10 totally rad candies introduced in the 1980s

There's something for everyone, from the nerds to the airheads.

Valley girls and karate kids have fond memories of the neon-bright candy from their youth. Sweets became more elaborate and strange in the decade of synth-pop, as their names seemingly mocked high school cliques, from the nerds to the airheads. There was a perfect candy for every member of The Breakfast Club.

Let's take a look at some of the rainbow-colored delights that came into the world during the 1980s.

1. Big League Chew



This shredded bubble gum has a link to vintage television, believe it or not. Big League Chew came from a legendary minor league team, the independent Portland Mavericks, who were owned by actor Bing Russell. Pitcher Rob Nelson came up with the gum, and teammate Jim Bouton, er, pitched the product to Wrigley. Bouton wrote the legendary baseball memoir Ball Four, which was adapted into a sitcom in 1976.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

2. Skor



Visiting Swedes are not likely to pick up this toffee bar. "Skor" means "shoes" in Swedish, and Hershey's seems well aware of the fact, as the logo uses the image of a crown seen in the Scandinavian nation's "Tre Kronor" symbol. Mmm… shoes.

Image: Wikipedia

3. Runts



Essentially SweeTarts pressed into tiny fruit shapes, Runts changed their flavors over time. Banana, cherry, strawberry, orange and lime were available at launch, but now the green ones taste like apple. R.I.P., lime Runts.

Image: Gregg Koenig / Flickr

4. Skittles



Americans first "tasted the rainbow" in late 1979, when Skittles were first imported from the U.K. In 1982, production of the candy began in the States. Today, the candy has 24 million likes on Facebook, thanks to its clever if surreal marketing.

Image: PiccoloNamek / Wikimedia Commons

5. Nerds



Few candies evoke Reagan Era nostalgia quite like Nerds. Willy Wonka's little nuggets (if you've ever sucked the coating off one, you'd realize they're just rock candy) spawned spin-offs — Jumbo Nerds and the chewy Dweebs — not to mention a breakfast cereal. The brilliance was in the packaging, which divided the flavors into two compartments.

Image: Candy Favorites

6. Cow Tales



Goetze's Candy Company has been churning out creamy caramels since World War I, but it didn't think up its stick form until 1984. And George Orwell thought we've have a dystopia by then!

Image: Goetze's Candy

7. Sour Patch Kids



Earlier this week, Frank Galatolie, the creator of Sour Patch Kids, died at the age of 74. His sweet-and-sour gummies were originally launched in the 1970s as Mars Men, but the rebranding in the mid-'80s led to an explosion. Undoubtedly, the name change was inspired by the Cabbage Patch and Garbage Pail Kids, as kids' tastes in candy turned to the grotesque and daring.

Image: Jason Liebig courtesy of Collecting Candy

8. AirHeads



The soft taffy-like chews floated into our world 30 years ago. According to their official website, they have a shelf life of two years. So maybe don't wait too long to discover just what the "White Mystery" flavors tastes like.

Image: Jewel Branding

9. Push Pops



Topps' tubular lollies were like lipstick for middle schoolers. Like Nerds, the unfinished candy could be sealed and pocketed for later — perfect for study hall.

Image: Dinosaur Dracula

10. Chupa Chups



The delicious Spanish lollipops date back to the 1950s, but first arrived in North America during the 1980s. It's a shame it took so long, as Kojak would have loved them.

Image: Candy Warehouse



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idkwut2use 42 months ago
Words cannot express my love for Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Runts, Skittles, Airheads, or Push Pops.
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