Limited-edition holiday releases for beloved foodstuffs are sometimes a bit of a crapshoot. When they’re good, they’re good, but when they’re not, they’re… uh… difficult. In 2019, though, Reese’s has a special little something up its chocolatey sleeve that might simultaneously manage to be both at the same time: Reese’s holiday “Mystery Shapes” Peanut Butter Cups are on the way for the winter holidays this year, and… honestly, I’m not totally convinced that it isn’t a big ol’ joke on Hershey’s part.
According to Best Products, who got a look at the new treats recently, the Mystery Shapes Peanut Butter Cups are notable for being the first new winter holiday shapes for the chocolate and peanut butter mainstay in more than 20 years. (Usually, they only come in one shape: Trees.) They’re already available at some retailers, including both Walmart and Walgreens; they seem to run somewhere between $3 and $5 a pop, although your mileage may vary depending on where you are. Per the product description, the individually-wrapped candies “come in an array of seasonally themed shapes” which will “keep in you in suspense as you open them.”
Of course, there’s no guarantee that opening them will end the suspense; it’s possible that they might continue to baffle their peanut butter-loving audience even once their shapes have been revealed.
In fact, I might argue that it's be expected that the candies will continue to baffle us post-unwrapping. Over the years, it has become a running joke that Reese’s specially shaped, holiday-themed Peanut Butter Cups usually don’t… actually look like whatever those shapes are supposed to be. Although this issue plagues many a seasonal Reese’s, including the pumpkins that frequently emerge around Halloween and even the Easter eggs that arrive in the spring (seriously, how do you mess up an egg shape?), the issue is perhaps most apparent with the winter holiday variety: Meant to look like evergreen trees, they typically resemble nothing so much as vaguely oblong blobs — and people always have a lot of feelings about it.
In the age of social media, the discourse surrounding the blob-trees has become particularly fascinating; in 2015, for example, countless candy-lovers took to Twitter to showcase their peculiar-looking treats and moan about how disappointed they were in their appearance — which, in turn, prompted the Reese's Twitter account to fire back at the naysayers with a few choice memes and hashtags. "All trees are beautiful," these tweets proclaimed; "it's not what it looks like, it's what it tastes like." This strange battle between candy-maker and candy-eater made for an oddly memorable holiday season.
With this newest twist on the Reese’s winter holiday offerings, I can only assume that the brand is consciously choosing to lean REALLY FAR into the whole shapeless mass thing — because honestly, a bag of Reese’s candies bearing the title of “Mystery Shapes” says nothing so much as, “Yeah, we don’t know what they are, either, HAVE FUN FIGURING IT OUT, KIDS.” And you know what? I’m… OK with that. More than OK, really; I might even go so far as to say that I am Here For It.
For what it’s worth, the GIF featured in Best Products’ piece on the peanut butter treats suggests that the shapes include a stocking and (of course) the infamous tree. I’m… not at all clear on what the third shape included in the GIF is — a Santa hat? A piece of coal? A gingerbread creature? A snowperson? WHO KNOWS? — but ultimately, it might not even matter. Heck, maybe it’s nothing at all! Maybe Reese’s is pulling a fast one on all of us! Maybe everyone is just sitting there at Hershey’s headquarters laughing at all of our increasingly bizarre guesses about what exactly these “mystery shapes” are, when the truth is that they aren’t anything!
The good news is that, regardless as to what they look like, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups always taste good. It’s hard to beat the combination of chocolate and peanut butter; heck, this year, CandyStore.com found that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the second most popular Halloween candy in the entire United States. (They were second only to Skittles.) And with the Halloween season ending in just a few short months, we’re going to need something else to look forward to after that — so, hey. At least the Mystery Shapes will be waiting for us as we ease into winter. It’s the thought that counts, right?