I am definitely one of those Midwesterners who loses her mind for everything pumpkin-flavored as soon as fall hits. I splurge on the pricy pumpkin spice lattes wherever I can find them (except at Starbucks, still boycotting them!). I used to think I would never find anything pumpkin-flavored that didn’t get me smiling like a big, blonde, suburban jack-o-lantern…until I encountered these monstrosities that definitely spoiled my Halloween treat with some cruel tricks.
5. Pumpkin Spice Hommus
I’m still not sure what I was thinking when I saw this at the store and was overcome with my usual, “OOOOH! Pumpkin! Must have the pumpkin!” response to anything so seasonally-flavored. This “limited time only” offering should be limited even further to “no one needs to eat this ever.” The pretty fall-themed label called it “pumpkin spice hommus with apricot, cranberry, and sunflower seed topping” but I could have saved them space by just describing it as BLECH! It tastes like the worst, most horrible pie filling ever topped with room freshener. I don’t even know what you are supposed to eat this slop with, because it doesn’t taste good on any kind of bread, pita, or cracker I found it tastes even worse on its own. Lesson learned: pumpkin + latte = me likey but pumpkin + hommus = barf.
4. Breckenridge Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Beer
This one is the cruelest of all pumpkin failures because it has three things I love that I guess must never be merged together: pumpkin, latte, and beer. This craft brew comes in a can but should be shipped in toxic waste barrels. It tastes exactly like what would happen if someone who hates you poured old coffee, some Guinness, and leftover pumpkin latte into a blender to purposefully ruin your day with a treat that’s really a sick trick. Learn from my mistake and avoid this one.
3. Lester’s Fixins Pumpkin Pie Soda
This one’s by the same company that makes Bacon, Buffalo Wing, Sweet Corn, Ranch Dressing, and Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda. Something is truly wrong with me that I thought their Pumpkin Pie novelty soda would be any good, because Lester’s Fixins as a company doesn’t try to make things that taste good. Instead they are like those old Stinky Stickers scratch-n-sniffs from the 1980s or the Bertie Botts Jelly Belly beans: novelties meant for the wild, gross-out factor of encountering bizarre flavors. You take a sip of Lester’s Fixins and you make a face. That face is never one of ecstatic enthusiasm for “More of this, please!”
2. Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts
I feel bad posting these next two because the companies making them meant well and they weren’t intended to be jokes or anything, like Lester’s Fixins. Pop-Tarts are not something I ever really buy for my house because I think they taste like eating sand (with different flavors of jelly wedged into the sand). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about something that can be thrown in the toaster and passed off as breakfast, but Pop-Tarts are just too fake for even my lazy morning habits. The pumpkin pie filling on this is good, but it’s about 1 millimeter thick…and then everything else tastes like sand. Pop-Tarts have been around forever so clearly there are people who like how they taste, but I’m just not one of them. Not even the glorious wonders of pumpkin could ever make this worth the purchase price for me.
1. Pumpkin Spice Oreos
Just like with the Pop-Tarts, I feel bad knocking this because I know that Nabisco means well. So I feel like I’m complaining about gross cookies my favorite auntie baked (but didn’t get quite right). She went to a lot of trouble making them, so I feel pressured to be nice and pretend to like them. This time, not only do I have to admit that I think the hard, mostly flavorless, cardboard-like yellow Oreo cookies themselves are gross…but also that the chemical-tasting “pumpkin” filling in the sandwich cookies is really off. The packaging is gorgeous and I love that Oreo has been so imaginative in recent years, coming up with an endless parade of limited edition novelty versions of their standard black-and-white or yellow-and-white cookies. I really wanted these pumpkin spice ones to be a home run. If they were, I would have cleaned out whole shelves from the store and stocked up my pantry. But sadly, these are a big orange dumpster fire of a failure.