Hasbro hopes to cash in on the revived interest in archery with its Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow, as demonstrated at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.

MARK LENNIHAN, Associated Press

Racin’ Rody toy horses were displayed at the American International Toy Fair in New York. More than 1,000 international toy manufacturers and distributors market their products to the toy industry at the annual fair.

MARK LENNIHAN , Associated Press

Hey kids, wanna play zombies and vampires?

  • Article by: Armin Brott, Paul Banas and Samantha Feuss
  • McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • February 17, 2013 - 6:43 PM


Going to New York’s Toy Fair is always a bit overwhelming. To start with, hundreds of manufacturers from all over the world are showcasing thousands of products. Some are amazing, innovative and creative. Some are copycats or retreads, and some are just plain awful. But what’s especially fun is trying to predict which of them will become hits and which will bomb.

Here are a few categories we think are worth watching.

Archery. With the amazing success of the movies “Hunger Games,” “Brave” and the “Avengers” — all of which featured archers — it was only a matter of time until bows and arrows took their place alongside swords as the low-tech weapons of choice for today’s young adventurers. Everyone from well-known brands like Nerf ( and Zing ( to tiny unknown brands, have introduced bows or crossbows that fire (safe) projectiles.

Zombies and vampires. The “Twilight” series, “Dark Shadows” and animated fare like “Frankenweenie” and “ParaNorman” have taken vampires and zombies out of the crypt. Some of the most fun — and most creative — are the face-changing Mystixx Vampires ( At first glance you’ve got a cute-as-a-button doll. Turn the head around, rearrange the hair, and you’ve got one stylin’ vampire.

Moustaches. Maybe it started with the Got Milk? mustache campaign. However it happened, mustaches are hot. And not just for men and boys — girls are getting in on the act as well. We especially liked the Ha! Ha! Moustache game from Haywire Group ( where players try to identify famous (or infamous) people based on a cardboard mustache and a handful of clues. And Stachetats ( has a line of wild and colorful temporary upper lip decorations for every taste.

Duct tape. Once upon a time duct tape was grey, sticky, boring, and available only in hardware stores. Today, there are specialty companies like Creativity for Kids ( and Klutz ( that have wonderfully colorful kits built around duct tape. And so do some of the giants, like Melissa and Doug.

From app to reality. Another interesting trend is to take popular apps like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds and turn them into real-life games. Sometimes there’s a branding double whammy, such as when “Star Wars” characters start flying through the air knocking down structures.

Pink and glitter. Just about anything you can imagine — Legos and Megabloks, science kits, tattoos, cameras, mustaches, sports equipment, action figures, and even guns and other weapons — are now available in pink and glitter.


Armin Brott, Paul Banas and Samantha Feuss are the ParentsPlay team. Email:

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