If you’re unfamiliar with “candy heads,” they were candy-filled containers shaped like the heads of our most beloved TV and movie characters. But you could probably tell that from the photo.
They still exist in many forms, but it isn’t like it used to be. There was a time when virtually every “kiddy character” had a candy head, and though few could’ve loved the cheap treats inside, something about pouring them from disembodied heads always made those experiences feel special.
The samples below barely hint at their collective volume, but it’s a start!
“Harry” Candy Head
(Harry and the Hendersons, 1987)
Harry and the Hendersons, about a family who befriends an affable sasquatch, could not had come out at a better time. I was only then discovering the glories of cryptozoology, by way of Unsolved Mysteries and similar shows that treated such legends with hope rather than snark. “Bigfoot” was mentioned often on those shows, and as a kid, it never occurred to me that even the least believable sightings were anything but fact.
To this day, I can’t hear about Bigfoot without immediately picturing Harry. His candy head was incredibly detailed, even if it’s weirdly reminiscent of Ron Perlman.
The candy inside is nothing worth celebrating, unless you’re shooting an anti-drug PSA and need a stand-in for ecstasy.
“Baby” Candy Head
(Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, 1985)
It seems impossible, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend.
I don’t get it. I was the right age, and I loved dinosaurs. How did a live-action movie about a cute little dino pass me by? Was I really that busy? I know I found time to fill an entire marble notebook with pictures cut from Star Wars storybooks.
Worst of all is my distinct recollection of seeing the big clamshell video box at our local video store. It was an incredible box, too. The film got awful reviews, but just judging by that box art, it looked like one of the greatest stories ever told. (Two people huddling around an adorably small brontosaurus, apparently hand-feeding it nuts or something. I feel like I’ve failed on so many levels by skipping this movie.)
Anyway, that’s Baby. He too was filled with prop ecstasy!
“Slimer” Candy Head
(Ghostbusters II, 1989)
Slimer’s candy head was among the most famous of ‘em all, thanks to so many Kay Bee stores keeping boxes of things right by the registers for years and years. (Apparently, the candy inside these heads did not adhere to normal “expiration date” rules. “Best if eaten by the time they sell out, even if that’s 2078.”)
This candy head has always bugged me, and I think I’ve finally figured out why. Seeing the giant photo makes it perfectly clear that Slimer’s carrying a bunch of food, but that’s far less obvious in his true size, where it moreover looks like Slimer is squeezing his chest fat to create fake cleavage.
The bright side? The candy inside was actually inspired. Gone were the simple pellets, and in were colorful “discs” with imprinted pictures of Slimer or the movie logo. In terms of “candy head candy,” this was like eating at the Four Seasons.
“ALF” Candy Head
I was ALF’s biggest fan. Possibly excluding Pee-wee’s Playhouse, his was the only series that I felt an incredible RESPONSIBILITY to watch. It was to the point where missing an episode of ALF meant — absolutely meant — that I’d have a shitty/gloomy week. I watched it religiously, and whenever I didn’t, I had that familiar sense of religious guilt.
I have a bunch of the seasons on DVD. Gotta say, even if the later seasons lost a step, the first one really was brilliant freakin’ television. The scripts were just so sharp and bizarre, and ALF was way funnier as a “curious dickhead.” If you take nothing else from this article (entirely possible, since it’s about candy heads), please give S1 a try. You won’t be sorry.
Like Slimer, ALF didn’t get cheap with his candy. They were various cat-shaped sweets, which made sense, since there was nothing ALF enjoyed more than eating cats. There’s probably a more interesting way to word that, but eh.
“Audrey II” Candy Head
(Little Shop of Horrors, 1986)
There were several minor attempts to make merchandise out of Audrey II, but no matter how cool the monster was, none seemed to catch on. So God knows if more than ten people ever bought one of these candy heads, but I think it’s obvious that we all should have. This thing is AMAZING. It’s a fully-formed Audrey II, with the pot and everything. They skimped on the teeth, but Audrey’s mouth was at least formed to hint at jaws.
It’s the one candy head that feels like so much more than a candy head, possibly because it’s also a candy stem and a candy pot. Of all the stupid old things that permeate every inch of my personal space, this little piece of plastic is honestly among my favorites. (Hell, the fact that it’s Audrey II is just the gravy. I love ALL carnivorous plants. I want a greenhouse filled with them, paired with a fog machine and piped-in chamber music.)
I refuse to believe that even one of you never owned a candy head, so share your memories in the comments. Bonus points if you had the jade green Jabba the Hutt version.
PS: Yes, I realize that most of these are not actually heads. “Candy heads” is still the accepted term. Don’t mess with Matt.