Halloween detritus

A bit late for the train, a recent snack treat from mccormick.com  — McCormick & Co., the spice, seasonings, and condiments firm — that appeared on a Pinterest board for Halloween:


Combining two pop-cultural items: zombies and nasal mucus, especially in the form of green boogers. Plus popcorn, of course.

From McCormick:

Don’t let the name spook you! Zombie Boogers are a perfectly kid-friendly Halloween treat. Tint the sticky-sweet butter syrup with McCormick® Food Colors, toss over popcorn and bake to create a greenish treat that resembles … well, you know what!

(5 minutes, serves 15) [ingredients:] 1/4 cup corn syrup, light; 3/4 tsp baking soda; 20 drops McCormick food color, yellow, 10 drops green; 1 cup sugar; 10 cups popped popcorn, plain; 1/2 cup butter

Green nasal mucus has been personified as a family of mascots for the Mucinex brand of the expectorant guaifenisin:


As for zombies, from Wikipedia:

A zombie (Haitian French: zombi, Haitian Creole: zonbi) is a fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a human corpse. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works. The term comes from Haitian folklore, where a zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly magic. Modern depictions of the reanimation of the dead do not necessarily involve magic but often invoke science fictional methods such as carriers, radiation, mental diseases, vectors, pathogens, scientific accidents, etc.

… A new version of the zombie, distinct from that described in Haitian folklore, has also emerged in popular culture during the latter half of the twentieth century. This “zombie” is taken largely from George A. Romero’s seminal film Night of the Living Dead [1968], which was in turn partly inspired by Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend. The word zombie is not used in Night of the Living Dead but was applied later by fans. The monsters in the film and its sequels, such as Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, as well as its many inspired works, such as Return of the Living Dead and Zombi 2, are usually hungry for human flesh, although Return of the Living Dead introduced the popular concept of zombies eating brains. The “zombie apocalypse” concept, in which the civilized world is brought low by a global zombie infestation, became a staple of modern popular art.

Zombies are now everywhere, especially on tv, and they are very popular with children — hence the attraction of combining boogers with zombies, especially in something you eat. (Supply transgressive giggles here.)

Etymological notes. The etymological world of boogers / boogies is monstrously complex, but in the midst of this tangle the OED sees a connection between two senses you might not have thought related: ‘evil supernatural creature’ (as in the boogieman) and ‘nasal mucus’ (but sees no connection between these uses and the anal-sexual v./n. bugger, as in buggery). Some highlights:

☛ OED3 (Sept. 2006) on booger n.2:

Etymology: Probably an alteration of boggard n.2 [see below], after boo int. and –er suffix1. With sense 2 compare slightly earlier boogie n.1 2 [below] and the discussion at that entry.

1. U.S. regional. A menacing supernatural creature; a goblin, bogey, or ghost. Chiefly used in speech to children, often as a frightening deterrent to bad behaviour. [1st cite 1827]

2. colloq. (chiefly N. Amer.). A piece of nasal mucus; = bogy n.1 5. [1st cite 1892 Dial. Notes 1 214 Boogie… Some called it a boogher (pronounced so as to rhyme with cougar by some, with sugar by others)… Called bugger in the South, the u sounded like oo short [u]. 2nd cite 1951]

☛ OED3 (Sept. 2018) on boogie n.1 colloq.:

Etymology: Probably an alteration of booger n.2, after bogy n.1 and –y suffix6. Compare boggard n.2 [below] and also boogie n.2. For a similar association of the senses ‘evil supernatural creature’ and ‘nasal mucus’ compare booger n.2 2 [above] and bogy n.1 5, and compare also sense ‘nasal mucus’ recorded in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. at boo n.1 (1892; compare boo n.1 2), bugaboo (1899; compare bugaboo n.), and poker n.2 (1892; compare poker n.3).

1. U.S. A menacing supernatural creature, esp. as invoked to frighten children; a goblin, bogey, or ghost. Cf. bogy n.1 2 and booger n.2 1 [above]. Recorded earliest in boogieman n. at Compounds. [1st cite 1880]

2. orig. and chiefly U.S. A piece of nasal mucus. Cf. bogy n.1 5 and booger n.2 2 [above]. [1st cite 1890 Dial. Notes]

☛ OED2 on boggard| boggart n.2 A spectre, goblin, or bogy; in dialectal use, esp. a local goblin or sprite supposed to ‘haunt’ a particular gloomy spot, or scene of violence.

Etymology: A word in popular use in Westmoreland, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, and the north midlands, and of occasional appearance in literature since c1570. Evidently related to boggle v., bogle n., and bog n.2: if the status of the last-named were more assured, it would be natural to see in bogg-ard a derivative with the augmentative suffix -ard suffix; or if the occasional variant buggard could be assumed as the etymological form, it might stand in the same relation to bug n.1. See boglen.

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