Candy Birthday Corsages: A Vintage Tradition Poised for a Comeback?


Candy Corsages in the 1950s through the 1970s

The vintage candy birthday corsage marked a girl’s passage from one year to another, from age 10 to 18. It was made to resemble a floral corsage, and it might have included flowers, but its most important element was candy. Each year had a different kind of candy that symbolized an aspect of a growing girl’s life. Where the symbolism originated, except for year 16, which has always been known as “sweet 16,” no one seems to know.

Gifting girls with candy corsages that incorporated specific candies for specific years seems to have been a regional tradition. I grew up in northern New Jersey and remember this tradition well. Those of you who grew up in that congested region of the country, northern New Jersey and metropolitan and suburban New York, may know what I’m talking about right away. In researching candy birthday corsages, I have found few references to them outside of this regional pocket, and no information about how the tradition began.

Corsage Candies and Their Meanings

Tootsie Rolls
Bubble Gum
Dog Biscuits
Puppy Love
Sugar Cubes
Sweet 16
Lemon Drops
Sour 17
Cigarettes or Beer Bottle Caps
Coming of Legal Age

Year 14 is an oddity, featuring dog biscuits instead of candy. If any of you ever knew of candy in the shape of a dog biscuit, let us know in the comments below! Year 18 is another oddity: The cigarettes were meant to be candy cigarettes, not real ones, but I knew girls whose corsages featured the real thing. Also, in some places where the drinking age was 18 instead of 21, beer bottle caps might have replaced the cigarettes.

A close-up, inside view of the candy corsage showing the tape and tube forms of bubble gum, tiny white silk flowers, satin ribbon, and a recycled metallic "fountain" bow.
A close-up, inside view of the candy corsage showing the tape and tube forms of bubble gum, tiny white silk flowers, satin ribbon, and a recycled metallic "fountain" bow. | Source
The long lace pieces of ribbon were tied into a bow, securing the corsage on the wrist. White tissue paper protected the corsage inside the white and gold-ribboned box.
The long lace pieces of ribbon were tied into a bow, securing the corsage on the wrist. White tissue paper protected the corsage inside the white and gold-ribboned box. | Source

Attempts to Bring Back the Candy Birthday Corsage – A Bit of Personal History

When my daughter turned 16, long after the tradition I’d known had passed, I visited a local florist and asked if he could make a sugar-cube corsage to honor her birthday. He had no idea what I was talking about. However, he did make a lovely pin-on corsage, incorporating 16 cubes of sugar and autumn flowers for her October birthday. That corsage weighed a ton! When I presented it to my daughter and told her what the tradition meant to me, she was quite unimpressed. But, she wore it through her birthday party, even though it made her shirt sag quite horribly. In other words, this kind of a corsage was not part of her or her friends’ experiences, and so, even though I was pleased to share this tradition with her, it really didn’t mean very much to her, then.

Just a few days ago, my daughter was invited to a coming-of-age celebration for one of her girl students who had just turned 13. The invitation said nothing about a gift (the student had already just celebrated her birthday, but my daughter wanted to bring something. I suggested a bubble-gum corsage.

Much to my surprise, my daughter jumped on the idea. She raided our box of craft supplies, went to the store to buy bubble gum, and crafted a beautiful bubble gum wrist corsage for her student along with a gorgeous box to hold it.

The student’s reaction? Well, it was much like my daughter's reaction when she turned 16. The student had no concept of this tradition. After my daughter told her about the history and meaning of this gift, she politely wore the corsage for a photograph, but that was the limit of her interest. She just didn’t know what it was, and nor did the other women present at this coming-of-age gathering.

My daughter was not at all let down by her student's reaction, I suspect because she remembered her own reaction all those years ago while also taking stock of the good memories she has today about her sixteenth birthday corsage. Those good memories were what prompted her to carry on this tradition with her student. I have no doubt that some time in the future the student will think about this sharing moment with her teacher and want to pass the tradition on through sharing with another special young woman.

Annemaeve bought fresh bubble gum, but everything else for the corsage came from a box of scrap wrapping paper and ribbons. She assembled the corsage with hot glue and a needle and thread. The blue and pink "ribbons" are bubble gum.
Annemaeve bought fresh bubble gum, but everything else for the corsage came from a box of scrap wrapping paper and ribbons. She assembled the corsage with hot glue and a needle and thread. The blue and pink "ribbons" are bubble gum. | Source

A Vintage Tradition Due for a Comeback?

Here are the reasons I think the vintage candy birthday corsage tradition ought to enjoy a comeback.

Candy birthday corsages marking each birthday in a symbolic way were gifts that women friends and family members truly looked forward to making or buying and giving. It fostered a special bond among women young and old. I have never heard of anyone receiving one of these corsages from a member of the opposite sex. I don’t think there can be too many ways to bond with the young women in our lives, and the sentiment expressed in this gift deserves to be one of them.

Making candy corsages is a great birthday party activity. With a bit of planning (and supervision for younger girls), guests at an all-girl birthday party can have a lot of fun making their own souvenir corsages to take home.

What about that box of gift wrapping scraps, and also your stash of sewing notions, fabrics, and trims? These are items just waiting to be turned into a thoughtful and symbolic gift at little to no cost. In these “green-conscious” and challenging economic times, a candy corsage fashioned from recycled goods makes a lot of sense.

The real thing. A Tootsie Roll birthday candy corsage in its original box, found in Queens, NY.
The real thing. A Tootsie Roll birthday candy corsage in its original box, found in Queens, NY. | Source

How To Make a Candy Corsage

More on How To Make a Candy Corsage, Plus Resources for Buying Candy Birthday Corsages

There are many resources on the Internet for learning how to make candy corsages and bouquets. Take a look at some of these and see if you get inspired.

  • Ehow has a number of articles on making candy corsages. Start here with this set of candy corsage directions and then check out the "You May Like" suggestions on the right hand side of the page.
  • If you'd like to try your hand at a bouquet instead of a corsage, try these directions for making a candy bouquet.
  • You can order custom-made candy birthday corsages at
  • Candy Corsages has a beautiful assortment of corsages and will also work with you to custom-design the corsage you want.

About Those Dog Biscuits for the 14th Birthday Candy Corsage

I haven't been able to find any pre-made, commercially available candies in the shape of dog biscuits, but if you like to make candy and chocolate, I did find a variety of molds, some large and some small, in the shape of dog bones as well as in paw-print and puppy shapes. I can imagine wiring the small candy bones (or other shapes) to a 14-year candy corsage with brown pipe cleaners, or even embedding a length of floral wire into the liquid chocolate. The larger shapes would be perfect for an accompanying candy bouquet.

If you believe, as I do, that this tradition is deserving of a comeback, keep the nine symbolic birthday candies in mind when you make or order your next candy birthday corsage for a special young woman.

A Request

I've researched this topic through friends, my local library, and resources on the Internet but have found little about the history and symbolism of this tradition. Please share your knowledge of this vintage tradition in the comments section below. Thank you!

Comments 146 comments

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

I've never heard of this tradition! How fascinating; I can picture how it would have been The Thing to Do during its vogue years. It's certainly a clever idea, and it reminds me of the tradition of giving corsages of mums for homecoming.

Maybe the dog biscuits could be made of cookies - ginger snaps, for example?

Really cool hub - voted up, interesting and awesome, and shared!

TheInspiredLife profile image

TheInspiredLife 4 years ago from North Carolina

I shared this with a friend on my FB account. She loves to make things like this. I have never heard of these before, but I definitely see the appeal. Vote up.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

Rated Awesome and Beautiful; very well explained and illustrated. I'd like to see this make a come back.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Right on, Marcy. About homecoming, they are so interrelated. I'd like to see this tradition return. TY for sharing!

TY, TheInspiredLife, for your comment. I think this craft and tradition would appeal to many.

Patty, I'd like to see it make a comeback, too. Ty for the good words and the votes. Was this a part of your childhood?

annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 4 years ago from Philly Burbs

Comeback gets a vote from me!

Love you, love your hubs.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Annemaeve, thanks so much for your help with this hub. And what a wonderful corsage you made! Love you!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Very interesting! Great photos and details. The dog biscuits are unique. I've never heard of or seen one of these corsages. My daughters probably would have protested. I think I would have also unless they were made of money!:)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

I had never heard of it either but I really enjoyed following your instructions.

Very interesting indeed.

Take care


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Glad you enjoyed, Sunshine. I'll take a money corsage any time! I definitely understand about the protest. I think it's a matter of this tradition not being popular any longer. Most kids like to fit in with their groups, and wearing one of these corsages today makes them stand out instead. Thank you for the good words!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks, Eddy!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

I've never heard of this before either but I think it is a great idea. The corsages are so cute. Voted up and awesome.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, Pamela. Maybe those corsages will, some day, take a new, refreshed, resurrected place in our lives. A way of bonding with the young girls we know. TY for your comment!

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

While I was reading this charming hub, I kept thinking to myself "Where the heck was I when they were passage out all these candy corsages?" I've never seen one in my whole life...and I got married in the late 50s.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

lol, alekhouse, I do believe it was a regional thing. And the more I think about it, it might have been a cultural thing, too. So, both cultural and regional. Having nothing to do with age. I'm so glad you find this hub charming. :)

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I love vintage traditions!! I've never heard of birthday candy corsages before. They're so pretty- I would love to have a go at making one someday.

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 4 years ago

As you know, the only corsage I knew about was the sweet 16 one, as I received that from, I believe, my aunt. I've never heard of the others.

The one thing I did get for each of those birthdays was a rose for as many years of age I was. I think that stopped when I turned 17.

In any case, I don't see it making a comeback. I believe the generations that have followed have become more and more sophisticated, for lack of a better word, and I feel many girls would find it to be just too corny. Just my opinion, but I do think it would be nice. I feel that traditions of long ago began to disappear with each passing generation. New traditions were born and took hold, to replace what once was special to us.

Just as record players and cassette tapes became distant memories, I feel that when my granddaughter comes of age she will reminisce with her mom about cell phones :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Simone, my daughter really enjoyed making her student's bubble gum corsage, and you will, too. So get out your glue gun and have fun making one for a special girl! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

A candy corsage, Sally? How different! Who knew? Not me. But a great idea and a very interesting hub. How about making a corsage with real money like dollar bills? That could be a fun gift. Bigger bills if one has the funds. Whatcha think?

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

trish1048, I love your comment. Yes, you shared with me earlier your experiences with birthday flowers and with the sweet 16 corsage, and I'm so glad you shared them here as well.

I think you are right about the sophistication aspect. When we were growing up, our lives were very different, namely, we did more with each other because of the absence of what I think are isolation-enabling technologies: cell phones and the net.

Your prediction is poignant: not too far in the future, cell phones will be something to reminisce about. ~Sherri

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

drbj, I'm all for the money corsage. There are plenty of them on the net, but check this one out...scroll down a bit, enlarge the pic of the corsage on wrist, and count the bills.

I want one of those!

Oh, and there's a credit card in there, too. LOL

robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

Thanks for answering my question,ST-- glad I asked and also glad that you wrote a whole hub about candy birthday corsages. Who knew they were so interesting. Your pix are terrific too.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Thanks for the link, Sally. What do you know? They appropriated OUR idea! Those rascals.

liz21 4 years ago

Nice hub! Candy is always a very nice element to creatively use at birthdays. Really traditional, and its good when people revert back to the old ways.

Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Congratulations! What a unique idea, however, this is something I've never heard or read about, and I've subscribed to Woman's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, and so on for decades.

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

I have not heard of this tradition. Very interesting and useful hub. Congratulation on the hub of the day! Thanks for sharing.

raakachi profile image

raakachi 4 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

Very nice article about a different subject and a different culture. The corsages are entirely a different subject to me. In India,at the northern parts, people usually celebrate a festival called 'Raksha bandhan',which highlights the brotherly-relationship between a girl and boy. She,like the corsage, will tie up 'Raaky' around the wrist of the boy to whom she think as her brother. A very interesting and also a commedy part of this celebration is, on that day normally boys wouldn't go outside, since they might suppose be the targets of their lovig girls. Any way my hearty congratulation for a nice hub, selected for the right accolade! Voted beautiful.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Congrats Sally on Hub Of The Day! I had a feeling this hub was going places!:)

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Congratulations on HOTD...what a fascinating hub and a well-deserved win.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

What an interesting hub. We do have proms in the UK but not a 'homecoming' theme and the proms are in the last year in school at age 16 and it's all about the dresses rather than the corsage. It's incredible to know the history of this idea and your photos and videos were very good. Well done, great hub.

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

This is great! I have never heard of it, but it would be so fun! congrats on HOTD!

acewebdesign profile image

acewebdesign 4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

Interesting hub!

pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Definitely this kind of hub is surely going to raise the bar for all the writers and look for new avenues to write for something interesting and new and garden fresh as this hub is. A great idea! A great hub!

leann2800 4 years ago

I love this. I really love the dog biscuits and puppy love :)

kelleyward 4 years ago

Congrats on HOTD this is a great hub. I've never heard about this. Voted up!

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Way to go Sherri :) Excellent hub and Hub of the Day :)

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

What an excellent hub. I had never heard of this but think it's a great idea and has a good chance of becoming a current trend and coming back in a big way.

When I was a kid, there was simple candy jewelry on elastic stretch bands that could be worn as a necklace of bracelet, but it was nothing as elaborate and beautiful as these corsages are.

Congrats on earning Hub of the Day with this beautiful, comprehensive article.

Voted up across the board except for funny.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

What fun! I've never heard of this tradition before so it's definitely due for a come back. Great hub and congrats!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

robie2, thank you SOOO much for asking this question. Look at all the good things that happened! In addition to this hub being selected as today's Hub of the Day, it also generated conversations in a couple of Facebook threads where folks are sharing their thoughts and memories. Glad you enjoyed the pix...that's one talented daughter I have. :)

livingpah2004 profile image

livingpah2004 4 years ago from USA

Love this Hub. Creative and useful. Voted up!

Congratulations on Hub of the day award!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Lilleyth, thanks so much for your comment and the congrats. You've been in the "know" about women and home trends for a long time, and if you've never heard of symbolic candy birthday corsages, then that reinforces my thought about this tradition being mostly a regional event.

@Thelma Alberts, thank you for your kind words and for letting us know whether you knew of the tradition. :)

@raakachi, I'm so glad you shared Raksha bandhan here. I know a little bit about it because of the wonderful friends from India I've met here on HP. But I didn't know about the comedic aspect you described. I can just see those boys making themselves scarce! I'm guessing it's younger boys who hide, while older boys might be not only more accepting but more honored by this loving attention. Perhaps you will write a hub about this festival and its meanings? Thank you so much for the good words, congrats, and votes. :)

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

This is so deserved, Sally's Trove - you created a terrific hub, and it is a fun read!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Zeeshan Angel, thank you!

@Sunshine,'ve played a big part in this hub "going somewhere" with your postings on Facebook. I'm so enjoying the thread there! Thanks so much for your good words and support. :)

@vespawoolf, thank you so much!

@Jools99, thank you for sharing your thoughts and leaving the good words. I'm a little out of touch about American proms these days, but I imagine the dress is still the first important element with the corsage taking second place. These candy corsages were never meant for proms, and I dare say if a young man showed up with one for his prom date, the young lady would most likely have a peculiar reaction. What an interesting idea!

@homesteadbound, thank you, thank you!

@acewebdesign, thank you for reading and commenting.

@pinto2011, I like what you said about this hub being "garden fresh." Indeed, it's on an unusual topic but at the same time has generated so much interest. I, too, hope it will open up new avenues for writers to stroll. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment.

zann17 profile image

zann17 4 years ago from Bristol, England

What a lovely idea, never heard of it before. Not sure if it was traditional in Britain. We should make it popular again

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! I've never heard of a candy birthday corsage, but I love them! What little girl wouldn't like this special corsage on her birthday? Voted up and pinned!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma

What a cool idea. I think we should change it up a bit and leave off the cigarettes and beer caps for the eighteenth birthday. I'm sure we could find a suitable alternative.

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

congrats on Hub of the Day! It is well deserved. My girls and I are always looking for new craft ideas and this one is great. I like the idea of using gum for ribbon...... I voted it UP, etc.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Those candy corsages are really cool. I'll have to say I have never heard of candy corsages. And I love retro candies and other retro stuff, so these are very appealing. I hope they Do make a come back, and I'll be watching. Thanks for the instructions, and congrats on HOTD!

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

This is too cute....I love it!!! I will have to share this with my nieces....they will easily find this is a favorite new family tradition to begin. Thank you so much for sharing this and congrats on hub of the day.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I totally agree, it should make a come back, what a lovely tradition! when you mentioned the chocolate cigarettes, I remember when I was a child you could buy them! I used to sit there chewing away on the candy coated cigarettes! how weird would that be today? wonderful hub! cheers nell

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

This is really interesting. The uniqueness of traditions is inspiring. These are very creative and I'm sure lots of people will love them. However, I'm not too keen on the coming of age theme - cigaettes and beer bottles are not something I want to associate the special day. Although I do get the idea.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@leann2800, how cool is that, puppy love! You've got a corsage in the making for someone you love. :)

@kelleywar and Uninvited Writer, ty!

Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

I've never heard of this, but I love family and cultural traditions. Even though we might not "get it" when our parents have us do some traditional thing, we remember it and often continue it, explaining in turn to our children. It keeps the memories alive and that... is a good thing. Thank you for the hub-- I am going to share it with people I know will love it.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

This craft could delight little girls at a birthday party to no end! Congrats on your Hub of the Day Award!

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Wow, I have never heard of a candy corsage before! From what I can tell, (and my personal opinion of course!), I think they are indeed due for a comeback! How cute, creative and fun! So glad to learn of this information. Thanks for sharing.

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

That is such a lovingly sweet gesture! It sounds fun, and a perfect craft project.

Yeah, I can relate to them not liking it at the time. That is so cool the impression it made later on! Sweet. Congratulations on your winning Hub. This tradition is gonna be known world wide now! It will be really exciting to see where the idea came from.

sammimills profile image

sammimills 4 years ago from California, USA

Congratulations on being a Hub of the Day! Great hub, very creative.

urmilashukla23 profile image

urmilashukla23 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

Great Hub! Good to know the history behind the candy corsages. Well presented. Useful and Voted up!

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

This is a wonderful hub on birthday candy corsages. I admired this vintage tradition. Your personal story is well-explained and informative and the pictures of candy corsages are creative and pretty. Congrats on the Hub of the day! Well-deserved!

Thanks for SHARING. Awesome. Voted up.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Happyboomernurse, I remember those candies on elastic, too. I don't remember that I liked the taste of them, but they were a fad and I had to have them! I'd like to see this candy birthday corsage tradition come back, too. Thanks for your thoughtful comment and much valued votes. :)

@DeborahNeyens, Marcy Goodfleisch, zann17, and livingpah2004, thanks so much to all of you for reading and leaving the kind words and votes. :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Stephanie Henkel, thank you so much for all the good words, and the pin, too. :) Interestingly, neither my daughter nor her student were particularly crazy about wearing their corsages, but my daughter LOVED making her student's.

@Pamela N Red, I like drbj's money idea as a replacement for cigarettes or beer bottle caps. :) What do you think?

@mary615, I think these corsages are great craft ideas, too. The materials are so inexpensive, especially if you're using recycled adornments as my daughter did, and they are quite easy to assemble. You'll have to publish pics of your and your daughters' creations!

@rebeccamealey, I'm a big fan of retro, too. This hub seems to have generated quite a bit of interest in bringing back this tradition. I'll be watching, too! Thanks so much for leaving the good words. :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@pstraubie48, please let us know what your nieces think of this. I love the idea that candy birthday corsages might become a tradition in your family. And TY so much for the congrats and good words. :)

@Nell Rose, you bring up such good points about the candy cigarettes. I remember two kinds, the one you mention made of chocolate, and another chalky kind of candy. In my day, each sold for a penny a piece, or you could buy a pack/box of the chalky kind containing 5 cigs for a nickel. That's really funny as I think about it now...there was no extra charge for the packaging! Thanks so much for sharing your memories.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@jpcmc, I see your point, but in those days cigarettes and beer and cigars were the things that signified the passage into adulthood. I'm not sure what signifies that today. Thanks so much for your comment and good words.

@Ciel Clark, you have so captured the essence of my daughter's reaction to this...when she was 16, she didn't get it, but the memory of it became something very special to her. What a beautiful and thoughtful comment you made. Thank you!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@RTalloni, thanks for the congrats! I agree...younger girls would have a ball with this. :)

@oceansnsunsets, thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed this!

@Ruby H Rose, yes indeed, this tradition is probably getting the most exposure it ever had. I'm looking forward to more people sharing their memories and experiences. We still have plenty of gaps to fill!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

sammimills, urmilashukla23, and ishwaryaa22, thank you all for the great words and votes!

connie 4 years ago

I remember this clearly - Perhaps it was most popular in the hispanic tradition growing up. I grew up in the Bronx, and it was very popular!!!!!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Connie, what a great insight into this tradition. I've come to think of it as cultural or geographical. I grew up in a community that was mostly Eastern European, and mostly Jewish. Not so much hispanic, then. I hope you can share more of your memories. :)

Angela 4 years ago

I remember this clearly. I would receive one each year from my mother...I lived in the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn...and I remember each year I was proud to wear it...I had received one each year from 10 thru 16....then sadly my mom passed away and the tradition also.....thank you for the memories

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Angela, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful memories of candy corsages and the love between you and your mother that they signified. You've warmed the hearts of many.

PooPee Cakes 4 years ago

I remember getting one of these from my mother I said it was bublegum....she said it's dog bisquits. I'm from NY and this was a big you I wanted to bring it back and made one for my daughter the reaction was about the same as the one you got.....I however advertised in my shop and did get a customer who never heard of them.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

PooPee Cakes, thank you for sharing your experiences of yesterday and today. I'm glad you advertised and got a response. Maybe the candy corsage tradition will kick in again one day soon. :)

That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

I never heard or saw anything like this. Maybe it's a US thing. I like it. I have two nieces with birthdays close together this Fall. They would LOVE this and it will be fun to put together.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I'm sorry I missed this when it was Hub of the Day! It brought back many memories for me. I grew up in Queens, NY and birthday corsages were THE thing! We all waited with bated breath until we could officially wear the 'sweet 16 corsage'...I even remember passing out the sugar cubes at the end of the day....and of course the cigarette corsage, but I'll leave that to your imagination. Thank you for bringing back such fun and happy memories.

Yes, it should be brought back as something to look forward to. Making those corsages was fun and almost as special as wearing them. (Did I say fun too many times?)

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

jusbeth16 4 years ago

I never heard of this. Good idea!

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Oh my god, I had one of these every year for my birthday growing up as a kid. I had totally forgotten about it until seeing your article. I too grew up in Queens, NY just like Mary and this really was the thing. I loved reading about them and even seeing how to make one. Have voted up, shared and tweeted too!

Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

This is so interesting. I have never heard of this before reading this hub. What a great idea. My daughter will be 10 soon, she would probably like one of these. Thanks!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@That Grrl and Glimmer Twin Fan,

I'm so glad you like this idea. Perhaps you'll be starting a new tradition in your families. :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

tillsontitan, I was so pleased to read your comment. It really was something to get excited about! I think you also touched on an important element of this tradition, and that is sharing. It was nice to have something so pretty to wear all day and then be able to share it with your friends. Yes, you said "fun" a lot, because it WAS a lot of fun. :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Janine Huldie, you and Mary surely are confirming my suspicion about the candy corsage being mostly a northeast tradition! Thanks so much for your good words and for the votes and shares. :)

@jusbeth16, thanks for reading and commenting. Maybe you'll get that tradition going for girls in your family. :)

JC17 4 years ago

Hi! I remember my mother making these for us as kids! Now I'm doing it for my girls! I had a puppy party for my daughter last year and found sugar dog biscuits on They weren't individually wrapped, but they were pretty strong. You could also use Scooby-Doo graham cracker cookies, but that gets away from the candy idea. Anyway, hope this helps!

MyButterflyGarden 4 years ago

The tradition was slightly different on Staten Island in the 60's. Our corsages had trailing ribbons , one for each birth year. Near the end of each ribbon was a penny candy, most likely bubblegum or a penny itself. The corsage bow itself may have been decorated with another matching candy piece. We put whatever we wanted on the ribbons each year as there was never a set candy for a particular birth year. But here's the fun part- all of a girl's friends would each make a corsage for her, and the happy birthday celebrant would wear all of these corsages to school on her birthday!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

JC17, what a wonderful story about your carrying on this tradition in your family. Thanks so much for the suggestions about sugar dog biscuits and the Scooby-Doo cookies. I think they are great suggestions for carrying this forward.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

MyButterflyGarden, I never heard of these trailing ribbons, but I love the idea. The purpose is the same, to honor a girl on her birthday. So, Staten Island may have had a different take on the tradition than Perth Amboy did in the same time frame. This is so cool.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

MyButterflyGarden, one more thought. We were only a ferry ride away at that time, across the Arthur Kill. The Tottenville Ferry.

MyButterflyGarden 4 years ago

Sally's Trove, The closest school I attended near Tottenville was in Richmondtown and there were no corsages there, however it was an elementary school. The corsages were in the junior high school in Westerleigh, but nowhere to be found in high school. They were also in the junior high school in West Brighton, so they were in more than one school. The Tottenville Ferry possibly was a way for the idea to spread.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I love the idea of the Tottenville Ferry spreading this tradition. You might be very right. Let's hope we get even more folks to chime in here. There's still a lot to be learned. :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm back for another look at this amazing hub! Candy corsages are a genius idea!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks, Linda. I think so, too.

toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago

Such creative and fun ideas. Thanks for the wonderful tips and sharing your experiences.

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Congratulations on your hub of the day. I have never heard of candy corsages, but it does seem like a wonderful activity and a could result in a pretty decorative pin, like yours is. Voted up.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

toknowinfo and Millionaire Tips, thank you both for reading and commenting with your good words! I really would like to see this tradition come back. :)

Liz from Parkslope, Bklyn,NY 3 years ago

How I remember always had one from my mom.. Toosie rolls bazooka, mints, lifesavers, sugar cubes and on my 18th Cigarettes..What memories thxs for sharing

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Liz, thank YOU so much for sharing. These are sweet memories. :)

pamela1953 3 years ago

WOW! I am from Brooklyn , NY and grew up getting a candy corsage every year. And I thought everyone did this. Little did I know. I moved to the mountains of North Carolina 9 years age and evryone thought I was crazy never heard of it. I was born in 1953 in Brooklyn and did not realize that it was only done in my small part of the world. I have twin daughters who are 25 now and I always made them candy corsages when they were growing up. They thought it was so neat. It's a great tradition and I will always remember my past Birthday, I think I still have some of the old ones packed away , somewhere. I really think it should be brought back.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

pamela1953, thank you so much for your comment. It really is an eye-opener to learn how regional this delightful tradition was. I, also, when I was a kid, thought every girl got these corsages. Maybe you can find a way to let this tradition start anew in North Carolina. Wouldn't that be grand? :)

Catherine Lorenze profile image

Catherine Lorenze 3 years ago

I found this to be a fascinating article and will link to it soon on my company FACEBOOK and TWITTER account at I manufacture and sell artisan sugar shapes for coffee and tea and this is yet another fabulous idea to pitch my product. Thank you Sally. I also have a teen who will soon turn 16 so this will be another special way to help celebrate her special day. Thank you!

Kathryn 3 years ago

I remember these and I am actually making one right now for my 11 year old daughter 14 was dog biscuits for puppy love!!!

Lynn 3 years ago

I also grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and candy birthday corsages were a big thing, in my day. I remember when my cousin got her Sweet Sixteen corsage, I was so jealous. I even remember that they sold them at an ice cream bakery store on Broadway across the street from Woolworth. They hung by the entrance of the store and each time I passed by I would see them hanging there with, tootsie rolls, life savers, and dog biscuits. Those memories are such a happy part of my childhood.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

What wonderful memories and also ways to give this tradition a new life.

@ Catherine, I'll be sure to visit your site, and I also wish your teen a happy 16th!

@Kathryn, how awesome that the tradition still lives!

@Lynn, thank you so much for sharing your memories. The bakery had the right idea...Woolworth's was the magnet for young girls then, and the bakery across the street was brilliant for displaying these corsages. Those were the days. :)

Autumn 3 years ago

Here in northern NJ this was a tradition too. In the late 50s my best girlfriend bought one for me for my 14th birthday. Wish I had a picture taken. Real dog biscuits and 14 of them along with a main center large bow. I don't remember where she bought it but I know it wasn't a bakery. Possibly Woolworths or a Sweet Shop that was near by.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Autumn, thanks so much for the wonderful comment. I had to smile at the mention of Woolworth's, one of my all-time favorite stores. I miss it!

Rosanne Wilson 3 years ago

I had the candy corsages from 10 yrs old to 16. They were a conversation piece when I wore them to school on my Birthday. I remember going to the store that sold them which was a narrow party store. I forgot about them, but wished I remembered to make one for my daughter's Sweet 16. I would Love to make one for her 18th which is coming up but I'm not thrilled with the cigarette or beer cap theme. I'm going to try come up with another idea if I can. Brought back memories!.

posey234 3 years ago

My mind was drifting...3 boy June birthdays in 2 will be 15...thought of the teasing I did when I gave my older nephew a girl's sweet 16 card...mind drifted to the corsages I'd made and received in the 60's on L.I., N.Y. I could only remember dog biscuits, sugar cubes, life savers and bubble gum but unsure which item was for ages besides 14 & 16. We would make for our girl friends on their birthdays and we'd have the fronts of our blouses sagging from as many as we received. The boyswere all your pals asking for candy or gum. A few smart aleck 14 year old boys munched the dog biscuits. Thanks for your info...I now have "senior moments" and this helped.

posey234 3 years ago

I just read the town on LI was "transplants" from Brooklyn and Queens NY. We too used streaming ribbons to scotch tape the items on. Each had large bow to anchor. No glue guns in the "olden days"...getting old but young at heart...

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Rosanne Wilson, I'm glad this article brought back memories. If candy corsages are poised for a comeback, then your coming up with something for 18 other than cigs and beer caps could be just the ticket for a resurrection of the tradition. Happy b'day to your daughter, and let us know what the "new 18" will look like. :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

posey234, what great comments! Loved the bit about the blouses sagging. Those corsages were heavy. I have a pic of my daughter wearing her sugar cube corsage on her 16th...she was wearing a heavy flannel shirt, and it sagged anyway. LOL. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and memories.

cashmere profile image

cashmere 3 years ago from India

What a yummy idea. We don't have any such tradition, but i wish we did :) 3 years ago

too bad our girls don't have our silly innocent my "innocent" Pa small town community, they have baby showers as young as 12...not poor community either...boy, I sound OLD!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

cashmere, it would be really cool to start this tradition in India! I can't even imagine what kinds of decorations would stand for which years in a girl's young life, but I'm intrigued with the idea. Let us know if you get it going. :)

Denise 3 years ago

Yes I do remember the corsages. I lived in Brooklyn and it was so exciting to wear it to school and everyone knew it was my birthday, but I seem to think I was younger then ten.

Annieb1060 3 years ago

My Aunt used to make me 1 every year. I would love to make 1 for my niece's upcoming 9th birthday. Anyone know what candy is for 9??

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Denise and Annieb1060, it seems as though age 9 was not accounted for. Time for a new twist to the tradition? Maybe gummy bears?

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

posey234, I hear you. This was an innocent tradition, one full of love. What's happened that today's kids might not find joy in this? I think it goes back to the parents. Parents who are not carrying on traditions for their kids. Great food for thought. Thanks so much for your comment.

Billie Garbe 3 years ago

I was amazed when my daughter-in-law found your site. It will be part of my biography, when written now that I have the information. I was given one for my 12, 13 14 and 15 birthdays by friends. My 16th, was dating so I received a flower one from my Bill.

Maryann d 3 years ago

This tradition I starte to give my granddaughters just at 13 and will give it to them at 16 . I gave it to 3 girls already, without much excitement on their part. However my next 13 year old, I asked since she just moved to another state if she wanted one, her answer was you bet,I want everyone to know I am 13. I have been waiting for this. Hahaha, who knew.

Also I my day in the 50s other girls made them for their friends. And you knew how popular the girls were by how many ribbon corsages they had.

Irene 3 years ago

I had this tradition growing up on Long Island. I would love to bring it back for my granddaughters. I think we should start it earlier so they arent embarrassed at age 10 . We could start with teething biscuits for age 1 lol . Really I think we should start when the enter kindergarten ... let me know what you think..

Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 3 years ago from Los Angeles, California

A great way to bring back this tradition is to have friends of the same age make the candy corsages for each other, elementary aged girls are natural gift givers! Great Hubs!

Gina 2 years ago

Growing up my mom bought me one of these corsages every year until I was 16. The dog biscuits were real dog biscuits. It rained on my Bday ...Let me tell you there is noting worse smelling than wet dog biscuits!! I loved these when I was a kid. Some of my friends had them too but some did not. I would love to see these old traditions come back but I think they'd have to start at a younger age.

NJMom 2 years ago

I was just telling my girls about this last night and so I googled it and found your site. I grew up on Long Island and had candy corsages every year. Yes, the dog biscuits were real. . .I remember that one and the life savers one and bubble gum one too. How did you find out what was on each corsage for each year? Boy, now do I sure wish I had saved one! Great memories and something that I would love to see make a comeback--though I can't see that happening! Thanks for the memories--they're as sweet as candy!

Alicia 2 years ago

I remember that tradition. Growing up in Queens, NY my Mom would also order a corsage from our local florist for my two sisters and me on our birthdays and we would look forward to wearing it to school on our very special day. If I remember correctly the corsages were made out of tulle and ribbons with the candies held in place by colored chenille stems. Our florist would place the corsage in a tissue lined box and tie a beautiful ribbon around it!

Arlene 2 years ago

Many many fond memories of these coursages. Our father used to get then for our birthday ever year. I couldn't was to be 16 but by then they were no longer around.

ladywiththefan 2 years ago

Oh my gosh!! Finally someone other than my Mom and I know about these corsages! I grow up on Long Island and would receive one for my Birthday every year from my parents. I proudly wore it to school attracting tons of attention. Interesting, my girlfriends at the time never wore one. Mom used to buy them at our local stationary/candy store. I would love to see that tradition come back. Thanks

Janice 2 years ago

I have lived in MA since I was 22, but I'm from Hicksville, LI, NY. I happened to have mentioned the candy birthday corsages to my husband tonight( not sure what made me think of them?) He has lived in MA his whole life and had never heard of them.

I remember wearing them in the later elementary grades4th 5th 6th. All of your girlfriends would give you a candy corsage. I don't remember us sticking to any special candy for any given year, but if you were popular you could be wearing 10 or more corsages all over your 1950s ,1960's dress. I remember feeling badly for an unpopular girl who only had one corsage on that her Mom had made her:(

I don't remember the tradition going into Jr. high, I think we became way "too cool" by then.

It sounds like the candy corsage was only in northern NJ , New York City and Long Island.

Anyone from any other area that had this tradition?

miriam lorenza 2 years ago

I remember these. I grew up in Bergen County, N.J.

deboraholson 2 years ago

I had all corsages as kid.I start making some 4 family&friends back in early 90s.Everyone loved.Thx 4 chart.I live in AZ now.Wonder how they'll go over in my small Rt66 town.

Marianne 2 years ago

In my day thr corsage for 18 was 18 one dollar bills rolled up and attached with ribbons.

Zoe AnnaBella 2 years ago

Growing up in Brooklyn I was the neighborhood candy courage maker! Each girl in our crowd would tell me what kind of candy she would like as her birthday came near. With little money available this made a great gift and it was worn proudly. We rarely followed the 'assigned' candy - with the exception of sweet sixteen sugar cubes. And never heard if using dog bones for puppy love but did use Hershey's kisses often for 15. I guess you can say it was for your 'first kiss'. No hot glue available back then so ingenuity, a talent for making a full bow out if a long ribbon and some thin colorful electrical wires did the trick. It would be nice to bring back the tradition - so sweet - so much so that I might introduce the idea as a birthday gift to those 'young ladies' now reliving memories in assisted-living/nursing homes.

newyorkrich 2 years ago

I remember these birthday corsages. They were started by a florist chain in NYC back in the fifties. The dog biscuits symbolized puppy love. Candy cigarettes were used, not beer bottle caps. Most bars admitted teens when they were about 16 back then. Moms made these for their daughters. The birthday girl's friends also made them for the birthday girl. Depending on how popular she was, would denote how many she wore. I've seen girls with their blouses filled with ten or more. My memories are from the Bronx.

caf 2 years ago

I grew up in Brooklyn NY and they were very popular. Younger had hanging ribbons, older had pipe cleaners to hold the gum, candy, pennies, etc. I loved those. Thanks for recalling. They should make a comeback. But kids today are "too cool" for something that innocent.

Christine Sanchez 20 months ago

I remember these growing up in NY. Loved them and looked forward to wearing mine each birthday. It was fun and a great memory of a simpler life.

rmmercer profile image

rmmercer 18 months ago from Arizona

What a fun tradition.Thans for sharing.

Cole 16 months ago

My grandmother used to give me birthday corsages. They were pinned to my shirt. They really made me feel like my birthday really was my special day!

Shari L 15 months ago

I'm so glad someone else thought of this idea. My granddaughter is turning 8 years old on Monday 7/27 so i decided to make her a corsage with lifesaver mints. She absolutely loves them. I definitely think the candy corsage should come back everything else is. Great Idea

Kathy G 13 months ago

I am almost 70. The other I was thinking about life and things from long ago and somehow the birthday corsage popped into my memories. In high school (Richmond Hill, NY) girls would make the corsages for their friends.

You would often get a few from different friends, all created special, and then you would wear them in school. It was a good feeling to have these corsages from your friends. Now I have a granddaughter who will be turning 14 soon and I am going to surprise her with a dog biscuit corsage. By the way, we did not make candy dog biscuits, we used real dog biscuits. I think she will enjoy the story and maybe she will go on to make corsages for her friends. In any event it will be a way to share memories with my sweet granddaughter. We used to pin them to our waistbands.

Dorothy 13 months ago

Age 62. Brooklyn born and raised Italian American. We always had a corsage and each girl at the party got a single bow/ ribbon with one of the same candy used in the birthday girl's corsage. There was lace..bumble bees, butterflies..tiny kewpie dolls. Candy was bazooka gum, lifesavers gum drops, chocolate babies, tootsie rolls, REAL dog biscuits...I do not remember lollipops... Candy coated almonds... Great memory!

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Sally, what a great hub. I've heard about them, though it's before my time. Thanks for sharing this nostalgic gem.

Jennifer 11 months ago

My niece turns 13 today, and she is receiving a candy corsage. Her Nana began making them when my niece turned 5. Comeback i dont think so! But sweet idea.

Giving a nod to this tradition, I made a friend a corsage with 50 fifty cent pieces for her birthday. You can imagine how heavy it was but it was the hit of the party for us Queens girls. 11 months ago

Giving a nod to this tradition, eighteen years ago, I made a friend a corsage for her fiftieth birthday with 50 fifty cent pieces. You can imagine how heavy it was but it was the hit of the party for these Queens girls.

Pat 8 months ago

I grew up in Queens, NY. It was a tradition in our school to wear birthday corsages starting in the first grade. They were pinned to our uniforms just above our hearts. It was always a fun day for the birthday girl when she appeared in school with her birthday corsage. The number of candies on the corsage corresponded with how old you were.

Brendalivelife 6 months ago

Awww I remember my 11th birthday and I had a yellow tootsie rolls corsage. I have photos

Anne 5 months ago

I went to a large high school in New York City. Not every one did the corsage thing. It was a group of them. The corsages were enormous and sometimes covered the whole front of the girl. My group was more beatnik and we looked down on this. Mostly we may have been afraid we would not get any. It was definitely a popularity contest. I was greatful that my birthday fell on a school holiday.

TheOldCrow 3 months ago

For some strange reason the tradition of birthday corsages popped into my head this morning, and I was curious to see if I could find any info on the practice. I grew up in Woodlawn in the Bronx, New York, and I remember receiving them each year on my birthday right up to year 15. Once we were in high school the tradition seemed to stop. Perhaps because many of us went to different high schools. I also remember spending time making them for friends. The two I remember most were the Lifesavers and dog biscuits (real dog biscuits). Some years I would get two of three corsages, and the funny part was that my birthday was on Columbus Day, and school was closed for the holiday. I guess I wore them the day before or after my birthday. It is nice to know that so many people remember this tradition from so long ago.

Joan 3 months ago

I am doing trivia questions for our 50th Class Reunion and wanted to add one about our corsages- I still have my Sweet 16 corsage. I do remember the dog biscuits being real! Vintage is good.

Babynurse77 3 months ago

I remember the same ones as posey345. I made them for my daughters all through school. When they reached 18 they didn't want it to stop so I made while they were in college. They 21 year I used money.

Donna love 7 weeks ago

Being born in 1949, I remember very well corsages. For some reason I remember a "prune" corsage!!!

With that said, my mom always made sure I had a corsage to wear to school on my birthdays.

A very fond memory!

cheryl vandever 4 weeks ago

Dog Biscuits symbolized Puppy Love

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article