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Sweet Nostalgia: Retro Candy to Remind You of Childhood

Updated on August 12, 2013

Retro Candy Brings Back Sweet Memories

Taste and smell are the two senses that have the biggest connection to memory. So, if you want to feel like a kid again how about enjoying some candy from yesteryear? From decade to decade, there are some sweet stand-outs that every boy and girl will remember. You can buy many of them on-line, in specialty stores, and in creative gift baskets to celebrate a milestone birthday or other significant event.

Some candies are making a comeback, such as Pop Rocks and Pez. Others have always been popular, like Cracker Jack, Jolly Ranchers and Jujyfruits. Of course, its interesting to watch the transformation of innocent sweets into tawdry treats, such as candy necklaces. These days, you can find naughty edible undergarments modeled on the childrens' jewelry.

No matter the relatively rapid change from year to year, think about your favorites... M&Ms have been around since 1941. Starburst has been popular since the 1960s. Hershey Bars? Try 1900! Even with a great deal of continuity, you may have found that your favorites are either harder to find, or completely nonexistent!

Assorted Goodies
Assorted Goodies
Clark Bar
Clark Bar
Creative ways to use childhood memories to spice things up
Creative ways to use childhood memories to spice things up
The infamous Pop Rocks
The infamous Pop Rocks
Abba-Zaba (wonder why they stopped making these?)
Abba-Zaba (wonder why they stopped making these?)

A Walk Down Memory Lane

  • Pop Rocks
  • Candy Cigarettes
  • Wax Lips
  • Teaberry Gum
  • Goo Goo Clusters
  • Good & Plenty
  • Cracker Jack
  • Cherryheads
  • Necco Wafers
  • Crows
  • Black Jack Gum
  • Dots
  • Freshen Up Gum
  • Sixlets
  • Sno Caps
  • Goo Goo Clusters
  • Whoppers Malted Milk Balls
  • Rock Candy
  • Razzles Gum
  • Bazooka Bubblegum
  • Charlestown Chew
  • Candy Buttons
  • Mike & Ike
  • Violet Mints
  • Charms Candy
  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Astro Pops
  • Bit O' Honey
  • Boston Baked Beans
  • Spud Bar
  • Sky Bar
  • Sugar Babies
  • Beeman's Gum
  • Jujubees
  • Big Hunk
  • Hot Dog Gum
  • Fun Dip
  • Candy Necklaces
  • Hot Tamales
  • Chiclet gum
  • Long Boy Coconut
  • Clark Bars
  • Pez
  • Wax Bottles
  • Bottlecaps
  • U-No
  • Sugar Daddy
  • Ring Pops
  • Chickostick
  • Zotz
  • Rootbeer Barrels
  • Abba Zaba
  • Candy Lipstick
  • Zero Bars
  • Salted Nut Roll
  • Jujyfruits
  • Jolly Ranchers

Make Someone's Day with a Basket based on a Particular Era
Make Someone's Day with a Basket based on a Particular Era

Bow Wow Wow: "I Want Candy"

Cracker Jack Commercial 1960s

Interesting Facts

  • Americans eat 22 pounds of candy each year, per person; more than half of this is chocolate
  • 65 percent of the branded candy bars currently on the market have been there for more than 60 years
  • More residents in the Midwest and Northeast eat sweets than in other parts of the country
  • One of the oldest marketed candies today is the Tootsie Roll, since 1896!
  • The best-selling candy bar is the Snicker's Bar - since 1930 - the name is based on a horse!
  • Hershey's is responsible for the first milk chocolate bar in 1900
  • The longest lasting, best marketing campaign goes to M&Ms. Introduced in 1941, they became popular with servicemen in WWII. Even today, people recognize the animated M&Ms among the top advertising icons

Tootsie Roll Pop Commercial 1959

Freshen-Up Gum Commercial 1970s

Sweet Nostalgia

Styles of sweets change, just as they do with respect to clothing. Years ago, popular candy was aimed primarily at ultra-sugary sweet items. Nowadays, the focus appears to shifting towards elegant, decadent dark chocolate. Gourmet is taking over a "movie-theatre" approach to marketing and enjoyment. Along with red wine, dark chocolate is said to have anti-oxidants with health benefits, if enjoyed in moderation. That has lead to popularity of brands including Godiva, Lindt, Toblerone, and Ferro Rocher, Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger. As with coffee, chocolate sales and production are influenced by "fair trade" agreements with certain Third World countries.

Notwithstanding the attributes of chocolate, gummi candy and jelly beans remain highly popular among candy enthusiasts. Chewing gum, too, is one of the top selling sweets in the world. Gum has been a part of culture since the Ancient Greeks, which liked to chew on tree resin (I'll bet it was hard to blow bubbles with that stuff!)

New Fads

Premium chocolate sales have soared from 2000 to 2008, increasing an astounding 129 percent! By 2011, the total chocolate sales are expected to reach over 3.6 million dollars in the United States. One of the most popular trends with respect to candy has been wisely capitalized by M&M/Mars: Order customized candies in your own colors with your own sayings. Perfect for a wedding or baby shower. Also great for a milestone birthday, reunion, or any other significant event.

Gone By the Wayside

Sorry folks, but you'll no longer be able to find these treats in grocery stores or confectioneries any more: Abba-Zaba, Astro Pops, Candy lipstick, Good-N-Fruity, certain flavors of Life Savers (Clove, Tangerine, Sour flavors, Cinnamon), many flavors of Now and Laters, wax mustaches and fingernails. This list is but a small excerpt of many more favorites....

Always Something to Tantalize Your Tongue

The "sweet tooth" will stay with us, no matter health fads and efforts at oral hygiene. Whether you are a chocoholic, or a pure, fruity sweet enthusiast, your taste buds will always be thrilled with the new candies that come on the market each year. And, for those purists, many favorites can still be found decades after being introduced. So, enjoy the walk down memory lane and perhaps you may wish to see if you can still purchase some of your favorites these days. If not, the memories themselves are probably sweet enough! And sugar-free, as well.

Good & Plenty Commerical 1950s

© 2008 Stephanie Hicks

Comments - Share Your Favorite Candy, or Let me Know if I Missed One!

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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 21 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Certain food combinations are difficult to digest and may cause problems in the digestive system. Here is a brief list of food combinations to avoid:

      •Two or more starchy foods at the same meal.

      •Sugary foods and starchy foods.

      •Milk and citrus fruit or juice.

      •Cereals and citrus fruit or juice.

      •Large quantities of starchy foods with meat or cheese.

      •Coffee with milk or cream.

      •Raw apples with other foods.

      Edgar Cayce stated that even the most nutritious foods can turn to poison in the system if eaten while a person is in a negative frame of mind. Never eat when angry, worried or extremely tired.

    • Lynn Savitsky profile image

      Lynn Savitzky 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I remember nearly all of those candies, but I've never heard of Spud Bars. And candy cigarettes were fun when I was a kid, I liked to pretend to smoke them but the candy itself was a bit too chalky.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Wow!!! I Just found your hub, interesting and brought back many more memories than the one I have of a "Seven Up" candy bar that is no longer available! Great hub!!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi epigramman, I agree! Nostalgia is sweet and bittersweet when it comes to candy :)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      ....I have just been going through some of your hubs - and I'm already having 'sweet nostalgia' ......and this particular hub is bittersweet because it has a lot of memories which are now in the past of my youth .......

    • profile image

      LarryB 8 years ago

      What a fine Hub you've created here Steph! Sure brings back a lot of nice memories of my youth. Like I remembered when I could trade 5 pop bottles in for an Oh Henry bar, after spending a few hours tourin' around the hood scopeing for bottles. I still carry an empty 35 mm film canister filled with M&M's in my gear to this day. ;-)



    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Or at least some pink bubble gum cigars?! :-) (those cigarettes were the coolest....)

    • WeddingConsultant profile image

      WeddingConsultant 9 years ago from DC Metro Area

      Oh man this makes me want to get out there and buy some gum cigarettes!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you virtuallymaggie! Camerica.... I know!

    • camerica profile image

      camerica 9 years ago

      Oh my gosh, Clark bar! Where have you been all my life?!

    • virtuallymaggie profile image

      virtuallymaggie 9 years ago

      Awesome hub! I love your outlook on life!!!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Yum - Atomic Fireballs! (as a kid I had to take them out of my mouth and then put them back in - gross - my mom would kill me) LOL

    • starrwriter profile image

      starrwriter 9 years ago from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

      Fun hub. Now i have to go down to the store and see if they still sell Atomic Fireballs. Thanks for writing it.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree with the comments, great hub, the current gums and candies re not the same. Well done Steph. Cheers :)

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 9 years ago from Around the USA

      What a fun hub! I had forgotten all about wax bottles. They were so good.

    • Decrescendo profile image

      Decrescendo 9 years ago

      Great food. I so want to eat something now.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      Sweeeettt hub!!

      thanks for the memories, i can almost smell them and my tummy is now rumbling:/

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 9 years ago from london

      I love them and I simply can't resist.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I love goo goo clusters too, pgrundy! Zsuzsy - thanks for the fun comments! :-)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Steph! A great hub again. Bazooka gum is still something I will chew. Pretty sad seing an oldie like me blowing bubbles. Love it.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      pgrundy 9 years ago

      Yummy hub! I'm a goo goo clusters fan myself. Thanks!

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 9 years ago

      Hi Steph! thanks for this hub. I sent a link to my cousin, she LOVES Clark Bars, and they are nowhere to be found here. Every once in a while she might get lucky and come across one, but it's few and far between.



    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I send my friends things from the Old Time Candy Company in northern Ohio: "Candy You Ate As a Kid"

      Thanks for the other links, I'll check them out, because our Ohio company doesn't have everything. :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks everyone! It was super fun to put it together, and really got me in the mood for a few of my favorites. I grew up loving ring pops, pop rocks and bazooka gum (I'm with you there, Amy Jane!) Rob, my dad always has Neccos in his pocket, even to this day! Eileen, you've remembered a few really interesting candies! Boy, they had some cool ones in the day! Thanks for sharing.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 9 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great hub! Very well researched and written. The sweet tooth is a definite weakness of mine:) -- Gotta have the NECCOs!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Fun hub, Steph! I will confess to chewing bazooka when I can find it :) They still have the same old cartoon wrappers too...

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Great walk down memory lane. I have thought of a couple of bars not in your list. Although you may not have had them in America.

      My favorite was the old choo choo bar. It was licorice and boy did you get in a a mess with it. black as the aces spades we were as kids.

      The there was another bar.. The White knite. This was a chocolated bar with like pepermint inside.

      Thanks for sharing

    • John Lumberjack profile image

      John Lumberjack 9 years ago from Honolulu

      Nice. Really nice -)

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California


    • Mary K Weinhagen profile image

      Mary K Weinhagen 9 years ago from Minnesota, usa, Planet Earth

      What a fun BLAST from the PAST!!!!