Skip to main content

All kids love two things—candy and toys. What if there was a way to have both at the same time? That would be the bees' knees. If only some innovative and intrepid entrepreneur could combine these two they'd be sure to make a million bucks, right?

That's what happened in 1955 when Austrian candy guru Eduard Haas introduced Pez to the United States. The little candies are, if we're being completely honest, a little lackluster. They needed to be spruced up in order to grab the attention of millions of little kids eager for a sugar fix, and here is where Haas proved to be a true genius. Reworking the recipes and candies would be a costly nightmare, but what if the candy didn't change it all, just the presentation? 

By affixing heads at the top of the candy dispenser, Pez became more than just a sweet treat. It was a toy. It was a collectible. It was a fun thing to pull out of your pocket and show off while you popped another Pez. Almost immediately the kids went nuts and Pez dispensers became a sensation. 

Not too long thereafter the company started working with brands to feature characters like Mickey Mouse, Yoda, Spider-man and, by now, hundreds of others. They've even featured some historical figures like Daniel Boone and Betsy Ross.   

When I was in high school I became enamored with Pez dispensers for two separate by equally ridiculous reasons. First, I was way into ska and Less Than Jake made an album called "Pezcore." I listened to this album constantly (and I still do from time to time) and the cover image featuring a cartoon girl shooting Pez out of one of the most coveted dispensers is imprinted in my memory. You may even find some Less Than Jake inspired tattoos in this article... 

And secondly, there was an urban legend that Pez contained small amounts of the painkiller codeine. Thus, it got into our heads that if we ate a TON of Pez in a sitting we would end up getting wicked high. We did not. But because we were dumb teenagers, at least a couple of us thought they were "totally feeling something, man." They were delicious and I had a pretty rad Wario Pez dispenser, so it was definitely a better experience than huffing airplane glue would have been. 

The Pez dispenser tattoos in the gallery below are pretty sweet too, but I wouldn't recommend trying to eat any of them. That would go poorly. Enjoy!