15 Cool and Unusual Candles You Can Buy Right Now

PyroPet
PyroPet

Candles are a great way to add some ambiance to any room—especially when that candle smells like pancakes. The next time you're planning a special evening, with yourself or someone else, consider these options.

1. Avocado-Shaped Candles

Two avocado candles
Echaprey / Amazon

Your favorite fruit can now be your favorite candle, too. These surprisingly lifelike avocado-shaped candles make the perfect decoration. We can't guarantee that they smell like fresh avocados, though.

Buy it on Amazon for $15 for two.

2. 60-Hour Coiled Candles

A candle with coiled wax
Candle by the Hour, Amazon

This long-lasting candle features a coiled design that promises 60 hours of burn time—20 minutes for every inch of wax. Simply pull the candle through the clip to burn more. The candle self-extinguishes when it burns down to the clip, allowing you to use it as a timer. It comes in vertical and horizontal coil designs, and can be refilled when you reach the end.

Buy it on Amazon or The Grommet starting at $22.

3. Skunk- and B.O.-Scented Candles

An array of candle tins
Stinky Candle Co.

If fresh pine isn’t your thing, may we suggest nacho cheese? The Stinky Candle Company specializes in candles boasting unorthodox odors. Choose from off-putting scents like onion, potting soil, and body odor, or go for some more delightful scents, like clean puppy and pizza. While we don’t recommend the fart or skunk candles, the money candle definitely has some potential.

Buy it on Amazon for $12.

4. Book-Scented Candles

Perfect for curling up with a good book, these candle scents were inspired by classic literature. Pick from “Sherlock’s Study,” “Oxford Library,” or “Halfling Hills,” or channel the smell of your favorite collection with scents like “Old Books” and “Reading at the Cafe.”

Buy it on Amazon for $22.

5. PyroPet Candles

PyroPet Candles
PyroPet

These geometric cat candles—first featured on Kickstarter in 2013—hold a (slightly morbid) surprise inside. Once lit, a skeleton cat emerges, which almost makes you feel bad for setting it on fire in the first place. If the cat's not your style, the candle also comes in the form of a bird, unicorn, deer, and more.

Buy it on Amazon or The Grommet for $34.

6. Roman Candles

Fred Roman Candles
Fred, Amazon

The packaging on these punny Roman-numeral-shaped candles from Fred promises they'll help you party like it's MCMXCIX.

Buy it on Amazon for $10.

7. Cactus-Shaped Candles


ornerx, Amazon

These realistic cacti candles might fool your friends—until you light them. The wax candles come in sets of six.

Buy it on Amazon for $10.

8. Homesick Candles

Homesick candles
Uncommon Goods

Smell is connected to memory, so if you’re missing home, you’ll want to burn one of these candles. The scents of these hand-poured, soy wax candles were created with the input of locals from every state. All states are available.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $30. 

9. Candles With Plantable Packaging

A candle next to two boxes of plantable packaging
Uncommon Goods

These candles smell like a blooming garden filled with poppies and sunflowers. If the floral candles make you long for the real deal, simply soak the seed-infused boxes in water and plant them in the ground.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $28.

10. Chocolate Egg Cream-Scented Candles


Katz's Deli, Amazon

Alongside excellent food, did you know Katz’s Deli sells a scented candle, too? Made in New York City, these wax creations evoke the restaurant’s famous chocolate egg creams. Light one and be transported to the Lower East Side, no matter how far away you actually are.

Buy it on Amazon for $25 plus shipping.

11. Crackling Fire Candles

A lit candle next to two sticks of cinnamon
Uncommon Goods

The next best thing to a real fireplace? These candles, which boast wooden wicks that crackle as though you'd thrown another log on the pile. Inspired by the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," the candle smells like vanilla, cinnamon, and clove—the scents of a long winter's nap, according to the creators.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $30.

12. Edible Candles

These birthday candles are designed to both adorn your dessert and be your dessert. Available in dark or milk chocolate and five different designs, Let Them Eat Candles feature a wick that you can remove after the singing ends, allowing you to eat the delicious chocolate sticks.

Buy it on The Grommet for $12 for three.

13. Terrarium Candles

Cactus and poppy terarium candles
Uncommon Goods

Hand-made by Canadian designer Zoe Tang, these terrarium candles contain incredibly detailed plants made out of wax. The candles come in two varieties: either jasmine-scented poppy on a white-tea-scented base or pine-scented cactus on a vanilla base. They’re so beautiful, you probably won’t even want to light them.

Buy it from Uncommon Goods for $25.

14. Hatching Dinosaur Candle

Dinosaur candle
Yazan-Molandi / Amazon

This is one candle you’ll be excited to finish. The egg-shaped candle melts down to reveal a delightful surprise—a tiny porcelain raptor.

Buy it from Amazon for $45.

15. Glacier-Shaped Candles

Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson's creations have a message behind them: Global warming can only be ignored for so long. Just like real ice, these wax designs melt when they get hot—and just like real glaciers, they're increasingly rare. Since their creation in 2015, they've sold out at most retailers, but you can still get them (albeit for a higher price) from Pamono.

Buy it from Pamono for $83.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect current availability.

11 Gifts for the Curious Kids in Your Life

The Play Gym by Lovevery
The Play Gym by Lovevery

No matter their age, you want to find gifts that will keep the kids in your life entertained, stimulated, and give them a sense of accomplishment—even during playtime. Luckily, these 11 gifts will do all of that, and will encourage their curiosity to grow.

1. The Play Gym by Lovevery; $140

Baby playset
Lovevery / Amazon

Specially designed by experts to stimulate infants for their first year, this play mat grows with your favorite baby. It has five developmental zones and multiple activities—like teethers, mirrors, and colorful flash cards. And, when baby becomes a toddler, the mat converts into a tent fort for further imaginative play.

Find It: Amazon

2. Real Insect Superpowers Comic Book; $18

Follow the adventures of the Supersonic Assassin, the Malevolent Mimic, and other insect superheroes as they smash, zap, hypnotize, and sting in this 88-page book that's part comic, part nature encyclopedia.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

3. Droid Inventor Kit; $100

This is definitely the droid you’re looking for. Recommended for kids in grades eight years and up, this customizable robot comes with an app that defines more than 22 missions as well as easy block-based coding activities. And for any Star Wars fans, the Droid makes 20 different sounds, just like from the movies

Find It: Amazon

4. Solar System Chalk; $40

Solar system chalk
Uncommon Goods

This nine-piece chalk set features all the planets in the solar system, along with Pluto. Each piece has multiple colors, which represent the planets' cores, layers, and crusts. And for each set sold, $2 will be donated to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to support autism research.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. Jr. NASA Rocket Scientist Lab Coat; $20

Jr. NASA coat
Aeromax / Amazon

Get kids excited about science early with this lab coat, which comes in sizes for boys and girls. Alongside three pockets, the jacket also has the NASA logo and the words “Rocket Scientist.” When your astronaut-in-training is done playing, the coat can be tossed in the washing machine.

Find It: Amazon

6. 3Doodler 3D Pen Set; $50

This wireless pen allows kids to freestyle draw in the air—the eco-plastic filament cools in place quickly, giving kids plenty of practice with spatial reasoning without the costs of a full 3D printer.

Find It: Amazon

7. Giant Coloring Poster; $19

Giant coloring poster
O'Kroshka / Amazon

If your kid is going to color on the wall, you may as well give them a designated place to do so. Children can use pencils, markers, and paints on this 33''x 45'' poster that depicts all types of animals in a zoo. This gift will not only encourage creative expression, but it can also help kids work on their motor skills.

Find It: Amazon

8. Root-Vue Farm; $39

A little girl poses behind the Root Vue farm
Young Explorers

Whether they join FFA or not, kids can get a head start on understanding horticulture with this indoor garden system. Plant the included seeds—for carrots, radishes, and onions—and watch them obsess over the underground view of their harvest.

Find It: Amazon

9. Geosafari Jr. Kidnoculars; $9

Kid-proof and specially designed for tiny hands and faces, these binoculars can help preschoolers get to know the world around them. Play a game like “I Spy” and have them find squirrels in trees, clouds in the sky, or all those Cheerios they spilled behind their bed.

Find It: Amazon

10. Dimpl Baby and Toddler Learning Toy; $13

This brightly colored sensory toy holds a young one's attention with 100% food-grade silicone bubbles they can press and poke—perfect for keeping kids occupied in a stroller or car.

Find It: Target

11. Otamatone; $30

The face on this highly kawaii ribbon synthesizer is made of rubber, and by manipulating it with one hand you can make cool sounds (the other hand controls the pitch along the ribbon controller). With a bit of practice, you can even play real music—check out this entertaining cover of "Take On Me."

Find It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we’re only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

The New York Times's Latest Book on Travel Will Help You Plan the Perfect Weekend Getaway

TASCHEN
TASCHEN

Getting a full sense of a new city while traveling can be tough—especially if you only have a weekend to explore it. But since 2002, The New York Times’s "36 Hours" column has been breaking down destinations all over the world into bite-size pieces, allowing travelers to see the big attractions while still experiencing the city like a local. Now, you can get the best of the column's North American destinations with the fully updated and revised edition of 36 Hours: USA & Canada for $40 at TASCHEN or on Amazon.

Even if you have the original, it’s worth purchasing this updated copy, as this version features 33 new itineraries from Anchorage, Alaska; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Miami; Oakland, California; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and many more.

36 Hours: USA & Canda from the New York Times
TASCHEN

The 752-page book also offers more than 5400 hours of travel itineraries, 600 restaurants to dine at, and 450 hotel options. Each city featured includes a brief history, a list of popular destinations, and tips on how to experience it all like a local. For example, the New Orleans guide encourages travelers to start at the French 75 Bar for happy hour and order a Sazerac, a cocktail close to an Old-Fashioned that's a local favorite. Whereas the Miami guide takes you to the Buena Vista Deli, a bistro known for its take on classic French dishes. The travel book also features detailed city maps that pinpoint all the stops, and it's accompanied by nearly 1000 photographs.

Once you've picked your destination, check out some tips on how to craft the perfect itinerary.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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