Silly String: In the 70s, it wasn’t a party until someone started spraying it

Vintage Wham-O Silly String spray

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


Silly String — also known as party string or crazy string — is an aerosol plastic string first introduced in the late 1960s. Because it’s so (explosively!) fun, it quickly became a popular party accessory.

The original purpose of this crazy string in a can (and, honestly, the only purpose) was to be a fun and harmless way to play pranks on friends and family — sort of an extended remix of the old clown gag with the flower that sprays water in your face.

Then as now, the spray streamer makes for a hilariously messy and playful vibe, especially at parties and other social events. The string sprays out in a continuous stream, so you can create some pretty intricate designs and shapes as well as “decorating” yourself and others.

Vintage Silly String package front

Despite its popularity, Silly String has not been without controversy. In some cities and counties, the use of aerosol party strings has been banned, due to the difficulty in cleaning up the string and the potential for litter and environmental damage. This has led to some debates about the harm that Silly String can cause, and whether or not it should be used in certain public spaces.

In case you’re wondering: 

  • Does Silly String still exist? Yes, it is still widely available and popular, and is often used at parties and other social events. You can check out modern-day versions here!
  • Is Silly String edible? No, the aerosol-propelled string — made from plastic polymer, solvents and colorants — is emphatically not edible and should not be eaten!
  • Is Silly String hard to clean up? Yes, it can be difficult to clean up, especially if it is left to dry, and can potentially cause environmental damage if not disposed of properly.
It’s new – It’s silly – It’s fun!

Squirts 1/4 mile of plastic fun! Startling – Laughing – Fun! – Parties – Hilarious – Surprise – Crazy – Action

Wham-O’s colored plastic string in a can

Toymakers throughout the country are turning out playthings so intriguing that adults are enjoying them as much as — or more — than youngsters.

Franklin B. Carelli, owner and operator of Town Toy Co., 363 High St. (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), said the hottest item on his shelves is Silly String, popular with young and old alike.

Silly String can from 1970

Silly String comes in an aerosol can, and when pointed at someone appears very menacing. When the button on top is pressed, a steady stream of pink or green plastic spews from the can, but is not harmful to the skin or clothing.

“When people shoot Silly String at some unsuspecting person, the result usually is a scream,” Carelli said. “At first glance, the contents appear to be paint, and can alarm someone not acquainted with it.”

The substance actually is a liquid plastic which solidifies when it comes in contact with the air. A quarter mile of the string is contained in one can.

MORE: Silly Putty: Wonder toy of the 20th century

What can you do with Silly String? Ideas from the product package (1970)

Squirting plastic fun – Puff into shapes – Make little animals – Decorate your bike – Great party fun and wild decorations

1970s Silly String use ideas

Surprise action! The party favorite!

Office Parties – New Year’s Eve – Football Games

The party favorite — More fun than throwing custard pie! Shoots a stream of plastic string. Red fluorescent color.

Pink Silly String - Party toy fun from the 70s - ClickAmericana

TRY SILLY STRING AGAIN! Check out some modern-day versions at Amazon here

 Party string for your New Year’s Eve party

Some fun! Wham-O SILLY STRING shoots a plastic stream 1/4 mile long! Non-toxic; won’t stain or stick. In our toy department.

Fun with vintage Silly String! #vintagetoys #parties #sillystring #ClickAmericana

Everybody wants to try Silly String (TV commercial)

YouTube video

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest. Thanks for visiting and for supporting a small business! 🤩 


You might also like...

The fun never ends:

Comments on this story

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.