Last week, as I went up to the register to pay my bill, I looked into the candy cup on the counter for a lollipop. There they were: six or seven Blow Pops, all grape! I smiled secretly to myself as I pocketed one, thanking my lucky stars that almost no one else on earth loves grape candy. I considered doing the other customers a favor by taking all seven and forcing the check-out lady to replenish the strawberry, cherry, and watermelon reserves.
When you are little it’s natural to want to fit in, but there is one way, especially around Halloween, in which it’s quite convenient to be a bit different. As a grape child I would sit around with my friends after trick-or-treating and they would all have to divide my pinks and reds, but I would return home triumphant with a pumpkin full of purple—a purple that no self-respecting, naturally occurring grape would ever wear to save its skin.
We grape-lovers are a niche market, true originals, dealing with a dying breed.
Did you know that in 1972, General Mills unleashed Sir Grapefellow, a grape-flavored breakfast cereal based on the personality of a British World War I air ace? He crashed shortly thereafter into breakfast oblivion and the eBay auction afterlife. Welch's grape soda, launched just after Sir Grapefellow in 1974, is comparatively so unpopular that no diet version has been made available (yet there is Diet Coke with Lime), and Welch's does not even list it on its website. Apparently ashamed, it has licensed the purple pop to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
Well, Grapers, I say have no shame! As I write this I am sipping a Purple Cow (grape soda and vanilla ice cream float). My arteries do not pump red, and my veins blue. My blood, and heart, are purple throughout!
This year for Halloween I am going to great lengths to bring back all the grape candies I have loved, to recreate that purple pumpkin. A few great kids will take some, but at the end of the night after my little purple trick, I expect to have plenty of treats left over for myself. And that’s just fine with me.
Here are a list of my five all-time favorite grape candies and some other that I would love to find and try, or to whom I give honorable mention for still managing to be produced.
Grapers, unite! Are you out there? What are your favorites? What have I missed here?
Top Five All-Time Favorite Grape Candies
1. Charms Sweet Pops: These WWI candies have retained their old fashioned lolli-shape, and perfectly artificial grape flavor. I had one nearly every day after school for years.
2. Jolly Joes (Grape Mike and Ikes): These were a more recent discovery. They are overwhelmingly grapey! Since Mike and Ikes generally incorporate several flavors in each box, a whole carton of just grape is inspired recognition of a great grape thing.
3. Grape Bazooka: I used to dig to the bottom of the Bazooka fish bowl to find the stale grape ones. They lose flavor so quickly, that I generally need two or three at a time for a solid fix.
4. Grape Skittles: They taste like children's Tylenol, but then again, that's why I didn’t mind Tylenol when I was young! Perfect for road trips, since no one else ever wants them.
5. Grape Heads (formerly known as Alexander the Grape): Alexander the Great, Alexander the Grape—absolutely synonymous!
A Bunch of Grapes: Grape Nerds Grape Rock Candy Grape Twizzlers Grape Zotz Grape Now and Laters Grape Pixi Stix Grape Blow Pops Grape Tootsie Pops Grape Jolly Ranchers Grape Ring Pops Grape Pez Grape Laffy Taffy Grape Bubble Yum Grape Bubblicious Grape Big League Chew Grape Toostsie Roll Frooties
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