Friday, October 17, 2014

Dirtcake & S'mores Lunchables!

It still feels early in the month... but let me tell you something Mean Gene, the Halloween Season is almost over. Yikes! If you've been putting off enjoying all the little quirks of the season (you really shouldn't do that) the time is now to start indulging.

Seriously. Do it today. Right now. Stop whatever you are doing (actually finish reading this article first) and go find something Halloween related before it is to late. Before it is all gone. Because it will be gone here very shortly and you'll kick yourself later if you miss the opportunity to eat Dirtcake Lunchables!

2014 Halloween Candy!
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I wrote about the crappy nacho flavored Lunchables with the incredible mummy package earlier in the season. Turns out the Kraft folks had one more trick up their sleeves this Halloween Season.

Dirtcake and S'Mores umm... Lunchables? I think these qualify as more of a snack and less of a lunch but that is only if you want to get technical. I do not want to get technical.

I also do not pay much attention to Lunchables throughout the course of the year, so I have no idea if these little snack containers are sold year round or if this is something that they just dug up for the Halloween Season.  I really only noticed them because of the fantastic artwork.

And make no mistake about it, they are fantastic pieces of artwork! If a food museum existed they would have my nomination for entry. It is a bit of a tossup for which one I like best. My initial reaction is to lean on the pumpkin. Its eyes look like olives. I really like olives. I want to eat eyeballs that taste like olives. But upon further inspection, the weird looking zombie guy is the clear cut winner of the group.

Intentional or not... dude looks like he has worms coming out of his mouth. That is always a big plus in my book. And Dirtcake is infinitely a better sounding name than S'Mores Dippers, which would feel equally as at home in the middle of July as they do here in October.

2014 Halloween Candy!
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2014 Halloween Candy!
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Inside the script is flipped a little bit. S'Mores Dippers get the edge for the inclusion of orange frosting, one of my favorite Halloween related things. While Dirtcake gets bonus points for having gummy worms.. but they take way more work to construct than what I am willing to spend.

Perhaps if I was seven instead of twenty seven I would not mind this. As it stands now... I'll take the ease of the S'Mores Dippers over top of the worm gimmick any day of the week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

2014 Halloween Oreos!

One of the main pillars of the Halloween Season is Nabisco's Halloween Oreos. I could not imagine an October going by without purchasing a bag. It is a tradition that goes all the way back to my childhood.

These days Nabisco makes headlines with all sorts of whacky Oreo flavors. Cliff over at The Holidaze has already covered the new 2014 editions, so be sure to check out his work on Caramel Apple and Pumpkin Spice Oreos respectively to get caught up on this seasons hot new flavors.

I am much more of a traditionalist. I get what they are trying to accomplish with Oreos that taste like Apples and Pumpkins but my blackened heart will always lay with the orange frosted originals.

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Halloween Oreos have once again returned for the 2014 Halloween Season and this year they sport an entirely new package design as well as five brand new spooky shapes imprinted on the top of each cookie.

It has been a few years since Halloween Oreos have had an updated design. For the past few seasons they have been stuck with this witch's cauldron look that I was never really to found of.

I am, however, quite pleased with this years package. It is simple design but more times than not it is the simple ones that are the most effective. Something about it just screams "throwback" even if that isn't exactly what they had in mind.

Just looking at it reminds me of 1993 and those October trips to a pharmacy now long gone in which I used to purchase (or convince my parents to purchase!) whatever Halloween items they had for sale.

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Starting from the top left hand corner the new shapes for this year include a skull, haunted castle, pumpkin, generic trick or treat, and a bat. I kind of feel like everyone takes these shapes for granted, but other than the orange frosting... secretly they are probably the best part of Halloween Oreos.

The generic trick or treat cookie is probably the weakest link of the bunch, though the rest are all home run hits. I really want to dip them in an ink pad and see how well they work as stamps. But I don't want to waste the cookies!

Anyway Halloween Oreos are probably the oldest of the seasonal products and a lot of my fellow bloggers only give them a passing mention or ignore them entirely at this point.

I get that. We all want to break new ground instead of rehashing over the same subjects each and every year. But in the case of Halloween Oreos... I have to make an exception. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen then, ate them, studied and photographed them... they are still my absolute favorite item of the Halloween Season!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Creepmas Decorations!


At the end very end of my Boo Berry post I made mention of the fact that Christmas has already started to invade every corner of every store. And you know what, I've always enjoyed that strange dance that happens on retail stores across America this time of year. Halloween and Christmas both attempting to occupy the same space at essentially the same time. Both vying for our attention and yet the two holidays could not be any more opposite if they tried.

If you are anything like me then you probably enjoy meshing the two seasons together bit and seeing what comes out on the other side. In years past I've saved pumpkins and carved them on Christmas. I've decorated small trees with purple lights and some of my favorite "Nightmare Before Christmas" ornaments. I enjoy adding a little bit of the Halloween Season into my Christmas Festivities. But I have always wanted to do more!

Well thanks to the fine folks over at Shop Morbid you absolutely can combine the two holidays. Easily and effectively with just a couple clicks of your computer mouse. Guarantee you'll be the envy of the entire neighborhood and have the spookiest house this side of 1313 Mockingbird Lane come December 25th. Let's take a closer look at what the UPS guy Santa delivered to my door the other day.

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PENNYWISE LIGHT-UP BOW: Clowns are inherently creepy. Something about them I've always found off-putting. I remember going to the circus once as a small child and while I was not outright afraid of them. I was totally complacent with keeping my distance.

In terms of the classic horror movie icons, Pennywise has to rank someplace in the Top 10. I've personally never viewed him in quite the same regard as the proverbial heavy hitters like Freddy or Jason, but he totally falls into that second tier of classic creations.

Presented here in bow form, this variation of Pennywise is honestly pretty amazing. For starters I am a big fan of the bow fabric behind him. It looks like something straight out of a Tim Burton flick, which coming from me is one of the highest complements I can give something.

Pennywise's face is creepy enough as is but his eyes light up and flash yellow. Dude is the stuff of nightmares at that point. Overall I am a big fan of the concept behind him too. We are all familiar with those big dumb red bows people stick on their front porch for the holidays... it pleases me to no end that I can now put my own holiday bow outside, only mine sports a killer clown!

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CREEPMAS RED BOW: Speaking of those classic red bows that you see sold in every store come November 1st, here is an awesome Halloween variation you can use to spook out your neighbors!

See I wasn't kidding when I said that all of these Creepmas decorations do a fantastic job of merging two seasons that have absolutely no right coming together and making something memorable out of the end product.

I like the way the bow is tattered and frayed at the ends. Combined with the way it is painted (the black highlights make it looks like it has been through a fire) make something that Jack Skellington would feel right at home sticking on his front porch!

The skull in the center is just icing on the cake. Really cool decoration. I suggest purchasing multiples of them and attaching them to those light up candy canes with the white lights inside them. Making a spooky looking pathway leading up to your front door!

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CREEPMAS HARLEQUIN BOW: This guy. This guy is my new best friend. Halloween or Christmas... I could care less, I am keeping Harlequin on display all year!

How could you look at him and not instantly fall in love? Black and white checkerboard is one of my favorite pattern types for the Halloween season. When used correctly it creates a unique and memorable design. Especially with the blood splatters found on the pattern.

Skulls with jester hats. Another incredibly awesome thing that looks directly out of a Tim Burton flick. And like the Pennywise bow, this one also features eyes that light up and flash.

I have a feeling that out of all the decorations that I set out for Halloween.... these bows are going to be the ones that everyone focuses on. They are unique and eye-catching.  I can't wait to find a home for them in my display this year!

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CREEPMAS BAT ORNAMENT: Get ready for a theme for these next few entries, folks. Because we are now officially going places. Extremely cool places. Place that you've only had dreams of but never actually visited.

And it all starts with bat ornaments. Yes, bat ornaments! I have literally always wanted traditional Christmas bulbs with spooky Halloween designs on them and this.... this is exactly it!

I'd like to imagine that Bruce Wayne puts these on his Christmas Tree. Or at the very least pays Alfred to put them on his Christmas Tree. Bruce probably cannot be bothered with minor details like tree decorating.

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CREEPMAS X-BONES ORNAMENT: ... skull and crossbone bulbs!? If it wasn't official before it is official now. This is exactly like someone cracked open my skull and stole every idea I have ever had about combining Halloween and Christmas!

What I like most about these ornaments (and the same can be said for all of them) is how they manage to walk the line of looking like something Halloween related and are still tasteful. I think that is an important distinction to make. 

It's fun to mix and match the holidays but let's be honest, even if you celebrate Christmas with zero of the religious beliefs behind it (which I think a lot of people do.) you still probably don't want bloody fingers and severed heads hanging from a tree when grandma comes over to visit.

Or maybe you do. Maybe your family celebrates the holidays like the dinner scene from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I don't know. Who am I to judge? Anyway, I feel like Creepmas Ornaments are done in a tasteful way that is unique and not offensive.


CREEPMAS SKULL ORNAMENT: The final Creepmas Ornament that was sent my direction are these lovely black skull bulbs. Again, extremely cool and surprisingly tasteful. They'll no doubt garner the most attention out of the three that I received just because it's not every day that you see black bulbs with pained on white skulls.

If you wrote "Austin 3:16" on the back side of them I could totally see the WWF selling them criteria Christmas time 1998. About the only complaint I have with these is the glitter. I am not a big fan of the glitter, it likes to rub and fall off. Though that can be said for essentially anything that gets covered in it.

Though I'm sure once you get them put on a tree, the glitter will help to make the otherwise dark ornaments stand out. And you know what... speaking of tree, let's use that to transition into the final item I have to cover this evening.

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BLACK CREEPMAS TREE: It has all been leading up to this one. The black Christmas Tree! The perfect home for all those spooky new bulbs from above. I can think of no better way to celebrate both holidays than with a spooktacular Halloween-Christmas Tree sitting in your living room. This is the perfect way to accomplish just that.

Fun fact. A few years ago I actually made something close to this for myself. I purchased a fake tree on one of those 70% off after Christmas sales and spray-painted it black. Or at least I started to. It was starting to take considerably more paint than I anticipated and then I sort of lost interest in finishing it. I do believe that it is still sitting in a box in my basement someplace.

Anyhow with this tree you don't need to try and paint it yourself. Thing is already done for you. And it looks great! It is exactly what you would find at Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart in terms of traditional looking Christmas Trees only done in a really nice black color.

I look forward to decking this tree out with all kinds of lights and of course the ornaments from above. But I think I will save that project for November 1st. Be sure to check back then to see what my first official Creepmas Tree looks like!

Again, I got to give thanks to the guys over at Shop Morbid. They are quickly becoming my go to source for all things Halloween related. They've got a good selection of products that are unique from every other Halloween Shop that I've visit. So be sure to give them a look and buy something awesome!

Friday, October 3, 2014

2014 Retro Cereal Boxes: Boo Berry!


2014 Monster Cereal!
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In case you have been living under a rock it is Monster Cereal Madness Week here at The Astro Lounge. Yep, that is right we are talking all things General Mills Monster Cereal. And by all things I really mean... three boxes of retro cereal from Target. But doesn't it sound so much better the other way around?

Be sure to check out the introduction article as well as the reviews for Count Chocula and Frankenberry. Once you got your fill of those the spotlight is ready to shine on the rouge hero of the trio, Boo Berry!

Don't worry I will wait.

A statement that I have chosen carefully for this Boo Berry induction, because if you are of a certain age bracket that was precisely what you did if you wanted a box of the blue stuff. You'd wait. And wait. You'd hope. Dream. Wish. All of the above.

Boo Berry was the stuff of legend. School yard stories got told about it. Nobody you knew every directly had any but someone always had a cousin of a best friend who managed to snag a box six months ago in some far off supermarket you've never ever heard of.

Of the big three Monster Cereals, it was clearly Boo Berry who benefited the most from the seasonal push they received. It took the brand from something that was only talked about around campfires to an actual tangible thing that you could purchase every first of October.

2014 Monster Cereal!
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 I may be over romanticizing Boo Berry just a little bit, but the stuff was seriously tough to come by for a long time. When you finally did run across a box of it... you also made a trip to the champagne isle because this shit was cause for celebration.

Now that Boo Berry is as readily available as the rest, it lessens his impact just a tad. But someplace in the back of my mind, I still hold onto those days of old when he wasn't and every time the Halloween Season rolls around, it still amazes me that I can walk into the store and purchase a box of Boo Berry!

His 2014 retro themed box follows the same formula as the other three Monster Cereals. You got your standard retro front with the cardboard cutout mask dawning the backside. Like one of my readers pointed out yesterday, not only are the cardboard masks extremely cool but they really help to sell the "retro" idea of the design.


If you remember back to last seasons designs they had the entire back panel devoted to a Monster Cereal comic book of sorts. Which is totally fine. But sort of spoiled the concept of them being "retro". The cardboard masks really does complete the idea that this box of cereal is from 1975.



Which pretty much completes our week of Monster Cereal Madness. At least in terms of the retro styled boxes from Target. I still have yet to locate the three standard issue boxes, which also feature redesigned box art from the artists over at DC Comics. I have not quite figure out how I plan on covering those but rest assured... they will pop up sometime in the near future.

I also wanted to make quick mention that I just got back from the mall and could not help but notice that while Halloween is clearly in full swing, Christmas has already invaded essentially every corner of every store.

In years past I used to fuss and make a big deal about how the holidays need to be separated from one another. Not anymore. I've came to realize that this... all of this... the seasonal fun that we have at the end of the year comes and goes within the blink of an eye.

These days I just try to enjoy all of it at once and try not to get to caught up on what the calender date is. So stay tuned for lots more Halloween coverage and come the November 1st get ready to switch gears into full on Christmas mode!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

2014 Retro Cereal Boxes: Frankenberry!


2014 Monster Cereal!
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Continuing on with our week of Monster Cereal Mayhem is this years retro themed package for Frankenberry! If you have not already be sure to catch up to speed with this introduction article and yesterdays post on Count Chocula.

As I mentioned earlier, Count Chocula was always the leader of the pack. He was the one available for most of the year and had the most traditional flavoring of the trio. Frankenberry on the other hand... this dude was much more of a crapshoot.

You'd get him on extremely rare occasions in the middle of summer, but only for small shipments at a time. He would be much more likely to show up around the Halloween Season. Accompanying the same shelf space as Mr. Chocula. But he'd still be completely hit or miss.

I can remember going one or two year spans in which it was just Count Chocula. No Frankenberry. Then suddenly he'd show up and act like nothing was the matter.

Frankenberry, something was the matter. It was a big deal when you left my childhood like that! 

But I am glad you are back, in retro styled packaging for the 2014 Halloween Season. Just like all the other boxes in the series, the retro design is 99% the same thing as the original. Even that freaky looking kid in the lower left hand corner of the screen.

Yea, you thought I was going to let that one slide didn't you? Nope. That is the whole point of doing these reviews separately. It gives me a better chance to gush about dumb things like that kid.

That nightmare fueled fucking kid. With his stiff, expressionless grin and bizarrely angular hair line. He creeps me out. And the worst part is no matter what place you move to in the room, his one moronic looking eye follows you around. It is impossible to escape his sight. He watches you masturbate at night.

2014 Monster Cereal!
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Back of the box also features the epic looking cardboard mask. Still to small for a human head... but guess what? That still does not matter. I am a big fan of the fact that Frankenberry so bluntly likes to point out that he is a monster down in the lower left. Each box features its own corny little saying down there but for some reason this one is my favorite.

He sounds less like he's trying to convince us that he is a monster and more like its a bit of self encouragement. Just picture Frankenberry standing in the bathroom, repeating the phrase "I'm a monster." to himself over and over in the mirror, as tears of strawberry gently slide past his porthole shaped eyes.

Also his head looks like a ballsack. Just a great big pink ballsack with a thermostat on one side. You are a monster indeed, Frankenberry.

Tomorrow we cover the cult classic Boo Berry!