Editor's note: Every weekday in October, the Serious Eats editors and staff will chat about a candy they loved as kids (or love today). Artificial colors encouraged, no organic chocolate allowed.
When you were a kid, did you ever make capes out of the plastic wrappers of your Blow Pops? I'd inevitably get about 30 of these every year for Halloween and try and hoard them, spacing them out over the course of a couple months (I never made it past December). By the last few you sucked down, the wrapper would be so stuck to the candy that it'd peel away in strips, leaving long oblique triangles of plastic still stuck to the pop, which you'd have to spit out.
Those well-aged blow pops had a two millimeter thick layer of semi-softened candy on their exterior, but my favorite way to eat the fresher ones was to use my front teeth to bite off the "belt" that protrudes all the way around the center of the pop. (It would break off in shards; anyone who has done this knows exactly what I'm talking about.) You could do very similar things to Tootsie Pops, though they had belts that were oriented differently.
Obviously, watermelon was the most coveted flavor of the original five (though sour apple came in a close second). Cherry, Grape, and Strawberry? Too plain.
As for the gum in the center, it was pretty much useless on its own—the only way to eat it was to suck down the candy until only a thin shell remained, but bite off the gum and chew the candy right into it, infusing some much-needed flavor and sugar into the works. Of course, you'd also inevitably end up either leaving some gum on the stick, or getting some paper in your mouth. Either way, it didn't matter. The gum lost all flavor after a brief 30 seconds of chewing, forcing you to pop another one in your mouth (and that's why I never made it past December).
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.