8 Fads and Crazes from the 1970s That You’ve Gotta See To Believe

If you love nostalgia, the 1970s was a goldmine of unique fads and crazes.

From fashion to music, the decade brought about some unforgettable trends that made their mark on popular culture.

Reflecting back, it’s fascinating to see what captured everyone’s attention and became all the rage.

The 1970s was an era of transformation and bold style choices. Ever wonder what people couldn’t get enough of back then? This article will dive into some of the most memorable fads and crazes that defined the decade, taking you on a trip down memory lane.

Whether you lived through the ’70s or are just curious about it, you’ll find something interesting here.

1) Pet Rocks

In 1975, an unusual craze took the world by storm: Pet Rocks.

This quirky fad began when Gary Dahl, an advertising executive, joked that rocks made perfect pets.

They didn’t need food, walks, or grooming.

Dahl’s joke turned into reality.

Pet Rocks came in a small box with breathing holes and straw, just like a real pet carrier.

Each rock sat in its cozy bed, taking the concept of low-maintenance pets to a whole new level.

Pet Rocks quickly became a hit.

Priced at $3.95 each, more than a million were sold during the Christmas season of 1975.

People loved the humor and simplicity.

It was a fascinating example of how a clever idea and good marketing could create a massive trend.

The craze was short-lived, lasting about six months.

By early 1976, sales had dropped, and stores began to discount the rocks.

Gary Dahl continued his career in advertising, but his Pet Rocks remained a memorable icon of 1970s pop culture.

If you were around in the 70s, you might have had one of these funny little pets or knew someone who did.

It’s a fun reminder of how simple ideas can sometimes capture our imaginations.

2) Mood Rings

Mood rings were a big hit in the 1970s.

You might remember them as colorful rings that supposedly showed your mood.

These rings changed colors, thanks to a temperature-sensitive liquid crystal inside.

The idea behind mood rings was simple.

When you wore one, the crystal inside would react to changes in your body temperature.

This would make the ring change colors, which were linked to different emotions.

If your ring turned blue, it was believed you were calm.

If it turned black, you might be feeling stressed or anxious.

This idea fascinated many people and made mood rings a popular accessory.

Even though mood rings first gained traction in New York City, they quickly spread across the United States.

By 1975, they became a full-blown craze.

People loved the idea of wearing their emotions on their fingers.

Despite their rapid popularity, the market for mood rings became flooded with imitations.

This led to a quick decline in their popularity.

Yet for a few years, these rings were a fun and unique way to express yourself.

3) Stretch Armstrong

Stretch Armstrong was a toy sensation in the 1970s.

This stretchy action figure looked like a blond wrestler and came dressed in a black speedo.

Kids loved this toy because you could stretch him to over four feet, and he would still return to his original shape.

The secret behind Stretch Armstrong was his construction.

Made from latex rubber and filled with corn syrup, the toy could withstand hours of pulling and twisting without breaking.

This made it fun and durable, perfect for imaginative play.

Stretch Armstrong wasn’t just for wrestling fans.

His unique stretchy feature appealed to kids of all interests.

Whether squishing, scrunching, or stretching him, Stretch Armstrong provided endless entertainment.

He became a symbol of 1970s toy innovation.

4) Pong

Pong was a huge hit in the 1970s.

It was one of the first video games ever created.

You could find it in arcades and homes.

It was a simple game where you controlled a paddle on screen to hit a ball back and forth.

You might remember the black and white graphics.

Even though it was basic, it was super fun and addictive.

Many people spent hours trying to beat their friends.

Pong was a big part of the start of the video game industry.

It made people excited about what could come next.

If you ever played Pong, you know how it felt to lose track of time while competing.

5) Sea Monkeys

In the late 1960s and on through the 1970s and 1980s, Sea Monkeys became a big hit.

These little creatures were actually a type of brine shrimp.

Kids loved them because of their funky marketing.

You could find ads in comic books that promised “instant pets” just by adding water.

Once you added water, the Sea Monkeys would magically come to life.

Of course, they didn’t look much like the cheerful cartoons in the ads.

Still, feeding and watching them swim around was a fun hobby.

They were even marketed with claims that you could train them, though that wasn’t really true.

You might remember the small plastic tanks that came with the Sea Monkeys.

These tanks often had magnifying glasses built in, so you could get a closer look.

For many, Sea Monkeys were one of the first experiences with having a pet, even if it was just tiny shrimp.

They were low-maintenance and didn’t need much more than occasional feeding and water changes.

Even though the Sea Monkeys never lived up to their ads, they were a memorable part of growing up during these decades.

6) Disco Dancing

Disco dancing took the world by storm in the 1970s.

The music was catchy, the beats were groovy, and everyone wanted to get on the dance floor.

Clubs lit up with colorful lights, setting the stage for energetic dance moves.

Artists like the Bee Gees, ABBA, and Donna Summer became icons of this era.

Their music played on every radio and in every club, making it hard to resist the urge to dance.

You couldn’t go to a party without hearing “Stayin’ Alive” or “Dancing Queen.” These songs made everyone want to show off their best moves.

The Hustle, the Bump, and the Disco Finger were some of the popular moves.

People didn’t just dance, they dressed the part too.

Bell-bottoms, sparkly outfits, and platform shoes were all the rage.

You could see people skating to disco tracks at roller rinks, combining two fads into one fun activity.

Disco dancing wasn’t just a fad; it was a whole experience.

It brought people together, making the dance floor the place to be in the ’70s.

And even today, those iconic moves and tracks still make people want to dance.

7) Platform Shoes

Platform shoes were all the rage in the 1970s.

They became a huge fashion trend during this decade and were popular with both men and women.

These shoes had thick soles and high heels, making the wearer look taller.

They weren’t just for everyday wear either.

Platforms were a big hit on dance floors, especially during the disco era.

You could find them with flashy designs, bright colors, and even glitter.

Everyone from rock stars to everyday folks loved them.

You might remember seeing famous personalities sporting platform shoes on concert stages.

They were not only stylish but also made a bold statement.

Despite their dramatic appearance, people still managed to move and dance in them quite well.

Platforms weren’t entirely new in the ’70s though.

They had also been popular in the 1930s and 1940s, but the 1970s took the style to new heights.

Some heels were as high as 10 inches! This craze for tall, bold footwear became a defining look of the decade.

Even today, you can still see the influence of 1970s platform shoes in modern fashion.

They’ve made a comeback in various forms, showing that some trends never really go out of style.

8) Lava Lamps

Lava lamps first hit the scene in the 1960s and quickly became a symbol of the psychedelic era.

These funky lamps feature wax globules in liquid that move around in a mesmerizing way when heated.

You might have seen one on a TV show or movie from that time.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, lava lamps were everywhere.

They sold millions of units each year and were a staple in many homes.

Their trippy look made them a perfect fit for the counterculture and hippie movements.

Even though lava lamps lost some popularity by the mid-1970s, they never completely disappeared.

They saw a dip in sales but remained a beloved item for those looking for a retro touch.

If you were around back then, you probably remember how cool these lamps were.

Today, lava lamps have made a comeback.

They are still sold in many stores and online.

Whether you have nostalgia for the past or just like unique decor, a lava lamp might be a fun addition to your space.

Cultural Impact

The fads and crazes of the 1970s brought about significant changes that influenced pop culture and fashion trends.

They left a lasting imprint on the cultural landscape.

Influence on Pop Culture

The 1970s was a decade where disco music became a massive craze.

Songs by artists like the BeeGees and Donna Summer had everyone dancing.

Disco’s presence wasn’t limited to music; it spun off into dance styles with unique moves that people still remember and use today.

Another big part of pop culture was the rise of fitness obsessions.

Running, aerobics, and group fitness classes became very common.

Suddenly, staying in shape was not just for athletes—everyone wanted to be part of it.

This era made fitness an essential part of everyday life, influencing future generations.

The 8-track tape player also became a household item, making music much more accessible.

People could now listen to their favorite tunes anytime.

This convenience drastically changed how people consumed music and paved the way for future portable music formats like the cassette and CD.

Fashion and Design Trends

The fashion of the 1970s was bold and expressive.

Bell-bottom jeans and platform shoes were popular, and you saw Earth Shoes coming into play.

These items were not just part of an outfit; they were statements.

Paisley patterns and vibrant colors were everywhere.

These patterns were seen on shirts, dresses, and even furniture, reflecting the era’s free-spirited vibe.

The fascination with unique fashion continued to evolve into the 1980s with neon colors and leg warmers.

Designer jeans also came into fashion.

Brands like Jordache and Calvin Klein became famous.

These jeans were not just about denim—they became a status symbol.

Owning a pair meant you were in the know and stylish.

Elevating simple items like rocks into “pet rocks” showed the playful side of the 1970s.

Something as mundane as a rock went through a cultural transformation, packaged with humor and care instructions, adding a quirky touch to home décor.

Technology and Toys

In the 1970s, there were amazing changes in technology and toys.

Video games started to become popular, and new gadgets hit the market that changed the way people lived and played.

Rise of Video Games

Video games began to capture people’s imaginations in the 1970s.

The release of Pong in 1972 by Atari was groundbreaking.

This simple game, where you bounce a ball back and forth, became an instant hit.

You might also remember Space Invaders, which took arcades by storm in 1978.

It challenged players to defend against waves of alien attackers.

These games were the start of what would become a massive video game industry.

Home consoles also began to emerge.

The Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, was the first home video game system.

Though basic, it paved the way for more advanced systems like the Atari 2600, which launched in 1977 and provided endless hours of entertainment.

Innovative Gadgets

The 1970s brought you many innovative gadgets.

One was the 8-track tape player, common in cars and homes.

It allowed you to listen to your favorite music on the go.

You also saw the rise of microwave ovens.

These quickly became kitchen staples because they could heat food much faster than traditional ovens.

Another popular toy was Stretch Armstrong, which first appeared in 1976.

This figure could stretch to great lengths and then return to its original shape.

Meanwhile, Hot Wheels became more than just toy cars; they were collectibles and racing favorites for many kids.

Technological advancements also brought new entertainment options.

The Sony Walkman, introduced in 1979, revolutionized how you listen to music, making it portable and personal for the first time.

These gadgets and toys of the 70s shaped much of the entertainment landscape for years to come.

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