10 Utterly Disappointing Childhood Candies

February 23, 2016

Ah, the candies of childhood. So nostalgic, so cheap, and so – gross. What were candy manufacturers thinking, pushing these products that tasted like anything from soap to chalk? Probably they were thinking, “Kids will eat anything with sugar in it,” which we did.

Decades later, everyone remembers the candies that disappointed them. Here are ten of the absolute worst, per our non-scientific friend poll.

1. Circus Peanuts

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More like the grossest treat on earth! Photo: @ambarlynners / Instagram

Of all the terrible candies, this one got the most hate from the hive-mind. Circus peanuts look like cartoon alien eggs, have the texture of putty, and taste like stale 100-year-old marshmallows, which is pretty much what they are.

The Spangler factory has been producing them since 1906, so it’s entirely possible that ones on grocery store shelves today are older than your parents. They’re fat-free, though, so they’ve got that going for them.

2. Necco Wafers

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To be fair, they come in handy when you’re out of chalk. Photo: @michael_ball_n64 / Instagram

These dusty little pastel-colored discs taste like chalk. Some people like the flavor of chalk. Everyone else only ever considers eating Necco Wafer after receiving them in a Halloween trick-or-treating haul. And it’s only once everything else has gone that we look at them sadly, place one on our tongue, and be like, “Still chalk! Still nope.”

3. Red Hots

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These were too intense for anyone with taste buds. Photo: @worldspecialreporter / Instagram

It’s debatable which were worse – Red Hots or Hot Tamales. Both are cinnamon flavored with a hard shell. However, Hot Tamales had a squooshy/jellybean thing going for them, whereas Red Hots were just painfully spicy.

Eating a box was a feat of willpower: “I am strong, I am invincible! I am eating Red Hots and crying, but I will finish them to prove I can.”

4. Good & Plenty

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Only the bold at heart with a penchant for black licorice can stomach this one. Photo: @averyaster / Instagram

Anyone who dislikes black licorice has a serious grudge against these colorful candies. It could be argued that their maker deserves everlasting anger for tinting the candy coating to look like sweet Tic Tacs.

While the licorice-averse may consider this ruse a cruel trick, licorice fans, myself included, will still enjoy a jumbo-sized box of these at the movies.

5. Candy Buttons

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So much work for zero payoffs. Photo: @_love_0104 / Instagram

These little nibs of sugar look great – all bright and artificial – on their white paper backing, yet taste like a pure disappointment. It takes, at least, a handful to make for a substantial serving and it’s nearly impossible to pull them off without eating paper.

They fail as candy, and they fail as buttons too. What is their point even?

6. Candy Corn

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Is it just me or have these gotten progressively worse over time? Photo: @crybaby.1995 / Instagram

Maybe the most divisive of childhood treats, there are a lot of candy corn haters, but then you have people who will eat absolutely anything that contains an element of candy corn.

Candy Corn Oreos? Hell yes! Candy Corn Blondies? Put it in my mouth! Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn? Delicious candlewax nuggets of holiday happiness. Even Candy Corn Circus Peanuts – oh wait, nevermind. That’s gone too far.

7. Soda Bottles

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Mmm, poison-flavored wax. Photo: @darthscrapple / Instagram

These liquid-center candies came in two basic forms. Either a “bottle” made of gummy candy or one made of wax. Also, they came in many colors: classic cola, blue, green, blood-red, etc.

People despise all versions of this candy because the liquid filling tasted like sweet poison. The “edible wax” ones probably left a slightly worse taste because HELLO, YOU’RE EATING WAX.

8. Strawberry Bon Bons

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Reminds me of Grandma’s house. Photo: @theindiahoward / Instagram

The first thing to know is these have absolutely nothing in common with delicious chocolate bonbons. These wrapped strawberry candies promise a delightful flavor but instead deliver a soapy flavor on the outside, with a rancid syrup filling within.

But every time 6-year-old you would encounter them, you’d eat one because of that shiny wrapper. Dammit! Tricked again.

9. Jawbreakers

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It’s a choking hazard and a tooth chipper all in one! Photo: @jhov.cm / Instagram

We’re not sure who got the idea to create a candy so dense. If left in the ground for millions of years it would probably produce some rare candy diamond.

It’s not that we hate these candies so much, it’s just that anything that can break your JAW (or even a back tooth for that matter) should probably not be a children’s treat unless the goal is to extract a tooth.

10. Fruit Stripe

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You want to love it—and then it loses its flavor, and you can’t. Photo: @megan.o.bennett / Instagram

Though not an official candy (you’re not supposed to swallow it, though many people did, and according to my Mom it’s still in their stomachs to this day), Fruit Stripe gets a mention here because no matter what flavor you chewed, it would always turn gray and flavorless in five minutes.