunately, Bacardi is not a kitten.choice in their adherence to the Ministry creed, but with this Domo you just snip a thread at each hip and you can dress and undress him at your leisure. Given the image that introduced Domo to the world at large, the ability of this plushie to strip naked is oddly appropriate.

So that'll do it for this belated Halloween review! Really, don't feel too bad if you missed out on some of the products reviewed in this article: the Frankenstein Brains weren't terribly great; the Sour Gummi Sea Creatures were pretty good but similar candies are available year round; Oreo cookies are always available (and as of now you can get Winter holiday-themed versions with red creme!); and you can find Domo-kun wares in specialty shops and eBay whenever you like. We hope that y'all had an excellent Halloween and that, despite October having ended, you'll take the time to infuse your activities with a welcome bit of spookiness. Who says Thanksgiving and Christmas can't be scary, eh? ;)

-- Wes --
Return to the main page!
Copyright © 2003-2018 Scary-Crayon. All rights reserved.