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Party City's Toy City concept is something I've been covering for a few months now, and now that the holiday shopping season is truly upon us, it's time to get serious about toys! With over 50 temporary Toy City pop-up store locations now open throughout the U.S., Party City today unveiled its Black Friday ad and 2018 Top Toys List! There's familiar picks (including some from The Rock Father's Holiday Wish Guide™) and some unique ones as well, from Rainbowcorns and robots to Hatchimals, dinosaur slime, Harry Potter, and everything in between. Let's take a look!

We're entering award season, and that means we've hit a time of the year in which I question a lot of choices and inject my opinion as awards and nominees are pretty subjective. Earlier this week, the Toy Association unveiled their annual list of nominees for the coveted Toy of The Year (TOTY) in a variety of categories, and while there's some great stuff in the mix - there's some that hit me like the GRAMMYS... a little off and with some that seem to be on the list just to have representation from certain brands. Prime example, Playmates Toys scored a nom for their Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deluxe Ninja Action Figure Assortment. Overall, the Rise of the TMNT line is fantastic - another huge win for Playmates, but I would've chosen the more extensive (and creative) Basic Action Figure Assortment. Why? I think the "Deluxe" figures sorta suck. They're gimmicky, oddly proportioned (to hide the mechanics of the gimmick), and above all - I see kids play with this stuff on a regular basis. But maybe I'm over-analyzing things... doing my "Tom Hanks in BIG" ("I don't get it?") routine.  It'll be a tough call to choose the winners, and you can take part by casting some votes (early and often, as we say here in Illinois) at www.toyawards.org. Now let's check out the full list...

It hasn't been officially announced by any of the involved parties just yet, but those awaiting news on where Geoffrey's Toy Box merchandise would show up now have an answer. Pallet shippers of Toys "R" Us house brand merchandise are now arriving at Kroger stores as part of the new Geoffrey's Toy Box collection from Geoffrey, LLC. The Ohio-based Kroger operates stores under several names in around 35 states, and there's no word yet on if all of their affiliated brands will be included in the Geoffrey's Toy Box program or not.

As we enter one of the most unusually competitive holiday seasons in recent memory, despite the closure of Toys "R" Us in the U.S., parents and other gift-givers have more options than ever for where to by toys. Local toy stores still exist, and one company that's been around for a few decades is Learning Express. While it might be a chain with around 110 locations, each store is a local, family-owned franchise that's catered to the communities that they serve. That means that while each store may be a little different, they're all focused on delivering what kids want. Staffed by toy experts that can demonstrate the latest toys as they stay on top of current trends, they also offer a personal touch with services like holiday and birthday registries, free gift-wrapping, in-store pick-up and a host of regular events (which I've taken my girls to on occasion). In addition to launching their 2018 Holiday Catalog, Learning Express has named their Holiday Hot Toys of 2018, so it's time to take a look...

For years, tales of haunted toy stores have spread as urban legends, like the fabled Toys "R" Us in Sunnyvale, California - one said to be so frightening, it's inspired decades of theories and once appeared on an episode of Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories, directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) and narrated by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy. While the iconic retailer closed its doors here in the U.S. back in June, there is a chance for you to take a stroll through a Toys "R" Us once more, but not one of the many currently inhabited by pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween or Party City's Halloween City / Toy City combos... a haunted Toys "R" Us. For one month only, those who are brave enough have the opportunity to visit ZOMBIES 'R' US - "A New Haunted Experience" located inside the former Toys "R" Us location in College Point (aka Flushing, NY) Queens. 

Published in General News

Back in the day, there was a fantasy that many kids had, and it was in large part due to Nickelodeon putting the bug in those kid's heads. The old Super Toy Run would find contest-winning kids getting to run loose in a Toys "R" Us store to load up their carts, snagging as many awesome toys as they could within a certain time limit and up to a specific dollar amount. Now, while TRU is gone, the dream is back! Nick and Walmart are teaming up to present Nickelodeon Toy Run: Family Style in Walmart stores across the country. Hosted by Nickelodeon’s JoJo Siwa, Nickelodeon Toy Run: Family Style will give three grand prize winners a shopping spree in the toy aisles of their local Walmart to stock up on their favorite, must-have holiday toys.

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