What better way to really get into Halloween than with a sugary breakfast cereal made in homage to Mary Shelley’s novel about resurrection and playing god? How many people died in the original Frankenstein novel? That’s okay, he’s worthy of a children’s cereal and Franken Berry is proof of that. He’s also proof that a well balanced breakfast can start a dialogue with your children about man creating life.
General Mills’ Franken Berry cereal debuted in 1971 alongside Count Chocula. They were the first two “monster cereals” and according to Wikipedia the first batches used a different dye that didn’t quite digest, resulting in “Frankenberry Stool”. I’ve never had Franken Berry stool, but I have had the cereal. Nowadays, Franken Berry is harder to find in stores. He is available in some markets, all year round, but your best bet is at Halloween.
The monster cereals are out in full force this Halloween season and sadly they don’t come with any cool prizes. Any child of the 80’s and before can tell you that the TOYS that used to come in boxes of cereal were the biggest selling point. I had a ton of that crap as a kid and would always force my parents to buy whatever kind I wanted, based purely on the prize inside. Kids today have to settle for a comic on the back in which the General Mills monsters scare each other by dressing up as children.
Franken Berry was always my favorite as a child, while everyone else in my family really liked Count Chocula. Franken Berry and Chocula had the distinct advantage of not always having to have a cool toy inside. The cereal was just cool by nature, and thus we often had it even if it didn’t have a cool prize.
Interestingly, the side of the box mentions “scaring up memories” of the cereal. That leads me to believe that they are marketing this just as much to adults with nostalgia, as they are kids. Of course I also know that a lot of adults love this stuff and I’ve seen posts on forums about it, so clearly General Mills hunch is right.
Inside you get a variety of red Pacman ghosts with strawberry flavor. These ghosts make me wonder if there was ever Pacman cereal? It could have looked the exact same, but had the marshmallows be Pacmen. Anyway, if you put them in milk it’ll turn the milk pink. I suppose if you ate a ton of this and only this, you might be able to get the infamous Franken Berry Stool as well. How’d that be for a Halloween trick! I’m not going to experiment and find out.
Originally there were only one kind of marshmallow in the cereal, but in later years they upped the ante by adding new ones. Here we have a purple bat, a blue blob (what is it supposed to be?) and a white foot. Okay, clearly the white foot is a ghost, or a KKK member, but what about the blue thing? If you know, pass this knowledge on. I’m placing my money that the blue blob is supposed to be Chairy from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse or possibly the genie, the magnificent Jambi. Whatever the case, tell em’ Large Marge sent ya.
The final marshmallow is of Franken Berry himself. It actually looks a bit like Satan to me. Hey, that’s a good idea for a children’s cereal! Satanic Sweeties! Quick, someone get a hold of General Mills! I got a new hit!