Barnum’s Animal Cracker’s Classic String Handle Is Missing

A thread on Reddit pointed out that the Barnum's Animals packaging has ditched the string handle for cardboard

Barnum's Animals are in a new cage.

Close your eyes and picture the last time you had a box of Barnum’s Animals Crackers. No, not the last time you snacked on one while your child was eating them  the last time you had them as a kid. The box had a cute little string and wheels that could be popped out, right? Well, not anymore. A “Nostalgia” thread on Reddit pointed out that the current packaging of the classic treat has ditched the string handle.

The thread has inspired a 276 comment (and counting) conversation investigating where the beloved string handle has gone, and why it was even there in the first place.

“Barnum’s Animals Crackers were my favorite as a kid. Back then they had a string handle,” user Shadyood said as they kicked off the discussion with a recent photo of a box with a broken cardboard handle.


The string was originally intended to allow Barnum’s fans to use the colorful little box as a Christmas ornament. When the snack was first released, the charming snack-sized boxes were considered to be revolutionary, as the cookie-cracker hybrids were previously sold in cracker barrels or big tins.

It seems as though 116 years after Barnum’s Animals Crackers made their debut, the packaging may have lost some of its novelty. With the help of The Oxford Companion of Sugar and Sweets, Reddit user @Umbo said that the packaging was “switched to cardboard as a cost-saving measure.”

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At least some retailers still depict the string, for example still shows a photo of the classic box, string handle and all. But over at Amazon, where you can buy a 24-pack for $38.53, the product shot shows the new cardboard handle.

The Daily Meal has reached out to Nabisco to get to the bottom of the top string change.

Some Reddit users promised to use the boxes as ornaments if the strings made a comeback. Although there’s no telling whether Nabisco will bring back the old packaging, there are still a few original boxes floating around the internet. eBay has plenty of collectible Barnum’s Animals Crackers boxes and tins listed. But at least we can rejoice in the fact that Barnum’s Animal Crackers are still around more than a century after they first went on sale in 1902, which is not the case with these discontinued snacks from the decade you were born.