To be a kid in the 1970s meant freedom. It meant riding bikes with your friends all around the neighborhood (without cell phones) until it was suppertime. And if you had some change in your pocket, it meant a stop at the candy store. Classic 70s candy had all those colorful wrappers and wacky names like Jelly Belly, Zotz, and Smarties.
My older brothers wore bell bottoms and platform shoes and they grew their hair long. My mother wore polyester mini dresses with fabulous loud prints to PTA meetings. I wore Gunne Sax peasant dresses to elementary school. I'd roller skate in my driveway to Abba and my older brothers went to see Elton John and Kiss in concert.
We watched The Brady Bunch, Welcome Back Kotter, and Happy Days. I was "Laverne" and my best friend, Linda, was "Shirley." Starsky and Hutch fought crime and I wanted to be Mary Tyler Moore when I grew up.
Supper was eaten all together and often involved a casserole. Jello was dessert and I doubt we realized how good we all had it. Life was sweet and so was the 1970s candy. And there's no better way to transport back to the 1970s than by eating some of our favorite retro candy that is usually available on Amazon if not at your local corner store. Nostalgic candy is a fun way to revisit childhood!
1. Charleston Chew
While the Charleston Chew was actually invented in 1925, it had a resurgence in the 1970's when new chocolate and strawberry flavors of this candy bar were introduced. Tootsie Roll Industries owns the brand now and I'm pretty sure this nougat-filled piece of vintage candy will never disappear.
2. Reese's Pieces
This fan-favorite bag of retro candy hit the candy store shelves in 1978. Peanut butter cups were already wildly popular but Hershey's wanted more for the classic peanut butter and chocolate combo. Reeses' Pieces were born. Basically, peanut butter filled M&M's, they are a great fall color scheme making them a great treat for Halloween. And when E.T. tasted them in 1982, this nostalgic candy flew off the shelves even faster.
3. Fun Dip
Kids of the 1970s know it as Fun Dip but this pure sugar was originally called Lik-M-Aid. Fun Dip is similar to fellow another Willy Wonka brand product we know as Pixy Stix. Basically you are guzzling colored sugar while using another piece of candy as a delivery method. Hevane to a kid, hell on earth to a parent. Sour watermelon and sour apple flavors encouraged all those weird faces to add to the classic candy sticky fun.
4. Bottle Caps
Most fizzy soda pop came with a metal bottle cap in the 1970s. So why not make a candy to look like a dangerous metal bottle cap?! Hey, it was the carefree 70s. Tasting like sweet tarts, candy Bottle Caps came in cherry, root beer (my favorite), cola, and grape flavors, this was a favorite candy from the 70s.
5. Pop Rocks
In 1975, the candy world lost its ever lovin' mind. Pop Rocks were invented and kids everywhere had delicious fizzy flavors dancing on their tongues. Pop Rocks were the most innovative new candy in the crazy 1970s. But then in 1983, there was a rumor of a Pop Rock disaster. It went like this: Mikey from the Life cereal commercials ate Pop Rocks and drank soda simultaneously and his little 1970s stomach exploded. A company hotline was set up by Pop Rocks to respond to all the terrifed parents (mine included) that this was NOT TRUE.
6. Laffy Taffy
Most recently owned by Nestle and sold to Ferrero Chocolatier (where Nutella comes from!) t Laffy Taffy is a rectangle of flavored taffy known for the kid friendly jokes printed on the outside of the wrapper. Laffy Taffy promises flavors of banana, strawberry, green apple, grape, blueberry, watermelon, blue raspberry, and cherry all guaranteed to pull out any loose teeth for the tooth fairy.
7. Candy Cigarettes
Listen, I told you the '70s were a wild time to be a kid. Candy cigarettes hanging out of juvenile mouths was a common site. Actually introduced in the late 1800s, this controversial confection made out of powdery sugar, bubblegum, or chocolate. I remember begging for chocolate cigarettes that came in a plastic cigarette case at the Fanny Farmer chocolate store. Four decades later and I've still never smoked a real cigarette in my life.
8. Everlasting Gobstopper
In 1971, we all met the Oompah-Loompas and a whole lot of amazing candy inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The Everlasting Gobstopper is flavor and color changing jawbreaker. In the movie, Willy Wonka made the kids swear to keep the Gobstopper a secret. Nestle couldn't keep the secret as well as Charlie did. This favorite retro candy is still available.
9. Ring Pop
Ring Pop lollipops are shaped like a giant faceted jewel worthy of Kim Kardashian. Slide the plastic ring onto your finger and lick at your leisure. This genius retro candy invention came from a father's idea to get his daughter to stop sucking her thumb. It worked! The Ring Pop is still made by Topps, and comes in lots of flavors and colors including Berry Blast, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry and Strawberry.
10. Charms Blow Pops
Our favorite retro lollipop, Charms Blow Pop, arrived in candy stores in 1973. Like a 2 for 1 deal for the savvy candy buying kid, when you were done crunching the hard candy lollipop, you still had the soft bubble gum center to chew until supper.
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