Holiday shopping in October? Yes, if your kids want popular toys.

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Halloween might still be a few weeks away, but if your kids want a specific toy this holiday season, you should probably start shopping now.

“As a consumer, this is the year you have those one or two items that your kids absolutely want, you don’t go into the store in December to find them,” said Jim Silver, CEO and editor. Head of Toys. , Tots, Pets & More, a toy reviews and price comparison site.

This is due to several simultaneous supply chain failures caused by the pandemic, Silver said. Since last March, outbreaks have closed factories overseas, stalling manufacturing in all industries, while domestic outbreaks have forced shipping ports to close. Now there is significant congestion at the west coast freight ports, preventing many ships from making round trips, Silver said.

All of that doesn’t mean the shelves will be empty next month, however.

“You’re not going to go to the stores and not find toys,” Silver said. “But if you look at one of the top 300 or 400 items and you don’t get it until Black Friday, you might just be out of luck.”

Some of those flagship items include CoComelon, Blue’s Clues and Peppa Pig, compounds like Play-Doh, slime and kinetic sand, and mysterious openers like LOL Surprise, Silver said. Other hot tickets include toys based on social media influencers, like Ryan’s World, and entertainment properties like Spider-Man and Gabby’s Dollhouse. Lego collectible edition sets are popular among older children, Silver said.

At the local level, toy stores are feeling some effects from the disruption of the supply chain.

“We don’t get things as consistently as we should, but we do get things,” said Maryellen DeMille, manager of Happy Hippo Toys in Moorestown and Haddonfield. “We’ve been around long enough that we kind of anticipated this to happen. ”

“We placed a lot of orders earlier. We may not be able to rearrange in time for Christmas, but we have a full stock of stuff right now, ”she said.

In-person holiday shopping started much earlier this year, and the holiday rush has already started, DeMille said.

“We’ve had people who started shopping like August, especially if they know what (their kids) want,” she said. “It’s like the busy Christmas time now, which we’re not used to. ”

New favorites like pop-its fidget, Speks magnetic balls and Shashibo transforming cubes, and classics like Barbie dolls, soft toys and pogo sticks are among her bestsellers this year, DeMille said.

Board games and puzzles are also doing well, especially “those that cover an age range, so that the little ones can play as well as the older ones and adults”.

“People are doing more puzzles than ever before,” she said. “They definitely have their family board game nights. I think it’s fabulous.

DeMille’s tip for families: “Buy really early this year. As things start to move, you won’t see them replaced so quickly this Christmas. ”

As for 2022, “this is a one-time problem that I don’t plan to happen on the next vacation,” Silver said.

Aedy Miller covers education and economics for the Burlington County Times, the Courier-Post and the Daily Journal. He is a multimedia journalist from Central Jersey and recently graduated from George Washington University.

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