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What child wouldn’t want a skull to smash??

Joyce Walter reflects on an unusual children's toy
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

If I were back in my childhood, about age five and up and waiting to see what Santa or the parents got me for Christmas, I absolutely know a skull would not have been involved.

Santa’s surprises normally were dolls, storybooks, colouring books and crayons, and sometimes a bit of change: quarters and dimes. One year he brought me a typewriter, possibly knowing then that eventually a larger typewriter would figure prominently in my adult life. I still have that typewriter, in the box in which it came. And I especially enjoyed the hammer and screwdriver, wondering later if the old chap knew I would become somewhat skilled in the use of both utensils.

The parents’ gifts ran along the same sedate lines: nothing destructive, nothing that would be considered evil, nothing too expensive but still thoughtful and filled with love. A watch one year was a memorable gift and I have a photo somewhere of me in my pyjamas showing off the watch on my skinny arm.

But there was nary a skull in all those years of being the recipient of gifts from Santa and his parental helpers.

But today’s children, five and up, could indeed receive a skull in their stockings or under the tree. I was confused when I saw these skulls in a retail outlet flyer, then on a favourite shopping site and eventually on shelves in stores.

In the flyer, the green-eyed skull caught my attention for its ugliness and the wonderment that anyone would actually pay $39.97 to become the new owner. It didn’t help one bit to note that the price had been reduced by $10 to attract shoppers searching for just that perfect gift for the children in their lives.

I would have gone screeching in fear and hidden out with my dog if such a gift had ever come my way. I wouldn’t have noticed it this time but we are seeking suitable presents for the little people in our lives.

Of course we are out of touch with what’s hot in the toy department, but still, when did skulls become “a thing?” And to make it more unbelievable, the new owners are encouraged to have fun “smashing” the skull.

Research provided some more knowledge as to why anyone would want a skull. Apparently the skull is part of the Dino Island simulated video game that carries a dinosaur theme. And the characters and bits and pieces of the game have been produced for touchable enjoyment. Hence a skull and smashing.

The promotional material encourages children to smash their way to an epic prehistoric adventure with Smashers Dino Island. “Smash your skull to smithereens to uncover 30 hidden surprises inside the action-packed skull.”

Apparently some of the 30 treasurers might be cotton candy foam, stretchy slime, pirate figures, dino pieces, and five miniature eggs containing mini characters, pencil toppers and dino stickers. Once the dino pieces are assembled, they might show up as a T-Rex or a Megaldon shark.

But wait: once the dino parts are constructed, the skull owner would be able to pace the skull’s eye inside its mouth. Why? “To hear it roar.”

The recommended age is five and up, so that eliminates it as a gift for at least one of the children on our shopping list. I personally refuse to buy the others a skull for Christmas, despite it being a popular extension of Dino Island. This is for Christmas after all. Skulls should be brought out only for Halloween.

I didn't bother to do any further research, already being flummoxed by the Magic Mixies crystal ball, Karma’s World transforming musical star stage playset, the Hot Wheels action spiral speed crash track set and the Polly Pocket Pollyville pet adventure treehouse playset.

My eye was caught by the OMH Glamper, a mini Air Stream-style camper van with blue decorative rims and pink racing stripe. Originally priced at $149.97, the glamper is now available for a mere $109.97.

Much like glamping for adults, this van is designed for specialized dolls and comes with 55 surprises including a water slide and light-up pool for actual water.
I wonder if it has room for a skull, in one piece, or already smashed?

Our tiny tots will be soooo bored with a mere drum set, tool kits or fold-over paper clothes for their girl and boy dolls. Poor them.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

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