Cover Image courtesy Jason Liebig via Flickr

They were once a favorite road trip treat for kids — but the bane of every parent’s road trip nightmare. After all, what other candy got kids so excited (i.e., hopped up on sugar) during an eight-hour road trip enough to ask about a gazillion times, “Are we there yet?” Of course, we’re talking about the brightly-colored striped straws known as Pixy Stix — the subject of today’s classic candy blog.

A Tale of Two Candies

Pixy Stix actually started out in 1942 as a powdered fruit drink called Fruzola. It was made by Sunline, Inc. of St. Louis, MO. One day, the company’s owner, J. Fish Smith, noticed that kids were forgoing the whole idea of mixing the powder with water and, instead, were eating the colorful sugar straight out of the package it came in. As a result, he changed the formula and started selling it as a candy powder called Lik-M-Aid, complete with a little spoon to help kids get it in their mouths even faster. 

Pixy Stix in their earliest form known as Lik-M-Aid.
Image courtesy of Jason Liebig @collectingcandy

The name Lik-M-Aid might sound familiar to some of you as it was re-branded in the 1970s as Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip. Fun Dip comes in flavored pouches complete with one or two edible candy dipping sticks that you lick and dip into the pouches and pop back into your mouth.

Pixy Stix Fix

Though Lik-M-Aid (and its subsequent rebranding Fun Dip) would become an instant success, it wouldn’t be until 1959 that the fruit-flavored sugar powder would be sold in their now familiar, brightly-colored striped paper straw packaging. Soon children all over America were getting their sugar fix from something called Pixy Stix.

Many of you probably recognize Fun Dip, one of our favorite childhood candies.
Image courtesy of Jason Liebig @collectingcandy

Today, Pixy Stix can be found all over the world and comes in a variety of flavors, including the four original ones: grape, orange, cherry, and Maui punch (the blue one).  New flavors include strawberry, lime, and blue raspberry.

And if six inches of sugar isn’t quite enough for your sugar fix, you can buy Giant Pixy Stix — a whole lot of sugar in a 15-inch plastic tube. (Believe it or not, Giant Pixy Stix used to be sold in a whopping two-foot plastic tube of sugar, until they were downsized to the new version.)

Pop Culture and Pixy Stix

Since they debuted nearly 80 years ago, Pixy Stix have become part of the American pop culture landscape. For instance, who can forget Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy) making her infamous butter-Captain Crunch-gummy lizards sandwich and topping it off with a healthy sprinkle of two Pixy Stix in The Breakfast Club?

Clipping from a Sunline Brands trade ad for Pixy Stix c.1960s.
Image: Jason Liebig via Flickr

Another example can be found at Halloween. Other states might be famous for handing out their Skittles and M&M’s. But Georgia? Georgia’s favorite Halloween treats are Pixy Stix.

Over 62 years after they were first introduced, Pixy Stix are still available today. So, if you want to feel a bit nostalgic, go ahead and enjoy a few on your next road trip. Just don’t be surprised if you seem to be asking yourself a gazillion times, “Are we there yet?”

You might find yourself asking that same question every time you see one of Stuckey’s classic signs on your next road trip. Be sure to stop in and browse through our selection of fine pecan candies, including our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls. While you’re there, check out all of the other road trip snacks and classic candy you remember us for. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Stuckey’s stop without getting a few of our kitschy souvenirs — for you and the folks back home.

You can also visit our website and have Stuckey’s merchandise delivered right to your door. If you can’t figure out what to get, surprise yourself and your loved ones with a Stuckey’s Mystery Box. What’s in it? Well, if we told you it would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it? Rest assured, they’re full of fun as each box could contain items like John Wayne Water Bottles, High School Musical Keychains, Summer Sarongs, Frozen Memorabilia, Sock Monkey Toys, Redneck Flyswatters, Shake Pens, Inspirational Mini-Books, and much, much more.

What will be in your Mystery Box?

Visit stuckeys.com for more info.

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!