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  • Kristan Higgins

Hideous Toys of My Youth

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Remember back before there were pesky things like safety warnings and stuff?

Before buckets came with warnings not to put a toddler in head-first?

I was thinking of some of the weird and funny things we three Higlets liked as kids…

Baby Alive. I mean, just the name is a little scary…I think of Chuckie from those horror movies, and Baby Alive isn’t far behind. You could feed her, and she’d poop out whatever you put in. Mostly. Some of the stuff stayed inside, and she grew mold on her butt. The smell…my poor sister loved Baby Alive. Even when she was decaying. I still can sing the song from the commercial. “Baby Alive, soft and sweet…she can drink she can ee-eat.” The song neglected to mention her rotting bottom.

Baby Catch-A-Ball. Another Santa gift to my sis. You’d put a silvery ball on Baby Catch-A-Ball’s arms, and she’d tremble…tremble…then blam! Her arms would jerk upward as if she were having a seizure, and the ball would fly into the air, causing a frenzy of excitement with our Irish Setter. As for Baby Catch-A-Ball's own catching abilities, please. She had terrible reflexes. You could lob that ball right to her, and it would just hit her in the face. Baby Catch-A-Ball, my ass.

Electronic football field. My brother had this one. You’d put the little metal football players on a metal field, plug the sucker in and the field would vibrate. The players, too, would vibrate. If you sat there for several hours, you might see some progress down the field. Or not. You might see some players tip over. Or not.

Barbie’s Make-Up-Head. For those of us who enjoyed having human heads lying in our rooms, this was the perfect toy. You could smear bright blue eye shadow on Barbie’s unblinking eyes, and coral pink lipstick on her perpetually smiling mouth. Also, you could push a button in her neck and yank on her hair, and it would magically grow. You could put curlers in her hair. My dog chewed on my Barbie's Make-Up Head's face, but I didn't care. I loved the Barbie Make-Up Head. I believe Hannibal Lecter also loved his.

Today’s toys are so wholesome and effective. It’s a little sad.


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