Points of Articulation
Mi Casa, Boo Casa
In 1971, General Mills introduced two new breakfast cereals designed to cash in on the success of Lucky Charms: Count Chocula and Franken Berry. The next year came Boo-Berry, completing the classical morningtime triumvirate. From 1974 to 1982 they were joined by Fruit Brute, and the years 1987-1992 saw Yummy Mummy on store shelves. Originally available year-round, but slowing sales had the monster cereals in danger of being cancelled altogether.
But General Mills had the brilliant idea of making them a seasonal offering. Since 2010, the monster cereals have only been available around Halloween, putting them in the same fine company as Cadbury Eggs at Easter or Shamrock Shakes on St. Patrick's Day (with the only notable difference being that you can't stock up on a year's worth of Shamrock Shakes and just keep them in the back of your pantry to enjoy at other times of the year).
For the past few years, the monster cereals have also come out with some sort of yearly gimmick. In 2016, for instance, they have an election theme, in which you can vote for your favorite to be... Bürgomeister of Breakfast, I guess?
(Poor Franken Berry doesn't stand a chance - what kind of fool would willingly vote for a giant, brainless monster with an inhuman skintone and hands that look like they were stitched onto his arms from a different body?)
In 2013, Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy made a one-year return, and Target had exclusive retro boxes:
In 2014, comic artists redesigned the big three (Target had retro boxes with masks on the back):
And in 2015, Target again had exclusive boxes, this time with a cut-out haunted castle printed on the back. Get all three boxes, and you can build your own cardboard playset.
Look at that thing! Assembled, it stands 17½" tall. It's capable of holding together and standing on its own, but a little bit of tape wouldn't go awry.
The details are a lot of fun. While Count Chocula and Franken Berry share the first two floors, Boo-Berry gets to haunt the attic all by himself. There are cobwebs all over the place, and the moon looks like a skull. The upper floor looks like a mad scientist's laboratory, fitting Frank's background, and there's a coffin for Yummy Mummy tucked away in storage, but there's no reference to Fruit Brute? General Mills is unfair to werewolves! The front doors open, and the books in the library have horror-themed titles. It's all a lot of fun!
But the castle isn't all you get: there's a small rug and a blue candelabrum, plus standees of all three monsters. Again, they're nothing but cardboard cut-outs, but the designs are stylish, and it beats just having them permanently printed on one of the walls or something.
The only downsides to the haunted castle are that it was only available at Target, and that it wasn't done in '13, so we could have the entire crew.
Of course, if you missed the castle last year, you may feel left out. If only some thoughtful soul had scanned the back of the boxes and dropped them all into a simple file you could download and print out, right?
The monster cereals have earned a place in pop culture, inspiring fan art in various forms, including Garbage Pail Kids...
...modern movie cereals...
...and even Game of Thrones.
Everyone loves the cereal monsters, and now you can play with their house.