Monday, September 26, 2016

Crazy Halloween Junk Food

I'll have to admit, September has pretty much been a blur. Between work kicking my butt and being busy nearly every weekend, I had precious little time to write. Fear not though, since it's now officially fall it's really time to embrace the season ... and by embrace the season I mean gorge myself on Halloween junk food. These items have no relationship to each other whatsoever other than the fact that I couldn't get enough out of them for a full fledged article.

Hostess Scary Cakes

Yes! These are back for another year. Sure, they're just the basic Hostess cupcake any other time of the year, but not in the fall. In the fall, they are "Scary Cakes" with S'cream filling. If these aren't a sign that the Halloween season is in full force then I don't know what is. The box design this year is great with a spooky design that just grabs you. The icing on the cupcake has that standard Hostess squiggle design but the frosting is orange! Name another time of year you'll find a cupcake with orange icing! Now, if you've had a Hostess cupcake before, you know what this tastes like, however I think it has just a little bit better flavor and taste because it has a Halloween style. Put some of these out along with a cold glass of cider for the Great Pumpkin when he comes and your Halloween will be that much better.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

I've always looked at Pepperidge Farm stuff from afar, it being more expensive than your normal Chips Ahoy or Oreo cookie pack. I've gotten a few of their products before and haven't been too terribly impressed which is mostly the reason I stray away from them (the other being cost). These were one of the first "fall" products I saw in the stores, so I grabbed it. The package design is very bright as has a design of falling leaves on the top. Opening these, I couldn't discern any particular smell so I just hoped they wouldn't be horrible. Well, they weren't horrible, but they weren't great either. The chunks you see picture in the cookie on the package are cheesecake flavored chunks. The cookie itself had a slight sort of gingerbread-y flavor to it. I can't say I can recommend these but you could do a whole lot worse.

Count Chocula Cereal Bars

Speaking of doing a whole lot worse, I found these on a display at the grocery store lumped in with all the Halloween cereals (side note: review of the cereals coming soon) and though they looked interesting. The box has a very cartoonish  vibe to it, probably to appeal to kids or fans of the Count Chocula cereal. I had the cereal itself before I had this so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Well, everything I expected went right out the window when I bit into it. It's got a very processed and marshmallow heavy taste and has the consistency of cardboard. The chocolate looks and tastes incredibly fake and it's very heavy on the artificial sweetener. I tried to offer part of the bar to my 3-year old son and he promptly screamed and ran away. Even if kids are running from this, that should tell you something.

Hi-C Ecto Cooler

This was all the rage back in the summertime when the new Ghostbusters movie came out in July. People were looking high and low and grocery retailers big and small just so they could get a nostalgic taste of their childhood. I didn't find any in my area until mid-August, just before the movie left theaters. That didn't stop me though, I grabbed a bunch of the 10-box packs. It tastes just like I remember it, very citrusy with orange and tangerine. You better believe that when I found more of these at the store, I loaded up. There's no telling if this is back for good or if stores are just going through what stock they have left. One thing is for sure though, this is the perfect drink to have on a fall night when you're staying up late to watch a Pumpkinhead marathon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Most Amazing Halloween Aisle Ever

This caused quite the stir on my Twitter page over the weekend. Of all the retail establishments I've been to so far this season, this one aisle at my local grocery store is by far the absolute best of all of them. As I said on Twitter, this aisle take me right back to a 1992, perhaps somewhere in a corner drug store. This particular grocery store looks like it hasn't been updated since then either, with outdated lettering atop all the different departments and old tile floors that seem to be the original floor. This was the only good picture I could get as the store was busy and I had to take this somewhat sneakily so the guy at the meat counter wouldn't give me a suspicious look. Anyway, let's take a look at some of the highlights of this ...

This is one of the best M&M displays I've ever seen with Red dressed as a vampire and surrounded by mountains and mountains of M&Ms. I would wager a guess that when the store is closed he swims in these bags like Scrooge McDuck swims in money. I mean, just look at the mounds and mounds of candy that surrounds him, wouldn't you be in heaven too? Also, not to be forgotten in this shot are the giant cauldrons, presumably to be used for some sort of witchcraft shenanigans or to be used as a Halloween candy bowl. The possibilities are endless!

Towards the back of the display, we have a scarecrow and a crazy tree sprouting all sorts of candy. The scarecrow is your typical cutesy fall fare for those who want to play it straight. That's not really my style. I like the crazy Halloween candy tree. Also, if you look very closely in the back you can see  part of an old school circular department store rack covered with costumes. Very 1980s-ish.

These look like they're supposed to be ghosts. I'm down with that. What is the white stuff they put on them, was it paint of some sort? This looks like a crazy high school arts and crafts project and I can so dig that.

It's the trick or treat monster and he's coming to steal all your candy! Not really, but this sign is really, really cool. The monster kind of that that reaction like Tweek on South Park does, like he's perpetually petrified. Also, what is that coming out of his left side? Is it a bolt? An arm?

You can't have a retail Halloween display without and inflatable graveyard scene that nearly touches the ceiling.

There are more inflatables and a lamp post that I very nearly bought as it was listed at 20% off the sticker price. Also, any store that has so much Halloween candy that they have to sort it into big bags and monster bags, is tops in my book.

The thing that makes it for me is while this aisle may look clean, it's also meant to be messy, which brings me back to my drug store analogy as all drug store Halloween aisles were always a bit unkempt. This one aisle takes everything that is awesome about the Halloween season and packages it neatly in one semi-neat ball that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Thank you grocery story Halloween aisle. Thank you for being you.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Homecoming Parade

A sure sign that fall is upon the little town where I live is the return of high school football, with the biggest game of the year being the annual Homecoming game. I'm not sure how it is in other parts of the country, especially in big cities, but every year there is a huge parade down the main road out to the high school which is just outside the city limits. Hundreds of people come from everywhere in town and all the smaller surrounding villages and set up shop along the road, with some even tailgating, in preparation of the parade.

I personally didn't have to do any of that. All I had to do, along with my son and my wife, was to walk down a few feet to the corner and take in the parade. Living just off the main road in town definitely has its advantages sometimes. Anyway, the parade set off from the city park around 6:00 and reached my street roughly a half hour later. We could tell it was getting close as traffic has ceased and the faint sound of snare drums inched towards us. Then it came, marching steadily westward up the hill, past the IGA market, and through a small batch of trees and arrived with great fanfare. I was ready to document its arrival with my camera (aka iPhone) in hand.

As you can tell by these photos, this was the marching band and color guard. I considered trying out for the band once in middle school, but seeing as you had to pay for the instrument and the fact that I was (and still am) horrible at making music of any sort, I passed on it. My favorite shot here is the one I took from behind after the color guard had marched past. 

These are the floats made my each class. I'm not sure what the theme was and was confused as one of them said "Seven Mile High" on the back of it. The problem is that there is no Seven Mile High School, everyone from Seven Mile goes to Edgewood. Logistical deficiencies aside, the only float that made any sense to me is the one that says "Let the Knights Fall" as that's who we were playing in the game, the Northwest Knights

Nearly every high school sport was represented in the parade, from ladies volleyball and ladies golf, to the cross country team and football and cheerleading squads from varsity all the way down to the K-1 team.

Along with Trenton, every fire department and rescue squad in the school district was represented as well, including the rural ones from local townships.

Of course local businesses have to get involved too. Lake Bailee is a recreational park and gun range that hosts an annual haunted hayride. I've never gone to it as there is one in Springboro that is really good, but maybe one year I'll go down to check this one out

This photo should give you an idea of how long the parade was. Past the fire engines in the photo, it was just simply local businesses in cars. Not long after this we headed back home as my son was staring to get bored and it was nearly time to get settled in for the evening as I had work the next morning.

One last shot, this time of my son watching the parade.

The next day was the actual homecoming game itself, which Edgewood soundly won over Northwest 42-14. It's always a good day when the football team wins the homecoming game and it's even better when the whole area comes together to enjoy a community event like this.