Two months. That's how long you have to buy monster cereals before they go back to their castle.
Each year, around the end of August, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry arise from their slumber and haunt grocery store shelves.
These Halloween favorites are a seasonal delight coveted by collectors, anticipated by ghouls and eaten by everyone. The limited release of these sugary cereals make them popular, but their characters make them iconic.
Origin of the Monsters
Under the pale moonlight, on an eerie March night in 1971 Count Chocula and Franken Berry emerged from the shadows into homes across America.
Chocolate and Strawberry coated cereal with marshmallows in each. What more could you want?
How about blueberry and marshmallows! In 1972, Boo Berry floated to cereal aisles alongside your two favorite monsters.
When they were released, they were the only cereals of their kind to offer these flavors. It is because of this that they were able to secure fame and favor with America.
Two years later in 1974, the General Mill Monster Cereals got a new friend, Fruit Brute, the werewolf with a fruity marshmallow twist. He transformed the group until 1982 when he was discontinued.
The monsters didn't get another companion until 1988 when Yummy Mummy rose from the dead to offer a new fruity cereal with 'monster mallows.' His reign of terror ended in 1992.
In 2013, General Mills revived their werewolf and mummy creations for a limited release. This remains the only season all five kinds of cereal were offered at the same time. Fruit Brute was given a more distinct cherry flavor, and Yummy Mummy became a tangle of orange cream.
Monster Cereals Inspiration
Do you want to know more? How about the inspiration behind the monsters.
Bela Lugosi's 1931 Count Dracula is the inspiration behind Count Chocula. From his suave looks to an eerily similar voice both counts have become icons in their own right.
Going along with a universal monster theme, Franken Berry was made from parts of Boris Karloff's 1931 Frankenstein. The trifecta was complete once a Peter Lorre familiar, Boo Berry, joined the team.
The familiarity of these iconic actors boosted the popularity and nostalgia of the monster gang.
Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy were not clearly based on specific actors but were a much-needed addition to the gang. The 1940's Wolf Man and the 1932 film, The Mummy, are an intricate part of the monster universe.
The use of universal monsters marketed the cereal to adult horror fans, while the cartoonish drawings and commercials welcomed younger kids to enjoy too.
This is what sets the monsters apart from their colorful counterparts, like the Lucky Charms Leprechaun and Trix Rabbit.
Transformation Under the Full Moon
Originally drawn by George Carn, Count Chocula and the gang continue to transform their image. Most recently, the revamp in 2014 by DC illustrators, Jim Lee, Dave Johnson, Rachel, and Terry Dodson.
The original boxes were all white with the character eating their cereal from a large bowl on the front. As time went on the boxes became more elaborate with the addition of a castle in the background, or an exaggerated facial feature.
In more recent years, the boxes exploded with color. General Mills used the color scheme of each character and created more modern looking monsters.
The boxes aren't the only transformation these monsters have made. Their recipes have changed too! With concerns about health and sugar on the rise, the cereals were modified to contain less sugar and calories without sacrificing the taste.
Since 2010, the monsters have expanded their franchise past cereal. Boo Berry and Franken Berry can also be found in Fruit Roll-Up form! Count Chocula has his own line of cereal bars, too.
Beyond the Grave
The monsters aren't only known for their delicious food products.
Throughout the years, cereal diggers have found prizes in their treasured boxes. From masks to music, bags to glow-in-the-dark stickers, collectors have coveted these items.
For all of you hoarders, these prizes will earn you major monster cred. Horror-Cons, festivals, and events will often carry nostalgia pieces of these characters.
You can find the monsters on novelty tees and buy them as POP! figurines. As they've made their way through pop art and culture, they have become recognizable by continued generations.
If you're a collector, you already know the high stakes of owning a rare, mint condition box or prize. The limited annual release adds to the obsession.
For their Monster 2018 versions, General Mills created a special treat for their fans-- Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game. You will finally be able to live out your dream of becoming your favorite monster in a battle to eat the most cereal. Each monster has their own power you can use to win the game.
Team Chocula or Berry?
Are you team Count Chocula, Franken Berry or Boo Berry? Or are you a wild card with Fruit Brute or Yummy Mummy as your favorite?
No matter who you support, these characters aren't going anywhere soon. But why settle for only representing your favorite during Halloween?
Check out the variety of styles Body Rags offers for monster cereals! Choose your favorite monster or wear them all!