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The Most Popular Candy the Year You Were Born

How many of these were in your lunchbox back in the day?
Checkout aisle at grocery store candy bars

There's something about eating a candy bar that takes you straight back to childhood. Whether it was at the movie theater with some popcorn or shared with friends from a vending machine after school, candy made everything better. And while plenty of nostalgic candies are still available, not all of them have stood the test of time.

Whether or not your favorite childhood candy is still on store shelves, it's fun to look back at what used to be popular. Here are some of the most popular candies from the 1970s onward—get ready for some major nostalgia.

And for more throwbacks, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

1970s Candies

1970: York Peppermint Patty

york peppermint patties
Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Peppermint patties were invented in 1940, but they've enjoyed popularity ever since then.

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1971: Twizzlers

twizzlers halloween candy 100 calories
Ann Marie Langrehr

Twizzlers were a common movie candy in the 1970s, and you can still pick up a pack of the red licorice at the theater today.

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

1972: Bottle Caps

box of bottle caps candy

We're not sure what was so appealing about eating a candy bottle cap, but the draw was there with these candies.

1973: Marathon Bar

marathon retro snickers bar
Mars/YouTube

This chocolate and caramel candy isn't around anymore, but it was all the rage in 1973. The candy promised to last "a good long time," thanks to its chewiness.

1974: Blow Pops

box of charms blow pops

Like the Marathon bar, Blow Pops were invented in 1973. They enjoyed a prominent place on candy aisles for the rest of the decade, and the gum-filled candy is still popular today.

1975: Pop Rocks

packets of pop rocks candy

Pop Rocks came onto the scene in 1975. And while they've dwindled in popularity since then, they're still available today.

1976: Fun Dip

wonka fun dip candy

Another '70s invention, Fun Dips took the concept of a lollipop and made it way more fun, with dippable packets of sugar. The only downside was when the powder inevitably spilled in the backseat of the car.

1977: Wrapples

kraft wrapples caramel apple wraps
Kraft/YouTube

Wrapples were invented to make caramel apples, but '70s kids ate the sheets like candy.

1978: Whatchamacallit

box of whatchamacallit candy bars

Whatchamacallit hit store shelves in 1978, and it's been twisting tongues ever since.

1979: Hubba Bubba Gum

hubba bubba gum on black granite
Shutterstock

When this bubble gum came out in 1979, it was an instant hit. Who wouldn't recognize that iconic pink container?

1980s Candies

1980: Ring Pops

box of ring pops candy

Ring Pops were invented in the late '70s, and they've been popular ever since.

1981: Skittles

skittles halloween candy 100 calories
Ann Marie Langrehr/Eat This, Not That!

Candy lovers have been tasting the rainbow for almost 40 years now.

1982: Reese's Pieces

indiana reeses pieces
Shutterstock

Reese's Pieces were invented in the '70s, but they really took off in 1982, when E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released. You can still channel the film's magic with a box of Reese's Pieces today!

1983: Nerds

rainbow nerds boxed package
Shutterstock

Invented in 1983, this candy made being a nerd a good thing. Bonus points if you poured the box straight into your mouth.

1984: Laffy Taffy

bag of laffy taffy candy
Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Laffy Taffy was invented in the '70s and enjoyed continued popularity in the decades to come. Does anyone else remember the jokes that were printed on the wrappers?

1985: Sour Patch Kids

sour patch kids package

Sour Patch Kids hit the U.S. market in 1985, and their sour-but-sweet nature has been thrilling fans ever since.

1986: Hershey's Bar None

bar none candy bars in wrappers

You won't find this candy bar on store shelves anymore, but fans remember this chocolate and peanut candy bar with fondness.

1987: Airheads

box of watermelon airheads

Invented in the '80s, Airheads have been inspiring kids to shake the wrapper in the hopes of puffing up their candy for decades now.

1988: Bubble Tape

Hubba bubba awesome original bubble tape gum

Hubba Bubba was around before the 1980s, but 1988 is when Bubble Tape hit the scene. We're not sure why the tape-measure shape was so appealing, but it was.

1989: Push Pop

triple push pops

Push Pops were another lollipop-style candy that debuted in the '80s. At least they were less annoying than Whistle Pops!

1990s Candy

1990: Dr Pepper Gum

dr pepper gum
Oh Mommy Dearest/eBay

Dr Pepper gum was invented in the '80s, but it was on its way out by the '90s. If you got to chew this weird concoction, consider yourself lucky. (Or not?)

1991: Peanut Butter M&Ms

bowls of m&m candies

If you're a peanut butter fan, you probably have strong opinions about whether peanut butter M&Ms are better than peanut M&Ms. Either way, 1991 brought fans the power to choose between the two.

1992: Butterfinger BBs

butterfinger bbs
The Ferrara Candy Company/Youtube

These ball-shaped candies were way more fun than regular Butterfingers bars. But the chocolate always ended up melting on your fingers.

1993: Warheads

boxes of warheads chewy cubes candy
Siti Rahmanah/Shutterstock

Capitalizing on the sour-then-sweet phenomenon that Sour Patch Kids made popular, Warheads took candy eaters on a flavor journey. And, yes, they really were that sour.

1994: Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme

hersheys cookies and creme bar

We're sure someone out there liked this white chocolate treat. But for anyone expecting the flavor of a Hershey's bar, this candy was a letdown.

1995: Nestlé Magic Balls

wonder ball

Before Wonder Balls, there were Nestlé Magic Balls, which had plastic toys inside them. If you're thinking that sounds like a choking hazard, you're right, which is why the later Wonder Balls contained mini candies instead.

1996: Starburst

starburst package
Shutterstock

It's hard to imagine a candy aisle without Starburst, but they only hit the scene in the '90s. And thank goodness they did.

1997: Nerds Rope

nerds rope candy

After the invention of Nerds, the gummy Nerds Rope was the next big thing. It combined the crunchy, sugary taste of Nerds with the satisfying bite of gummy candy.

1998: Baby Bottle Pop

baby bottle pop candy
Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Lick it, dip it, and shake it! Our parents weren't thrilled that kids were acting like babies, and we have to admit, this product was pretty weird. But we still loved it, even if it was just a Fun Dip ripoff.

1999: Crispy M&Ms

The '90s and 2000s have had no shortage of new M&M flavors. 1999 brought crispy M&Ms, which were then discontinued and later brought back.

And for more, here's What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day.

Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more
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