The Easter Candy Parade 2014

Let’s not shilly-shally around today. I like doing three-paragraph intros to my articles, but this one is the shallowest, most originality-free thing I’ve written in forever, so it doesn’t deserve an intro like that. Today, we’re talking about Easter.

Specifically, the absolute truckload of Easter-type goodies that my parents and in-laws gave us. Being creaky, old, mortgage-paying adults, we’re not really the kind of people you’d think would get so many Easter goodies, but our parents spoil the crap out of us and I’m thankful for that every day. Hooray!

You know, now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure that the last two Easters, when I’ve been moved out of my parents’ house, have been the most lucrative Easters since I turned 18. I can’t recall the Easters between then and marriage at all, so they must have been pretty tame.

See? Two bags full of chocolate and candy. We (and by “we” I mean “I” because I’m a big fatty) don’t need this many sweets at all, but we certainly won’t turn away a bunch of free candy. That would be stupid. If properly rationed, this could last us halfway through summer. It likely won’t, but it could.

I’m not going to try to sugar-coat it, most of this stuff is super-generic, and I won’t have a ton to say about it. I’d love to have a more interesting spread of candy, but I don’t think that more interesting candy even exists anymore. At this point, I think every piece of candy made is sold my either Mars, Cadbury, or Nestle. I guess Hershey is in there too, but I’m pretty sure they’re coasting entirely on their Reese products at this point.

Let’s check out the bag from my in-laws first. It’s the pretty polka-dotted orange one.

Can’t go wrong with chocolate bunnies. That’s basically the staple of Easter chocolate, and I can’t imagine an Easter without one. Why? I dunno. Tradition, I guess. I have no particular inclination to eat rabbit-shaped things, but that’s the way it is. Oh, and they’ve got to be solid, too. I don’t hate hollow rabbits, but they’re just such a huge mess. You can take a bite out of a solid bunny without worrying about it crumbling to pieces everywhere.

The trouble here is that these two bunnies are not at all equal. You’ve got the big, one-pound Wal-Mart bunny, and the considerably smaller crunchy chocolate bunny. I don’t think Allan’s chocolate is any better than the store-brands, so it’s really a toss up between whether I want the bigger bunny or the crunchy bunny. This is going to be the hardest decision I’ve ever made. It’s my Sophie’s Choice.

This is the most unusual thing in the haul, if only for the mind-bending packaging. Inside, it is merely a plain, solid chocolate bar. Not unlike a Hershey bar, just without the Hershey branding.

I look at the wrapper though, and I wonder how in the world these elements ever came together the way they did. Like, okay, dressing up your chocolate as money isn’t a new thing. Chocolate coins have got to be at least twice as old as I am. Probably much, much older; I’m not going to bother looking it up. But this… it’s like they said “Shoot for the stars? Pah! We’re going right past the damn stars!”

Seriously. Why would you make your chocolate faux-money be worth a billion dollars? It’s stupefying. I guess maybe you’re assuming people will connect the dollar value to how good the chocolate is, but even then I think I’d probably scale it back to a mil at most. A billion is very candidly overselling it. No plain-ass chocolate bar is ever going to be so good that I’d say it’s worth a billion make-believe dollars.

I do love that the rabbit is named Hoppy McCarrot. That’s an excellent name for a rabbit.

BTW, the chocolate bar was not too bad.

Three boxes of distinct candies, I only really want one of them. do you know which one it is?

The Mike & Ikes, obvi. Mike & Ike are my very favourite candy, and even the no-risks green box is pretty darn great. RedRageous is far and away the best, but I’ll take Original any day of the week. As long as it’s not the godawful Tangy Twister.

I’m not overly fond of candy jewelry, but I do like that they include watches in there, which are like, the least princessy kind of jewelry on the market. You might argue that a watch is not jewelry, but now that everyone has a mobile phone with which to tell the time, watches are absolutely just for show. Hence, jewelry.

Angry Birds gummies are pretty disappointing. They don’t taste very good, which is kind of what you’re going in for. At the very least, they’re the kind of gummy candy that doesn’t stick in your teeth, which I wholly support. People seem to keep buying me these though, which is puzzling because I’m not a particularly big Angry Birds fan. I’ve only ever played the first game, and not even to the end. I guess people just see the box and think “That’s a vidjamagame, Ryan will love it!”

Here we have the exact opposite ends of the gum spectrum. On one end, we’ve got the Dubble Bubble gum egg carton, which is super Eastery, but the gum is crap and loses is flavour after two or three chews. On the other end is the Extra gum, which is just everyday gum without even a hint of Easter, but at least it’s good gum and lasts a while.

It’s a big bag of Skittles, what do you want from me? They’re my wife’s favourite candy.

The Lindor chocolates I guess are available year-round, but I definitely associate them more with Christmas than Easter. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten these chocolates in a not-Christmas setting. It’s time to go absolutely wild.

And then there are the branded egg things. I don’t much care for Aero, so I’ll be passing that off and assuming it’s just an oval-shaped Aero bar. The Smarties one is less great than it could be. It’s going to be a hollow chocolate shell with three or four Smarties inside. I know this because they have one of these for every season. What would be better is if it was like a really creamy milk chocolate egg with Smarties chunks mixed in. A little redundant, but I think it could fly.

Chocolate footballs/eggs depending on your point of view. There were a handful of them thrown into the bag haphazardly, so I put them in a very vaguely boobies-shaped formation. If you squint you can see them.

And then there are these, the least inspired of the bunch. It’s great that the peanut butter cups outnumber the other things by so many, but then you take a closer look at the other things and have to wonder. Oh Henry is near the bottom of the Hershey food chain, and the almond Hershey bar? Who in their right mind would ever choose an almond Hershey bar? Blah.

It’s weird, no matter what season or holiday it is, those single peanut butter cups taste like Halloween.

Okay, that’s enough on the first bag, let’s move onto the other one before I’ve run completely out of steam.

Oh, well. Yeah, I may have bemoaned hollow chocolate bunnies earlier, but I’ll let this one slide because it has possibly the most effective branding for anyone looking to win my affections. You could stamp the Ninja Turtles on any old crap and I’ll want it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that was the crux of my existence between the ages of five and nine. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Also, it’s Leonardo. Geez. I mean, I like all the Turtles, and Leo’s more likable than ever in his Nickelodeon incarnation, but everyone should know that Raph is my number one. This has been common knowledge for well over two decades now.

Well these are not Eastery at all, but yeah, Turtles.

I don’t even know what to say. I’m sure the cookies are passably vanilla, and the icing probably tastes a little off, as cheap prepackaged icing usually does. You can’t even really decorate cookies this small when you’re working with icing.

Holy cow, it’s been ten years since the last time I wrote a lengthy Easter article and I still can’t take a decent picture.

These are more chocolate football eggs. You might be familiar with them. They have existed since the dawn of time, after all.

Aw, hey, look. An Easter just isn’t an Easter without the sugary zip of marshmallow Peeps. Plain-ass yellow Peeps, but Peeps no less. And you know, I think the standard yellow Peeps are my favourite Peeps anyway. They may not be a good colour or properly-shaped, but damn it, they’ve paid their dues.

Reading back over the old Easter articles, it seems that I’ve come a long way. Back then I didn’t like Peeps? Or the colour pink? And I did like yellow? Young Ryan was a strange little boy, indeed.

Oh, wait. Original are my second-favourite Peeps. There really isn’t anything that can hold a candle to Peeps that taste like cake.

Ah, the coveted golden bunny. I crave this bunny like nothing else on this whole page. Why? Because I cannot have it. Every year they buy one, and every year they state very specifically that this golden bunny is a special treat just for my wife. We get to share everything else in the haul, but this bunny, this beautiful golden bunny, is just for her.

Sure I could go out and buy on for myself for like a buck, but where’s the drama in that?

Also, if you aren’t familiar with the golden bunny, he’s got a little bell tied to the ribbon around his neck. It’s a devious countermeasure for when I try to sneak away with it. That infernal little bell rings out and she knows, no matter what she’s doing, that I’m trying to steal the bunny.

In the past, these may have been the candies most emblematic of Easter, but Cadbury has gone and made both the Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs available year-round. While that makes obtaining them much more convenient, it totally destroys the allure. They’re absolutely delicious candies, but part of the appeal was always that you had to wait for Easter to get them. They’re not special any more. You can just walk over to 7-11 or whatever and pick some up any time you want. Bah, I say!

Usually I choose not to eat them until Easter season though, so I still kind of flip my wig about ’em. Mini Eggs especially, because they haven’t changed at all over the years. Creme Eggs are still good, but they’re not as gooey or sweet as they used to be. Remember when a Creme Egg was a big delicious mess? Those were the days…

Also, I’m remembering a time when I would have been free to eat all three of the Creme Eggs in that box. Now, I’m lucky to get even one of them. Wifey has a real taste for the things, so if I don’t give ’em up… well, I’ll let you fill in the blanks with your imagination.

I’ve never been to Ikea, and we never even had an Ikea until fairly recently. Late 2012, I think? But I’ve still never been there. And I never, ever would have connected cookies and Ikea as things that would go hand-in-hand. If you’d told me two years ago that I would go gaga over cookies from Ikea, I would have kicked you right in the teeth.

But here we are, and I am going gaga over these silly Ikea cookies. They’re basically just vanilla cookies with a vanilla creme in the middle. But then there’s a dollop of apple jelly on the top and oh my God they are so freaking good. If the stupid Ikea wasn’t on the opposite side of the city, I’d be buying these cookies like a madman, but as it is, it’s outrageously expensive to drive all that way just for cookies, so I only get them when my mom decides to pick me up a roll or two.

They also come in chocolate, but you can get chocolate cookies everywhere. Apple is where it’s at.

And finally, here we have the Eastered-up Resse products. Some Reese’s Pieces eggs and miniature peanut butter cups. I prefer the chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs to the peanut buttery Reese eggs, but the Reese eggs do have the advantage of being seasonal and therefore have that unique allure of rarity that only a seasonal candy can have.

All that crazy person stuff aside, these are Reese candies, and therefore are delicious and will probably be the first things I consume. Normally I’m a “save the best for last” kind of guy, but when it comes to holiday candy, I can’t help but down the best stuff right away. Then I’m left with a long tail of regret as a slowly work my way through the lesser treats.

That’s the end of the candy parade (which is a term I like so much that I renamed the article for it), but not the end of this Easter story. No, sir. I gave it away yesterday, but I went ahead and bought myself a little Easter treat.

Straight up, last time I tried to replay Golden Sun, I didn’t even make it to the tutorial dungeon because I got sick of how chatty it is and gave it up for something more immediately action-packed. But I fell prey to the siren song of the Virtual Console re-release anyway, despite knowing that it’s not really as great a game as I remember it being (and that Advance Wars was right there).

The fact of the matter is that if Nintendo had dumped it onto the eShop at any other point in the year, I could have let it go. But no, releasing it at Easter was the perfect storm of nostalgia for me. If you’ve been attentive, you may recall that I received the sequel as an Easter gift many, many years ago. It was even featured in the very first Easter article I ever wrote. So you can probably see how my defenses were lowered on so many different levels here.

Whatever. At a paltry $8, it’s money better spent than if I’d bought even more candy. My teeth already shudder to think of the horrors they’re going to endure the next time I visit the dentist.

I was actually going to do a completely different Easter article, one where I ran down an reminisced about as many non-edible Easter gifts I’ve received over the years, but I could only remember three of them: Pokémon Colosseum, the South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut soundtrack, and Golden Sun: The Lost Age. I suppose I could have still done that, but it would certainly have been even worse than the abomination that you just read through.

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