Mother's Cookies Goes Out Of Business, Kills Off Circus Animals

If you’re a fan of those pink and white frosted Circus Animal cookies from Mother’s, either stock up or start priming your nostalgia, because this week the company closed its doors abruptly. They’ve cited the expected reasons—the rising cost of raw materials, and an inability to borrow in the frozen credit market.

Unfortunately, the private equity firm that owns the company (it’s passed through at least four owners in the past 18 years) didn’t give employees the federally required 60-day notice, citing “unforeseeable business circumstances.” If they couldn’t secure money to pay salaries, that may very well be the case.

If you’ve got $20 in your household goods budget and can’t live with the idea of a circus animal-less world, you can make your own with this kid-friendly cookie cutter set. Or just buy some vanilla wafers and pretend you’re eating single-celled organisms, you big baby.

“Mother’s Cookies abruptly shut down” [SFGate] (Thanks to Tom!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. OtterOtter says:

    The irony of this article following right on the heels of “5 Expenses To Cut Right Now If You’re In Debt” hurts my brain too much.

  2. youbastid says:

    OHHHH nooOOOOOOO!!! Those frosted animal cookies were beyond delicious. Maybe JPMorgan Chase can swoop in and save them?

    “Your favorite cookies, now even more secure.”

  3. GavinEstecado says:

    I don’t think I can eat Vanilla Wafers without thinking of amoebas now……

  4. OmniZero says:

    I love those things! Too bad eating more than 3 gives you a heart attack. I think Big Lots will have them for me to stack up on!

  5. dripdrop says:


    This is horrible news. How am I going to tell my dad? We both love these cookies so much!

  6. ArmyOfFun says:

    Fret not people, Keebler makes their own version of these. You may continue on your paths to type 2 diabetes unabated.

  7. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    I KNEW i would EVENTUALLY feel some of this “Economic crisis” we’re in, Finally the crisis trickles down to us poor cookie-less folk.

    Goodbye Circus Animals, We barely knew the ;-(

  8. Trick says:

    I could handle the $2 Trillion Dollar loss. My 401k has taken a beat’n but I’ll survive. The fat cats on Wall Street stealing my kids tax money was pretty bad.





  9. alterboy says:

    I’ve got a little tear welling up in my right eye. I think my childhood is officially over now.

  10. yagisencho says:

    My friend’s dad was a Mother’s Cookies salesman for decades (retired a few years ago). The lard-covered animals were my favorites, but I also enjoyed their peanut butter cookies. Not remotely as good as homemade, but a nice coffee companion.

    • Starfury says:

      @yagisencho: When I was a kid the neighbor worked for them. On Halloween he’d give out full size packages of cookies; usually he’d have about 10 cases to give away.

  11. blainer says:

    Guess there’s no reason to visit my family on the West Coast now.

  12. DogInYellowCoat says:

    i think i’m going to kill myself

  13. exkon says:

    *Darth Vader poser*


    One of all-time favorite cookies, no matter unhealthy for you they were just a great comforting snack…

    *Heads off to nearest store to stock up*

  14. BrianDaBrain says:

    Sad days….

  15. cjones27 says:

    What, no federal government bailout?

    • humphrmi says:

      @cjones27: Unfortunately, there is a government bail out that is supposed to prevent this; you know – that 900 B bailout that has everyone wailing and gnashing their teeth – but unfortunately too many people spent too much time whining about bailing out a bunch of “fat cat bankers” that when they finallly realized that those are the same bankers that lend their small businesses money, it was already too late.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @cjones27: Apparently Mothers Cookies didn’t donate enough to certain campaigns and thusly does not ‘deserve’ a bail out.

  16. ponycyndi says:

    It’s all my fault. I used to eat a bag-a-day but quit recently when my husband decided we shoud go on a “diet”.

    Thanks alot honey. See what you did?!?!

  17. Kishi says:

    Nooooo!! Congress, where’s the bailout money here?

    I’m going to go buy some. And then get a vasectomy. Because, dammit, I don’t want to bring children into a world without frosted Circus Animal cookies.

  18. MyPetFly says:

    “…Kills Off Circus Animals”

    Sounds like part of the plot from “Fierce Creatures.”

  19. Notsewfast says:

    Ok, forget my rantings about inflation and the inability to secure financing.

    America, THIS is how the meltdown affects you!

  20. vmxeo says:


    Some of my most memorable field trips as a kid where the Mother’s Cookies and Granny Goose factories in Oakland. I can still remember the taste of those fresh, warm circus cookie as they came off the belt…


    • Hohoemi says:

      @vmxeo: Yes! This! I will always remember the field trip to the Mothers Cookies factory tour in Oakland, and getting free cookies at the end of it. This is a sad, sad day…

  21. fratgirl says:


    Look like I’ll have to stock up :(

  22. SugitaRaglestein says:

    I work for a company that does some service for them here in Ohio. I guess they walked in on Friday and told everyone to leave because they had no more sugar. On Saturday the sent all the employees a FedEx letter explaining the situation and they lost all benefits. They had been having financial difficulty for a while.

    Guess now they can take all the sales people on a retreat to a posh California hotel or something.

  23. DrGirlfriend says:

    I have a soft spot for their little chocolate chip cookies.

    I guess I’ll have to buy up my local supermarket’s entire stock. I really have no other choice.

  24. VA_White says:

    AAACCKK! We live for their holiday gingerbread man cookies around here. Why, Mother? Why!??

  25. theblackdog says:

    What just hit me is I don’t think I have seen these since I moved to Maryland….


  26. Jabberkaty says:

    My empire is crumbling.

  27. AngeloPolar bear says:

    This is sad. My grandfather was a Mother’s route salesman for over 30 years and I spent my childhood in his Mother’s truck. There was nothing better than a summer vacation in the back of a cookie truck!

    Bye Mother’s.

  28. marike says:

    These were my favorite cookies growing up (I’m 29). I even liked the oddball vanilla and chocolate chip ones in there.

    This makes me very, very sad.

  29. Raekwon says:

    Time to go shopping :'(

  30. yankerosa says:

    Gas prices didn’t scare me.
    700 billion dollar bail out didn’t phase me.

    Now I’m fairly certain this is the sign of the f’ing apocalypse.

  31. Trai_Dep says:

    Although, I have to say, the Incredible Shrink Ray has hit Mother’s worse of all. Their thick, opaque bags made it even harder to figure out with precision how much they were trying to rip me off, but by the shake method, it was pretty bad.
    The bag was 1/8 cookies and 3/4 air. And 1/8 shriveled nostalgia of a lost childhood raped by over-leveraged private equity firms who borrowed too much of other people’s money to buy a company that without their interference would probably still be around.

    Not that I’m bitter at Wall Street for any particular reason as of late.
    Not at all, circus animal cookie murderers. Not. At. All.

  32. lordargent says:


  33. chichi9 says:

    Oh man… my grandma always had a jar of stale ones in her kitchen… *tear*

  34. TehViking says:

    CRAP. Cleaning out the grocery store today.

  35. XTC46 says:

    I bought a bag of these last night…better go back and stock up.

  36. Midknyte says:

    I LOVE their iced oatmeal cookies. My birthday is in a couple of days, so maybe I’ll ask for some of those instead of a cake. :(

  37. Decaye says:

    To quote half of the posts in this thread.


    I’m so upset. :(

  38. Dillenger69 says:

    Someone at some other enterprising cookie company needs to buy up the recipes and rights to their more popular cookies … like circus animals … dammit.

  39. conn88h says:

    i’ve never had one (to my knowledge) but they look delicious. oh well…

  40. Mr.SithNinja says:

    It’s as if millions of inner-children cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced…..

  41. chrisjames says:

    Bailout the goddamned COOKIES!! Seriously, can the people of the U.S. bypass our broken government and pool a line of credit for these guys? Please?!

  42. Jenng says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Now I know the world is coming to an end. That is sooooooo sad I Love those cookies.

  43. missjulied says:

    While I’ve never been much of a fan of the animal cookies myself, I’ll be sad to live in a world without their striped shortbread. No other company makes them nearly as yummy.

  44. The_IT_Crone says:

    … well now I know I’m stopping by the grocery store on the way back from work.

  45. Kuonji says:

    I will stop by and stock up as well. It’s D&D night tonight and I think passing some out would be nice gesture.

  46. MonaMugen says:

    Mother’s Cookies is too big to fail! Bush, we demand a confections bailout!

  47. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    NOOOOO! This really is a depression *sniff* I’m going to have to stock up.

  48. Overheal says:

    OMG I loved those cookeis when I was a kid!

    Are there still some on the shelfs? We must hurry!

  49. Lepoth says:

    Guess I’m going to Wal-Mart tonight.

  50. ninabi says:

    No. Say it ain’t so. Loved the macaroon cookies. And their frosted oatmeal (horses loved them too, as a special treat) were so good.

    The cheap circus cookies I kept around to distract my little kids years ago while I ate from the secret stash of Pepperidge Farm cookies…

  51. Froggmann says:

    NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Those are still my favorite cookie!

  52. hmk says:

    oh! they are sooooo terribly unhealthy but I love them! haven’t had them in ages. I better get some!

  53. Mothers is also Archway?

    Does this mean we loose Archway as well?

    This really sux green slimy swamp water.

  54. heathenkitties says:

    HOLY EFFEN MOTHER OF GOD …. NOOOOooooooooooo *sobs and runs away*

  55. Vastarien202 says:

    not my amimal cookies! Take my Oreos, my grahm crackers sprinkled with cinnimon, even my Goldfish snaks, anything but this!!
    This is untennable. As citizens, we must demand a government bailout of something which truly matters to everyone who has ever loved pink-frosted camels.
    gonna go cry now.

  56. CyberSkull says:

    I was just looking for some of their sandwich cookies last night.

  57. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Fear not….you can still get Stauffer’s Iced Animals! They’re like frosted crack in a bag.

    I’ve never had the Mother’s version, but I assume they’re probably very similar. Skip the “lightly iced” ones and go for the OMG full-iced version if you want maximum sugar buzz!


  58. MeanPeopleSuck says:

    A part of me just died a little.

  59. LoringLemming says:

    This is honestly heart-breaking. I always buy a pack when I’m home from college and save them till finals every semester. I guess it’s fitting that I graduate this year, but I’ll have to ask my parents to buy a couple bags since I won’t be home until Christmas .

  60. D-Bo says:

    It’s a shame that I am going to spend my sunset years telling my children, and my children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free to purchase Circus Animals.

  61. 6809er says:

    Guess you can’t miss what you never had.


  62. f86sabre says:

    What of the English Tea Cookies? Does no one shed a tear for the English tea Cookie? When you sit down for tea there will be no clear choice in cookie. Do you go Oreo or do you go Keebler Fudge Stripe? What do you do?

    Man, I loved my English Tea Cookies. Bye, Mom.

  63. weissadam says:

    According to news releases: $50mm assets, $500mm liabilities.


    it’s not about the economy. it’s about running a business when you have no fucking clue what you’re doing.

  64. Lady Di says:

    My heart breaks.. it’s silly but I haven’t really felt or seen an impact of this crisis until reading this… I will have to rush to the store to see if there are any left, but I fear that I am too late. Alas, one of my favorite cookies are gone forever.

  65. Anonymous says:

    BIG NEWS!! Lance Cookies bought Archway at Bankruptcy auction and has re-opened the plant in OH. BUT, Will they bring back Circus Animals? THAT is the BIG question!

  66. dragoncat42 says:

    In my area (San Leandro, CA – SF Bay Area), they’ve actually been gone from the shelves for a little while now. Only recently did I see Mother’s cookie varieties show up again…in smaller packages with a Nabisco label. And of course, the smaller packages cost about the same if not more.

  67. HogwartsAlum says:

    Aw shoot!

    I never ate the animal cookies but I like Mother’s. That is sad!