Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 5

Gummy Body Parts in a reuseable creepy coffin.HALLOWEEN IS HERE, and with it, the final category for the never-famous Halloween Candy Oscars where I always dish out the deadly details on the most delicious, best Halloween candy.

For Best Gummy Candy this year, we have Frankford's Gummy Body Parts going up against Spooky Treats' Graveyard Gummies and Horror Flix's massive Grave Grabbers. I found all three to be excellent contenders, with great detail and demented, fermented flavour.

Frankford again surprises with two major positive changes for 2009. The first is the obvious coffin that that contains the gummy body parts. The old grey coffin is replaced with a more realistic brown, with fabulous details such as evil red hands and blood-soaked nails. Also, they've given up the use of a spacer to increase its size, resulting in a coffin now half as deep as the old one, but which is 100% full of body parts.

2009 also sees yet another addition to the Gummy Body Parts - a freshly scooped brain! And with that bleeding cerebellum comes a new colour. Typical colours were a pink flesh tone, blood red, and white. But the new brain adds blue to the spooky spectrum, and major creep factor to the body parts. What's next for Frankford? A torn-out heart perhaps? Cross your severed fingers!

This Gummy Brain is a little small. Perhaps it came from a rat. Or George Dubya.While the flavour is still superb, there is some disappointment. Body parts appear to have shrunk again, and instead of 100, there are now only 90. I did a full count when I opened my coffin, and indeed there were 90 bloody body parts. The removal of 10 gummies, plus the possible shrinkage has reduced the weight of the coffin from 750g to 675g. As well, the gummy consistency is all over the map. Severed fingers and noses are extremely flabby & soft, while fangs and feet are properly chewy.

Next up we have the goulish Grave Grabbers. These gummy hands come in various shapes, individually sealed. Click here to see the strawberry Skeleton hand, the green apple gnarled green monster hand, and the blue raspberry rotting corpse hand.

Distinguishing the subtle difference between the Skeleton hand and Frankford's body parts is like biting into a zombie's shin and trying to determine if he died Tuesday at midnight or Wednesday at 1 a.m. The Monster hand's apple flavour could not have come across more perfectly. And I've never tasted a more delicious rotting corpse's hand. Not that I hang out in morgues and do that kind of thing (on a regular basis, anyway).

Despite the details being the best of all the gummies, there is a devilish downside to these giant appendages. At a dollar apiece, these macabre mitts aren't very cost effective to hand out at Halloween, although if you did, your trick-or-treaters would be screaming - with joy.

Roughly the same size as Gummy Body Parts, these gummy mummies impress.Finally we have Spooky Treats' Graveyard Gummies. Each package contains only 12 of the gummies. But each package only costs $1.00. The gummy is black and coffin-shaped, each one with a different coloured mummy laying in/on it. These mummy detail is decent, while, aside from the shape, there is no coffin detail whatsoever.

Compared to the rest, these are about as exciting as a decapitated vampire. At such a low price, I was expecting them to taste like mouldy coffins and dusty mummy wrappings. But I was impressed. Their ghastly grape flavour is superb! It's such a nice surprise to have such a different tasting gummy. Overall though, nothing rocketed these to super-stardom.

I have to give Grave Grabbers two severed thumbs up for their fab detail, but their size is both a pro and a con. Graveyard Gummies receive two werewolf knuckles up for their great grape taste, but other than that, they're a little boring.

It's obvious Frankford is pouring money into their Halloween candy dept. Not only did they have an additional shape to flaunt this year, their graphic artist really stepped up to the crematorium and designed a superb new coffin container. Frankford's Gummy Body Parts wins 2009's Halloween Candy Oscar for best gummy candy! I can't wait to see what they have in store for the future.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 4
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 3
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 2
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 1

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 4

Frankford's Halloween Marshmallow Pals.

Stories that start with "When I was a kid..." I find hilarious. Unless they aren't funny. Like the one below.

When I was a kid, we didn't get marshmallow things for Halloween. Popular items were often things like pumpkin gumballs and movie monster candy sticks. A can of pop was like striking gold. And of course, there were the obvious chocolate bars, most especially coveted were Reese Peanut Butter Cups. But with all the children allergic to peanuts these days, Halloween safety seems to revolve around peanut avoidance rather than wearing brightly coloured costumes. IE Rainbow Brite or pretty much any of the Teletubbies.

Nowadays there are a few marshmallow treats to enjoy. For the category of Best Marshmallow Halloween candy, I present to you once again the Hershey Pumpkin, and Frankford's Marshmallow Pals.

Hershey's Marshmallow Turd. Er... I mean, Pumpkin.Hershey has done essentially nothing with their marshmallow pumpkin over the years. Prices fluctuate, but the marshmallow unit basically remains the same. It's a fairly large, turd-like treat. The marshmallow is very gooey, and is covered in what seems to be dark chocolate, although the packaging does not state cocoa content. The pumpkin has a vague shape. It is round, a typical pumpkin shape. At the top there is a small protrusion which is intended to be a stem, but overall detail is poor.

I know what you're saying. "Who cares!" Right? As long as it tastes awesome, really, who does care? Well, I suppose, people like me. But how it looks sometimes has to come second to how it tastes. And the pumpkin tastes good. Especially if you like dark chocolate. Personally, I feel it's like a 14 day old zombie; it's a little too strong.

Then there's Frankford's Marshmallow Pals. Hand-decorated Marshmallow Pals! There are four classic Halloween "heads" - a witch, Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, and a jack-o-lantern. Did I mention they're hand-decorated? Each one has incredible candy detailing that crunches like fresh femurs between your teeth. It's hard to choose which one is the most impressive. The witch has a buckle across her hat, green candy hair, and a wart, while ol' Frankie comes complete with forehead scar and neck bolts. As an added bonus, the marshmallow is soft and perfect, not sticky or gooey.

Although quite a bit smaller than the Hershey Pumpkin, Marshmallow Pals still pack a mouthful of terrifying tastiness. In fact, I find them to be my favourite treat of the Halloween season. Truly, they are edible works of art. Although I suppose technically the Mona Lisa is also edible.

Regardless, Marshmallow Pals wins the Halloween Candy Oscar for Best Marshmallow Candy this year. And until Hershey steps up their game, or Frankford loses all their Chinese child labourers in some freak candy factory disaster, these creepy Pals are going to wear this crown for a very long time.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 5
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 3
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 2
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 1

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 3


Great Halloween candy MUST comply to the following three rules. First, it must be Halloween-themed, by which I mean it cannot simply be some cheap, "fun sized" version of normal, everyday chocolate bars or candy - it must be uniquely Halloween shaped. Two, it must only be available at Halloween. If you can get it year-round, it's NOT Halloween candy, so listen up candy companies! Third, it must be delicious. Who cares if it meets the first two requirements if it makes you want to blow candy chunks all over your dead mother's grave?

Those are hard rules. No exceptions. And in the Hard Candy category this year I have two competitors. 2009's first offering is from Zed Candy followed by the ever-faithful Boneheads by Oak Leaf.

Zed Candy is selling Pumpkinheads in jack-o-lantern adorned tins as well as Skulls & Bones in tins decorated with a gold-toothed skeleton pirate and ghostly pirate ship. Each tin is supposed to contain 60 packages, but in all the excitement of the new candy, I forgot to count them before I dug in.

The Pumpkinheads are all the same. Check them out here. They are pumpkin-shaped, and taste like any orange candy should. Upon sinking your werewolf fangs into them, Pumpkinheads crush to super yummy powder.

Skulls & Bones are very different. If you can't guess what each package contains, I'm not going to tell you. The skulls and bones are mixed colours: blood red, regular red, orange, yellow, green, blue, white, and black. Each colour is a different flavour, but I found them to be quite inconsistent. Sometimes dark red ones were spicy like cinnamon hearts while other times they were fruity. Regular red ones were almost always fruity, but once in a while I happened upon an odd flavour I couldn't place.

Blue was most likely a blue raspberry flavour and was one of my favourites. Orange was orange, green was sort of apple-y and yellow was banana/pineapple-ish. Black was weird and indescribable, which leaves white. Carefully balance the candy in your hand. Any false move will allow it to fall. Disaster! I can only depict it as some sort of delicious "bone" flavour. I seriously couldn't tell what many of them were supposed to represent in the fruit world.

Compared to Boneheads, the Skulls & Bones candy was relatively bad. I found Boneheads, roughly the same size and shape, to be consistently consistent. Fruit flavours were apparent and very good. Unlike "bobbing for appendixes" in a barrel full of zombie guts, you were never left guessing what you just ate.

Overall, I found that I liked Zed Candy's Pumpkinheads best, despite the fact that they cost almost $8. They were delicious to the max, and the nice tin was a total bonus. Boneheads, although consistent and excellent, just didn't have that special something to put them over the top. A solid second place for sure. Zed Candy's Skulls & Bones, however, are a failure in my books.

2009's Halloween Candy Oscar for Best Hard Candy therefore goes to ZED, for their formidable Pumpkinheads, and NOT for their Skulls & Bones.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 5
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 4
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 2
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 1

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 2

Pumpkins are tasty in both pie and gum form.

Lately I've been working my ass off, which is nothing to sneeze at given how little ass I've got to begin with. As a result however, I've neglected the Halloween Candy Oscars. But it's not entirely my fault. So who's fault is it?

It is the fault of candy companies.

It's hard to get excited and award an imaginary award to an inanimate piece of candy that neither acknowledges its achievement nor thanks me for my effort. Like I'd mentioned in the first HCO awards this year, I wasn't able to find comparables for every candy category.

In the case of gumballs, the Pumpkin Faces gumballs were all I could find this year. Gone were last year's winner, Spooky Eyes gumballs. And I haven't seen 2005's winner, Concord Confections “Halloween Combo” since, well, 2005.

But that's not a bad thing. Looking at the bright side of things, we should count our lucky disemboweled zombie torsos that somebody still has the guts (don't pardon the pun - it was made on purpose so enjoy it) to put out a Halloween-themed gumball.

The Pumpkin Faces gum consists of orange gumballs with black jack-o-lantern details and black gumballs with white jack-o-lantern details. Orange tasted like orange, while black tasted quite different. I honestly couldn't say what it was supposed to be, but the enormous sugar content ensures it is delicious without compromise.

Gum is essentially a wad of sugar. Aside from chewing stale pus-oozed zombie eyes, it's hard to have a bad-tasting gumball. That's why Concord's amazing Halloween Combo really shined. Some spurted blood. Others discharged delectable green slime. Others still were filled with tiny candy seeds. Incredible!

But with no competition this year, the Pumpkin Faces gumballs reigned supreme. It's not an unwarranted victory though. Two severed thumbs up for the ONLY Halloween-themed gumball I could find in Ontario for 2009.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 5
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 4
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 3
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 1

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 1

No diamonds here. But for Halloween freaks, these candy rings are top shelf.

Dearest boys and gouls, you've waited long enough. It is time. Time for what? For the bloodiest, creepiest, Halloweenyest Halloween candy countdown Canada has to offer - The Halloween Candy Oscars 2009! And celebrating my 5th-and-a-half anniversary doing so. May the best Halloween candy of 2009 win!

I decided to start off 2009's Halloween Candy Oscars by sucking. And by sucking, I mean ramming creeptacular lollipops into my mouth. As you may or may not know, I usually compare a couple of different Halloween-themed treats, then choose a favourite. This year, however, will suck (pun intended), as I wasn't able to find comparables for every category despite a few nice surprises on our store shelves.

One of those surprises happened to be Frankford's Monster Lollipop Rings, or, if you're French, Bagues sucons en forme de monstre. I haven't seen these in Canada before and assume these monsters crossed the border without passports.

A tombstone on the bag proclaims the contents to be 25 rings. Upon counting, I discovered this was true, with one package accidentally containing two Frankenstein Monster heads. The other two shapes are a sinister jack-o-lantern, and an evil skull. The breakdown was:
10 Frankensteins
10 Skulls
5 Jack-o-lanterns

Honey, what do you think of these engagement rings?The package shows all three rings being displayed by what appears to be Frankenstein's green, grizzled hand. It also states that the rings are fruit flavoured. Since it did not divulge what those fruit flavours were, I tried all three.

The Skull was my first. It was an opaque white, and initial detail was reasonably good. Upon sucking the skull, the sunken eye sockets and other markings faded. It was sweet, as a fresh skull would be, but I couldn't ascertain the intended fruit flavour. If vanilla and sugar were merged into candy form, I suppose this would be it, although I'm probably very wrong.

Second was the rare Jack-o-lantern. Detail was again, decent, but it was much more obvious in terms of flavour. It tasted like an orange creamsicle... with just a hint of werewolf blood.

Finally, the horrifying Frankenstein Monster tantalized my tastebuds while he perched on my finger. Although glossy and smooth, facial features and neck bolts were still obvious. Apple was clearly the flavour, but it was muted.

Overall, their flavours were a little dull. Kids will find the lack of taste far more horrific than the ghastly faces. But when it comes to unique Halloween-themed candy that's as fun to look at as it is to eat, Frankford is hard to beat. And maybe that's why nobody really tried to compete against them this year. Absent from stores were Harry Potter Blood Pops (also a Frankford product) and Jolly Rancher's Creepy Pops.

PhotobucketHowever, I did find ONE other creepy lollipop: the Spooky Lip Pop. They are not small at 23 grams each, and only sold individually. What makes it so expensive, and impressive, is the huge plastic zombie mouth which replaces the traditional stick. Sucking on one of these babies instantly transforms you!

I chose watermelon, as it is one of my absolute fav flavours. And it was very good. Indeed, the plastic zombie mouth with creepy, cracked zombie teeth was awesome, but at a dollar apiece, Flix Candy "Big Stuff Lip Pop" is hardly cost-effective to give out at Halloween. And what exactly am I supposed to do with the plastic zombie mouth once I'm done?

In the category of lollipop, the Monster Rings are a more logical choice, even if they didn't quite win the taste test. It was a close one, but 2009's winner for best Halloween Lollipop? Frankford's Monster Rings, by a warty witch nose.

Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 5
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 4
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 3
Check out Halloween Candy Oscars 2009 - Part 2

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Disney World Halloween Party 2009

Great Scott! The Haunted Mansion is-is-is.... haunted!My entire life I've been haunted by a memory which I couldn't place. I was in a round room, without doors or windows. Above me were paintings, or portraits of people. Slowly, the room began to stretch and the portraits with it, revealing that the people were sitting on things: barrels of TNT, tombstones, etc. Whenever I explained the memory to people, they all thought it was a mad hallucination.

When Suz and I arrived at the Magic Kingdom early Tuesday morning, we bee-lined it straight to Disney's Haunted Mansion. I had been dying to go on this ride for as long as I can possibly remember, pardon the pun. Sitting on a slight hill, the creeptacular mansion beckoned me. I was meant to be inside that house.

And you can all guess what happened.

I screamed (with bloodcurdling joy) when our group gathered in the round, windowless, doorless room. I had been here before and I didn't even know it. I had no idea I'd been to the Magic Kingdom before, but my parents confirmed that I was about 6 when I was there.

We rode it first at 9:30 a.m., followed by a second ride just after lunch. I was saving the final ride for the Disney Halloween bash known as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Not all the graves are still. Watch out!At five p.m. Suz and I changed into our costumes, which Disney encourages. The park was closing and when 7 p.m. hit, only those who purchased Halloween Party tickets were allowed to stay and trick-or-treat until midnight. Everyone else got the royal boot, and were not permitted to have any more fun as they were bussed back to their respective Disney resorts.

The Doc Brown in me wanted to put a flux capacitor on the train, but Disney employees wouldn't let me.We re-entered the park in full costume. The train station, armed with hundreds of fog machines, had taken on an eerie transformation. As we walked down Main Street USA, decorated with scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns and other 'ween paraphernalia, I was greeted regularly with variations of "Hey Doc!" My homemade Doc Brown costume was a tremendous hit. Even Disney employees were coming up to me to comment on my handiwork.

After a few guests stopped me and asked if they could take my picture, my Doc Brown costume caught the eye of a Disney employee in one of the parades. The stilt-walking employee stopped in the middle of the street, waving and calling to me emphatically. Suz snapped his picture and I gave him a Martini style thumbs up before he ran back to his position. I'll have to remind myself to thank Christopher Lloyd for all the attention!

Suz and I spent the night trick-or-treating through the park and hopping on the odd ride. (Wait times were usually 5 minutes or less!) It was just as exciting to talk to the people who loved Doc Brown as it was to see the vast, spooky changes made to the park after sunset. It's truly incredible how the Disney engineers use flood lights and ultraviolet lights to change the appearance of nearly every major building. Most notable is Cinderella's castle, which is transformed, essentially, into a foreboding >Castle Dracula!

Around 11 p.m. we sat in the doom buggies for our third and final trip through the Haunted Mansion, which is hands-down the most phenomenal and engrossing ride in the park. In the end I was so dehydrated from the 95 degree weather, the costume, and hauling the heavy bags of candy around that I woke up with the worst "hangover" since last October, making it a true Halloween party.

And for those who want to know what they give out at the Disney Halloween Party 2009, we had really decent stuff: Hershey bars, O'Henry, Three Musketeers, Nestle Crunch, Reese Peanut Butter Cups, 100 Grand bars, Necco wafers, Bottle Caps, Kraft caramels, Laffy Taffy, Airheads, Bit o' Honey, Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Lollipops, Giant Now & Later, Atkinson Peanut Butter Bars, SweetTarts, Starburst, Dumdums, Sassy Sours and raisin boxes.

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