The Crazy World Of Garbage Pail Kids

Image of Garbage Pail Kids in the post The Crazy World Of Garbage Pail Kids

Kids Loved Them, Parents Hated Them

If you were a fan of trading cards back in the 80s, you surely would have heard about, or maybe even possibly owned a few of your own Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. Yes, we’re talking about those little sticker cards with the weird and almost downright creepy images of strange children. The crazy world of Garbage Pail Kids may be a lot to take in, but it really is such an interesting topic, considering how much The Garbage Pail Kids contributed to making the 80’s one of the best decades to be alive in. 

Spend some time with us as we take a look at the story of the Garbage Pail Kids, how they came to be, the influence they had and why we don’t see much of them anymore.

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A wiz kid in the other sense
Image of Kooky Kesha as a nostalgic present for men in the post The Crazy World Of Garbage Kids
Kooky Kesha, a great role model

The Story Behind The Garbage Pail Kids

Aside from being insanely popular, the Garbage Pail Kids were iconic. This is no doubt because the story behind the Garbage Pail Kids is so rebellious. Before we dive deeper into the details, let’s understand how the Garbage Pail Kids came into existence. 

It was 1978 when The Cabbage Patch Kids were introduced to the market. The Cabbage Patch Kids were cute dolls that almost instantly became one of the most popular and best-selling toys in the United States. In fact, these dolls were so popular that they found their way into several cartoons, games, and even record albums. 

The Topps Company, very well known for their baseball cards, saw this as an opportunity. Seven years after The Cabbage Patch Kids were released, the Topps Company decided to make their own spoof of the famous dolls and released The Garbage Pail Kids.

Image of Burger Tim in the post The Crazy World Of Garbage Pail Kids
Burger Tim meeting his tasty end

Who Exactly Are These Gross Kids?

The Garbage Pail Kids are sticker trading cards. However, these were very far from the cute and happy Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Each trading card featured a different character with names like Armpit Britt, Horny Hal, Wrinkled Rita, Peeled Paul, Bony Tony, and Bad Breath Seth among many others. Yup, they were strange at the best of times and downright disgusting bordering on offensive at the worst.  

Appearance-wise, the characters all had weird deformities, disabilities, mutations, or abnormalities that gave a dark, eerie, but also quite a humorous vibe to the cards. Upon its release, there was absolutely no question to the public that these trading cards were poking fun at the very popular Cabbage Patch Kids. 

The Garbage Pail Kids’ dark humor and weirdness was an instant hit! We kids tend to like weird things and I sure was one of them.

A World Wide Craze

The impact that these trading cards had was huge. Everyone was talking about them, a movie was created about the Garbage Pail Kids, and schools even had to ban them on their grounds because aside from being rather disturbing, the cards also served as a great distraction to a lot of students. 

The influence of these trading cards wasn’t limited to America alone though. The rise of the Garbage Pail Kids caught the attention of several other countries. Seeing their success, countries like New Zealand, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Israel started making their own versions of the trading cards to sell to their people. Watch the 1986 CBS report below.

A Sad End

As you would have expected, Xavier Roberts, the man behind The Cabbage Patch Kids, was not happy with The Garbage Pail Kids at all. He took action by filing a lawsuit against Topps for copyright infringement. 

In the middle of their case in 1987, Topps announced that they would be halting the production of Garbage Pail Kids sticker trading cards made to mock The Cabbage Patch Kids. 

Topps then changed how their trading card characters looked and changed their logo design as well. Unfortunately, these new releases weren’t nearly as loved by the public, resulting in a decline in sales until the product was fully discontinued. 

However, in more recent times, Topps has started re-releasing a few of their card packs perhaps as a throwback to a world that didn’t take itself so seriously.

True 80's Attitude

The Garbage Pail Kids is just another reason why the 80s was such a good and classic decade. At the time, it was certainly a very bold move for Topps to create and release such a controversial product to the market. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to find a product with nearly as much attitude or impact, when compared to this awesomely weird cards. 

There are still a few original cards roaming around different online marketplaces, and if you ever get to lay your hands on one of them, or if you already own one, you’ll certainly be reminded of how much attitude the 80’s really had. 

These cards can also act as time capsules in a way, since seeing one of the original Garbage Pail Kids cards makes it so easy to remember the days when these simple sticker cards brought so much joy to the world. 

Interestingly, some modern art is inspired by the Garbage Pail Kids. You can find the images in tattoo shops as well as on keychains, figurines, or paintings. I’m not sure I’d want an portrait of Death Breath Seth in my dining room, but I’m sure I could make space in the garage or storeroom. 

The crazy world of Garbage Pail Kids was truly something to behold and I’m stoked to have been there to experience them in all their disturbing glory. They were without a doubt a defining feature of the 80’s. If it wasn’t for that pesky lawsuit, perhaps our kids would still be able to enjoy them to this day. I know I certainly would.

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Keeping the hippie dream alive
Image of Joe King in the post The Crazy World Of Garbage Pail Kids
This isn't disturbing at all

What are your thoughts on The Garbage Pail Kids? Let me know in the comments section below.

For more cool stuff about the 80’s, read 17 Cool Things From The 80’s.

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Garbage Pail Kids Gift Ideas

There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.

With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.

Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉

Funko POP! Adam Bomb

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Adam Bomb is one of the few Garbage Pail Kids that I remember well.  

Check it out on Amazon

Garbage Pail Puzzle

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Unveil the grossly, sick world of the Garbage Pail Kids with each puzzle piece.

Check it out on Amazon.

Sticker Cards

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Don’t let the dream die! Get back into collecting the disgusting kids once again.    

Check it out on Amazon.

Evil Eddie T-Shirt

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Some great Garbage Pail Kids tees for nostalgia revelers. 

Check it out on Amazon.

6 thoughts on “The Crazy World Of Garbage Pail Kids”

  1. This is pretty interesting  and I feel really sad because I wasn’t alive then in the eighties and I didn’t understand all about the Garbage pail kids. But thanks to your article, I have some idea of why kids loved them and parents hated them. I like the story about how they came about, but it’s a pity how it all ended. I’ll check on Amazon for some of the cards.

    1. It was fun and crazy fad, Jay, all my friends in school had them. I miss the 80’s because there was so much cool stuff back them.

      You can check out the Garbage Pail Kids here on Amazon

  2. This is crazy! You just brought back insane memories. The Garbage Pail Kids was truly exciting, disturbing, controversial, and full of attitude. It was the craze of the 80’s. My friend’s parents gave me all of their child’s Garbage Pail Kids cards in 1987. They didn’t want them around their child. They said that the cards were disgusting and evil.  I think I still have some. I will have check my old stash of souvenirs. Thanks for a wonderful article.

    1. When I look back at my childhood, John, I’m actually surprised my parents let me collect Garbage Pail Kids because they were pretty religious and strict for the most part. I wish I still had my original cards because I did have quite a collection back in the day. 

  3. Hello there, this is my first time hearing of Garbage Pail Kids and I really enjoyed reading your article ‘The Crazy World Of Garbage Pail Kids’. I really found it funny that these cards were created as a parody of The Topps Company’s ‘Cabbage Patch Kids’ and you were right about the trading cards being outright weird and morbid. I’m surprised these cards were a hit. 

    1. Yes, success lies in the weirdest places and products. The Garbage Pail Kids fad was such a fun and bizarre little period of my childhood and I appreciate the kids for that.

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