Back in my day, cereal came with prizes. Sometimes the prizes were merely stickers or collector cards, sometimes they were posters, and sometimes, if you were really lucky, you got a toy that could pop your eye right out of your face! Here is a sampling of some of the more beloved cereal box premiums from the 1980s and 1990s.
6 – Shreddies’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Rings
Shreddies, a Canadian cereal that’s pretty much a vast improvement on Shredded Wheat, came out with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle rings in the 1990s. I remember the boxes that advertised the rings inside, I knew I suffered through eating the Shreddies, but I don’t remember ever actually having the rings. This can only mean that my (male) neighbors at the time helped themselves to my cereal prize. Assholes. But I have to wonder about the initial idea behind this—marketing fashion rings to a predominantly male demographic? I guess it worked since the male demographic next door swiped mine.
5 – Kellogg’s DuckTales Figures
These DuckTales figures were pretty sweet and came in boxes of Rice Krispies (and possibly other Kellogg’s cereals) in 1991. I always thought Gizmoduck looked pretty badass and very 90s. Even if you weren’t a DuckTales fan, the opportunity to add additional action (inaction?) figures to your regular line-up was always welcomed.
4 – Cap’n Crunch’s Popper
The Popper was essentially a giant suction cup. If you turned it inside out and laid it on a table, it would pop up in the air right-side-out again. But no one used it like that. Most kids stuck it on their arm or forehead to achieve a beautifully round bruise. In fact, Quaker put out a recall on the Poppers after receiving reports of 36 injuries, most of them involving bruised or bloodshot eyes. Those were some hardcore kids.
3 – Trix’s Color-Changing Spoons
Although a lot of my cereal box premiums met the wrath of my mom who threw everything out, somehow my two Trix Color-Changing Spoons survived and made it to my house all the way from 1991. The spoon starts out pink and turns purple when it hits the milk. My spoons have seen better days and don’t change anymore, but when they did, many fights were had over who got to use the color-changing spoons the morning after sleepovers.
2 – Cap’n Crunch’s Squirter
I ate a lot of Cap’n Crunch as a kid so that’s why you’re seeing another Cap’n Crunch prize listed on here. Or maybe I ate Cap’n Crunch solely because of the prizes. Or maybe I just liked it when my gums bled profusely. At any rate, among my Cap’n Crunch premiums was this water squirting toy from 1989. Fill ‘er up and squirt water (or leftover cereal milk) from the top of the Cap’n’s hat.
1 – Alphabits’ Animaniacs Pogs
Growing up, I was all about Pogs. I didn’t care what was on it, if it was a Pog, I had to make it mine. Enter Alphabits cereal and the free Animaniacs Pogs housed inside the box. In 1995, I convinced my mom that I loved Alphabits cereal. I wanted the whole set of those Animaniacs Pogs and I was going to get them. I choked down box after box until I finally had the whole set. Life was pretty great, except that my mom was still convinced that I loved Alphabits cereal and continued to buy it. In large quantities. I suffered many years of eating that crappy cereal to pay for my mistakes.
Did we miss your favorite cereal box premium? Have a story about fighting over who got the prize inside the cereal box in your household? Leave us a comment!