crazes, unorthodox
Conkers and marbles year after weary year, school crazes were the very bedrock of playground life. For some inexplicable reason, we broke from tradition, and mouth fresheners were the fashion one year. Unfortunately being approximately 9 or 10, it involved a myriad of schoolchildren waltzing into the local chemists and proclaiming they wished to buy some mouth freshener. To which the response would almost always be - "Are you smoking love - give it up, it will kill you one day" not realising none of us smoked but were too embarrassed to admit it.
written by Ph*l O*he*, approved by Log

For a while in 1988-89 small bouncy rubber balls became the thing to have...it got to the point where 30 boys would be throwing bouncy balls up and down a corridor at the same time.

Also that year, Micro Machines became stupidly popular and finger boards, especially home made out of shatter-proof rulers.

(See also Dummies, which, despite ecstasy and acid house not trickling down to the crap West Country suburbs until, ooh, last Wednesday, were startlingly popular amongst the under tens during rave’s heyday. I had a small silver dummy on a small silver chain and was considered quite the trendsetter about town. –Susan)
written by gr*f1*71 , approved by Susan

Sachets of tomato ketchup from the canteen made excellent 'collectibles' for a while. At five pence each, it was an inexpensive hobby, and admirably pure - we did not tolerate brown sauce or vinegar sachets. They simply don't count, I mean, don't even go there. At its peak, the hobby resulted in people giving up on meals so they could buy more sachets of tomato ketchup.

People with particularly large hoards (say, a locker full) would be accorded chin-stroking respect, except from those who didn't collect five pence ketchup sachets, who would stare at us with well-fed, condescending eyes. But who cares what they thought, those non-tomato-ketchup-collecting losers.
written by Ji*bo* N, approved by Phil

Magic: The Gathering. No one would understand the rules for a couple of years, but the pictures were pretty and the 'flavour text' was often funny. Mostly, people would make their own cards up out of paper, usually something like Overlord Jeff that would destroy the other player instantly. Unless they had a piece of paper with Archdeacon Barney Rubble of the Yard written on it, which easily beat Overlord Jeff.
written by excluded pupil, Jo* Blyt*, approved by Log

Collecting ketchup packets became popular among some in my American high school one year. However, since they were free this considerably upped the ante for what made an impressive cache of the packets. Shortly after one zelous collector filled a trash bag with the packets, the school switched to pump bottles of ketchup. THESE then started disappearing until they were chained down to the counter.
written by an*nymou* use*, approved by Mansh

We had a craze for broken stubs of pencil lead, which we hoarded in those oblong metal pencil cases. One day, after inspecting our jealously guarded treasure troves, it finally dawned on us just how far we had descended to a sub-stamp-collecting level of rubbishness, and decided to just flick them at the girls.
written by Ro*s Gi*ls*n, approved by Ponky

I was a foreign exchange student in Iowa in 1988 and can attest first hand to the craze of stealing ketchup sachets. However, the real beauty of this apparently mindless thievery was the skill involved in placing them strategically under the rubber stopper of the toilet seat, so that the next person who sat on it would set off a small red vinegary explosion.
written by excluded pupil, approved by Conor

Knowing that smoking at school was frowned upon, we found that it was possible to purchase snuff from a local newsagents.

Cue the start of the great snuff craze, which led to entire lessons disrupted by bouts of sneezing and the frenzied groans of kids trying to hoover up lines of the stuff like proper druggies. Those who couldn't afford snuff cleared local supermarket shelves of cinnamon, ginger and anything else in powdered form that could be shovelled up the nostrils.

The craze died on the Day of the Nosebleed, when the Reverend Ratings' assembly sermon was disrupted when Andy Chapman sneezed a torrent of blood over the six rows in front of him. Just say no, kids. Tabs are much healthier.
written by Ha*ry G*ou*, approved by Matt