It feels just like Christmas morning…that is, if your idea of Christmas morning involves carved pumpkins, $2 fake cobwebs from CVS, and VHS tapes of the Halloween series playing on infinite repeat (yes, even The Curse of Michael Myers is welcome here).
Why is that?
Because monster cereals are back, baby!
Even though it’s only mid-September, and people haven’t even put away their Labor Day decorations yet (you mean you don’t have a giant inflatable businessman on your front lawn?), Walgreen’s is already committed to injecting the orange and black life essence of Halloween straight into the veins of consumers. Okay, maybe a poor choice of verbiage for a place that contains a pharmacy.
That’s right, the Wall of Greens is the first store in which all three monster cereals—Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry—have been spotted. So I advise you stop reading this, put on your best 28 Days Later zombie impression, and sprint to your closest store.
It’s okay, I’ll wait. I’ll just pass the time with this Count Chocula commercial montage until you return.
Welcome back! Hopefully you filled an entire truckload with boxes, as any sane person would. Unlike the special edition boxes available at Target and Wal-Mart, which I previously mentioned will feature pop-out castles, and cut-out masks, respectively, these plain boxes have the same box art on the front as last year, but have added compatibility with the Blippar augmented reality mobile app.
The app’s video sharing service wasn’t working properly when I tried it, so these screenshots will have to suffice. The front of the box features the Count ghoulishly questioning you when used with Blippar, but it’s the back of the box that has the real goods.
The cavalcade of trivia, puzzles, and throwbacks gives you enough to stare at over breakfast, and Blippar turns it into a fun media portal with more vintage commercials, box art, recipes, and, best of all, the Monsters Go Disco playing in the background! Just like I had hoped!
Though you likely already know how good it is, I’d like to give a brief review of Count Chocula, the arguable star of the monster cereal show. Since Halloween is far away, I’d like to spread the monster cereal reviews out in fun-sized chunks, so Frank ‘n’ Boo will get their share of the spotlight soon enough.
The spectre-shaped chocolate pieces are airy and light, with a crisp chew that makes them quickly deteriorate into a mealy pile. They have an even flavor balance of corn and sweet cocoa. The pieces are also roughly textured, so even though the Count won’t suck any blood from your throat, he’ll certainly try to scratch up the inside of it.
One could say that they’re pretty much the same as Cocoa Puffs. But just like how everyone knows the Spider-Man shaped mac & cheese is better than the boring original noodles, crunching the ghost pieces in Count Chocula feels much more satisfying. After all, if I’m gonna pretend to be a giant, cereal version of Pac-Man (obligatory reference to this), why should I settle for dots and pellets when I can have the whole ghost?
Accompanying the corn pieces are the debatably ghost and star-shaped marshmallows. Though they pack the same sugary and slightly chalky punch of Lucky Charms’ charming marbits, through what I can only assume is the count’s black magic, the mallows here have chocolate flavor swirled into them.
The result? A rich cocoa/saccharine mix that tastes like the melty mixture of chocolate and marshmallow you get at the center of a s’more. And when mixed with the corn pieces and milk, it’s like the that whole complex s’more metaphor (metas’more?) got poured onto a bowl of melted chocolate ice cream.
So while the rose-tinted goggles of nostalgia may make it seem like Count Chocula is getting a little less sweet and chocolate each year, it’s still pretty darn good. It’s worth it just to sip the syrupy, light brown end milk left behind at the end of every bowl. It’s a succulent beverage that could easily be bottled, rebranded, and resold as Halloween Nesquik. I want to drink it out of a skull-shaped goblet while watching reruns of the ’90s Goosebumps show.
Thanks again, General Mills and Walgreen’s: September usually feels lame and bland (I call it the saltine cracker of months), but thanks to you, it feels like the assistive Igor to October’s Dr. Frankenstein.
The Bowl: Count Chocula (2015)
The Breakdown: Awesome box, awesomely chocolatey cereal (though it seems a little less sweet), and awesomely awesome end milk (this cereal makes me feel like a child, so don’t expect adjectives more complex than “awesome”).
The Bottom Line: 9 metas’mores out of 10