Remember when you were a kid and the more dangerous something was the more fun it became? Isn’t that why we climbed trees or balanced on a fence post or rode our bikes really fast down hills?
Of course it was.
Kids today have zero idea what they’re missing, mainly because everyone is worried they might get hurt. Back in the day we had some amazing, fun toys, and they were fun because they could kill you.
I guess our parents realized that getting hurt was a learning experience. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to shoot yourself with that pellet gun it’s your fault. Be more careful next time, dummy.
But back to the toys. Here are a few of my favorite toys from the past that could cause extreme pain or yes, even death if used improperly. Hey kids, be sure and read the directions!
Jarts were massive weighted spears. You threw them. They stuck where they landed. If they happened to land in your skull, well, then you should have moved more quickly. During their brief (and generally awesome) reign in 1980s suburbia, Jarts racked up 6,700 injuries and four deaths. Now there’s a fun toy.
When I was a kid, everybody had a BB Gun. You shot at birds, rabbits, the neighbor’s cat, and each other. I swear I didn’t know a kid who wasn’t shot with a BB Gun at some point. Good times.
ATOMIC ENERGY LAB
Also known as little Bobby’s first Meth Lab! Good God. This toy had enough chemicals to kill a horse or build a small bomb.
Did I have one of these? You bet I did. As you can see, it looked like a finger and shot out little missiles that looked as if they were specifically designed to pierce a cornea or an eardrum. Cool!
AGENT ZERO M SONIC BLASTER
This thing put the boom in baby boomer. It shot a massive blast of air and made a sound like an airplane breaking the sound barrier. It may very well have led to deafness in thousands of kids like me. Anyhoo, check out that future terrorist in the photo. Hey Billy, let’s shoot down a 747!
Clackers were essentially two acrylic balls on each end of a string, with a loop in the center. You began slowly clacking the balls together until you got to really fast speeds. Like many toys from the 70s, these were deemed dangerous and taken off the market. According to my research, they were banned because they were being used by gangs as weapons. Maybe I have a sick sense of humor but I find that hilarious. “Bro, that dude’s goin’ down. Go get my Clackers.” As for me, I usually whipped them in a circle over my head and threw them at my sisters.
SLIP N’ SLIDE
Basically a water slicked length of vinyl. You were supposed to lay down, but that was no fun. Of course we stood up. Can you say spinal cord injury? And I bet myself and all my friends had at least one concussion because of these things. But hey, we knew how to take a fall back then.
CREEPY CRAWLERS/FRIGHT FACTORY
Because nothing says safety like an open hot plate. I burnt the living hell out of my fingers with this thing. Creepy Crawlers were awesome. You had these little metal molds that you’d plug in and they’d heat up to like 1000 degrees. You’d then pour this disgusting, smelly stuff called Gobbledy Goop into it. This would turn the goop into spiders, snakes, bugs, snails, whatever the mold’s shape resembled. They even had glow in the dark goop. Bottom-line, I must have burned my fingers a 1000 times on those molds. Not only that, if you accidentally left them on they’d start smoking, which I did on purpose just to watch. And I can’t tell you how many times I scared my sisters with the fake bugs.
PERFORATED ROLL CAPS
Anyone over the age of 40 is smiling right now. The caps were made for toy guns but we’d just lay them out on the sidewalk and hit ’em with a rock. Or even better, a hammer.
Yes, it actually shot real sparks. As in tiny, hot flames. When I was a kid, if we got bored somebody would invariably yell this: “Let’s burn stuff!” And that is why the Spark Gun was such a hit. What could possibly go wrong?
JOHNNY REBEL CANNON
These things were awesome. You know, if you ignored the fact it sort of glorified the Confederate Army. They could reach up to 35 feet and seemed perfectly sized to lodge into an eye socket, down an open mouth, or through the toy slave’s quarters. Oddly enough these were a big hit in Mississippi. Hey, there’s nothing more satisfying than pretending you’re shooting those equal rights-loving bastards up north.
Not only did we enjoy these dangerous toys, if mom and dad wouldn’t buy them for us we made our own. Hell, I made many a slingshot in my day from tree branches and a rubber band. Grab a handful of ball bearings and you were ready to drop somebody like a bag of hammers. And hey, if we didn’t have time to fashion a slingshot we’d just throw rocks at each other.
Hey, it beat sitting in front of a computer all day, amirite?