It’s almost Halloween, and even here in Japan, where the holiday is still but a shadow of the American take on the creep fest, an avalanche of orange and black gewgaws and processed sugar confections is pouring off retail shelves.

But if you’re looking for Halloween sweets with a little more culture and class, check out the awesome skulls made from wasanbon, a premium fine-grain sugar from Shikoku!

The skulls were designed by Nobumasa Takahashi as part of a project to develop new souvenirs for Takamatsu City in Kagawa Prefecture. They’re made by pressing wasanbon into a wooden form, with the black-colored versions made with bamboo charcoal that does not alter the taste.

▼ Press black wasanbon into the wood form…


▼ …say open sesame and you’ve got…


▼ … dead heads.


Wasabon is made from special varieties of sugarcane grown in the Shikoku region and is said to have a honey, buttery taste. It’s often used for high-end Japanese sweets, such as higashi cakes. The process of refining the premium sugar takes about 20 days and has been done approximately the same way for over two centuries.

Takahashi’s pop design brings a fun, modern feel to this traditional medium, though. The skulls are both creepy and cute, as is the slightly googly-eyed box they come in. Each contains 18 skulls, nine of each color, and retails for 1,944 yen (US$16) in Japan.

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But what if you live elsewhere? Not to worry, the excellent design website Spoon & Tamago sells them for US$23 and ships worldwide.

▼ Get your hands on them!


Of course, they might not be delivered by Halloween at this point, but any time of year, they’re an excellent little memento mori with your morning cup of joe.

H/T Spoon & Tamago
Source and images: Mitsubai Tokyo