I Tried Hefty’s Viral Pumpkin Spice Trash Bags (So You Don’t Have to)

published Sep 14, 2023
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Two boxes of Hefty Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice trash bags
Credit: Meg Asby

I’m not ashamed of my love for pumpkin spice. Beginning on my kids’ first day of school, I basically haunt Trader Joe’s until their cinnamon brooms are in stock. When my husband and I were in college, he did not woo me with flowers — he bought me pumpkin bread from the local bakery instead. Even in July, you can bet there’s a pumpkin spice candle burning in my office. So, when asked if I would be willing to hunt down the unexpectedly viral Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Trash Bags from Hefty, I was obviously game. 

Coming back for a second year due to its overwhelming popularity last fall, Hefty’s website offered a vague release date of “September,” so I started my search in August. I was sure they had to be sitting on a shelf in the back, and I was determined not to miss this cozy, fan-favorite trash can upgrade. On my first attempt, I made the mistake of bringing my teenage son with me, and after asking a fourth Target employee for insider information, my son begged me to be slightly less ridiculous and just come back another day. Fair. 

I did come back another day — I came back three days in a row, in fact, with the same results. On September 1, by this time accustomed to failure, I was not surprised to see Citrus Twist, Fabuloso, Lavender & Sweet Vanilla, and absolutely no Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice. But still, I asked a Target employee, just in case. He stared at me, typed something into his scanner, and then held up an image and said, “This what you’re looking for?” My god, yes! That’s exactly what I’m looking for! When he asked how many I wanted from the back, I panicked and said I wanted two packages, because what if I love them and I can never find them again?! I left the store $24 poorer, with 100 ultra strong pumpkin-scented trash bags in hand. I practically danced to my car, vowing to never go to Target again for the rest of my life. (Or at least until next fall.) 

I managed to wait to smell the box until I reached my car, and I was surprised to find I wasn’t really getting a cinnamon vibe. No worries, I thought, I’m sure they’ll smell stronger when I open the box at home. 

They did smell stronger out of the box, but not of cinnamon pumpkin spice. I asked my son to smell them, and he said they smelled like “candy.” My daughter did a blind smell test (she was not present on any of my frenetic Target trips) and she thought it smelled “nice, like flowers.” My husband agreed it had a synthetic floral scent, like air freshener. 

I was slightly outraged — these were the viral bags that sold out instantly, now selling for $40 on eBay? These sickly sweet candy bags are what TikTok is losing its mind over?! 

Of course, I was biased by how much effort I put into procuring these bags. Like my daughter said, they do smell “nice,” and it’s not overwhelming, which I can appreciate. I compost all my food scraps, so my trash never has a strong smell, but I will say that these bags do make it more pleasant to take out the trash. And if my trash can cabinet is closed, I can’t smell the bag at all, which means I’m free to light a candle that actually smells like cinnamon pumpkin spice without dealing with warring scents. To this end, the scent isn’t offensive to those who don’t care for fall scents, though I’m not sure why you’d buy them if that’s you — they’re said to sell out quickly, so it’s not like they’ll be the only ones left. 

The bags are indeed “ultra strong” and have sturdy drawstrings, which make it easier to fill and take out bigger loads of trash. Since they aren’t exactly a splurge — $13.99 for 50 bags, or 28 cents per bag — you might opt for them if you’re a limited-edition product collector, or if you’re looking to try something new. But let me inform you again: These are not the bags for pumpkin spice fanatics. If you’re interested in trying them for yourself, you can find them at Walmart, Target, Winco, and other select retailers.   

I’ve simmered down now, but my advice is still the same: Skip the Hefty cinnamon pumpkin spice craze, and toss a Trader Joe’s cinnamon whisk (or an Aldi cinnamon broom) in the bottom of your trash can instead. You can thank me later!

Buy: Hefty Ultra Strong Tall Kitchen Trash Bags – Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice, $11.59

Have you tried the Hefty’s Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice trash bags? Let us know what you think in the comments below!