Are Halloween’s Hype Cereals Any Good?


Keaton Shaffer, Staff Writer

From terrifying werewolves and undead creatures to sweet treats and king-sized candy bars, Halloween has a wide scope when it comes to its themes. The spookiest of holidays can end up being a pretty tame event for those offering the tricks and treats. On the other hand, many of Halloween’s younger participants often find themselves counting down the days until the fabled night of fear, usually with a wide variety of Halloween-themed products and activities. For example, General Mills’ Monster Cereals have been a staple of the season for over half a century and recently got revamped this year.

If you’re unfamiliar with these monster-themed breakfast options, General Mills produces this collection of cereals with monster mascots every mid-fall. The line up consists of “Boo Berry,” the first blueberry cereal, represented by a lovable ghost wearing a hat and bowtie, “Franken Berry,” a strawberry cereal depicted with a pink Frankenstein’s monster, and the chocolate cereal “Count Chocula,” with a vampire character based loosely on Count Dracula. Other cereals have also been released in this line throughout the years, like “Frute Brute,” spoken for by a werewolf in overalls, though the aforementioned three are the only ones that have remained consistently produced since their introduction.

In 2022 however, fans of the Monster Cereals were treated with a surprise collaboration between General Mills and the New York-based artist KAWS, who designed new box art for limited edition releases of Boo Berry, Frankenstein Berry, Count Chocula and Frute Brute. Along with the redesign, this year’s Monster Cereals also introduced a sweepstakes event, with the prize being a set of KAWS-designed collectibles featuring each monster. 

But is all this promotion worth it for some cereals released decades ago? Do the Monster Cereals stand the taste of time?

The best Monster Cereal, at least of this limited edition release, is Frute Brute. There’s a reason it keeps returning to our shelves. Frute Brute may not be the most iconic cereal, but it would not have survived its many cancellations without the support of its fan base. And despite its appearance in multiple blockbusters in the ‘90s, much of its appeal comes from its appetizing qualities; its red corn pieces are the most vibrant of all four cereals, and the fruity marshmallows have the best flavor and most variety. When compared to, say, Count Chocula, Frute Brute’s saturated tones evoke feelings of nostalgia and imagery from one’s childhood, whereas the second best Monster Cereal consists of different shades of brown. And while they both taste equally good, Frute Brute’s looks give it the advantage. As for why Count Chocula beats out Boo Berry and Franken Berry, it’s really pretty simple: Chocula’s mixture of chocolate and marshmallow is a timeless combination adapted perfectly to cereal. There is virtually no other original cereal like it, something that cannot be said about Boo Berry and Franken Berry, which end up tasting and looking monotonous when poured out next to it. Some blame this blandness on the removal of oat flour from the Monster Cereals recipe back in 1993, claiming that making the non-marshmallow pieces all-corn ruined their texture. If this change really had such a large impact on the quality of the cereals, it would definitely explain why they’ve been relegated to a seasonal treat. 

Nevertheless, the Monster Cereals do still have something to offer in their actual consumption, as well as their aesthetic. It is undeniable that they represent a quintessential part of Halloween, combining the sweetness of candy with the, albeit retro, scares of the night. I recommend you take advantage of this Monster Cereals release and get your hands on some. And if you hear a bump in the night this spooky season, I hope it’s just a family member who can’t get enough of the howlin’ good taste of fruit.