In my life, I've spent thousands out of pocket to fix my cavity ridden teeth that can be traced back to my sugar addiction in the 80s. It was a great time to be a child. Bullying was limited to the playgrounds since there was no internet or social media. Sitcoms like Punky Brewster and Different Strokes provided wholesome, yet much needed mental escape.
But the true love of my childhood was candy. Back in those days, we walked down to the convenience store after school and use our weekly allowance on all manner of teeth decaying confections. Some of these candies are still available today, but most '80s candies have unfortunately gone out of favor.
I'm sure many of you 80s - and even 90s - babies can relate to the good ol' days of fun, exciting candy. Hopefully, you haven't had to spend as much time at the dentist's as I have, but man, it was worth it.1. Blow Pops
Bubblegum inside a candy on a stick. It's like everything my inner child never needed, but always wanted. My favorite was cherry, but frankly, all the flavors were just different versions of sugar coated sugar, so you can't go wrong no matter which one you choose.
Looking back on it, the gum wasn't really that good. It was a weird, gritty texture, and you could never completely get the candy layer off of it, so it was kind of a "crunchy" chew for the first few minutes.
In full disclosure, by the time I got down to the bubble gum, I'd tell myself I wouldn't eat these again. But every time I found one in a birthday party goody bag, I'd be right back to unwrapping that Blow Pop like it was Christmas morning.2. Candy Cigarettes
It's surreal to think that I grew up in a time when kids were encouraged to "pretend smoke" with candy cigarettes. Not that play smoking spared us of the harmful effects of smoking, which was legal everwhere, from restaurants to the workplace.
These were banned along with no smoking in public laws, which in retrospect, was probably a good thing. In fact, I can't say I really miss these in terms of taste. They were basically like thin pieces of chalk, sweetened with sugar.
Still, my friends and I went through quite a few packs of these. I never really loved the taste, but you know how it is with peer pressure- even with fake cigarettes.3. Bubble Tape
As a child, I thought this was absolutely genius. See, I was one heck of a bubble blower and I spent an awful lot of time getting it down to a science. I knew the exact amount I needed to get that perfect huge, face size bubble, but most gum brands didn't offer large enough pieces.
With Bubble Tape, I got to customize my gum to the exact amount each and every time. Plus, you got 6 feet of gum! That seemed like the distance from here to the moon in my childish mind. I especailly enjoyed Bubble Tape as I looked through Tiger Beat and other teen celebrity magazines for posters to tape on my wall.
Of course, the flavor ran out awfully quick... and the gum had a weird, powder coating that never quite tasted right. Oh well, the important thing is I had 6 feet of bubble gum at my disposal while fantasizing about Corey Haim and New Kids on the Block.4. Ring Pops
Having been a girly girl, ring pops - jewelry you can eat - was like a dream come true. Granted, boys ate these too, but I felt super fancy having a huge piece of edible bling on my fingertip. I also loved Push Pops until my brother traumatized me by licking the end of his into a deadly, sharp point, then stabbing me with it when we got into a fight.
Thanks to their flat, wide tops, I was safe from shankings with Ring Pops, but there was one big problem with these. As you all know, there's a "collar" under each ring pop to serve as a spit guard. But at some point, the slobber just builds up and spills over, which is just.... gross.
Not that it stopped me from eating these for years, but yeah, it was pretty gross.5. Big League Chew
Yeah.... yet another unfortunate example of an 80s candy that glamorized the usage of tobacco products. In particular, this one's kinda gross when you think about what ball players used to do with wads of chewing tobacco.
The image above shows the original flavor, which I can only describe as standard "bubble gum pink", but it also comes in grape. What you get inside the packet is a wad of shredded gum, which is supposed to replicate chewing tobacco. It doesn't really, but most of us were just interested in the sugar high.
For me, the one plus was the same thing with Bubble Tape - you get to customize the amount of gum you need for blowing the largest possible bubbles.6. Now and Laters
There used to be a huge barrel of these down at the Grand Union (a now defunct grocery store chain). Each packet was a nickel each (god, I feel old!), so if you had a dollar, if was like winning the lottery. Inside the packet were five squares of taffy - one for now and the rest for later, hence the candy's name.
I seem to recall banana being my favorite, but these were just fun because you could buy so many at one time. With food prices what they are these days, it seems unreal that you could buy 5 pieces of candy for only a nickel.7. Pop Rocks
Okay, let me disclose that if I were a parent, I wouldn't let my kids have these. Having said that, Pop Rocks were awesome! There was something practically dangerous about these fizzy little "rocks" popping on your tongue and all along the inside of your mouth.
The best - well, worst according to my dentist - is when you took a sip of soda while you had a bunch of these in your mouth. Let the popapalooza begin! Unfortunately, the sugar on sugar combination, plus the fizzing action of the candies was highly damaging to the enamel on my teeth.
I guess enough people realized this, because Pop Rocks are hard to find nowadays. This is one candy I should definitel never touch again, but.... if I happend to come across a packet somewhere.... I'll just be sure to brush my teeth right afterwards.