“Well, if I wanted to buy you goggles, I’d not be able to buy you these extra heavy BBs for the gun! Now let’s go play William Tell again. You get the apple.”
~The world’s best Step-dad!
The Christmas season is upon us, a time when friends and families get together and prove their love and devotion to each other by going on amazon.com to buy them things that were specifically asked for. Christmas is an especially magical time for American children, one where they are regaled with stories of fat omnipotent geriatrics who watch their every move before breaking into their houses and doling out the appropriate bribe to ensure their ongoing good behavior, where they get to watch Claymation specials that teach them that it’s alright for dentists to be homosexuals, and they get to learn what daddy is like when he gets holiday drunk.
Of course, the main thing that children love about Christmas is the presents, because holy shit it’s a Furby! Yes, this is a wonderful time to be a child, or a large multinational toy retailer, but it also is a season fraught with hidden dangers. But, for every Tomagotchi, there’s a toy that’s basically the playtime equivalent of a rusty nail with an extra helping of tetanus. And we love those toys. Seriously, if you get through childhood without a few permanent scars (mental or physical are acceptable) then you’re doing it wrong. That’s why we’re here to tell you about…
America’s Most (Awesomely) Dangerous Toys
“Helmets are for pussies!”
There are three kinds of parents in America. First you find the overly concerned helicopter parents who threaten schools with lawsuits the first time some lead paint shavings gets in their precious little snowflake’s apple core sauce. Then there are the parents who let their children live their lives, scrape their knees, and grow up to be well rounded, unspoiled, productive members of a polite society. And finally, there’s Donald, your mom’s new boyfriend who keeps telling you he’ll give you a dollar if you knock that hornets’ nest off the side of the roof.
These are the toys that Donald would get you for Christmas.
Since Mattel first started selling it in 1964, linguists have spent decades trying to find the best way to describe the “thingmaker” die-cast metal mold toy marketed as Creepy Crawlers, eventually settling on “like, totally the shit.” Every male child in the 90s (and many in the 60s) loved using their Creepy Crawler set, and every one of them has the second degree burns to prove it.
Creepy Crawlers are so awesomely dangerous they’ve been taken off the market two separate times. It’s like they were designed by someone who was personally offended every time they saw a child without a visible scar. Creepy Crawlers take metal molds of bugs, dinosaurs, and PG-horror films, fills them with something that’s actually called “Plastigoop”, and then shoves it inside an electric heater all while hoping that small children will have the patience to wait for the metal to cool to a non-scalding temperature before they excitedly grab their multicolored centipede (spoiler alert: no child in the history of ever has been able to accomplish this feat). This of course is part of what made Creepy Crawlers awesome, because it combined both gooey bugs with the real risk of permanent disfigurement, and most American boys growing up love both of those things.
Unfortunately, adults are buzz-kills, and they took the side of “it’s probably not a good idea to let a child use an electric heater as a toy.” So in 1978, they tried to make a safer version of Creepy Crawlers were you simply heated up the Plastigoop and poured them in the molds without putting them in a brightly colored fire hazard. But of course, no one wants to make Creepy Crawlers without the possibility of getting one of those super smooth scars you only get with second degree burns, so it didn’t sell. It eventually was revived by ToyMax in 1992, probably as a way to injure a portion of America’s youth in a way that would stop them from skateboarding in front of old people’s lawns. By 2001, people started to remember that Creepy Crawlers were awesome at making plastic bugs, but also at making people look like The Hound in Game of Thrones, and ToyMax shuttered its doors.
But don’t worry, unblemished American youth! Jakks Pacific has taken over production of Creepy Crawlers, and now you can get them at your nearest K-Mart or Target! And once the set burns off your fingerprints, you can finally begin your life of crime without any fear of repercussion!
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
Unlike Creepy Crawlers, you can’t get this toy anymore, as it was only available for 1951 to 1952, but don’t be fooled—this is a far more awesome toy than the aforementioned Easy Bake Oven for boys. Sure, Creepy Crawlers gave you little plastic bugs to play with, but this shit gives you cancer. Or, possibly, superpowers. Or, more probably, the ability to shed hair like a dying Labrador Retriever. Basically what we’re saying is this play set was actually radioactive. As in, it came with fucking Uranium. Four separate types of Uranium Ore, to be exact, including Polonium, which is 250,000 times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. So there’s that.
The 1950’s were clearly a much more innocent time, since if someone today tried to sell toxic Uranium to kids, they’d probably end up in Guantanamo the second they registered the website domain of www.nucleartoysetsforkids.com/ohgodwhyarethereNSAagentsatthedooralready.
But let this be a lesson for all of you shoppers out there, America. If something says it’s “Exciting!” on the box, and it has to follow that up by saying it’s “Safe!” it is not safe. Not safe at all. This case o’ radiation declaring “We’re safe!” in yellow cursive is like a sketchy bearded guy in a van telling your child, “Don’t worry, this rag is totally not soaked in Ether. Smell it and see for yourself!”
Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kid
While Cabbage Patch Kids have long been the most popular doll to fulfill the orphan/grown-in-abandoned-gardens demographic, in 1996 they decided to cater to children who like to force feed babies who lack free will. While it seemed like a good enough idea to give our youth a doll with a moving mouth/mechanical swallowing mechanism so they could disquiet their parents by intensely saying things like, “Now you eat you’re vegetables if you want dessert” while starring into the cold, lifeless, sticker eyes of their newest toy, the geniuses who designed the doll failed to include an on-off switch, which meant that Snack Time Cabbage Patch didn’t really do much to differentiate between the plastic carrot you put in its impossibly strong robot jaw and, say, little Suzy’s hair.
Let’s not gloss over this point. This toy was not designed to be turned on and off. It automatically started chewing and swallowing as soon as anything was put in or near its mouth. So you gently place the toy food in its mouth? Down the hatch. But a baby bottle in there? It’ll just keep on munching. Put in a whole mess of your hair? OM NOM NOM, ha ha, now you’re bald and in horrible, horrible pain. Here’s the part where we’d normally say something like “each of these dolls was possessed by the vengeful soul of a scalped Native American who is looking to get back at the white man” but apparently the ACLU has filed something called an “injunction” with us when it comes to making vaguely offensive references to Native American history. But seriously, bitch will eat your hair like it isn’t a thing.
While this toy got recalled faster than tainted batch of spinach, we’re sure you could hunt it down on the black market, just so long as watching your spoiled stepdaughter’s hair get yanked out by the follicles is worth the price of having a guy who specializes in selling unregistered firearms and kidneys know you as “The guy who wanted that doll that poops into its backpack.” Oh yeah, this toy poops into its backpack. You’re welcome for that.
BB Guns are well-known because anytime you give a child the feeling that they’re shooting someone with a real gun, that child is going to want it, and also because it was a pretty big plot point in that one Christmas movie that Gen-Xers are always claiming is their favorite. Nowadays, BB Guns are even more fun, and more irresponsibly dangerous, than ever before. Because sure, you can get your Daisy Red Ryder that has the authentic look and feel of a pump action air rifle, or you can also get a BB Gun that looks enough like a real handgun that it just screams “accidental police shooting.” That fact alone moves BB Guns up from “You could shoot your eye out” to “If you’re not white, you might want to avoid playing with it anywhere near skittish New York cops.”
Before we tell you what this toy does, or why it’s dangerous, just look at this box cover for a second. More specifically, look at the boy, and how he’s looking at the girl in this box. That might be a weird thing to ask, but bear with us for a second. We’ll get back to that kid later.
So Aqua Dots were a series of colorful beads that you would arrange into patterns that would stick together when you sprayed them with water. That seems like a pretty innocuous way to have your kids express their creativity. It’s just beads and water! What could possibly go wrong?
Okay, now look at that picture again.
Yeah, those beads were coated the date rape drug. Sure, you had to eat them to have the intended effect, but is it a coincidence that these beads like an awful lot like Dippin’ Dots, and that Dippin Dots are fucking delicious?
iLaunch Rocket Launcher For iPhone
Just kidding, this totally isn’t a toy meant for kids. And it’s…probably not that dangerous. Okay, listen, cards on the table, we just put this to close the list as a way to brag that this is the holiday gift we’re giving out staff. Yeah, they’re pretty excited about it. Except for the guys stuck without a smart phone. But for them, we just are handing out a bottle of booze, which also would probably be a bad gift for kids.
Anyway, remember this holiday season that the truly important thing is not what gifts you give, it’s how drunk you get before your family kicks you out.