(Please Note: this is my first article, so I apologize if it's not completely up to par with what you're used to. I've been on RetroJunk for a while, and figured that I had to contribute something by now. I look forward to your comments, both good and bad, so that I can decide whether or not to write more, and if so, how to do it better. So please, let me know exactly what you think!)

I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty normal childhood, and a mom that always supplied me with most of the toys I asked for. I guess you could say that I spoiled. However, there were always those select few that she was hesitant to get me, or seriously regretted after the fact. Maybe the rebellious little brat that we could all be at times realized that, which is why these were so fun!


Okay, I'm going to start with the most brief and least dreadful because I don't think that many parents could have a legitimate complaint about Legos. But realistically, after forgetting to put just one or two blocks away every once in a while, I think that them seeing me play with them made them put their guard up for the day. We've all stepped on one of those bad boys barefoot at one point or another. Unpleasant.

Scented Magic Markers

I think that for any homeowner, a child with any writing utensil - whether a pen, pencil, crayon or marker - must be somewhat unsettling.
...but something about markers that are made for sniffing moreso than drawing must really be off-putting for any parent.


I guess they couldn't complain too much about the Play-Doh, considering that fact that it did occupy us for hours AND stimulated our creativity. The biggest problem here seemed to be that no child is capable of adequately cleaning up their Play-Doh mess. Sure, it all went back into the tubs and the accessories were put back in the box, but we seem to always leave some flattened leftovers on the table that would dry and have to be scraped off. Or, God forbid, some fall to the ground and get stepped on, permanently fusing with the carpet.


It doesn't matter if you just played with it like the slime that it was, made it look look your other toys were bleeding when they died, or pretended it was a blob monster that consumed your army men: from a parent's point of view, this looked like trouble. With even the slightest contact with the carpet the gak turned into a ball of malleable fuzz that frankly disgusts me looking back on. I guess her biggest problem, though, was the fact that gak was not very receptive to washing once entering said carpet. Plus, we all know what happens when it gets in your hair:

Creepy Crawlers

One of my personal favorites, my Creepy Crawlers set was given to my grandmother, which in retrospect I see was because my mom couldn't deal with it anymore. Beyond the obvious problem of spilling that mystery fluid that you cooked, the burning rubber smell would always fill the kitchen. Then, because I was such a klutz, my grandmother always had to remove the metal tray because me burning myself was just a tragedy waiting to happen. But after all is said and done, why would you want to make Creepy Crawlers in the first place without wanting to hide them around the house to shock your family for that instant before they realized it was fake?

That Turtle Sandbox

Not only did sitting in the sandbox instantly transform you into a sandy ball of filth that had to be hosed down before going back inside, it made all of your toys covered AND filled with sand that kept seeping out of them so that wherever you played with them for days afterwards there was sure to be a dune left behind.

Label Makers

I have no idea why I found these fun in the least. To be short, sweet and to the point: Who wants to find blue tape telling them where everything is in their own home in punched out courier font?

Mouse Trap

Most board games can be played without supervision by young kids. Not this one. Not only did it require parental construction of this bizarre maze/puzzle setup, but in none of my experiences with several different adult attempts did it work out as advertised. The frustration my mom would have by the time we got halfway through that game was her at her least patient.

Sock-Em Boppers

Kids get into squabbles on occasion--it's a part of growing up! The parents really had it the hardest with these little fights, since they had to handle dealing with one of the kids crying. But when Sock-Em Boppers came along it was a whole new story. No parent could have possibly thought that this was a good idea, considering it blatantly encouraged kids to punch eachother in the face.
...but those commercials. I don't know what it was, but I HAD to have them!!

The Internet

So maybe the internet wasn't a toy, per se, but there were a lot of games back in the day and in 1996 most of us who were kids had a much better grasp on how to work a computer than our parents. I guess this was rightfully so, because no matter ow careful or innocent you were, you eventually got your computer infected with SOMETHING that would spam you with dirty pop-up ads that totally made your parents think you were up to something. I had very liberal parents, who were a far cry from over-protective, but signing up for any service convinced them that the thousands of child predators out there instantly knew where I lived, my parents' credit card numbers, and were going to snatch me up in the night.