If you were in grade school in the 80s and 90s, you’re guilty of buying into hundreds of bizarre fads along the way. Here are just a handful of fads we’ve all fallen to and are happy that we don’t have to encounter anymore.
11 – Treasure Trolls
10 – Beanie Babies
Beanie Babies debuted in 1993 and three years later the world went insane with over 100 million Beanie Babies sold. They were nothing special, but people still freaked out over the little bean-stuffed animals with heart-shaped identification tags. McDonalds even got into the game in 1997, offering mini versions of the stuffed animals and sold 100 million of those in just 14 days. People went absolutely apeshit for these things, thinking they’d make millions of dollars from their collections one day. Of course, everyone has a bag full of these things in their attic and no one wants more of them. So, good job on cashing in. Bootleggers capitalized on the Beanie Baby craze by manufacturing counterfeit Beanie Babies, which caused the FBI to get involved and bust some rings in the late 90s.
9 – Cabbage Patch Dolls
Like all fad dolls, Cabbage Patch Dolls were hella ugly and kids wanted the hell out of them. If you were around in the 1980s, you probably had six of them. They did have a unique feature—each doll came with adoption papers. Add that each doll was different and you’ve created a doll kids will love, not just the same Little Miss doll that every kid in second grade was touting around.
8 – Furby
Furby was an uglier version of a Gremlin that blinked and made stupid noises—and if you’ve been paying attention so far, that’s fad gold. The toy was introduced in 1998, kind of late in the game, but again, people went nuts for it anyway. Furbies can learn English as well as teach their owners Furbish. Furbies were hard to find shortly after their release because of the demand. They’re still hard to find today because they’re terrible.
7 – Tamagotchi
Sometimes it isn’t feasible to have pets when you’re a kid, so the next best thing in 1996 was a Tamagotchi, a virtual pet housed inside an egg-shaped piece of plastic that you could put on your keychain or stuff in your pocket and forget about. With the three buttons on the front of the Tamagotchi, the pet owner would have to feed, clean, entertain and take care of their new bundle of joy.
6 – Magic Eye
In newspapers, in book form, sometimes even on television, Magic Eye artwork always alluded my brain and that’s why I’m glad to see that fad is dead. Magic Eye is an explosion of colorful fuzz and shapes that you had to look at funny and kind of squint in order to see a 3D image pop out at you. These images, or stereograms, were apparently really cool, but I was one of those people that would stare for hours like a jerk. Some good did come from it, vision therapists utilize Magic Eyes as part of the treatment for some binocular vision and accommodative disorders. Hopefully I don’t end up with one of those.
5 – Clackers
Clackers are those plastic noisemakers that annoyed parents and teachers alike. Users held a plastic stick with two separate triangles that house a ball on the tips. With a flick of the wrist, the triangles would rotate and the balls would “clack” together. There were different tricks to do with Clackers, all emitting a sound that would make you want to punch a child. But hey, they were fun.
4 – Skip-It
3 – Slap Bracelets
Banned by schools, outlawed by parents, maybe you even have a friend of a friend whose cousin’s babysitter’s sister was critically injured due to smacking razor-sharp metal against their wrist. Slap bracelets were a strip of metal that can be straightened, but can snap into a roll or bracelet shape with the slightest agitation. These came in lots of neon colors, the official colors of the 80s and 90s.
2 – Pillow People
1 – POGS
The mid 1990s were ripe with POGs, little cardboard discs that players would throw heavier, sometimes metal, slammers at. POG refers to a passionfruit, orange, and guava drink from Hawaii where the game originated in the 1920s-1930s. POGs featured images on at least one side, with many franchises cashing in on the craze (Simpsons, Casper, and Sailormoon, to name a few). Better than playing POGs was collecting them, with many players’ collections getting out of control (over 4,000 POGs up in here). Some schools eventually banned the game, citing it as a gateway activity for hardcore gambling addictions, but the fad fizzled out before any real damage could be done.