Every autumn brings an interesting array of pumpkin, pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie-flavored eats and drinks -- some of which are far more palatable than others. Because every autumn, we can always count on a marketing menu of strange, unusual and even intolerable pumpkin items that somebody, somewhere thought up, produced and smacked on to store shelves.
Here's our list of the top five worst pumpkin products this season.
5. Pumpkin spice seltzer water
Because drinking plain sody water hasn't been popular since 1955, the creative whiz team at Polar decided to bring it back into vogue by adding holiday flavors like candy cane, eggnog and pumpkin spice. Instead, it seems destined for a dusty shelf at some local Big Lots. It may be calorie- and sugar-free, but this carbonated pumpkin water is still choke-ish to drink.
And just smelling it is awful: The aroma is overwhelming in a Halloween room-deodorizer-candle sort of way. Trick, definitely not treat.
4. Snickers Pumpkin Mars didn't come out with squat this year for special Halloween candies, aside from the same old boring fall-color M&Ms, so when I came across the Snickers Pumpkin at a convenience store, I was expecting something at least mildly creative, like little peanutty-nougatty, orange-colored white chocolate mini-bars in a shiny, Halloween wrapper. What I got instead was a couple of rather thick-shelled, elongated jack 'o lantern shaped bars that were pretty much indistinguishable from regular Snickers bars, except for one glaring, unpleasant difference.
The jack 'o Snickers are significantly smaller than the regular bars but cost the same -- making this "pumpkin" a real jack-off.
3. Pumpkin pie yogurt
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, which is the short explanation for Yoplait squeezing out four-packs of pumpkin pie yogurt. This should be delicious, since most of Yoplait's other flavors are (excepting that wangy Key Lime one), but the pale color, the lack of pumpkin pie spice aroma and the overall flavor of nothing make this yogurt the biggest fail that any yogurt company has perpetrated since those tubes filled with sticky, cotton-candy flavored goob. The nothing flavor equates to the barest hint of what could be plain pumpkin puree, devoid of the traditional cinnamon-clove-nutmeg spicing of pumpkin pie.
After this, I'm not looking forward to Yoplait's Christmas fruitcake without the fruit.
2. Pumpkin bagels AND pumpkin schmear
Finding pumpkin spice bagels at the grocery store was fun, and the pumpkin spice cream cheese seemed even more promising, so of course I bought both. I toasted the bagel, heaped it with schmear, took a bite -- and was instantly sorry. Very, very sorry. The bagel alone was pumpkin-spice-ish enough, and the cream cheese spread would have been perfect on a plain bagel -- but when you smoosh the two together, you get a heaping mouthful of heinously sweet overkill.
Turns out, there IS such a thing as too much pumpkin spice at one time. If I'd coupled this with the produce below, I would have wound up barfing on my lawn gnome.
1. Pumpkin pie vodka
Remember that vile dose of tussin your folks forced you to slurp down when you were sick as a kid? I'd rather have gulped a gallon of that than taken a second sip of Pinnacle's pumpkin pie franken-vodka. Autumnal urges led me to believe that purchasing this flavored vodka was a good idea, but I should have stuck to pumpkin pie schnapps -- my usual liqueur of choice for fancy fall inebriation. It was medicinal and acrid, terrible over ice and worse in coffee.
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In fact, this fall fetish booze was the single-worst vodka I've ever tried -- and I've had Stoli Chocolat Razberi.