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Tootsie Pop Wrapper Legend

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Tootsie Pop Indian
(image from The Sneeze)

Steve over at The Sneeze has an interesting post about Tootsie Pop Wrappers. I totally forgot about those characters on the wrapper and I never heard about getting the Indian on your wrapper and exchanging it for free candy. Maybe that was before my time? Anyone ever hear of that before?

candy, chocolate, lollipop, legend, legends

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88 Responses to “Tootsie Pop Wrapper Legend”

  1. 1
    Robyn says:

    Wow, I do remember that story. When I was in elementary school (10-15 years ago) and the teacher would hand out Tootsie Pops some kids would go crazy looking for the Indian and the star, saying that you could get three pops for each wrapper. I never believed them though…it sounded stupid. :P And I don’t think anyone actually tested the theory.

    RESPONSE: I wonder if that legend was regional or something…I lived a bunch of places as a kid and never heard it.

  2. 2
    lisa priest says:

    Im 35 and its true , if u found and indian u could take the wrapper and get a free one.

    RESPONSE: Did you actually do it? If so, how did you do it? Did you mail it in? Did you take it back to the store? Just curious.

  3. 3
    alissa says:

    As a kid we used to save the Indian wrappers – we were always told they were good luck. I’ve never heard you could exchange them for a free one.

  4. 4
    Jon says:

    I used to collect the Indian wrappers. But I could never get a free one.

  5. 5
    Cynthia says:

    My kids are collecting the indians and stars now. They’ve been told you can collect them to send it for something free. Is there any truth to this?

  6. 6
    Brandy says:

    I don’t think it’s true but I did successfully do it once. I took my indian wrapper into the gas station where I got the sucker and told the attendant that it meant that I got a free sucker. He was really skeptical but allowed me to take one anyway. I think in the end, he probably paid for that sucker.

    So… is there any truth in it? Sure… if you can get the clerk to believe you long enough to get your hands on the loot.

    RESPONSE: That’s funny. I wonder if you could get away with that today? :)

  7. 7
    chris says:

    It is true. Everyone I have found on the internet says its just a myth and they refer to the response letter sent out by Tootsie Pop. The free sucker had nothing to do with the Tootsie Pop company though. Back in the good ol days kids could take these wrappers into local retailers and get a free sucker (key words: kids, local retailers.) I don’t know what has happened over the years though, but nobody seems to do it anymore, its like everyone in the world these days are getting meaner or greedier.

  8. 8
    mechele says:

    I am 33 and when I was little you could turn in the wrappers with the Indian for a free sucker. Me and my sister would walk down the road to the little store at the end of our street and turn them in. I am native american and it was a nice little old lady who owned the store and I am not sure if she just thought we were cute or felt sorry for us or something, but she would give us a free one every time. Nowadays I think you could never get away with that though.

  9. 9
    Merv Goldberg says:

    I found out through tootsie pop that if you have the indian with the star you can send it in to tootsie pop to qualify for a thousand dollar drawing. You have to have the whole indian and star. If it is cut off in any way then it will not qualify.

  10. 10
    amber says:

    i always thougght that the indian was for good luck like my brother had told me but now i know that it is from the sneeze. even though i have no clue what the sneeze is. im doing a project on the tootsie roll pop and i could use all the information as possible.

  11. 11
    Dooley Short says:

    I alwaysed thought that was true but where do turn them in?

  12. 12
    Miranda says:

    Hate to dissappoint y’all, but according to this rumor is false, but has been around since the 30′s. However, the site does admit that “Some individual store managers took it upon themselves to redeem Indian-bearing wrappers for free Tootsie Pops, but the exchange was not sanctioned by the Tootsie Roll company itself.”

    Here’s the link:

  13. 13
    rose says:

    I remember mailing in a wrapper when I was younger – at least 15 years ago and I received a letter from Tootsie about the Indian. No free sucker.

  14. 14
    Antfan says:

    I heard about it in 1981 in a little town on the coast of Oregon. Some kids claimed that the local 7-11 would give you a free one. I did not believe them, and I never tried it. Of course, I also didn’t believe that I could get a nickel for a can until I was much older and learned about the 5 cent deposit when you bought a can of soda.

  15. 15
    Jessi says:

    I emailed the tootsie roll company and got the response from them that the company never sponsored any such thing. I too was told the story when I was a kid. The company did say that some stores did it on thier own but they never sponsored it.

  16. 16
    Heather says:

    I believed this was true until today when I decided to check since I actully got the indian. Too bad -it was always something fun to look for!

  17. 17
    Kellie says:

    I am 19 and I grew up in a little town in CA. Everyone I knew thought this myth was true when I was growing up! The other day my 6 yr old nephew was excited because he found the indian and the star and he was going to get a free candy! I don’t know how this myth came about, but it really lasted a loooooong time!

  18. 18
    Kellie says:

    I am 19 and I grew up in a little town in CA. Everyone I knew thought this myth was true when I was growing up! The other day my 6 yr old nephew was excited because he found the indian and the star and he was going to get a free candy! I don’t know how this myth came about, but it really lasted a loooooong time!

  19. 19
    Mike says:

    About 1/3 of the wrappers you find will have the indian and star. The local candy store where i grew up on cape cod had a deal where 12 indian wrappers got you a free bag of Pops. Not a bad deal; it worked out close to a buy two bags get one bag free.

  20. 20
    Audrey says:

    I used to collect wrappers as a kid. I remember getting a free tootsie pop from a Circle K for the indian on a wrapper. I’m 30.

  21. 21
    Amy says:

    I used to turn in the wrappers with the indian shooting the bow for free tootsie pops when I was young. Maybe it was a myth, but the clerks at the corner store by my house didn’t know that and neither did we. We certainly didn’t put them out of business claiming our prizes–it took us weeks to collect or earn the money for even a couple of pops, and longer to get to the store!

  22. 22
    Joker says:

    You all are a bunch of “suckers”!

  23. 23
    Razor says:

    I always look for the indian shooting a star on my Toostie wrappers but grew up with the story that they were good luck. I also was said that you had to finish the whole pop for the luck to come true other wise it wouldn’t work. I never heard of getting anything free for them until now. I think I still have indian wrappers in a draw of mine from several years ago. And to this day I still look for and save the indian shooting a star wrappers.

  24. 24
    Joe "Jellybean" Bryant says:

    It’s amazing how this rumor is still going around. I am 60.

  25. 25
    Philip Champion says:

    60? Daaamn.

  26. 26
    AUNT LORI says:

    My niecies and nephew were going thru their Halloween candy. My 4 year old niece said her favorites were the suckers her 10 year old brother asked her for the wrapper. As if he wanted it for something special I asked what for and of course the myth of the indian and the star was the reason. He resonded with he could get a free ice cream I said from WHERE Not that they needed any more sweets but then the myth appeared I said Guys I’m fifty and that was alive when I was a kid too. Crazy huh!

  27. 27
    Dan says:

    Tootsie Roll Pops traditionally were wrapped in paper with icons and symbols, including but not limited to, an American Indian with a bow and arrow. From soon after the introduction of Tootsie Pops from 1931 through the present day (currently generating about 150 letters a week), a rumor has circulated that a wrapper containing the American Indian icon shooting a star could be traded-in for a free Tootsie Roll Pop.

    According to Tootsie Roll Industries and web site, this rumor is not true. However, according to, individual merchants have chosen to honor the wrapper legend over the years, allowing people to “win” a free bag.

    With the innovation and spread of the Internet and e-mail, many queries to Tootsie Roll Industries are in the form of email. Below is the company’s response, dated March 24, 2005, to one such query:

    the following Email is from the Tootsie Pop Company website ( In response to the “lucky indian” on the Tootsie Pop wrapper.

    Thank you for your interest in our Tootsie Pop wrappers. We are pleased to have an opportunity to tell the true story about our Tootsie Pop wrappers.
    Many years ago, a rumor surfaced that said if the wrapper of a Tootsie Pop with a star was found and returned to the company, a free Tootsie Pop, or any number of things would be sent to the lucky person. We truly don’t know why or where this rumor started, as our records do not indicate that our company ever sponsored any type of promotion surrounding images on the wrapper.
    We hope we have been able to clarify this matter for you and we thank you for contacting us.

  28. 28
    poopface says:


  29. 29
    Charlie Bravo says:

    We used to frequent an all you can eat buffet restaurant called Roy’s Chuck Wagon in Pasco, Wa and they used to honor the free Tootsie Roll Pop if you had a full, complete Indian and Star on your wrapper – no halfs, partials, or anything of the kind – it had to be the whole thing. But they went out of business years ago… probably because they gave too many suckers away.

    P.S. I got one on the last one I unwrapped… this morning.

  30. 30
    Trish says:

    I got 5 wrappers with complete Indians and stars on them in the last bag of pops I bought.

  31. 31
    Tiger says:

    I heard the rumor differently. I heard that one had to have three (3) wrappers with the indian and star on it. No partials. I think I may have tried it once but got declined. I am not sure. I would try it today but the attendent would probably have me arrested for trying to steal a tootsie pop…as if I have any reason to. I am not that poor.

  32. 32
    Disciple says:

    In the early 90′s my cousin, I’m pretty sure said that if you collected five wrappers with the indian star you can get a free one tootsie roll pop. I never did it and now I wish I had asked her how she knew that?I thought it was a great idea, so maybe thats why I didn’t question its origin. Maybe there is a lost story to this, or perhaps just an interesting myth people keep activethrough kids. Makes you wonder why any idea may become fixed into ones thoughts when they don’t even know what it is? or why they follow it, hah! God bless you!

  33. 33
    AMANDA WOO says:

    Well, I always was under the impression that if you collect enough with the Indian star guy one would get a free tv or a pair of kickin panties. But I myself have never tested this- I have researched to see where to send them, and there once was a place; but I never actually sent them in. They are in an envelope somewhere rotting away. At any rate, as of now I believe it to be a myth :(
    What an awful place this world is..just because I didn’t get massive prizes for turning in some candy pop wrapers
    have a good one

  34. 34
    HONEYBEAR says:


    RESPONSE: Dude – no need to yell. All caps = yelling.

  35. 35
    Tess says:

    Yes, As a child I grew up in the midwest. (Iowa) and we would take our wrappers back to the store if it had an Indian shooting the star and we would get a free lollipop. I tell my children about it today and they wish the same offer was still going on. Maybe the Tootsie Roll Company will start it up again if enough people ask.

  36. 36
    Lacey says:

    When i was younger we had this gas station called the Minute Man. If we got the Indian with the shooting star on our sucker wrappers then we would get a free sucker.

  37. 37
    rachel says:

    I totally remember this my bro told me bout it and he actually sent one in and he got candy but I have recently heard that the co. doesn’t do that any more but hay if u find one I guess its worth a try :-D

  38. 38
    Dean says:

    I was surprised when I heard that finding the indian on the wrapper = free Tootsie Pop was just an urband legand. When I was a kid in the 70′s my brother and me traded in many, many wrappers with the indian on it for a free tootsie pop at local minimarts, etc… We were only questioned 1 time by a merchant in the many years we did this and were never refused. haha.

  39. 39
    emma says:

    how do you get prizes where do you turn them in

  40. 40
    Rachel says:

    I am originally from Minneapolis, MN. Myself and two other sisters have personally tested and proved this theory on many occasions at a local Tom Thumb in our neighborhood. If you found a wrapper with an Indian shooting to a star you could go back to the employee of this store and receive a new sucker for free. We as kids did this often, and were bias as to what we spent our money on knowing we could get a free sucker. The chances were I’d say 50%.
    We loved it, and the store employees all knew about it, and that was the end of it.
    Sad as an adult to hear it wasn’t originated by Tootsie Roll. My husband never heard of it, and I’ve been trying to research more about it.
    Thanks for your imput.

  41. 41
    madison brooke says:

    yes ive heard that story many times when i was in elmentry school.i am now in the 8th grade and still hear the story today!!! when i was littler around “2002″.At a near by can recycling place they would give u a tootsie pop and if you had a indian on the wraper you may turn it in and get another one but lately this has not been used for a long time…what is the real story now days for the tootsie pop indian story who knows.-madison

  42. 42
    Michael says:

    According to the tootsie roll company, they were never involved with getting a free tootsie roll sucker for turning in a wrapper with a star on it. It is something that your local grocer would do if they chose to but would not be refunded. In my childhood every store I knew of would do it, tested it myself. I did this in 5 different states. Around the early 90′s the last store I knew of to honor this had discontinued that policy. It’s one of those myth/fact things. Success was higher back then. I havent heard of a successful retrieval of a sucker in more than a decade.

  43. 43
    Kevin says:

    i heard of this but i heard they stopped it so when i heard they stopped it i just stuff the wrappers with the indian on it in my pocket for good luck :)
    i swear it really does bring good luck

  44. 44
    rio says:

    i just looked it up as i am eating one now and found the indian shooting a star. tootsie roll pops released a statement that can be found on that it never was a promotion. However, many independant merchants thought it was charming and decided to honor it independantly.

  45. 45
    Brian (30 yrs old) says:

    I remember the local grocery store in my hometown would give a free tootsie roll pop if you brought in a wrapper with the star on it. I grew up in a small suburb of Kansas City, MO. I don’t think this was anything sanctioned by Tootsie Roll, I think it was just local retailers providing good customer rapport. Heck, they only cost 5 cents, and a free sucker could make a kid’s day. Small price to pay for a loyal customer. I bet you couldn’t walk into a chain store today and get the same treatment.

  46. 46
    Dani says:

    I think I have heard of it

  47. 47
    Rocket Boy says:

    Someone should perform a study or maybe Tom Green or Jamie Kennedy could test out the free tootsie pop strategy on local gas stations as well as major grocery stores.

    I used to work at the local mini grocer in Alpine Utah.

  48. 48
    Erin says:

    It may never have been sponsored by the company, but when I was a kid in the 80s every store our parents took us to would honor our wrappers. I just asked some people at work if they ever heard of the free sucker for a wrapper and they said I was making it up!!!

  49. 49
    Logan says:

    In Greenleaf Idaho there is only one store, the Greenleaf Store, and they always honored the legend. We would often dig through the stores stash of suckers looking for ones that had Indian and Stars on them and buy that one. We would then take another sucker to the register with us and get two for the price of one because we had one with the Indian and Star on it. Usually the Indian and Star was hidden in the twist though so you had to buy the sucker before you could find out if you were going to get a free one out of it. Either way if you had an Indian and Star you got a free sucker it was a one for one deal.

    My wife and I were just watching our son eating a tootsie pop and started talking about the Indian and Star and wondering if it was still honored. Apparently the clerk at the Greenleaf Store was just a nice man and paid for the free tootsie pops we redeemed from his own wallet.

    If I ever become a cashier at a grocery store I’ll honor the free pops to keep the legend alive.

  50. 50
    tootsie fanatic says:

    my friend told me if you brought it to a seven eleven you get something i don’t believe her but i’ll try it out anyway.

  51. 51
    Katie Doo says:

    As long as i can remember, and still till this day, if you bring in a winning wrapper to a little store in novato ca. you win a new pop. The owner has 4 big boxes full of wrappers. shes still making the kids smile!

  52. 52
    Ally says:


  53. 53
    Holly says:

    As a kid my brother and I would buy our tootsie pops from the local 7-11. When we
    recieved one with an Indian and a star we would always recieve a free one from that 7-11. Seems like we were always getting free tootsie pops. When I heard a rumor that it wasn’t true I wrote a letter to tootsie pop asking them why some kids had heard otherwise. I recieved a really lame letter back explaining it was just legend. That was the first time
    I realized it was the 7-11 that was just honoring the kids request and had nothing to
    do with the company.

  54. 54
    Sarah says:

    When I was a kid, probably 8-10 years ago (I’m 20 now), it was true. I had a few wrappers with the picture on it and I took it to a store in town, just some convenient store and they gave me a free lollipop for each one I had. I don’t think they do it anymore though.

  55. 55
    Joe says:

    When I was a kid in the 60′s living in a small western town, there were several mom&pop stores that had special candy counters down low just for the children. The proprietors of these stores adored all children and would honor the wrapper myth, just because they loved seeing the bright smiles on the faces. They also sold three times more tootsie pops than they gave away free, because of the ratio of indian wrappers. Times have changed drastically, the number of traditional mom&pop stores have gone the way of the dodo bird…. so has alot of good will….

  56. 56
    Garrison says:

    this is true i think it is true you should do at a
    gas station!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. 57
    Crystal says:

    I think you have to live in a small town and have nice grociers who like kids…

  58. 58
    Christopher says:

    When I was a kid, the older kids in the neighborhood taught me that if you get a Tootsie Pop wrapper with the Indian shooting the star you should put the pop in your mouth and use the end of the stick to punch a hole in the star for good luck. We used to make a wish (you know, for a Hasbro Millenium Falcon or Tie-Fighter or Luke’s X-Wing Fighter or a new Big Wheel) and then punch a hole in the star. I was born in 1969 and grew up in north-eastern (Westwood) N.J. Don’t tell anyone but I still do it today. In fact, I’m at work, and someone just gave me a Tootsie Pop (chocolate) and there’s the Indian and I already punched the hole. Which led me to Google “Tootsie Pop indian star”… and to this web blog. : )

  59. 59
    sugar nose says:

    me and the indian, living the dream! thanks sarah.

  60. 60
    Clay says:

    yummy i love candy i wish i could have alot of toosie pops right now!!!!!

  61. 61
    Lauren says:

    I have a tootsie pop with an indian on it with a bow and arrow shooting a star. I went to the store and they told me it was a myth. then i sent my little cousin in and they gave her a tootsie pop. I definately know that it is not sponsored through tootsie pop company becuase i sent an e-mal and they said that it is a myth and that they are sorry for the inconvenience. Also they said they get the same e-mail 200 times a week

  62. 62
    Tiffany says:

    Okay, this has been going around since the 1930′s. The whole thing has never been official but some grocery stores will exchange the wrapper for a free lollypop. The company published a book about it also instead of answering all those e-mails.

  63. 63
    yo... says:

    I’ve tried it, it did work, but that wasin the 90s… i would always get “1″ free sucker when i got that indian on the wrapper.. it was cool

  64. 64
    josh says:

    i am 23 and myself, my younger sister & brother would take them down to the gas station and get free suckers for them.

  65. 65
    Kitty Kat says:

    In elementry school all the kids would obsess over the indians saying u could get 1 free. I never tried. I still always look for the indian and star though. =D

  66. 66
    Jean says:

    A co-worker just gave me one – I’m brought back to walking down the street to the local candy store when I was 7 to get my free Tootsie Pop. They still do it today and I’m now 25! :-)

  67. 67
    Virginia says:

    I’ve always wondered if it’s true or not…
    As a child, not that long ago as I’m only 21, any time our lollipop wrapper had the indian and the star they would allow us to receive our free sucker.

    Up to this date the local store has never objected to it.

  68. 68
    Jessica says:

    This is TOTALLY TRUE!!!!

    I’m 30 and this was the case at my local store it was a campaign by Tootsie Roll…. You had to get the complete indian to get a free one and if you haven’t noticed they have taken the indian off because of this issue.

  69. 69
    sugar nose says:

    i just bought two bags of tootsie roll pops. the indian was on almost every wrapper in the bag. i live in brooklyn and i dont think the indian has been removed. me and the indian still living the dream. thanks princess.

  70. 70
    autumn says:

    hi,my name is autumn.I have 3 tootsie roll wrappers with an indian and a star if anyone knows how i can turn these in somewere and get a free sucker please reply

  71. 71
    rifle says:

    I just got back from a meeting and had a tootsie pop with an indian shooting the star. It made me think of when I was in grade school (I’m 37 now) and I would buy tootsie pops and got a 1-to-1 exchange for a free pop if you got the full indian & star (no partials!). I just had to look this up and see if this was still real. I am sad to learn that this has always been a myth, even when I was younger. But, you know, it makes me think real warmly of the little mini-market (mom & pop type) where we stopped every Sunday after church for gas and I could get a tootsie pop (either by turning in a wrapper or buying one). They must have been really good people because I never knew it to be a myth – I assumed it was sponsered. Kind of funny now to think of it – assuming that all these mini-market owners across the country bagging all the turned in wrappers and mailing them back to the tootsie roll company! LOL! To think, it was just good folks treating kids to a free piece of candy.

  72. 72
    adrienne says:

    i am 13 and have been told many differents sides of the story. 1 story is what many of you have been saying, if you have a wrapper with an indian shooting a star you get a free bag of Tootsie Pops. i just heard this yesterday at my school play that if you have an indian shooting a star and 3 full circles you get a free bag of Tootsie Pops.

  73. 73
    Sabrina says:

    This worked for me as a kid. My local ice cream man AND the guy who sold candy at little league practice would trade free tootsie pops for a wrapper with the Indian on it. My BF says it worked for him as well even though we lived 400 miles apart as kids.

  74. 74
    sister4eyes says:

    I’m 32, and when I was in grade school our bus driver used to let us stop at a local general store on Friday afternoons if we’d behaved all week. If you had a Tootsie Pop wrapper with the Indian shooting an arrow with the star on the end, you could turn it in for a free Tootsie Pop. The store is closed now, and none of our local gas stations honor this. I’ve still got a few saved in case I ever run across a store that still does this. What a fun childhood memory!

  75. 75
    love girl says:

    I’m 13 and in the 1st grade I was told that if you found the star you could go to Walt-mart to get a roller bladers, skate borads, and a bike, but I never try it out and I do think it is a nice thing to talk about.

  76. 76
    alaskanchicky says:

    Im only 22 and I remember getting the Indian and the star on wrappers and going down to the 7-11 and gettign a free new one but it has to be the whole picture.. they stopped doing it when i was like 13-15 wasnt that long ago lol I dont remeber you being able to get anythign else free from it..Good timess

  77. 77
    Damn says:

    Damn alsakanchicky this forum is like 4 years old haha only replying cuzz it’s funny a 4 year old post still gets comments and it brings it up in a search for the comment being so resent haha.

  78. 78
    Sara says:

    I was always told that the whole indian, as well as three whole circle tootsie pop logos was required to “win.” Yet I never found out how to turn it in. All websites I’ve looked at though say the whole thing is a myth.

  79. 79
    Tootsie says:

    This is a very interesting myth. Never tried it myself, but it’s pretty awesome to hear that so many local stores would honor it. The rumor probably stayed alive from this fact alone. I remember a kid from school once told me about this, and of course i still always check for it. I’m from NJ and my husband is from GA but he never heard it.

  80. 80
    roni says:

    I’ve been wondering for years, what happened to the picture of the birthday party? That was what I always looked. When was it taken off the tootsie pop wrapper?

  81. 81
    roni says:

    The birthday party picture was what I always looked for on the wrapper. When was it taken off?

  82. 82
    ddt says:

    I am 36 years old and when I was a kid you had to get 3 wrappers witlh an Indian and star then we would go to the store and get a free one. Not a myth

  83. 83
    Kimda says:

    When I was a little girl in the 70′s,we were able to turn in the Indian and star papers off the Tootsie Pops,and get a free one. In the 70′s there were no chain stores. I have a little girl now,and we tried to turn in a Tootsie Pop paper, and was told they do not honor that here. What a bummer for her not to get to experience getting something for nothing.

  84. 84
    cthuss says:

    I have read the posts about the Indian and the Star but only the two about the birthday party got my attention. I grew up in Alabama and maybe it was a local thing because the Birthday Party was the rarest of all and I have to say that since the mid 70′s when I was in high school I have not seen it again. Tootsie Roll is missing a great marketing opportunity by not sponsoring some sort of promotion because nostalgic adults would be buying as well as kids!

  85. 85
    Timmy says:

    I am 63 and my sister and I would look for the “birthday party” on our tootsie roll wrappers – we considered it good luck to get one. About 40 years ago they disappeared. Wonder why?

  86. 86
    Morgan says:

    I am a 15 year old girl. When I was growing up I was always told about the Indian and the star. I am eating a Tootsie Pop right now and the wrapper has an Indian and Star. I never believed the myth was true but it’s always fun seeking the “special wrapper” (:

  87. 87
    Anthony says:

    When I was a kid about 20 years ago the local Albertsons honored the free suckers

  88. 88
    Jeane says:

    When I was a kid, it was the birthday party wrapper that earned a free pop. Also the Charms Pop inner wrapper (the white one inside the printed one) sometimes won a free pop, but I can’t remember how. We knew it was the store providing the pops because 7-11 never gave anything away, but Hooks always did. I didn’t hear about the Indian and Star until my kids were in school.

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