November 2021

By brad kava

Three things you need to know this holiday season right way.

First, if you put off toy shopping you will be in trouble. Those container ships you keep hearing about are backed up all the way to China and Santa can’t get at ‘em. Sadly, Santa Cruz’s homegrown toy maker, Modarri, says they don’t want publicity for their hot make-your-own-cars because they won’t be available for the holidays. So be the early bird and not the worm.

Second, Hanukkah starts Nov. 28 and lasts for eight days, with a gift on each. You can be sure a lot of shopping will be done by then.

Third, you can find some of the wackiest gifts this year locally, things that would have been unheard of back in the days when TV characters weren’t allowed to be shown sleeping in the same beds. Poop, farts and slime are hot items for the 7-year-old boy set and his dad.

Prankster’s Delight

This may have been our favorite purchase this year. OK, it was Dad’s. These were the toys advertised in the pages of comics when he was a kid. Fake poop, vomit, the hand buzzer, the cut off thumb, the squirt ring. Yeah, our 5-year-old enjoyed pranking house guests, but not as much as Dad enjoyed watching him. We got it at Wonderland Toys in Aptos, but they are out of the big box right now. They do, however, have some smaller vintage sets with equally disturbing pranks.

Blinded by Science

The box says it all: a gross body lab, recommended for ages 8 and up. Slimy brains and bulging eyeballs? Maybe you can turn that kid into a surgeon yet. We found it at Wonderland Toys.

The Postman May Not Ring Twice

We love, love, love this locally-made mailbox done by our favorite Cruzin’ artist, Jimbo Phillips. You can find it at Artrageous in Capitola.

A Kid’s Home is Their Castle

How about a room made of giant LEGOs? They don’t really make them, but Jennifer Ford found these EverBlocks, which businesses use as temporary room dividers and made the most awesome kids’castle from them. They can shape into furniture too. You could probably build your own castle and rent it out in your Santa Cruz backyard for $3K a month. You get them at

Trick and Goofy Treats

You wouldn’t think of downtown’s biggest candy shop as a place for weird gifts…or would you? It’s Sugar stretches the limits of the elves imaginations. There’s a literal gag gift, Pickle flavored cotton candy, the thought of which has us gagging. And then there’s edible urine. Don’t ask. Maybe it could replace coal in a stocking. No, we didn’t try it.
But on the sweeter side is a kid’s dream come true, just the marshmallows from Lucky Charms. Know any kids who separated them out before pouring on milk? We do. There’s a candle for when dad farts, which could double as a Father’s Day surprise. And finally, our favorite shelf, boxes of candies from various decades, blasts from the past.

Local Hard to Find Hit

The Santa-Cruz designed Modarri car is a mix of Hot Wheels and Legos and has been a nationwide hit. We found one at Imagitorium, but no telling how long it will last. They are sold out all over and are on a slow boat from China that will likely not make it here by the holidays. We are planning a cover story on the local toy maker soon..

Imagine That

 Butts are almost as big with kids as they are with rappers. You can find a library about them at Imagitorium, (the old Outside-In Kids store in Aptos). They have smart toys and funny ones, like this book collection on butts and the almost unimaginable, Poop Bingo. Who gets more fun out of these, kids or parents? Even Santa is laughing.

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