14 retro candies we miss

They just don't make candy like they used to, do they? There's something about the candy from our childhood that brings an instant rush of nostalgia. One look at a photo, and you're instantly 8 years old again, on your way to the candy store. (Remember when an 8-year-old could do that?)

For kids of the '80s and '90s, the love of old school candy runs so deep that it's actually been memorialized in our minds, to that point the mere mention of something like now-extinct bubble gums and candies elicits sighs and wails of sadness. Here are the 14 candies we miss the most.

Bazooka gum

Bazooka gum was hard as a rock, and the flavor lasted less than a minute, but what else do you buy with the 5 cents in your pocket left over from lunch? Plus, there was the novelty of the comics inside (and the potential collectibles you could accumulate after a year or so of steady chewing) that made this classic candy a favorite of kids everywhere. Even though this long-standing gum, which was first sold in the '40s, is still on shelves in some stores, it's virtually unrecognizable. The red, white, and blue packaging has been replaced with pastel colors, and those comics we loved have been gone since 2012. In their place, you'll now find puzzles and brain-teasers, with codes to unlock online video games.

Whistle Pops

There was probably no candy parents hated more than Whistle Pops, the sucker that actually served as a working whistle — at least until you sucked on it for a few minutes. Lucky for adult ears everywhere, the holes closed up and the whistle stopped functioning not long after it hit your tongue. Though the original Whistle Pops were discontinued, Chupa Chups has reintroduced them under the name Melody Whistle Pops. Despite their coolness, however, they're nowhere near as widely available as they were once upon a time.

Cry Baby bubble gum

In the early '90s, there was one surefire way to prove your toughness to your friends — the Cry Baby Challenge. The packaging claimed the extreme sourness of this bubble gum lasted about 40 seconds, but it seemed so much longer than that when it was your cheeks taking the beating. You ruled the playground if you put more than one in your mouth at the same time, but you were quickly dethroned if anyone saw the tears in your eyes.

Candy Buttons

There was literally nothing satisfying about eating candy buttons. Instead, the fun was in mindlessly peeling the brightly colored sugar dots off the paper. Though Candy Buttons are still manufactured today, they're not as widely available as they once were. If you have a craving for these retro candies, your best bet is a specialty shop or vintage candy store.

Jaw Busters

Kids today just don't have the patience for Jaw Busters, which were first sold in 1919. You didn't chew them. You didn't really suck on them, either. You just kind of held them in your mouth until they disappeared or your cheek went numb — whichever happened first. Did anyone ever actually get to the end of one of these everlasting candies? I sure didn't.

Candy cigarettes

There was just something about walking down the street, "puffing" on a candy cigarette, that made you feel unmistakably cool as a kid. Back then, it was no big deal to buy one of the two kinds of candy cigarettes at the drug store counter — one was pink bubble gum wrapped in paper, and the other a hard, chalky candy — both of which gave you the ability to blow white "smoke" for a second or two. Often, these were lined up on the counter next to bubble gum cigars and shredded gum made to look like chewing tobacco. All designed to make you feel like a grown-up as you worked on your daily sugar intake.

Of course, that was back before the big anti-smoking pushes, and before studies began to come out linking candy cigarettes to smoking as an adult. Although plans to ban the candy cigarettes in the U.S. were never accomplished, the stigma attached to them did cause their sales to decline rapidly and they were banned in other countries. Today, only a few companies still manufacture the treat, but now under the name of Candy Sticks.

Tongue Splashers

Every time we saw that well-known paint can on a gas station counter, my mom knew she was in trouble. If I had a dime in my pocket, I was getting one of these, and my mouth, lips, and probably hands would be brightly colored within minutes. I'm sure parents everywhere rejoiced when these went off the market, but you can still buy something similar today under the name Double Bubble Painterz. It's just not as cool when it doesn't come in a paint can.

Ouch! bubble gum

To be completely honest, I can't even remember what this bubble gum tastes like — which leads me to believe the taste was nothing special. What I do remember, though, was using the awesome tin cases to store everything from change to rocks and actual bandages. I, along with the rest of my generation, totally coveted this gum just for the box it came in. Hubba Bubba still makes Ouch! bubble gum, but the tin case is gone, rendering it completely useless in the minds of many.

Laffy Taffy Sparkle Cherry

If you ask a child of the '90s what the best flavor of Laffy Taffy is, there's no question they'll tell you Sparkle Cherry. Something about that crunch of the glitter and the sweetness of the stretchy taffy made this a delightfully satisfying treat. Unfortunately, it's not very easy to find in brick-and-mortar stores these days, but Wonka does still make it, and you can order it in bulk online if you get a major craving.

Hubba Bubba Bubble Jug

This strange, crystal powder that turned into gum when you chewed was so short-lived, it doesn't even appear on Hubba Bubba's own history timeline. Anyone who tried it, though, can tell it was just as delicious as it was strange. They can probably also tell you that, yes, it is possible to chew an entire jug at once.


Yes, Runts are still widely sold in stores, but the Runts sold in stores today are nothing like the Runts of our childhoods. They're still in the cute, fruit shapes we remember, but the less-observant Runts fan might not notice that the shapes and flavors aren't all the same. The original Runts came in orange, cherry, banana, strawberry, and lime. Throughout the years, they've added and removed different flavors, and today they also include apple and grape, with lime no longer an available flavor.

While we're all sad that these candies are no longer with us — at least in the same capacity that we remember, take comfort in the fact that the candy aisles today are just as stocked (if not more) than they were when we were kids. Get out there and try something new. You may even find a new favorite.