Target Is Off-Target…Fruit Snacks.Halloween. Dinosaurs.

Did you know there was a time when I took life too seriously? Really!  I had dreams and aspirations that took a very dedicated approach, completely devoid of a sense of humor or time to stop and smell the roses. Then I found the world of blogging and I was able to have an alter-ego of epic proportions. Here I can write about stupid movies and express how I imagine that chocolate versus vanilla are the cosmic center to all things worth fighting for. It’s an outlet that brings like-minded people closer to me and confuse those who are already in my life. Now that I have justified my hobby it is time to delve into another bizarre topic; Target and it’s Halloween magic carpet ride. Also…Halloween fruit snacks.

I am fascinated by marketing and advertising. Mainly the question of why consumers, for lack of a better word, consume. In an economy that is about as reliable as my great-aunt Rose in an American Gladiator competition, people still will pay hard-earned money on plastic skulls and rubber bats. And that is why I love this country. More over, the companies that provide such retail like Target.

In years past, Target has really been the place to go if you want to host a Halloween party that will make your neighbors like you more and piss off the guy on the block that stuffs flannel shirts and pants with hay, top it with a Freddy Krueger mask and say he has the best decorated house. Yeah, Target will give you the ammunition to make that guy invest in Christmas lights because Halloween is your time to shine. But like any heavy-hitter of a season, you can expect the luster to dim as years go by. I think this year Target didn’t go for the touchdown but rather went for the field goal. Here is a look at the Target here in North Carolina.

Okay, the reason for the bird is that I think I caught an underwear shot by accident. And before you accuse me of being a pervert taking cellphone pictures, I do know her. Trust me, it’s much weirder the fact that I am taking pictures of an aisle in Target. Anyway, here is the Target Halloween decor of 2011. Meh. I don’t know why, but it just feels kind of plain. Perhaps I expect too much?

I can’t really tell if everything is out yet or there is more to come but seeing how it is already mid-September I venture to think that all things Halloween should be displayed. I mean other stores stock Halloween items in July so I hope they are on the ball. Regardless, this is what we gots!

The lawn ornaments is where it’s at with me. I think it is a neighborly finger in the eye to all those who don’t celebrate the seasons and a great way to fire a shot across the bow to the bald jack-hole who puts silhouetted signs of a dog pooping with the word “NO” on his lawn. Target will give me the ability to drop his home equity for less than $50.

The diner decor is lost on me but the girlfriend likes it so I feel it is only fair to talk about it. I must admit I would love to drink my coffee from a ghost mug and though the jack-o-lantern place mats seem impractical for the purpose of protecting the table, I would still eat spaghetti off its face. It’s the little things, you know?

I don’t really understand the theme that Target has decided to go with this year. In seasons past we have had characters like three kids in their alter ego Halloween character representation (witch, ghost and devil) and the famous kitten-killer Domo. But this year seems a bit…plain-Jane. Kind of like the whole set up. It’s really hard to tell only visiting one Target of, I don’t know… ten thousand, but I am remiss if I think that each one has the ability to project the seasonal spirit of every single general manager. If that was the case, of all the Target gm’s in the world, this particular gm would be the Charlie Brownest.

Last year and I believe the year before that, DOTS candy had a wider variety of Halloween flavors to include Ghost DOTS, Candy Corn DOTS and (my favorite) Blood Orange DOTS. This year, I am sad to say, we are only able to buy Ghost DOTS which are just regular DOTS minus the food coloring. So really, the Tootsie Roll company is saving money. And we can all be happy for that. I take that back, eat it DOTS! I want Blood Orange Bat Black back!

Just like Target is known for, there is always something for everyone. My girlfriend, Groucho, has a very nostalgic connection with eyeball chocolate candy and I get that. Half of everything in this blog is a look back to events and items I hold dear. I just love that of all this Halloween retail and candy she gets taken with the oldie and goodie. *sigh*

I, myself, was taken with 30 dinosaurs for $4.00. I am not really sure what they have to do with Halloween but I do know that I love them. I guess it’s just the packaging, “30 Dinosaurs”. That is so simple yet so resounding to me. It makes me want to start an alternative instrument band and call it 30 Dinosaurs. Maybe 34 Dinosaurs. Because 31, 32 and 33 are just silly. And this is a serious blog!

One thing we both could agree on is this; a cup cake stand. I really don’t know anyone who can justify owning a cupcake stand for $4.99 or really a dozen cupcake stands because we all know cupcakes aren’t made solo, but it warms my heart to know these exist. I don’t think I would go with a bug though but rather a lunar module.

Okay, we have taken a quick trip through the Halloween aisle at Target and while it wasn’t a home run it did have a few gimmicky items that spoke volumes for the season of the witch but what about the candy? I am in my thirties and while I appreciate that this is a holiday for tooth decay, I have no real sweet tooth. Besides, what am I going to say about Snickers or Twizzlers that hasn’t been said a billion times before? No, I think the fact Blood Orange Ghost DOTS are discontinued is enough for me to boohoo the candy topic. I will, however, review something close to candy and arguably the same. Halloween theme fruit snacks!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I feel justified to review fruit snacks over candy because it is closer to my heart. See, I happened to be the exact age Betty Crocker and Nabisco targeted in the 1980’s when Fun Fruits and Fruit Rollups hit the grocery shelves. They were my heroine. My crack. I was one time caught rubbing the plastic back sheet of a Fruit Rollup on my face behind the school playground. I’m better today. In fact I have learned to control my urges to mash six pouches of Garfield fruit snacks together to form one mega fruit snack and huff the empties because of two…er…three reasons. Here they are:

  1. They don’t make Garfield food products. Well, not in this country.
  2. I have found beer.
  3. I’m an adult.

I may have kicked my addiction but retro-love knows no bounds and I am here to review three different fruit snacks that align with Halloween and are available at fine Target markets near you. Unless you are Canadian or British. Then I am sorry and this whole article is a bit of a waste to you.

I’m going to go ahead and start with the Target brand first, aka, Market Pantry. From the box you really can’t discern these from ordinary fruit snacks other than the name “Halloween fruit snacks” and the picture of spooky shapes. (I use the term spooky as loosely as possible) I expect to find similar packaging for holiday-themed snacks in the former Soviet Union. But what is lacking in packaging creativity is made up for in shapes and taste. The flavors are grape, strawberry, peach, orange and raspberry but the thing that concerns me is that there is clearly a green fruit snack. What of these flavors constitute green? I am going out on a limb and saying raspberry because you could have any color and it could pass for raspberry. It pisses me off almost as much as the silent “p” in raspberry. More on that hatred later.

So, these are pretty good and I can say that with confidence now that I’m on my twenty-ninth pack. They are the same cheap alternative fruit snacks that Brach’s came out with to challenge Fun Fruits. Didn’t work though because they felt and tasted like gummy bears and didn’t stick to the teeth for weeks. I’ll wait to give the grades at the end.

Taking it a step up on the Halloween-theme we have Florida’s Own Au’some Nuggets. Sorry Rev.13 for the term “nugget”. I was pretty excited to see how they crammed 80 pouches into a box that size and had an “ah-ha” moment when I saw that they were the size of mouse heads. I had an even bigger “ah-ha” moment when I saw that the fruit snacks were the size of mouse shit.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I read “nugget” but I was certainly confused how they boasted being a fruit snack. These were Chicklets that you ingest. My girlfriend did the math breakdown since she is an engineer and she figured that in order to equate the same amount in grams as the other fruit snack boxes, you would have to spend twenty dollars to the five dollars that the other boxes cost. I don’t know. This isn’t a financial blog, it’s a blog about idiotic crap and this box of fruit snacks is the poster child. I will say that if you eat them as they are intended they are not half bad. The four flavors are grape, orange, apple and strawberry and they taste shockingly good! Too back you have to eat thirty to achieve that.

Ah, the one that I saved for last. Betty Crocker, you pulchritudinous vixen of snack time. I love you in a way no man should ever love a box.(please don’t read into that) This artwork maybe the result of a community college online graphic design course but this…this is my Mona Lisa. It hits the season like it should be hit; hard and with no regret. This is the way I buy my fruit snacks and will choose to do so far into my diaper years. Nothing can go wrong with these. Nothing.

Hmm. That is funny. Why do they look so fuzzy? This texture isn’t like any Betty Crocker fruit snack I have seen before? Could it…could it be?* Gasp!* They are mother fing gluten-free!!!! Whaaaa? The binding product that molds the perfectly pro-cavity snack has been left out leaving this sweet…nutrasweet-tasting morsel of foul. I feel like I am eating dried dates and papaya! If I wanted to eat fruit I wouldn’t be eating fruit snacks!!!! JUDAS!

I feel like Gage at the end of Pet Semetary after he has been injected with the poison. No fair. No fair.

Well, I have to grade these and seeing how giving them an ABCDF standard grade doesn’t really match up to fruit snacks I will make up my own system. See if you can understand the coinciding grades.

Market Pantry (Target brand) Halloween fruit snacks:

  • Creative box design- waffle-soled running shoe in dog shit
  • Fruit Snack shapes- band new tennis ball smell
  • Taste- Cheez-Its and a Coke

Florida’s Natural Au’some Nuggets:

  • Creative box design- Inside the car during an automatic car wash with your favorite CD
  • Fruit Snack shapes- A gallon glass jar of picks dropped on the foot on a 30 degree morning
  • Taste- Daisies

Betty Crocker’s Halloween Fruit Snacks:

  • Creative box design- Beer and everything feels like rabbit fur
  • Fruit Snack shapes- An October Saturday night in a corn maze. With beer.
  • Taste- A shart in yoga class.

So I have needlessly rambled off a holiday post that is now…2061 words?!?! Man, I am sorry for that. But thanks for coming to Target with me and spinning around the world of Fruit Snacks! That was fun!

OH! Before I forget, while the sign may say Halloween, they really want you to start thinking about Christmas. REE! REE! REE! REE! (Sounds from Psycho)

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