Reasons for the seasons

by Kelly Hillock, Features Editor

It’s been sixteen days and I still don’t have it. Sixteen days into October and I don’t have the most important thing of the season: Count Chocula.

We all know about my obsession with pumpkin spice-flavored things. But really, the true reason for October — besides the allegation of autumn, football and candy sales — is the spook-tacular cereal Count Chocula.

Count Chocula and his friends, Boo Berry and FrankenBerry are seasonal breakfast cereals that appear on grocery store aisles around the same time the Halloween shops open their tented doors.

Count Chocula and FrankenBerry first appeared on the market in 1971, making Count Chocula the first chocolate-flavored cereal with marshmallow bits and FrankenBerry the first strawberry-flavored cereal. Boo Berry joined the team a year later, becoming the first blueberry-flavored cereal. While I’ve never actually tried FrankenBerry or Boo Berry, I can easily say that sugary breakfast cereal should be left to the superior chocolate. I’m a purist.

These three cereals have been making their spooky entrance each Halloween season for the past 40 years. I’m assuming this trio of Monster cereal sticks around like a trio of ghosts because cereal connoisseurs and Halloween aficionados rejoice together and dedicate entire blogs to seasonal cereal while waiting all year long for the month of October. I mean, that’s what I do.

Or, there’s something about the changing of seasons that excites people over products offered for only a limited time. There’s something special about enjoying particular things at particular times of year. For instance, Peeps, try as they might to be popular year-round, are really only relevant during the spring. Does anyone want to eat a ghost-shaped Peep? No, but I certainly want to eat a bunny-shaped Peep before embarking on an Easter egg hunt. Seasonal products contribute to the fleeting feeling that nothing lasts forever. A sticky animal-shaped marshmallow only matters once a year.

Here in San Diego, we don’t really understand the concept of seasons, so seasonal products make it easier to understand the passing of time. When Monster cereal hits grocery stores, I know its officially Halloween season and time to cover my apartment with spider webs.

Currently, we are in the throes of pumpkin season. Shelves are stocked with pumpkin-flavored everything and by the time November hits, it will all be replaced like Thanksgiving never even happened. And in the meantime, I’ll gorge myself on pumpkin pie and Count Chocula and Halloween candy like it only comes once a year. Good thing it does.

Every March, McDonald’s serves the Shamrock Shake. It’s a mint-flavored milkshake, appropriately colored green for St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrock Shakes are only available during the month of March and every year, I’m on a mission to consume as many mint shakes as possible.

Once Halloween has ended and the corporations forget Thanksgiving is a holiday, Christmas makes its official entrance. This also marks the official arrival of all things peppermint. Candy cane ice cream, Starbucks peppermint mochas and peppermint Oreos. Things that can’t become peppermint-flavored are just artificially colored red and green or shaped into Christmas trees.

It’s excessive and obnoxious but every opportunity companies take to play into the consumerization of celebrations, it heightens our expectations. Seasonal products allow me to enjoy each point throughout the year without abandon.

Now, I need to find a box of Count Chocula as soon as possible before its too late.