Monthly Archives: August 2011

Origin of Candy: Candy Corn and Candy Pumpkins

First created in the 1880s, candy corn has consistently remained at the forefront of popular Halloween candies. The candy corn production process, known as corn starch modeling, has remained the same for most of candy corn’s lifespan, with the only change being machines taking over the original handmade production. Candy pumpkins were created in the 1920s, and they followed the same creation process as candy corn, only using a different mold.

The National Confectioners Association now estimates that some 20 million pounds, or 9,000 tons, of candy corn is sold annually. To give you a visual of those 9,000 tons, that’s equivalent to 1,500 grown male killer whales, or 2,805 adult female African elephants, or almost the same weight as a Portland-class heavy cruiser. But remember, we’re talking candy corn here candies that are approximately 3 times the size of a whole kernel from a ripe ear of corn.

portland candy

“Fire the candy cannons!”

Now let’s look at Brach, the top retailer for candy corn: If you took all of the candy corn they sell per year and laid them end to end, you could circle the earth 4.25 times, which would equal 105,831.59 miles. That’s 19 Great Walls of China, or 48.5 Appalachian Trails.

The average serving size of candy corn is 22 pieces, which contains only 140 calories and no fat. If you’re like me consuming mass amounts of these delicious morsels this news is a blessing. Candy pumpkins, however, contain 25 calories and 5 grams of sugar per candy pumpkin, but they are fat-free. Either way, these candies guarantee a sugar rush, along with an inevitable sugar crash.

candy corn

With no fat and low calorie content, you could eat this whole image and not feel bad.

It was not until the 1990s that competitor companies began to realize the financial possibility of candy corn. From candy corn Halloween costumes to candy corn props, the candy corn image has been thoroughly whored out. The first competitor was Mars, Inc., which produced Snickers Cr¨me Pumpkin in response. These are milk chocolate-covered peanut and caramel candy one can presume they contain more calories and fat than traditional candy pumpkins. Peter Pan Peanut Butter Pumpkins were the next to be produced, which have a rich and creamy Peter Pan peanut butter center.

Candy pumpkin

One candy to rule them all…

In a 1985 U.S. Congressional hearing on Daylight Savings, candy pumpkins were placed on the seat of every senator. This stunt was done to win some favor for the candy companies, who wanted to push Daylight Savings past Halloween’s date. On July 8, 1986, Daylight Savings was pushed back until the morning of the last Sunday in October, but it did not include Halloween night. It was not until 2005 that daylight saving time was extended until the first Sunday of November. Were candy pumpkins responsible for this change? Probably not, but the candy companies that make these sugary treats were, and now they can sell your kids more candy for another hour. Essentially, everyone wins!

Origin of Candy: M&Ms

Not to be confused with the rapper, M&Ms are among the most beloved, cherished, and historic of American candies. Named after Mars and Murrie, the surnames of Mars Company’s founders, M&Ms were first patented in March 3, 1941. Forrest Mars, Sr., got the idea during the Spanish Civil War, when he saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with hard tempered chocolate shells. When production of M&Ms began in 1941, Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey’s Chocolate president William F.R. Murrie, had 20% interest in the product. This deal was formed because Hershey controlled the chocolate rations during World War II. There were only five colors: red, yellow, brown, green, and violet. We offer all of these M&M candies as Halloween costumes.


Quick Facts:

  • During World War II, M&Ms were made and sold exclusively for soldiers.
  • In 1950, the first black M was printed on the candies. The coloring was changed to white in 1954.

    These are my least favorite candy mascots.

  • In 1954, Peanut M&Ms were first created, and only produced in the color tan. Yellow, red, and green colors were not added until 1960.
  • In 1976, red M&Ms were removed due to health concerns involving amaranth, one of the core ingredients in the red dye, which was a suspected carcinogen. They were replaced with the orange-colored M&Ms.
  • Red M&Ms returned later, containing Allura Red AC within the dye. Europe recommends that Allura Red AC not to be consumed by children. Allura Red AC is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Norway.
  • M&Ms went to space for the first time in 1982, and have since been part of all missions.
  • In 1990, M&Ms held an exhibit at New York’s Erie County Fair, where they stuck 66,000 M&Ms to a fiberglass cow. Each candy was placed by hand, with the M facing outward. This was the first ever decorated bovine, and it appeared in the New York Post, UPI, WABC-TV, and Live with Regis.
  • Peanut Butter M&Ms were released in 1991.
  • M&Ms Minis were introduced in 1996. They were smaller candies, normally sold inside of plastic tubes. A video game, M&Ms: The Lost Formulas, was released in September 28, 2000, and it was based on the M&Ms Minis line.
  • M&Ms became the official chocolate of NASCAR in 2006.
  • All-green M&Ms packages were released during the 2008 Valentine’s Day season. These packages were based on the urban folklore of green M&Ms being an aphrodisiac. They were brought back in 2009.
  • A 2009 study showed that a dye similar to that of the blue M&Ms holds benefits in helping paralyzed rats walk again.
  • In 2010, M&Ms released the Bare All line, which featured normal chocolate M&Ms without shells.

Color changes for M&M candies.

Origin of Candy: Butterfinger

Halloween is slowly approaching, which means Halloween costume and candy sales are soon to skyrocket. Before you go bumbling into the store to stock up on essential sweets, let’s take a minute to learn the origin of these popular pieces of sugar. From Reeses to Skittles, York Peppermint Patties to Charleston Chew, each upcoming post will be a brief history of these most delicious candies. Today, we start with one of my personal favorites: Butterfinger.

But-ter-fin-ger: Noun A person who tends to drop things.

The Butterfinger candy bar was invented in 1923, by the Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago. The name Butterfinger was actually created through a public contest. When the candy bar was first created, Curtiss Candy Company rented airplanes and dropped Butterfinger bars into cities all across the United States. The publicity stunt increased awareness of the candy bar, thus spiking the candy’s popularity.

Crutiss Candy Company merged with Nabisco in 1981, then Nestle purchased Butterfinger from Nabisco in 1990. It was around this same time that Fox’s The Simpsons appeared in Butterfinger advertisements, which ran from 1990 to 2001. Bart Simpson was the most frequent of Simpsons characters appearing in the ads, saying slogans like Bite my Butterfinger!, Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!, and Nothin’ like a Butterfinger! When the contract was terminated, Simpsons made fun of Butterfinger, in the episode Sweets and Sour Marge.

You can hear the chocolatey snap!

Recently, Butterfinger was withdrawn from the German market due to it containing genetically modified ingredients from corn. In the United States, Butterfinger labels are printed in both English and Spanish.

In 2009, Butterfinger Buzz was released. Containing 80 milligrams of caffeine, this was the Butterfinger competitor product to the energy drink craze. This warning was on the label: “Contains 80mg per package (40 mg per piece), as much as in the leading energy drink. Not recommended for pregnant women, children or persons sensitive to caffeine.”

Butterfinger

One of the many alternative Butterfinger products.

There once was a time where you could buy Butterfinger Ice Cream Bars, Butterfinger Ice Cream Nuggets, or Butterfinger BB’s, but all of these products have been discontinued. While the ice cream products being discontinued is no big deal, since Butterfinger Ice Cream tubs are still being produced, it is the Butterfinger BB’s that cause tears to stream from my eyes. The joy and wonder of those delicious morsels were the epitome of my childhood. Yes, I know, it was brought back in 2009 as Butterfinger Mini Bits, but it will never be the same.

Finalizing Your Mens Halloween Costumes

Finalizing Your Mens Halloween Costumes

With so many mens Halloween costumes scattered about the costume world, it can be difficult narrowing down your decision to an exact match. If you find yourself stuck in the stage of self-doubt, unable to finalize your choice, we are here to ease you past that mental barricade. From silly to seductive, handsome to horrifying, let’s get you ready for Halloween.

Horrfying: Men have the benefit of being able to wear whatever they want for Halloween. If you want to cover yourself in blood and stick prosthetic knives all over your body, you can do it. As the Halloween specialists, we stock plenty of horrifying costumes. Aliens bursting out of chests, cannibalistic pirates, decaying masses of rambling zombies, and the list goes on. Find the one that complements your horrifying love of Halloween, then go absolutely crazy.

Gothic: As one of the only holidays that celebrate darkness, Gothic costumes are a must-have for Halloween. Even if you have never shown the slightest appreciation for black colors, countless individuals have found their perfect mens Halloween costumes among the Gothic genre. While most of the costumes are darker and more morbid than the rest, they often contain a certain flair. If you want to combine horror, Halloween, and looking great, Gothic mens Halloween costumes are you perfect match.

Hilarious: Some individuals want to watch the world burn, while others only care for making people laugh. If you want to spin some positivity through the world, these hilarious costumes are sure to make an impact. Guts will bust with laughter, sides will split with humor, and everyone will appreciate the addition of your hilarious mens Halloween costumes. With so many to choose from, you can easily expect to find the perfect hilarious mens Halloween costumes for your personal tastes.

Sexy: Women are not the only ones who can enjoy sexy Halloween costumes. Men have been known to dabble into the mix of sexy Halloween costumes since the dawn of costumes not a proven fact which is why we have so many sexy mens Halloween costumes in stock. From Western to ghosts, there are more sections of sexy mens Halloween costumes than there are hilarious, Gothic, or horrifying. Just find the one that works for you.

Double Feature: Brain-Eating Amoeba and Exorcist Schoolgirls

That’s right today’s informational, and always creepy, article is a double feature! Rather than give you the usual information about a single story, you get the grace of two separate, yet equally bizarre, stories. If you were going to do some Halloween costumes shopping, wait some time and feed your mind. So let’s not waste anymore time or words and get right to the good stuff. First up, the brain-eating amoeba.

Naegleria fowleri

On August 17th, Naegleria fowleri, or the brain-eating amoeba, claimed its second American victim this month. Christian Strickland, a 9-year-old, contracted an infection after enjoying some time at a fishing camp in Virginia, then passed away due to meningitis.

Naegleria fowleri is a parasite found in warm, stagnant water, such as freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, [Naegleria fowleri] enters nasal passages…and migrates to the olfactory nerves, eventually invading the brain. The parasite always causes meningitis, and the symptoms often include fever, nausea, stiff neck, and a front headache.

Blah, blah, blah, science.

The mortality rate for individuals affected by Naegleria fowleri is 98%. But do not go freaking out: Naegleria fowleri is a rare parasite. Since 1998, only 65 individuals have perished from the brain-eating amoeba. You have a better chance of being struck by lightening than having your mind consumed by this microscopic monster. As long as you’re not sipping up swamp water, you should be fine.


There is a new trend sweeping through Scottsdale, Arizona, the place where money grows on trees and the women are made of enough plastic to be considered inhuman: teenage exorcists. Reverend Bob Larson of Spiritual Churches International has started a school specifically designed to train, educate, and arm exorcists. While teenage schoolgirls are not his target audience, he has this to say on the matter: We have found that our female, teenage exorcists are particularly effective at curing the possessed.

Reverend Bob Larson

The girls attend exorcist classes, reading from Bibles and clutching crosses. These classes teach them the art of ‘curse-breaking,’ where they release individuals from the devil’s bonds. The more experienced girls teach the novices how to draw demons out of an individual using a list of demon names. These names help to provoke the demon, for there needs to be a sign of weakness for the exorcism to start.

People do look a bit surprised when I arrive, said Brynne Larson, daughter of Reverend Bob Larson. When people call for an exorcist, they don’t picture a 16-year-old high school girl.

Brynne Larson.

Accompanying these girls on their exorcisms are two strong males, who will hold the possessed victim down, allowing the girl to draw the demon out. Since there is no protocol for how the exorcism has to take place, the girls often improvise. The tools within their exorcism tool kit  a Bible, holy water, and a cross are the main means of driving demons from individuals.

It can be dangerous, said Brynne. I have performed exorcisms on three hundred pound, six-foot-five men, and they can get violent.

It’s not unusual to be sworn at, spat at, I’ve even seen projectile vomit, said Savannah Scherkenback, 19, one of the latest graduates from the exorcism school. Then she had this to say about her personal life: I think Harry Potter and Twilight are instigators of evil. They nullify morality and just serve to hook people in with evil. I don’t watch any television at all. I’m much too busy praying and fighting the devil.

It’s good to see that even brainwashed teenage exorcists believe that Twilight is evil. Way to go, girls!

Craziest Mens Halloween Costumes of 2011

Craziest Mens Halloween Costumes of 2011

One of the core benefits of mens Halloween costumes is the freedom of looking stupid on Halloween. Women have to look good, often bordering on the line of skanky and whorish, but men can dress as crazy or idiotic as they please. You want to look like a toilet drinking from a can of beans? Go ahead! You want to be an overweight samurai? Great! If you are one of the hardcore men searching for a stupid costume, these are the craziest mens Halloween costumes that we have to offer.

Weed Man: Kicking off the craziest mens Halloween costumes of 2011 is Weed Man, a superhero prone to oversleeping and consuming an excessive amount of Jack in the Box egg rolls. Always armed with his stereotypical slang of Dude and Man, Weed Man excels at getting lost in conversations and understanding the difference between oregano and other herbal substances. Plus, the felt and velvet costume materials are perfect for cooling out and listening to music.

mens costumes weed

Beaver Hunter: Next up is the Beaver Hunter, a man whose mind is more in the gutter than the forest. Equipped with a camouflage jumpsuit, orange vest, and orange hat, this man is dressed to impress, yessir. And as we all know, beavers are highly attracted to bright colors, specifically annoying-orange, which is why this hunting costume is perfect for bagging your own vivacious beaver, totally.

mens costumes beaver

Good in the Sack: As the name tag says, you will be taking the place of Good this Halloween, accompanied by his trusty sack. Stumble and bumble your way around a party, searching for that one person who actually understands the joke. I don’t get it, they will say. But you can smile wide, knowing that they’re just a little too dim to appreciate such artistic humor. I’m Good, you’ll say. Good in the sack!

mens costumes sack

Mammogram Man: I’m not going to dwell too long on this costume, simply because it has no reason to be dwelled upon. The costume includes a white lab coat, comical name tag, and three dimensional headpiece, with what appears to be a cutout in the shape of breasts. Because, you know, that’s what Mammogram Man does encourages women to stick their breasts in his face. I guess that’s the joke. I don’t really know. Let’s move on!

mens costumes mammogram

Speed Limit: Become the epitome of an upstanding citizen with this Speed Limit costume. While your friends are all revved up, energized from the partying, you can be the responsible individual, reminding them to slow down. Hey, this is a 69-mile-an-hour speed zone, mister! That’s when the ladies are sure to flock over to your inviting speed limit sign. Oh, you’re so responsible, Speed Limit, they’ll say. If only there was some kind of sexual innuendo in your costume to encourage me to make irresponsible, spontaneous decisions. Too bad, indeed, I guess Beaver Hunter will have to take care of the ladies.

mens costumes speed limit

Fashionable Mens Halloween Costumes

Fashionable Mens Halloween Costumes

As a man, you do not have the ease of costume shopping quite like the opposite gender. While womens costumes focus on skanky or scandalous styles, mens Halloween costumes are thrown under the bus, often known only for their humorous, silly tendencies. We want to help do away with this constant lack of focus on mens Halloween costumes. If you are a man who wants a fashionable Halloween experience, these are the mens Halloween costumes to make it happen.

Gangster Suit: Beckoning the smooth style of the 20s and 30s, this Gangster Suit features a double-breasted coat design and elastic waist pants. The pants and jacket is a brown pin-striped polyester blend. Hat, shirt, tie, and gun are not included in the purchase. If you want to sweep into a party with the style of a Casanova, this is the costume to make it happen.

mens costumes gangster

Highway Patrol Officer: Utilizing the professional appeal of a man in uniform, this Highway Patrol Officer gives you a near-authentic representation of sexual power. The uniform includes jacket, pants, and boot tops, but does not include shoes, glasses, shirt, and handcuffs. Combine the Highway Patrol Officer outfit with your own taste for fashion and you can easily enjoy a fashionable evening of patrolling parties.

mens costumes highway

Gambling Man: The Wild West was full of the manliest men every to walk upon the Earth, and now this Gambling Man outfit gives you the fashionable ability of recreating those historical, wild times. The outfit includes a vest, dickie, hat, garter, and pin, and does not include pants, toy cigar, shoes, or playing cards. Let loose your wild side of gambling and playing cards, then enjoy a fun time this Halloween.

mens costumes gambling

Saturday Night Fever: Party and dance away the night with the true passion of a fashionable monster with this Saturday Night Fever outfit. Included with the purchase is a shirt with attached white imprinted vest, black butterfly collar with sleeves, white flared pants, and white fitted jacket. As an Officially Licensed costume, the costume comes straight out of the movies and into your life.

mens costumes saturday

Southern Gentleman: Appreciate the air of living like a Southern Gentleman with this intense Halloween costume. Not all cowboys were gentlemen, but now you can live like one. The costume includes a long coat, vest with attached shirt sleeves and chain, dickie with attached tie, and hat.

mens costumes gentleman

The Rat King Phenomena

While Wikipedia contains a plethora of information, there are times where I wish I had never stumbled upon certain pages. Wow, that’s just plain gross,or I really didn’t need to learn about that, are usually my reactions. But sometimes, when I’ve stumbled upon something so grotesque and horrifying, I cringe and feel my skin shift, as if bugs were crawling up my legs and arms. The rat king phenomena is one of these times.

At some point everyone has gone through the frustrating task of untangling a mess of wires and cords. No matter how hard you try to keep them organized, to ensure that they do not become entwined, it happens. Now, imagine that those cords were not stationary, that they moved upon their own freewill. Churning, twisting, and always lashing about each other, they are bound to become nestled into a nest of twists that no amount of swears could undo. This, my reader, is the rat king phenomena, and I wish we had rat king Halloween props.

rat king

Rat king in the scientific museum Mauritianum Altenburg, Germany

Rats are known for their long tails, and when a group of rats are stuck inside a small area, their tails become tangled. Since rats are not the brightest of creatures, they panic and continue to pull away from each other, often resulting in even worse tangles. Compound this panic with multiple rats, possibly ten to twenty, and your nest of tangled cords is now a moving, chirping mound of furry flesh, who eventually starve to death.

Historically, the term rat king was used not to reference rats, but for people who lived off others. During the Medieval era, the term referenced an actual king sitting on a throne of knotted tails, as if forcefully keeping individuals under his power. When individuals began to discover the actual rat-rail nests, they believed it to be one animal with many bodies, with the word king referring to the animal’s size.

rat king

Rat king phenomena (bottom left), as depicted in an ancient painting.

The earliest report of the Rat King phenomena was in 1564. Since rats are breeding grounds for diseases and the plague, these nests of tangled rats were viewed as very bad omens. The advent of the brown rat displacing the black rat in the 18th century helped to decrease the frequency of rat kings, but the phenomena has not been completely wiped out. The most recent discovery was on January 16th, 2005, in the Võrumaa region.

Top 5 Mens Halloween Costumes for Dressing to Impress

Top 5 Mens Halloween Costumes for Dressing to Impress

Although the focus of Halloween is put upon costumes, it can also be an especially perfect time to find yourself a seductive partner-in-crime. Rather than panic and worry about which mens Halloween costumes work best, we have compiled a list of our personal favorites. From partying to trick-or-treating, and everything in between, these are some of the most impressive mens Halloween costumes we have to offer.

Police Officer: As ZZ Top said so many years ago, Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man, and this Police Officer costume continues that trend. If you find yourself in need of a fashionable uniform that utilizes a stereotypical image, this is one of the ideal mens Halloween costumes for you. The costume includes a short sleeve shirt with patches and badge, pants, utility belt, and hat with badge.

mens costumes officer

Noble Knight: There has yet to be a more manly, symbolic uniform than the medieval knight, who rescues princesses, slays dragons, and generally saves the day. Storm any Halloween castle and you are sure to find the damsel-in-distress waiting for your arrival. Noble Knight mens Halloween costumes include tunic with attached sleeves, belt, and boot covers. Does not include sword, pants, or shoes.

mens costumes knight

Western Wandering Gunman: Clint Eastwood created the iconic image of the cowboy, and now you can appreciate that image with the Western Wandering Gunman costume. Similar to the legendry of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood revolutionized the cowboy genre, causing women everywhere to swoon for his company. Each of these mens Halloween costumes include a brown poncho with white designs, and a vest with attached shirt and necktie. Does not include cigar or six-shooter.

mens costumes western

High Flyer: Since the explosive arrival of Top Gun, aviator pilots have joined the ranks of one of the sexiest mens Halloween costumes. The dangerous lifestyle, the military training, and the aviator glasses all combine to give you an impressive image for this year’s Halloween. Each costume includes top, jacket, faux shirt front, and hat. Does not include glasses or shoes.

mens costumes high flyer

Swashbuckler: Everyone has, at some point, imagined living the life of a pirate. With these swashbuckler mens Halloween costumes, that dream is one step closer to reality. Steal into a party, bombard your guests with your charming personality, then light up the night with some swashbuckling fun. Each costume includes jacket with attached shirt, belt, chest straps, waist sash, and head scarf. Does not include shoes or eye patch.

mens costumes swashbuckler

Best Super Mario Kids Costumes

Best Super Mario Kids Costumes

Video games have taken society by storm, and there seems to be no stopping their progressive popularity. Halloween is the perfect time to show off your child’s love for their favorite digital characters. Each of these kids costumes help your child get right into the costumed fun of Halloween, while appreciating the digital phenomena of video games. Let’s get to it:

Toad: Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach would be nothing without the trusty help of Toad, a friend so loyal that nothing can separate him from his friends. Toad has survived numerous Super Mario video games and revisions, always coming out on top and teaching our heroes a lesson about friendship. This Officially Licensed Nintendo Toad costume comes with the vest and cap. It does not include the shirt, shoes, or pants.

kids costumes

Princess Peach: This Officially Licensed Nintendo Princess Peach costume recreates the digital magic of one of the most famous characters of all time. Princess Peach is always finding herself caught in adventure and turmoil, and now your Halloween can get a bit of the fun. This Princess Peach costume includes the dress and headpiece.

kids costumes

Luigi: The infamous partner-in-crime is yours to appreciate with this Luigi costume. Officially Licensed and designed by Nintendo, this is one of the closest recreations of the original Luigi character. The costume includes jumpsuit, hat, and mustache, but it does not include the shoes. Combine it with any other Super Mario kids costumes to create a group theme.

kids costumes

Mario: No other Super Mario kids costumes can compete with the iconic imagery of this Officially Licensed Mario costume. Nintendo went to great lengths to replicate the original Mario costume, so your child gets an intense Mario experience. The costume includes jumpsuit, hat, gloves, mustache, and inflatable belly. Does not include shoes.

kids costumes

Whether your child wants to be the Super Mario hero or the heroine, these kids costumes are perfect for accenting and heightening your Halloween experience. Jumping straight out of the television and into your life, Mario and his friends are here to go on an adventure.