Today I pay tribute to Life Savers Holes. Tomorrow, I vacuum the upholstery in my car.
Life Savers Holes! They came, they saw, and while I was convinced that they’d conquered, the fact that they no longer exist suggests otherwise. The world at large was not ready to accept the supposed leftovers of normal Life Savers as something to be purchased separately, but some of us were, and we miss them dearly.
Ostensibly the “middles” of regular Life Savers, the candies were actually custom creations only meant to resemble that. I say this because my omniscience certainly extends to how Kraft Foods produced their candy back in 1990.
It was a great idea. Every kid loved regular Life Savers, but I don’t think many of us actively sought them out. I never turned them down, but at the same time, I always associated them with my mother’s filthy purse. If I was at the corner deli with my choice of candy, Life Savers would never, ever win.
Life Savers Holes, on the other hand, won and won often. The flavors were largely the same, but they just felt so much younger. Hipper and more vibrant. Maybe it was because I could eat 45 of them simultaneously, or maybe it was because they came in tubes that shook like makeshift maracas. I loved Life Savers Holes, and I was not alone.
The commercials were a big part of the candy’s success. Many of them were created by Pixar, which was still a few years shy of hitting it big with Toy Story. Any sighted person could’ve predicted their future successes: These commercials were loud, smooth and fun. Like a big red ball with a radio inside. #poetry
In the ads, the Holes were literally presented as the children of normal Life Savers. And boy, were those kids bundles of energy! Each commercial had them dart around like psychotic fleas, in everywhere from playgrounds to water parks. We fell in love before we had any idea what they tasted like.
Flavor, smell and appearance are all important factors when it comes to candy, but where Life Savers Holes really shined was their mouthfeel. They were akin to Tic Tacs, but fatter and clankier. Like edible ammunition for the BB guns that were our mouths. Trust me, no kid who ate Life Savers Holes could resist spitting them out like rapid-fire bullets for long.
Classic Life Savers flavors were represented, but I was more interested in the wackier mixes — the ones with the ambiguous names, and the labels that looked like wallpaper from The Max. There were Island Fruits, Sunshine Fruits, and even a mix called “Outrageously Fruity.” (We couldn’t be sure which fruits were represented in that last one, but at least we knew they were outrageous?)
Much of the appeal had to do with those wonderful plastic tubes, too. They always seemed too cool to throw away, even if the ability to repurpose them was limited to people who needed to store screws for eyeglasses.
I’m not sure why Life Savers Holes went extinct. I know I read something about a packaging recall, but that sounds more like a vacation than a retirement. If I may end this retrospective by writing like an eight-year-old who has just discovered his first legal pad: “Dear people who make Life Savers, make Life Savers Holes again, I will buy them and my friends will too.”