Thursday, May 22, 2008

Candy Craniums: Oh, The Sweet Horror!

The Skeleton Spotlight shines this time on:
The Skull Crushers candy

Although this blog will focus mostly on entertainment relating to the scary-but-fun aspects of skulls in movies and other media, what better way to start it off than with a post about actual sweet skulls you can eat? I mean, in the world of killer skulls, it's eat or be eaten.

For me growing up in the late 60's and early 70's, Halloween was a lot more than just going out and getting candy. Being a monster kid, it was my very own holiday. It was about celebrating everything I loved. The candy was a bonus to the whole experience. But it was a nice bonus, one that I enjoyed for as long as possible.

Upon getting home from trick-or-treating, I would dump out the contents of my bag and revel in my hard-won booty. Of course the chocolate got eaten immediately, but the rest I would spread out and separate into piles according to the type: the ubiquitous black-and-orange- wrapped peanut butter candy (which always tasted as if it had been left over from last year), the coconut chicken stix, the candy pumpkins, the bubblegum balls, and even the odd piece of peppermint that the old folks gave, which you knew was because they forgot it was Halloween.
I would count the candy each day before school and then again when I got home, to see how much my Mom snitched during the day. And that candy lasted me for weeks. I would hoard it, rationing out only a few pieces from each pile a day, in order to make it last. I sometimes had candy remaining at Thanksgiving. I didn't get much the rest of the year, and this pile of treasure was, well, treasured. I would take some and eat it ceremonially while staying up late on Saturday to watch the local version of Creature Feature.

Now, this candy was free, but the Halloween candy I bought with my small allowance money or redeemed soda bottles was the best stuff. It was a fall tradition to get the orange wax harmonica, and wax vampire lips. Of course one didn't just bite into them upon opening them, Heaven forbid. They had to be used for the purpose for which they were created. So, I made some horrendous noise blowing through the harmonica, which being wax was considerably less easy to play than the real thing. I suppose the "music" came out sounding like a wet winter wind keening through an attic ventilation ducts.

Of course this irritated my parents to no end, and I would stalk around with the vampire lips and teeth threatening the family dog (for lack of siblings) for awhile before the slobber got too drippy. Then, and only, then could the ritual be completed and the wax chewed. And back then, it was good and sweet. Today's wax lips and teeth are tasteless and crumbly affairs.

I got into trouble once by leaving a pair of teeth on the back of the family car's rear window and forgetting them. The sunlight melted them into a waxy spot that stayed till they traded it in. After that I left them in my pants, to be melted by the washing and drying process, which led to more punishment. I learned to just eat them and not try to make them last like the other candy. Like the perishable manna of Old Testament fame, some Halloween candy was best consumed immediately.

Now, Halloween candy is more than just individually-wrapped bite-sized versions of your everyday sweet stuff repackaged for the season. Good Halloween candy is all about concept and attitude. And one of the all-time greats, when you consider the idea, the packaging artwork and the flavor, is "Skull Crushers."

Now, let it be known that I had never truly grown up. Sure, I do adult things and have adult responsibilities, but if you cut me open you'd find that 12 year old boy I once was, reading a comic with one hand and operating the controls with the other, balancing a blue creme soda between his legs. I was in my 20's when I came upon Skull Crushers, but I still was intrigued upon seeing them in the early 80's at a convenience store.

It was white chocolate in the shape of a skull that contained red respberry jelly filling. When you bit it or broke it open, the tasty gore bled forth! And not only that, but they tasted great! After eating what I had, I went back, and bought the remainder of the box.

The candy didn't last long, but I kept the box for the cool artwork. When I read the Halloween candy blog post over on Zombo's site, it made me think of this old favorite. I dug through my collection bookcase (a fun but slow process in itself) to find it and post it here for enjoyment by like-minded people. Only a few would probably appreciate it, but that's what blogs are for, aren't they?

When I did a Google search to see if anyone else remembered them, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is still being manufactured! And with spiffy new artwork. I plan on ordering a box soon.

Here are some links to places you can get Skull Crushers and other fun stuff:

Apparently other candy companies make their kinds of candy skulls, as seen above. You can buy them in bulk if you have a sweet tooth for candy cannibalism.

Stop the presses! Or servers, or whatever! UPDATE: Now you can make your OWN Skull Crushers at home!

Well, Herbert, you can't complain. I distinctly heard you tell them, "bite me!"

Here's a recipe page that tells you how to make your own home-made version of Skull Crushers. Have at it!

Now, these look tasty. Maggot candy... where was THIS when I was a kid?

But when it comes to skull-eating, Mexico has it all over the U.S. Made all over the country and sold in every town and village to celebrate "the Day of the Dead," these sugar skulls have been a traditional holiday treat for many years. In "The Halloween Tree," Ray Bradbury brought the practice into American homes for the first time for many readers.

"Sweet skulls, sweet skulls, crystal sugar candy skulls. Tell me your name, I'll give you a skull." -Mr. Moundshroud. It was this very line that inspired the name of this site.

Learn how to make your own sugar skulls here. The photo below comes from that blog.


AllHallowSteve said...

While researching a post for my Halloween countdown, I found your post with the exact same results.

Great minds think alike.
And you've got a GREAT site!


Anonymous said...

Okay so I have been wandering whatever happened to the white skulls with pink filling that I used to get in my candy bag??? I remember the wrapper was blue?? I searched it and came up on this site. Skull Crushers!!! I am sooooo happy that I have found the name. I can remember the taste like it was yesterday. People thought I was crazy, no one remembered!!! Thanks!

Glen said...

Wonderful memories of wonderful Halloween candy! Thanks for sharing this familiar tale of Hallow's Eves Past! I had forgotten about the Skull Crushers (like you I had only known them as an "adult"), and hadn't thought about them in years. I'll have to track some down!