The most popular fads from decades past
Find out what was popular when your parents were kids, or take a nostalgic trip down memory lane from your own childhood:


Angry Birds
  • A mobile game from Finland where you slingshot a bird into bunch of pigs to try to knock them down. With billions of downloads it quickly became one of the most popular games ever, and spawned sequels such as Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, and Angry Birds Star Wars, as well as Angry Birds merchandise, PC and console games, TV shows, board games, and movies.

Cash Mobs
  • A form of Flash Mob where a group of people who assemble at a local business to buy things, to support the local businesses and community. It can also be used to raise money for a cause.

Cronuts
  • A cream-filled cross between a croissant and a doughnut that hungry New Yorkers waited in line up to 2 hours for each morning. Created by baker Dominique Ansel in 2013, he set a limit of 2 per customer and only baked them early in the morning. Soon they were selling for up to $100 each on the black market.

Cupcake Stores
  • Fueled by the growing popularity of cupcakes in the 2000s and cupcake reality shows (Cupcake Wars, Cupcakes Girls, DC Cupcakes), cupcake stores started appearing in most major cities throughout the US.

Dog Shaming (also Kid Shaming and Baby Shaming)
  • An internet meme where a dog owner creates a sign to describe a bad thing the dog has done (like "I chewed on the pillow"), and takes a photo of the dog wearing the sign or with the placed next to the dog, and then posts it online.

Draw Something
  • A mobile app game similar to Pictionary, where you draw something and your opponent tries to guess what it is. Grew virally from people challenging their friends on Facebook.

Dubstep
  • A type of electronic dance music that originated in London in the late 1990s, but did not enter the mainstream until 2010 when American dubstep producer Skrillex achieved commercial success.

Duck Dynasty
  • An A&E reality show about the lives of the Robertson family, who run Duck Commander, a business in West Monroe, Louisiana, that makes products (such as duck calls) for duck hunters. The Robertson men (Phil, Si, Jase, Willie, and Jep) are known for their long beards. Duck Dynasty product tie-ins have generated sales of hundreds of millions of dollars at stores such as Walmart, Target, and Kohl's.

Fifty Shades of Grey
  • An R-rated romance novel published in 2011 by British author E. L. James about the relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and young business magnate Christian Grey. It unexpectedly became the fastest selling paperback of all time, even though it received mixed reviews from the critics (many people said it was badly written, full of cliches and clunky prose).

Food Trucks
  • A way for the on-the-go person to grab a quick bite at a low cost. Most major cities have dozens of food trucks parked throughout the downtown area offering gourmet burgers, lobster rolls, tacos, desserts, and much more.

Frozen Yogurt Stores
  • Although many ice cream stores have always sold frozen yogurt, and some stores such as TCBY sold it exclusively, all of a sudden in the early 2010s a new type of frozen yogurt store exploded on to the scene, where it offered self serve frozen yogurt machines with many different flavors and a large self serve large toppings bar (Oreos, M&Ms, Hot Fudge, cookie dough, brownies, crushed candy bars, fruit, whipped cream, etc.). Pretty soon national chains like Pinkberry and Orange Leaf had stores all over the country.

Gangham Style
  • A song released in 2012 by South Korean musician Psy. The accompanying video, featuring Psy doing amusing horse-riding-like dance moves, became the first YouTube video ever to reach a billion views, and ignited a worldwide dance craze. The phrase "Gangnam Style" refers to the lavish and upscale lifestyle associated with the trendsetting Gangnam District of Seoul.

GIF Animations
  • Animated GIFs became a part of web in the 1990s, from their use in banner ads to glittery hearts to dancing babies and hamsters, but over the years began to be they hated by most internet users. Then suddenly in 2013 they became a craze again (possibly due to popularity of Vine, which people use to create video loops), with millions of people posting more sophisticated animated GIFs on photo sites such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.

Gluten-free Diets
  • Eating only foods that don't contain gluten (wheat and grains), so mainly no bread and pasta. Although this is a proven medical treatment for celiac disease and gluten intolerance/sensitivity, despite the claims of many diet book authors, there is no proof that eating gluten-free helps the general population.

Grumpy Cat
  • A cat who became Internet famous in 2012 due to her grumpy facial expression, which is a result of feline dwarfism. Her real name is Tardar Sauce and she was born in 2012. Her popularity originated from a photo posted by the owner's brother on the news site Reddit.com. Soon she had an agent which led to Grumpy Cat books, t-shirts, mugs, calendars, and TV/movie apperances.

Hipsters
  • A subculture comprised mostly of white 18-34 year-olds, that is associated with indie/alternative music, non-mainstream fashion such as vintage and thrift store clothing, progressive/independent political views, and alternative lifestyles. It combines elements from other previous movements such as beatnicks, hippies, punk, emo, and grunge. There is no universal definition of a hipster, but one sweeping generalization would be "Artsy kids who hang out in coffee shops using Mac computers." Some hipster jokes -
    Q: How do you drown a Hipster?
    A: In the mainstream.
    Q: How did the hipster burn his tongue?
    A: He ate his pizza before it was cool.

Honey Boo Boo
  • A TLC reality show about the redneck family of 6 year-old beauty pageant contestant named Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson in their rural hometown of McIntyre, Georgia. Honey Boo Boo was previously on TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras and was then offered her own show.

Jersey Shore
  • An MTV reality series that followed the lives of a bunch of housemates living for the summer on the beach in New Jersey. Criticized for its Guido/Guidette portrayals of Italian-American stereotypes, it was MTV highest rated show ever and made Snookie and some of the other castmates into a stars. It also introduced the GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry) culture to the masses.

Occupy Wall Street
  • In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement started in Zuccotti Park in New York City when a group of protesters, frustrated by the economic downturn, lay the blame for the nation's problems on Wall Street and corporate America. Their chant of "We are the 99 percent" led to many national conversations about economic inequality and wealth distribution (i.e. only 1% of the counry is rich). The protesters illegally slept in sleeping bags, tents, or under blankets as they took up temporary residence in the park. These protests soon spread to other cities, but by the end of 2012 the movement had pretty much died out.

Planking
  • Lying face down with both hands touching the sides of your body, like a wooden plank, usually done in an unusual and original location. Planking photos became popular for a few years on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and other photo sites.

Rainbow Loom
  • A crafting kit for kids that uses hooks and rubber bands to make colorful bracelets and lanyards. It was invented in 2010 by Cheong Choon Ng, who had a degree in mechanical engineering, to help his daughters more easily make bracelets out of rubber bands. Sales were slow until Mr. NG and his daughters posted instructional videos on YouTube, and then Learning Express Toys stores started selling it.

Selfie
  • A self-portrait photo usually taken with a camera phone, mostly to be posted on a social network like Facebook or Instagram, or to be sent to a friend on Snapchat.

Shake Weight
  • A modified dumbbell that oscillates, purportedly increasing the effects of exercise, that was an infomercial and viral hit.

Silly Bandz
  • Colorful rubber band bracelets for kids that snap into various shapes such a unicorn or butterfly. They became so popular schools started banning them because they were causing clasroom dispruptions.

Tebowing
  • Named after Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who would sometimes kneel on one knee and pray with his head bowed down during NFL games. Soon people worlwide started doing this in non-sports situations. Some kids were even suspended from school for doing it. The fad quickly faded in 2012 less than a year after it started.

The Hunger Games
  • Another teen book series turned into a movie, like The Twilight Saga and Harry Potter that came before it. The story revolves around Katniss Everdeen and her adventures at The Hunger Games, an annual event where 12-18 year-olds are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.

The Kardashians
  • Millions of reality TV viewers were obsessed each week with the adventures of Kim, Kourtney, Khlo, their momager Kris and her husband Bruce Jenner, and the rest of their family. Kim was often criticized as only being famous for being famous, and the show was controversial for having story lines that appeared at times to be scripted/fabricated, it still became one of the most successful reality shows in history and produced the spin-offs Kourtney and Khlo Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and Khlo & Lamar.

The Tea Party Movement
  • A political group within the Republican party that advocates reducing the U.S. debt and budget deficit by reducing government spending and taxes, with conservative, constitutionally based positions on issues such as gun control, prayer in schools, illegal immigration, and Obamacare. They were instrumental in the temporary government shutdown of 2013, and Democrats accuse them of being fear mongering zealots with destructive strategies who have no interest in governing, only in forcing their ideology on the country. Well known Tea Party members include Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann.

Twerking
  • A type of dancing made famous by Miley Cyrus, where you shake your hips up and down causing your butt to shake/wobble/jiggle.

Words with Friends
  • An addicting, Scrabble-like game played on Facebook and mobile devices where you play against a friend or a stranger. It made national news in 2011 when Alec Baldwin was kicked off a plane for refusing to stop playing it.

Yoga Pants
  • Flexible, form-fitting pants with an elastic waistband folded over at the top, used for yoga and other activities that involve bending and stretching, such as dancing, pilates, aerobics, clubbing, and martial arts. Eventually these pants transcended yoga and became a casual fashion worn by millions of women.

YOLO
  • A motto meaning "You only live once". Similar to "Carpe Diem", which gained fame when uttered by Robin Williams in the 1980s movie The Dead Poet's Society. YOLO became popular as a motto for people to enjoy life, even if it means taking risks. The term had been used by other people over the years, but Drake's 2011 song "The Motto" brought it to the attention of youth culture.

Zombies
  • Zombies have always been popular since the horror films of the 1950s, but in the early 2010s they were everywhere: TV shows, video games, and zombie merchandise. There were even zombie runs, which were 5K obstacle courses where runners tried to dodge and escape from zombies that attempted to grab flags from runners' flagbelts.

Zumba
  • A fitness class that incorporates dance styles such as salsa, merengue, hip-hop, Bollywood, and even martial arts. It was created in the 1990s when aerobics instructor Alberto "Beto" Perez forgot his music tape for a class, so he used traditional Latin music instead and improvised. Its popularity grew significantly when celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Kirstie Alley started doing it, and now Zumba classes are offered at all fitness clubs.