A Newbie's First Taste Of Boo Berry Cereal

Even without the backbone of childhood nostalgia, General Mills' seasonal cereal still delights adults.

Recently, between mouthfuls of turkey burger, my partner and I were having an animated discussion about the upcoming Halloween season. The dinner conversation was rightfully bubbly, because out of all the holidays on the secular calendar, this costume-and-candy occasion is our favorite. What would we dress up as this year? Which parties would we attend? And why, I lamented, did our local grocery store not have Boo Berry in stock yet?

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"Boo Berry?" my partner asked. "What's that?"

In a state of disbelief, I whipped out my phone and hastily Googled the ghost-themed blueberry-flavored cereal, holding up a picture of the product—a dark blue box with a cartoon specter floating above purple corn puffs and plaque-building marshmallows. To my surprise, she'd never so much as seen the stuff before.

Boo Berry, explained

One of General Mills' monster-themed Halloween cereals, Boo Berry first hit grocery store shelves in 1972 to the delight of children and the dismay of nutritionists everywhere. The lineup, which also includes Count Chocula and Franken Berry, expanded this year to include the new Carmella Creeper.

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Growing up, whenever the calendar flipped to September, the frosted fare became a full-on food group in my house, maintaining a vise-like grip over breakfast until November 1. I had mistakenly assumed that all other '90s kids had similarly relied upon Boo Berry's deliciousness. My partner made me realize how wrong I'd been.

I begged to take her on a grocery run across town to prove my point. It's delicious! I promised. You have to try it! I pleaded. But after scouring Targets and Acmes galore, I couldn't find Boo Berry anywhere. Finally, I took the 21st-century route and ordered a box on Amazon.

Once it arrived, I grabbed two bowls, shook out a serving size for each of us, poured milk on top, and whipped out my notebook, pen in hand, ready to chronicle my partner's gushing endorsement. The violet, monster-shaped puffs crackled in the milk, which slowly changed from its natural creamy white to an impossible shade of lavender.

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She crunched one bite of cereal, then another, like a food critic sizing up a filet mignon. Meanwhile, I was already pouring a second bowl, basking in the memories of autumn mornings past. Then, my inflated memories were pricked by the sharp present.

"Tastes like Cap'n Crunch Berries had a baby with Lucky Charms," she said. It's sweet and probably fun for kids, she explained, but it tastes pretty much like every other sugary cereal. "There's just no nostalgia for me."

I scribbled this all down, deflated by the truth of her statement. As I approach 30, trick-or-treating is a thing of the distant past, at least until I have children of my own. I don't eat Snickers till my stomach aches anymore, nor do I stay up late watching R-rated horror films against my parents' wishes or carve jack-o'-lanterns with terrifyingly ugly faces. If I don a costume, it's not Batman or Spider-Man, but rather some obscure reference that only a handful of fellow party attendees understand. Each fall, I drink pumpkin-forward cocktails at bars stuffed with low-effort kitty-eared patrons, all of us tightly gripping something that we fear has passed us by. But General Mills monster cereal remains blessedly consistent from one year to the next—a flavor that connects us to a childhood that grows more distant every year.

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Just as I was thinking through all this, though, my partner fixed herself another bowl. A ghoulish grin crossed my face. Wait till she tries Count Chocula.

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