Count Chocula = impossible to buy in South Carolina. HALLOWEEN IS CANCELED.

Count Chocula is, needless to say, embroiled in a centuries-old feud with that shirtless werewolf cereal.

GateHouse — I have discovered two equally displeasing things about Halloween this year: 1. The neighbor down the road, the one on the corner at Sundew Court, which is like the least-evil name ever (she might as well live at Dew Drop Hug Soup Emotionally Supportive Boulevard) has produced a front-yard Halloween display of such breadth and creativity that frankly my fake tombstones (“Here Lies Doug M. Upp” — ka POW), cheesy blinking “Great Pumpkin” Linus and assortment of artfully sliced-up pumpkins looks like a cruel failure by comparison. The neighbor’s display occupies probably 2,500 square feet, likely required several meetings with the power company, includes what I’m sure were Army-sized rations of that cobwebby cotton stuff and is making the rest of us aspiring warlocks feel SUPER INADEQUATE. Thanks, Sundew Court. See if I include you in the next block party volleyball game.

The second, and obviously more important problem: I cannot buy Count Chocula anywhere remotely near my house, and/or Sundew Court.

I don’t want to minimize anyone’s problems. I know times are hard for everyone. Your boss is slicing back  your hours and your bank is being a jerk, but frankly my problem is worse than any of yours multiplied by a fafillion, because none of you have, in the past week, driven around for a full afternoon stopping at five grocery stores in the futile hunt for a fictitious cocoa-based vampire who apparently IS NOT FOR SALE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, due to, I am sure, something Rush Limbaugh said once.


So here’s how we I got here: The Boy was treated to Count Chocula as a post-homework snack at his friend’s house, so logically he awoke the next morning politely asking for a bowl (and by that I mean he stumbled down the stairs with a look of barely-awake cobweb-brained delirium, laid his head on the kitchen table and mumbled something about “Cow Chuckington,” but I think the message was clear).

We didn’t have The Count in the house, I replied sadly, with the little pang of nostalgia you get when your child reveals himself to be interested in something you enjoyed at that age, be it a game or a sport or a song or a brand of cigarette or a breakfast option. But, I promised, we’d buy some the next day.



Well, apparently this was an impossible promise, because I’ve literally never had a less fruitful grocery-based experience in my life. By the third store my little man was getting noticeably apprehensive, as though bracing himself for near-assured letdown like a Chicago sports fan. My son has a gift for the dramatic, so when I returned from that third mission a failure (albeit a failure who had thought to purchase what he believed to be a fair, equitable compromise involving Cocoa Puffs), he came exceedingly close to bursting into real tears, conveniently leading to a thoughtful discussion from Dad about what does and does not constitute a Real Problem. It’s a spectacularly effective parenting technique you can try at home with your kids. Here, give it a shot. If the problem at hand involves an undead cereal-themed ghoul, IT IS NOT A REAL PROBLEM.


Related, sort of


(Needless to say, also missing were Franken Berry and Boo Berry. I had always imagined Count Chocula to be the ruler of that little group — he’d never been formally appointed, it was just sort of accepted by the others — so it stood to reason that with the Count out of the picture, there was no hope for Franken or Boo to be around. And indeed, the monstrilicious part of the cereal aisle was desolate, abandoned like a “Scooby-Doo” town, replaced with countless boxes that all had the word “FIBER” on them in large, insistent type and over-dramatized starburst callouts about the alarming wealth of vitamins and minerals stuffed, literally stuffed, into each box. It was horrifying. I needed my chocolate vampire.)

But sadly, this is kind of where the story ends, with no warm-hearted, redemptive finale, only a disappointed six-year-old and a 35-year-old man angry at a cereal company and a cartoon. I don’t get it. It’s not like Count Chocula is a rare synthetic lab-borne super-element that can only exist for quarter-seconds at a time. Unless it is, in which case I am totally using it in my Halloween yard decorations next year.

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About Jeff Vrabel

Writer/editor at Nickelodeon's, syndicated humor columnist for GateHouse, music journalist and speedily graying dad based on the coast of Carolina. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

28 responses to “Count Chocula = impossible to buy in South Carolina. HALLOWEEN IS CANCELED.

  • zapple100

    Count Chocula was my favorite cereal when I was a kid. I used to put glops of sugar on it.
    Nothing comes close to Count Chocula.

  • Meredith

    Never before had I considered Count Chocula, Franken Berry & Boo Berry as being the breakfast (but I eat it all day) cereal equivalent of The Rat Pack. (Count “Chairman of the Board” Chocula.) Should I stumble on this commodity, I will have it air-lifted to your location. That is unless I discover someone is giving cash for Count Chocula…then you’re on your own still.

    Yet another great post!

  • AmyP

    Oh my gosh, please make “Team Count Chocula” and “Team Frankenberry” T-shirts.

  • Andy Carpenter


    I don’t know if you looked, but I believe they have some at Target. At the very least, they have Franken- and Boo-berry Fruit Roll-ups.

  • Pandea Smith

    We’ve got lots of the monster trio on store shelves in Kansas. When my husband stocks up should we pick up a few extra for you?

  • Mindy

    Yep, it’s right up front at Target. Boo-Berry, Franken-Berry and, yes, Count Chocula. My seven year old took about 15 minutes deciding which one would grace our home this year (it’s an annual tradition at our house). The cereal is, of course, strategically placed next to the dollar section so your six year old will be driven into a frenzy by all of the plastic things that he’s always wanted but never realized existed but must. have. now.

    The Count joined me for breakfast this morning. Yummy.

  • Jeanne

    Watch out Jeff, I bet you receive cases of the cereal any day now!

  • Snap, Crackle, and Pop

    Let me preface this next comment by saying, obviously Vrabel you are a very knowledgeable person, so ignorance cannot be your defense.

    You are a stupid cereal hack.

    Yes we know Count Chocula has been undoing the ogreous policies of the Rice Krispies administration, stopping torture, restoring habeas corpus, stopping the policy that would allow the assassination of a U.S citizen. What that last one is an original Count Chocula policy? Well there has to be due process right? This has to go before a judge, there must be a case made, evidence weighed and verified, some sort of check and balance!!!! NO!? If all of this is true, Jeff Vrabel is on it, with his usual wit and savvy. Sadly that would be a no too.

    But we all cheered when Boo Berry said we were going to “drain the bowl” root out all corruption. Boo Berry is going to step down, eh no. Well there is Franken Berry, there is no one more responsible in this election for the housing bubble and leading to the financial meltdown than Franken Berry… Lead the way Jeff; again.. NOTHING.

    So as you make fun of people standing behind ridiculous cereals, take a look in the mirror, you are one of them.

  • Belle

    Geez, had no idea these cereals were still around. I do remember my kids eating that stuff many many moons ago and it always looked like it couldn’t possibly taste good or be of any health value. (Hmm, spoken like a true mother.) I kinda liked having my kids taste something new at someone else’s house because that meant I didn’t have to buy something that I thought they’d like and then they wouldn’t touch it. FAIL.

    But yep, the word FIBER is what is hanging around the house now on those boxes of stuff in the pantry. One day you will understand. Ha.

  • Amy Davis

    You can find all of your favorite monster cereals in bulk packaging year round on Amazon at a surprisingly reasonable price. I realize this doesn’t satisfy a 6-year-old’s gotta have it now mentality, but it saves driving all over Sundew Ct and the great state of South Carolina.

  • Tommy Freedom

    I cannot comprehend San Francisco’s objection
    to McDonald’s sales technique to children.

    It is the same sales technique that San Francisco
    “Progressives” use to sell the Democrat Party….
    give free stuff like child care, welfare, cell phones, blah, blah, blah.

  • Choc-Ola returns, and not a moment too soon « Jeff Vrabel : columnist / music writer

    [...] • Count Chocula = Impossible to buy in South Carolina. HALLOWEEN IS CANCELED [...]

  • Mindy

    Bought it at Target again this year (and thought of you and your poor neglected son) but have also seen it at Publix. Good luck! I hope your poor kid won’t be deprived this year!

  • Jeff Vrabel


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