The term “sugar rush” is essentially synonymous with two words: Pixy Stix. What were candy companies thinking, selling little paper tubes filled with colorful sugar to kids? It’s so simple, but so brilliant. Those evil geniuses. But how were Pixy Stix created? Who came up with this diabolical idea that would be the bane of parents and dentists for decades to come? To better understand the sweet treat responsible for most of our cavities, here are 10 interesting facts about Pixy Stix.
Pixy Stix started off as a drink mix.
In the 1930s, a candy company called the Fruzola Company of St. Louis was looking for a way to make water more fun for kids. Their solution? Sticks of colorful sugar that could be added to water to add some pizazz, which they called Frutola. Sound familiar? But when creator J. Fish Smith realized that kids were far more interested in eating the tart sugar straight from the paper tube, they pivoted the product, framing it as a kids’ candy and renaming it Lik-m-Aid.
These original Pixy Sticks came with a spoon...
...so you could conveniently shovel the pure sugar more efficiently into your mouth! Honestly, though, can you imagine a world where the Pixy Stix powder doesn’t get stuck in the paper tube as you’re trying to eat it? It just falls right out into this nifty spoon? That’s some delicious innovation.
Pixy Stix didn’t really become popular until 1952.
In 1952, Sunline, Inc. (formerly known as the Fruzola Company) began to manufacture and sell Lik-m-Aid worldwide. In 1959, the company instituted the modern design of the candy sticks that we recognize today and renamed the candy again, this time calling them Pixy Stix. From this wide scale marketing effort, Pixy Stix began to truly capture the attention of children nationwide.
Lik-m-Aid also turned into another popular candy.
Having picked up on the big secret that kids like to eat straight sugar, Sunline morphed Lik-m-Aid into another very popular candy: Fun Dip. For those of us who lived under a rock from ages 5 through 18, Fun Dip has the same colorful sugar powder as Pixy Stix, but it comes in a pouch and with a flavorless candy stick, which you lick and stick into the sugary powder. Essentially, it’s the edible candy version of the spoon that came with the original Pixy Stix.
Ally Sheedy invented her sugary sandwich in the iconic Breakfast Club scene.
Actress Ally Sheedy, who played the slightly psychotic recluse in the iconic 1980s film, The Breakfast Club, created her infamous Pixy Stix sandwich on a whim during filming. The sandwich consisted of butter, Captain Crunch cereal, gummy lizards, and a couple Pixy Stix. Sheedy chose to add the Pixy Stix last minute, because she thought it would make it extra weird. She had to eat three of those sandwiches during filming.
Giant Pixy Stix have been officially discontinued.
While regular Pixy Stix are 6 inches of pure sugar, who can forget the sugar rush to end all sugar rushes that were Giant Pixy Stix? At lengths that varied from 15 inches to two feet long, Giant Pixy Stix were downright gargantuan. Apparently, modern day consumers thought they were a little too gargantuan. They were discontinued a few years ago… and I think it’s safe to say no one misses them too much.
There are four constant Pixy Stix flavors.
Those four old reliable flavors are grape, orange, cherry, and Maui punch (which, for the uninformed like myself, is the official name of the blue Pixy Stix.) On the flip side, there are a few flavors that tend to come and go, including lime, strawberry, and Shelly Belly. What is Shelly Belly, you ask? Great question.
Pixy Stix have a darker history associated with Halloween.
Nowadays, we’re all very used to proceeding with caution on Halloween. Parents are much more apt to monitor and check the candy their kids receive before letting their children chow down. This nervousness can be blamed on a medley of sad incidences, but the most infamous is “The Man Who Killed Halloween”, also known as Robert Clark O’Bryan. Texas native O’Bryan was convicted of murdering his son on Halloween night in 1974 by feeding him a cyanide-laced Pixy Stix. Needless to say, Halloween became a nervous time for years to follow, and Pixy Stix sales briefly dropped for a time.
Snorting Pixy Stix has become a weird pseudo-drug trend in recent years.
In the past decade or so, it’s become a popular new trend (especially among middle school and high school students) to snort lines of Pixy Stix sugar as if it were a drug. There are no immediate effects, either positive or negative, from snorting a Pixy Stix. However, one school system did have to send out widespread PSA warning against snorting Pixy Stix when several students discovered maggots in their nostrils, most likely left by the flies attracted to the lingering sugar in their noses. Doesn’t seem so cool now, does it, kids? Don’t do fake drugs, stay in school.
Pixy Stix are the most popular Halloween candy in one state.
And that sugar-fueled state is… Georgia! After more than 60 years, Pixy Stix have fallen down the candy totem pole in favor of candy bars like Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Except in Georgia, where the pure sugar of the Pixie Stix still rules Halloween. Hats off to Georgia, ladies and gentlemen.