Trading Cards as Halloween Treats

While I was at the grocery store earlier today, the Pokemon cards above caught my eye.

I think trading cards are such a great idea to stuff into the bags, sacks, buckets, and pillowcases of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. They’re going to get more than enough candy, so things like these cards give much-needed variety, and something to do while consuming said candy.

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I did my trick-or-treating on the street that my grandmother lived on. The street had mostly elderly people living on it, and they absolutely loved to spoil all of the kids who came around trick-or-treating by giving not only the best candies on the market but numerous other trinkets as well.

One nice man in particular was an avid baseball card collector. He liked to help foster the passion for his hobby of choice by giving out unopened packs of baseball cards. And I’m not talking about small sample packs like the Pokemon ones pictured above. No, he spent a lot of money and bought regular packs to slip into kid’s bags.

Those cards made such an impression on me, that I can specifically remember the cards I got from him. In 1988 it was a pack of Topps, in 1989 was Fleer, and in 1990 was Donruss. It’s not an exaggeration for me to say that getting those cards in my trick-or-treat bag really helped kindle my love of collecting cards.

Seeing the Pokemon cards today also brought to mind “Trading Card Treats” that were available in 1991. Much like the Pokemon cards, you could buy bags of packs of trading cards, each featuring a few cards per pack. They were designed to be given away for trick-or-treating as 1991 was around the apex of the trading card hobby.

Trading Card Treats were available in several choices too, so whomever was giving them out could pick what they wanted to give. They could choose between Marvel Super Heroes, Archie Comics, Universal Studio Monsters, Inspector Gadget, Widget, or Nintendo cards to give away.

It was such a great concept back then and still is today. I don’t know if there are other trading card options out there this year like the Pokemon ones I saw, but I sure hope there are. If you want to be fondly remembered for years to come by this year’s crop of trick-or-treaters, consider giving away some trading cards instead of candy.

1990/1991 NBA Hoops Trading Cards

Somewhere in 1990, I really started getting into trading cards. Baseball cards mostly, and some non-sports cards that I thought were cool. In the fall of that year, I spotted packs of 1990/1991 NBA Hoops cards and they would be my first foray into the world of basketball cards. I saw them at my local grocery store one day and bought a few packs. I really didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that some other kids at school were trading basketball cards and these were basketball cards. I found that I loved them. The silver border was cool. I knew some of the players, there were rookie cards and all-star cards to try and find, and my friends at school now wanted to include me in their trading. All was well in my world when it came to basketball cards.

The next time we went to the store, I spent my whole allowance on packs of these. When we got to the car, my mom threw a fit about me using all of my money on cards. She gave me a lecture on how cards aren’t worth what people think they are. In her words, “If they were worth anything, they wouldn’t put them in those packs. They’d just sell them for what they’re worth.” She clearly didn’t understand how the secondary market worked. And she didn’t understand that having these cards got me into a somewhat exclusive group at school. To me, that made these cards worth spending a whole week’s allowance on.

I still dabble in trading cards from time to time, and when I’m on that kick, I’m always on the lookout for unopened packs of these. It’s not with the hope of finding anything valuable in them because that’s not really a possibility. It’s just that opening an unsealed pack of these takes me back to my middle school days for just a little while, and that’s a high you can’t buy.

Wax Pack Flashback: Awesome! All-Stars Trading Cards (1988)

It’s another episode of Wax Pack Flashback! Where we open old packs of trading cards and let you watch along to join in the fun. There were so many sets and series of cards that came out in the ’80s and ’90s, that there was no way you could have got to experience them all. That’s where we come in. We track them down and open them so you can see what was missed.

In this episode that I filmed for The Retro Network, I open a pack of Awesome! All-Star cards that were produced by Fleer in 1988. I’m pretty sure a pack of these was the first cards I ever purchased on my own. So sit back and enjoy seeing what I find inside.

Wax Pack Flashback: Batman Forever Trading Cards (1995)

In this episode of Wax Pack Flashback, Adam and Jason from The Retro Network both open a pack of Fleer Batman Forever cards from 1995. This 120-card set featured promo shots and stills from the movie. Unfortunately, there were no chase cards produced with the set, but the guys find some very fun cards and share their memories of Batman Forever to kick off the video.

Wax Pack Flashback is a series that appears on TRNTV on YouTube, hosted by a rotating cast of Mickey, Jason, and Adam. See all of the various trading card opening videos on TRNTV.

The 1992 Topps Baseball Card Project

I’ve always been a big fan of trading cards. Ever since I first laid eyes on my brother’s collection of Elvis cards when I was really young, I’ve been fascinated by them. That fascination only increased when my friends were bringing the original Garbage Pail Kids cards to school.

I think my first foray into that world was actually Panini sticker albums instead of cards. The first one I remember having was the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe one. I followed that up with several others including more licensed ones and even the generic ones like the exotic animals album.

If my recollection is right, the first packs of actual trading cards I bought for myself were Awesome All-Stars and Greatest Gross Outs. These were imitation baseball cards that depicted weird aliens as baseball players in comic form. I loved those things, and my passion for cards only grew stronger.

Fast forward a few years and I was an avid collector of cards of all types. Baseball, basketball, football, non-sports, Panini stickers…if it was out there, I was interested in it. But 1992 may have been the peak of my fandom in my early years. It was that summer that a group of friends and I spent most days just trading cards amongst ourselves. It was also the year Topps released the 1992 version of their iconic baseball cards.

I was buying a couple of packs every week, and would proudly proclaim to my card trading friends that I was going to get the whole set. They were behind me and even gifted me their doubles on a regular basis. But what I didn’t calculate at that time was the sheer size of the set. Combine that with a meager allowance and you have the recipe for a failed attempt at collecting a whole set. Needless to say, I didn’t even come close.

Fast forward many more years to where I got on eBay and picked up a few packs of some random non-sports cards. Just the act of opening those packs once again got my juices flowing, and I started buying more and more old unopened packs. Before I knew it, I had an impressive collection of them. Figuring that there were more people out there in the world like me who enjoyed that feeling of ripping open a pack of cards and rifling through them to see what they had got, I took to filming the openings and sharing them on YouTube. You’re probably familiar since I’ve posted several of those videos here on Retro Ramblings.

One of the packs I happened to pick up then was the 1992 Topps baseball. When I opened a pack of those cards, so much nostalgia came flooding back to me. Memories of summer days and a promise I made long ago. Now we’re about two years removed from that day, and I had the itch to not only open some more cards but try to assemble a set.

The cards I started opening were Dick Tracy cards based on the movie from 1990. I had about 25 packs of them and I thought I might have a whole collection there. I opened them, put them in pages, and came up really close. It turned out to be a really fun evening, and then a thought hit me. What if I once again tried to assemble the complete 792 card set of 1992 Topps baseball cards?

All of my original cards are long gone, but what I did have was about ten unopened packs, plus the cards from three packs I’ve opened recently. I ran the idea by my friends at The Retro Network, and they’ve been really supportive. So much so that Karen’s dad has offered to send me a bunch of his doubles from the set!

So I’m going for it. It’s a project that I’d consider to be 30 years in the making. I ordered 100 trading cards pages from Amazon, bought a heavy-duty 3-ring binder, decorated the cover of it with a package from a pack of the cards, and wrote all 792 numbers down in a small notebook for keeping track of the cards I’m still looking for when I’m out and about.

While this is mostly just a personal goal of my own, I thought I would share it with you in case you’ve got something you’ve been holding off on starting for a while. Don’t wait. Go out and get started! As this project matures, I’ll probably share more of the journey with you here on Retro Ramblings. But for now, I’m going to go open another pack of cards.

Wax Pack Flashback: Beavis & Butt-Head Trading Cards (1994)

With Beavis & Butt-Head back in the news pretty heavily these days with the release of their new movie, Beavis & Butt-Head Do the Universe, it seems like a great time to share this video I made for The Retro Network opening a pack of their trading cards from 1994. I hope you enjoy the little trip down memory lane watching me open the pack and seeing what I found inside.

Wax Pack Flashback: Classic WWF Wresting Trading Cards (1990)

In this Wax Pack Flashback video, I open a pack of Classic WWF Wrestling Superstars cards from 1990. These were some of my absolute favorite cards to collect back then, and I was fortunate enough to find some unopened packs of them to open again and let the nostalgia watch over me.

Wax Pack Flashback: G.I. Joe Trading Cards (1991)

For this presentation from the Wax Pack Flashback series I do on the TRNTV YouTube channel for The Retro Network, I’m going all the way back to the beginning to the very first video in the series. In it, I open a pack of G.I. Joe trading cards from 1991 put out by Impel.

As you know, G.I. Joe may very well be my favorite property of all time and I’m usually all-in and anything and everything to do with it. But even though I was also into trading cards in a big way back in 1991, I never had nor opened a pack of these cards. So watch along as I open this old pack of cards and thumb through them to see what’s inside.

Wax Pack Flashback: Yo! MTV Raps Trading Cards (1991)

Here is yet another old pack of trading card that you can watch me open from my Wax Pack Flashback series on the TRNTV YouTube Channel.

In this video, I open a pack of Yo! MTV Raps cards from 1991. Yo! MTV Raps was a daily show that was on MTV every afternoon at the time featuring the best and latest rap videos of the era. These cards feature shots of many of the artists whose videos appeared on the show at the time. Legendary names like Run D.M.C, M.C. Hammer, Heavy D, and more.

So take a little stroll back in time and live vicariously through me as I open this old pack of cards!

Wax Pack Flashback: American Gladiators Trading Cards (1991)

It’s time once again to watch along as I open an old pack of trading cards! This time up, it’s American Gladiators cards from 1991. American Gladiators was one of my favorite shows of the time as it featured larger-than-life characters locked in sporting combat with better-than-average joes in incredibly entertaining games. These cards capture the feel of the show with its glamour shots of the Gladiators, mixed with action shots from the games.

This video was filmed quite a while back however as part of the Wax Pack Flashback series that I launched on The Retro Network. But the timing of the filming doesn’t really matter, as it’s evergreen content that is good whenever it’s consumed. I hope watching this makes you feel young again.

Wax Pack Flashback: Mad Magazine Trading Cards (1992)

Here’s another fun opening of an old pack of trading cards I did as part of The Retro Network’s TRNTV Wax Pack Flashback series. In this video, I open and thumb through a pack of Mad Magazine cards from 1992. Back in the day, I never was able to snag any of these, but eventually bought a set of the Spy vs. Spy hologram chase cards. Did I get lucky and pull a hologram from this pack? You’ll have to watch to find out!