Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014!!


Happy Halloween!!

Can you believe today is October 31st?  After months of anticipation, from waiting for stores to release their Halloween products to building-up to the big day with various posts throughout the season, Halloween has finally arrived!  In my opinion, for as much as I wanted to celebrate this day, I didn't want it to sneak up on us so quickly.  Personally, I was kept way too-busy by real-life that I wasn't able to dedicate as much time and effort into The Holidaze and Halloween season as I had planned or would have liked to, but I tried to make sure that didn't get in the way of enjoying the most amazing time of year.  Sure, in terms of content on the site, I would have liked to had brought you more.  I think I did a decent job and we covered many awesome products, but my list of topics far exceeded my goals met.  For example, the Funko Holidaze Pops! fell flat on their vinyl faces as soon as work decided to increase the level of stress.  The characters I had written down and planned on bringing you might have been phenomenal, but they simply weren't to be.  On the bright side, The Holidaze doesn't completely shut down after Halloween and there are no rules stating I can't bring you cool designs and artsy posts after today.  When I find the time, I'll certainly do my best to pick up where we leave off today to keep the ball rolling.  I mean, really, is anybody gonna complain about MORE Halloween in November?  I only have 6 readers so I highly doubt it!


Instead of focusing on what I didn't do this season, I'd like to be positive and look at what we did review.  There were incredible products released this year and I think 2014 did it's best to rival 2013.  No, I don't think anything short of Ecto-Cooler will top the 2013 return of Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy, but we definitely didn't take too many steps backwards.  Just think - Krispy Kreme Ghostbuster Donuts, Orange S'Cream Twinkies and the return of Scary Cakes, Cheetos Bag of Bones, Apple-ahhh-Rita's, Caramel Apple and Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Candy Apple M&M's, Orange Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins and Orange Kit-Kat's, Caramel Apple-filled Twizzlers, New General Mills Retro boxes, and Candy Corn Pebbles.  If you ask me, that's one hell of a haul for one Halloween season.  In fact, thinking about it again, it really does give 2013 a run for it's money.  But in the end, we're the ones who really lucked out and leave as winners.  We're fortunate enough to have these awesome things in our lives to help enhance the 'daze!


The majority of what I write about has to do with food and candy, but the meaning behind why I write about those things has nothing to do with the products themselves.  Sure, I'm giving you a review and I'm enjoying the taste-test, but it goes much deeper than flavor and appearance.  My goal from day one on The Holidaze is to take these things, old and new, and relate them to my life, past or present, to interact with all of you who share the same interests and make the same connections to nostalgia.  What I want to do is bring out, and bring back, memories you may have forgotten or will never forget.  I want to remind you of when you were a kid, what it was like to grow up loving Halloween and what it meant to you and your family.  If you didn't celebrate then, I want to show you how great it can be, for so many reasons, and invite you to do so with all of us.  If we're not celebrating old memories and all the emotions that come with them, then we're creating new ones in innovative ways that will one day be talked about 20-years from now.  Many of you have kids and, whether you're aware or not, you're making memories for them now that will one day be associated with their nostalgia.  They'll look back and say, "wow, I remember when me and my Mom ate those Cheetos Bag of Bones.  She loved them as much as I did.  That was a fun time."  If you notice, Cheetos Bag of Bones are an after-thought in that sentence.  It's about the connection, the bond, the relationship, the memory, nostalgia, and love that comes from what we're doing today.  That's the purpose of The Holidaze and, with all of you, I've been able to remember and share more things than ever before.


I want to thank each and every one of you who took time out of your day to read what I wrote.  Hopefully you enjoyed it, hopefully I made you laugh a little bit here and there, hopefully I brought something to your attention, and hopefully you took my advice and made the most of your Halloween season.  I know I'm not the greatest writer in the world and The Holidaze is far from the most popular site on the Internet, but I love my little niche and the group of people who continue to read and support this site.  Whether you indulged and shared on Twitter, or joined in on the Holidaze Halloween Instagram Challenge, I truly can't thank you enough for simply being a part of this tiny endeavor.  Together, we shared stories and enjoyed what this season had to offer.  Individually, we created our own memories with loved ones who mean the world to us.  That, without a doubt, is the most important part!  At the end of the day, sharing this season of macabre with those who are close to you is what separates "just another year" with "hey, remember that time?"


From a kid who grew up loving Halloween with a passion, I wish each and every one of you the Happiest of Halloweens.  If you don't have any plans tonight, then I urge you to change that by finding something to do.  It's Halloween on a freakin' Friday night!  That calls for action!  If you can't hit up the bars or find a costume party, then call your friends or family to go catch a movie.  Go out to eat and laugh over spooky cocktails.  Watch a horror movie on Netflix or any one of the 100 channels featuring a scary movie, tonight.  Bake orange cupcakes and eat a lot of Candy Corn.  Or, in the very worst case scenario, go online and read every Halloween post I've ever written.  But, no matter what, make sure you do SOMETHING tonight!  Don't let this year come and go with any regrets.  Live it up, enjoy yourself, enjoy the day and create life-long memories that don't involve you sleeping through Halloween.  As for me, I'm about to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters from my new apartment before dressing up like a scary inmate clown for a night of debauchery in Hoboken, NJ.  The best part?  It's Halloweekend, baby!  The party doesn't stop at midnight, it's only just begun!!  Believe me, we'll have plenty of time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Until then, Halloween doesn't end until we say it does!!

Enjoy, my friends, and shoot me a pic of your Halloween costume @HolidazeBlog on Twitter and Instagram!

Happy Halloween!!

Candy Corn Pebbles


This is the one that almost got away!  Thanks to social media, I find so many seasonal products on Twitter and Instagram long before I ever do in stores.  On one hand, that's a good thing because it makes me aware of items that I may have overlooked otherwise.  But, on the other hand, it can be pretty aggravating when thousands of people are posting pics with one of the coolest Halloween things of the season and I can't seem to find it anywhere.  The tease is what sometimes makes the hunt more fun and all that more worth it, but when it becomes impossible, it just gets frustrating.  That's what was was happening with new Candy Corn Pebbles.  In reality, this box was one of the first images I noticed back in early September when I searched #halloween2014 on Instagram.  One guy had it and I figured, okay, soon enough it'll be available nationwide and I'll snatch one up.  Then, weeks and weeks went by without any sign of transition.  Finally, on October 23rd, I resorted to the last of all resorts - Ebay!  $13 later, I'm no longer left out in the cold, I'm simply questioning my life's priorities.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jekyll & Hyde's - Times Square


On Saturday the 25th of October, after we enjoyed our delicious Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters donuts, it was on to stage two of our perfect Hallowday!  Going along with our plan, we were off to Jekyll & Hyde Club in New York City.  Now, last year, we went to the original location in the Village and it was a blast.  Much like this go-around, we went the Saturday before Halloween and while it was filled with patrons dressed up in Halloween costumes, there was no wait and we were able to walk right in.  Well, in 2014, that wasn't so simple.  Being in the very heart of Times Square, Jekyll & Hyde was attracting a slew of customers all eagerly anticipating entrance into one of the coolest restaurant / bars in the city.  For a lover of the macabre, this was the place to be!  I looked at the line of people waiting outside and said to my girlfriend, "Nah, this line is for the Haunted House, we could walk right into the restaurant."  She said "No, I'm pretty sure this is the line to get into the restaurant."  Being that I'm always right, I quickly responded back with a chuckle and affirmation that "Nope, this is definitely just for the Haunted House."  Then, like an RKO outta nowhere, some random girl on the street turns to me and says "Um, no, that's actually the line for the restaurant."  Damn.. I stood there, stunned, owned by a stranger, and had to suffer from salt in the wound when I looked over at Eileen who was grinning ear to ear.  Alright alright.. Everybody has to be wrong at one point in their lives, right?  I swallowed my pride, pretended that it didn't happen, and got on line knowing girl power is alive and well.

Dipped Caramel Apple Granola Bars


This time of year, we usually spend so much time talking about the big name brands that the smaller ones tend to fall to the wayside.  Sometimes, the little engine that could turns out to be much stronger than we gave him credit for.  Other times, we realize they're small for a reason and they confirm why they're much less-known than the big dogs.  Which category will today's Halloween treat fall into?  Well, we're talking about Market Pantry, and extension of the Target brand, and they've surprised me a few times in the past.  Market Pantry certainly goes all out for the seasons and does their part in celebrating the holidays, but not everything has been solid.  Today, we're talking about a product that sounds amazing, but may be too much of a long-shot to actually be any good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters Donuts


For the first time since January, I was off from work this past Saturday and couldn't have been more excited for the big day.  Knowing that it was the last Saturday before Halloween, my girlfriend and I wanted to treat it as such in celebration of the amazing season we've had in 2014.  The plan was to hop on the train, make the quick commute to NYC, grab a few Ghostbusters donuts from Krispy Kreme, eat at Jekyll and Hyde's in Times Square, drink at Times Scare afterwards, and enjoy a Haunted House followed by some Scaryoke.  It was quite the endeavor and, thankfully, I can say we pulled it all off without a hitch and it better than a few Halloweens I've had in the past.  It was too much fun to convey in words, but it wouldn't have been half of what it was without our very first stop at NY Penn Station!

Candy Apple M&M's


You know by now, we can't have seasonal products without seasonal M&M's.  For the last few years, M&M's have come second only to Oreo cookies in the battle for most-unique-flavors supremacy.  Whether it's Red Velvet, Pumpkin Spice, Carrot Cake, or Gingerbread, there's no doubt M&M's do their fair share of getting involved and enhancing the season.  Unlike some of you, I never knock a company for taking advantage of the system and using my curiosity for their profit.  In fact, I welcome it.  I love these new, sometimes oddball, off-the-wall flavors and always go out of my way to review and appreciate them.  In today's case, there's nothing too out of the ordinary and the flavor is probably long overdue.  Falling in line with Fall 2014, M&M's have gone apple picking!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hostess Scary Cakes


Two days ago, I talked about the return of Orange S'Cream Twinkies and the return of Hostess Halloween products.  Well, with those beautifully filled sponge cakes comes another spooky legend - Scary Cakes!!  Now, we've talked about these Halloween-themed cupcakes in the past, but long before we ever thought they'd disappear.  In 2012, I reviewed Scary Cakes and compared them to what they used to be.  Sure, the cupcake itself has stayed relatively the same, but the box art and package design has changed almost every single year.  Then, I talked about the old-school Munster Pack and change to Monster Cakes.  Those were monumental times in my life because I was literally drawn in by these works of art and inspired to illustrate, animate, color and design myself.  There were something about those pieces that infatuated me and filled my heart with Halloween spirit.  To this day, I can remember where I was and who I was with whenever those boxes were bought, put on the table, or opened.  It was a happy time, now a nostalgic period, and I payed homage to that in 2012.  Then, as I mentioned two-days ago, Hostess closed up shop and Scary Cakes were gone... forever?  So it seemed, but in 2014, Scary Cakes are back!!  This time, I'm not comparing them to the past.  I'm just happy they're once again a part of the present.

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