Friday, October 30, 2015

National Candy Corn Day!

It’s October 30th, National Candy Corn Day. The nation’s farmers have the candy corn harvest in and we can all finally relax and celebrate.

Candy corn is the fruitcake of Halloween. Comedians amateur and professional alike enjoy making fun of the stuff and that always kind of pisses me off. There’s a soft spot in my heart for both seasonal treats, especially candy corn. I only have one specific memory of eating it (and, to be honest, in that one I was enjoying the chocolate Thanksgiving variant called “Indian corn”) but candy corn was such a part of my childhood that the two are forever linked in my head. Besides, I honestly enjoy the stuff.

What’s not to like? Candy corn is made of sugar, vanilla, fondant and marshmallow creme.  It’s basically little triangle-shaped bites of cake icing in fun-to-eat layers of season-appropriate colors.

Plus candy corn is a quick and edible improvised Halloween costume. Look! I'm Dracula!

Look! I'm Wolfman! Grrr!

See? Easy and fun!

According to the National Confectioner’s Association (whoever the heck they are) nine billion individual pieces of candy corn will be produced this year. That leaves about eight billion for the rest of you. I’m going to strap on my feedbag and commence to munching. I’ve got me a holiday to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Worst Halloween Costume Ever

All Hallows Eve is just around the corner. Some people apparently used to believe that horrible monsters walked among us on that night. I’m not sure exactly how that morphed into children dressing up and going door-to-door begging for treats but as a kid I knew better than to ask too many questions. Why risk all that free candy?

Check what my sister and I are wearing in this old picture.

It’s a photo from the first year we got to put together our own Halloween costumes. It appears that we understood that the idea is to “dress up” but we hadn’t quite yet gotten that it’s supposed to be “as” something specific. Still, this isn’t the worst Halloween costume I ever wore.

I must have been about six or seven years old and I decided that I was going trick-or-treating as a ghost. My mom thought that sounded great. Easy to make. Cheap. Perfect.

“Here,” she said. “Take this sheet and cut a couple of eye holes in it." Done.

But I wasn’t done. It didn’t look right to me. It looked like a blob. I thought my ghost should have a distinct head so I cut out a neck hole, draped the sheet over my body then made a “ghost mask” out of a matching white pillowcase. To my six-or-seven-year-old mind I looked exactly like a scary ghost. To any adult, though, I looked like a junior member of the Ku Klux Klan. There are no pictures but here’s an extremely accurate artist’s rendering.

My parents tried to convince me to wear something else. Anything else. I wouldn’t budge so they let me go out like that. I distinctly remember the odd looks on the adult’s faces as they answered the doorbell to find me staring up at them through my hood’s eye holes. 

“Uh… What are you supposed to be?” 

I kept having to answer, “I’m a ghost!” over and over all night long. I thought these people were idiots. What else could I be?

One could argue that my parents should have put their foot down and not let their kid go out the door dressed like a tiny white supremacist but I beg to differ. I think they made the absolute right choice. To get me to change they would have had to explain in detail exactly what was wrong with my costume. By not doing that they gave me one more Halloween where all the monsters in the world were imaginary. That’s a gift even better than free candy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Candy Corn M&Ms

I’ve pointed out before in these pages that junk food that tastes like other junk food is a fun novelty but almost always ultimately unsatisfying for me. Well, I’ve found a rare exception. I loved the new Candy Corn M&Ms.

I also liked the Birthday Cake flavored version that came out last spring and since candy corn flavor is, basically, vanilla cake icing flavor, it should probably have come as no surprise. These things are thick bites of super-sweet goodness enclosed in a candy shell that delivers that satisfying M&M crunch.

Even candy corn haters should give these things a shot. And if you do, let me know how you feel because the only explanation I can come up with for candy corn hate is the presentation. Wrap that taste up in a pretty modern package and it’s gold. And orange. And white. See what I did there? Yeah. You see.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Looks like the fine folks at Reese’s took my advice and made a peanut butter ghost. 

They didn’t blow it up to Reester Bunny size like I’d hoped but I guess you can’t have everything.

They did go me one better in the color department, though. The Reese’s Peanut Butter Ghost is white! That’s awesome!

Of course it means that the coating is white chocolate rather than the slightly superior milk chocolate they use on the peanut butter pumpkins but the ghosts are still pretty darn delicious. And the best thing about them is that they’re zero calories. Because they’re ghosts, right? I mean, that’s just science.

Junk Food Jones Bonus Tasty Tip: You know how all those ghost hunter shows claim that real ghosts create cold spots? Put your Reese’s Peanut Butter Ghost in the refrigerator for an authentic ghost hunter experience. Or for an even more authentic ghost hunter experience, look around your grocery store for them and fail to find any real sign that peanut butter ghosts even exist. The only proof you have that they’re real is some anecdotal evidence from a shady website. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For Better Or For Worse The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Today’s the day Marty McFly arrives in the future to find that the Cubs won the World Series. Doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen just like Skynet didn’t nuke the world in 2011 and New York didn’t turn into a walled prison city by 1997. If we don't have spinners, replicants, c-beams and a Tannhauser Gate by 2019 I'm officially giving up on the prognosticating power of 80s movies.

If it turns out that 90s movies have a better track record, after the Franchise Wars all restaurants might be Taco Bell. 

Scary. I mean, I like Taco Bell just fine but sometimes I need a burger or a pizza. After my 500-thousandth Chillupa I'll be praying for an Armageddon asteroid to put me out of my misery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Seems like everyone is trying to steal Reese’s thunder these days. First Snickers puts out a pumpkin and now Butterfinger is doing a cup. I guess you know you’re number one when they’re all gunning for you.

I already covered the Snickers. Now let’s take a look at the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup.

First of all, it’s not so much a peanut butter cup as it is a oddly shaped Butterfinger candy bar. 

I mean, it tastes the same a regular Butterfinger, just skinnier (so there’s a higher chocolate to filling ratio) and much less crunch. Honestly, the most satisfying thing about the Butterfinger candy bar is the snap when you bite in. I can’t understand why they’d want to sacrifice that just to change the shape. But they did. What you get is almost creamy.

The Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup isn’t terrible but it also isn’t a Butterfinger or a Peanut Butter Cup. If you want either one of those things then you’re out of luck. Spend your hard-earned junk food dollar elsewhere.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Candy Pumpkin Showdown

I prefer the candy holidays to the drinking holidays and there’s no bigger candy holiday than Halloween. It’s all about candy (well, that and devil worship) so you not only get all the regular candy that’s available the rest of the year but they also roll out the specialty stuff. We’ve already talked about my love for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin.  Now Snickers has a pumpkin of their own.

Oh snap! It’s time for a pumpkin fight. Let’s get it on!

Okay. That’s too much build up. It’s not like there’s anything all that exciting going on here. I’m just taking bites and writing about them. But which one won? Obviously it’s subjective and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins are my favorite candy of all time. If I’m the judge it’s not a fair fight. For me, Reese’s vs. Snickers is like Rhonda Rousey vs. anybody. But I can tell you a little about the Snickers Pumpkin. They look much better than the Reese’s pumpkin. Much better. If you like your candy pumpkins to look like a cartoon jack-o-lantern and not like weird blobs then pick the Snickers. And honestly the Snickers packaging looks better, too.  

But what about the taste? It’s thinner than the regular Snickers candy bar. You get less filling and more chocolate. If you think you might like that ratio then you should give them a shot but I think the mix is off. The Snickers Pumpkin looks great walking out but once the introduction is over and the cage door shuts, it’s a massacre. Reese's wins.