Tuesday, October 7, 2014

24 Days 'Til Halloween: Trading Card Tuesday (Wacky Packages)

When I was a kid I spent a mind-boggling amount of pocket money on packages of trading cards. By which I mean it boggles my sober adult mind, of course; at the time, in my feckless youth, it seemed perfectly normal. A can of soda was a quarter and a chocolate bar was 50 cents, a comic book was 65 or 75 cents and a pack of cards was also somewhere in that under-a-dollar range. If I had five bucks, or maybe even only a couple of dollars, leftover birthday money or allowance for doing the dishes or just handed out with random largesse by the grandparents, then I could wander into the drug store and come back out again with a Whatchamacallit, a 7 Up Gold, and a few new squares of collectible cardboard, plus change. Such were my idle childhood pursuits. (Point of fact, that corner drugstore at the beach I mentioned in Friday's post, where plastic fangs and other cheap junk could be found at the toy counter? I know they made a ton of money off me year over year through sales of all of the sundries listed above, including waxy envelopes full of cards and bubble gum.)

This whole blog is a testament to my innate predisposition towards being an obsessive collector, so of course trading cards held a certain appeal to me by their very nature. I never had a complete set of any given series of cards, but despite that I was always susceptible to thinking that I could, maybe, make a run at it one of these times. Usually the company in question simply stopped printing the cards long before I ever got to that point, given my underfunded (or appropriately funded, over maybe even overfunded, depending on how much money you think an elementary-schooler should be wasting on disposable crap) catch-as-catch-can approach to the enterprise. But even without much hope of completeness, I just loved opening a package and riffling through the cards, seeing which ones were new to me, getting no small amount of amusement and pleasure from the whole ritual. Those are some pretty fond memories, to this day.

Wacky Packages are some of the earliest cards I can remembering collecting, and probably go a long way toward explaining my enduring love for bad puns. It didn't hurt that they were actually card-mounted stickers, and like any other red-blooded Gen X'er I loved defacing every surface within reach with adhesive artwork. In honor of the Halloween Countdown, here are some classic horror-themed Wacky Packages:

Some of these are from before my time, and some of them are probably from after I was too old for the gags anymore. Astonishingly enough Wacky Packages are still a thing, and they released a set in 2012! I think the little guy is just getting to the point where he might be old enough to appreciate the low-level humor, and now I'll have to keep an eye out for them on his behalf. I mean, not for myself. Obviously.

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