Fair Play 2018: Muppet Merch at Toy Fair

Published: February 19, 2018
Categories: Feature, Reports

This past weekend was Toy Fair weekend in New York City, and once again, your intrepid Tough Pigs reporters were there to scope out all the exciting new and upcoming Muppety products being touted by the toy people. If you’ve followed our Toy Fair coverage before, you may recall a familiar pattern: There’s always a lot of Sesame Street stuff, but Muppets and Henson merchandise are never guaranteed. That pattern continued this year.

(Note: Many of the items included in this report are available now at a store or website near you. The ones that aren’t just yet will be soon! How’s that for precise reporting?)

There was one toy company we thought might have some Muppet plushes, but when I asked a guy at the booth, he seemed baffled at the notion that such a thing would even exist. We also asked the folks at Diamond, makers of the excellent recent Diamond Select Muppet action figures, if they had any updates on the fate of that line. They didn’t have much to report except that there might be a Swedish Chef figure in their future.

I briefly got excited when I spotted the name Beaker on a science kit:

But my excitement was sadly temporary.

Henson Company properties fared slightly better at Toy Fair. McFarlane Toys was showing off their Labyrinth Jareth figure:

Here’s a toy you can enjoy even as the world falls down.

They gave us a few behind-the-scenes notes: First, the first design of this figure included some goblins hanging off of Jareth’s legs, but in the end they had to simplify the final product. Also, the figure has sold well enough that they’ve considered making another Jareth in a different costume, possible accompanied by a Sarah. And finally, yes, a number of conversations were had about exactly how prominent to make Jareth’s infamous bulge.

Super Impulse brought their 10″ Fraggle plushes and Fraggle backpack clips to the show:

“Hey, Red! What’s that on the ceiling?”

We were really excited to see the Fraggle Rock Funko Pops in all their beady-eyed glory:

No Sprocket on display? Aw, doggone it.

And yes indeed, there was a lot of Sesame Street stuff. Let’s take a look!

There was this matching game and “Spin Go Round” game from Wonder Forge:

Spin Go Round teaches kids all about spinning, going, and rounding.

This Elmo outdoor swing from M&M Sales Enterprises:

Perfect for those backyard barbecue days! Just stick your toddler in the swing and throw some burgers on the grill! Or sit in the swing yourself while your toddler does the grilling.

Activity books and pads from Bendon:

Why don’t they use the MAGIC INK technology for books for grown-ups? Like at the end of a murder mystery, you could color a blank page to reveal whodunnit!


This Play Pack is hermetically sealed in a foil pouch. It’s the same Sesame Street coloring book astronauts use!

The Little Kids company has perfected the art of putting Sesame characters on items that blow bubbles:

Hi, I’m Elmo! Bubbles come out of my head!

Green Toys had some cool stuff, including these watering can sets:

Great for gardening. Even better for pouring water on your younger sibling’s head!


And this Cookie Monster baking set:

Om nom nom-vironmentally friendly!

Animal Adventures is working on a few items for possible future release, including these water toys:

100% more waterproof than the actual Muppets.

As well as these super-cuddly blanket/plush hybrids:

Big Bird is calling out “Hey, I’m WAY cuddlier than these guys!”

And these li’l rolling backpacks, which we never had when I was a kid:

Also small enough for the overhead compartment on a plane, for those four-year-olds who have important business trips.

Identity Games had some wacky, clever games on display, including this nifty Elmo hide & seek game. You hide the little Elmo, and then your toddler tries to find it while Elmo talks so the kid can tell if they’re getting close:

I found him! He’s right there!

If you watch Shark Tank like me and seemingly everyone I know, you may recall novelty sunglasses company Sun-Staches. They made a deal with Daymond John, who apparently hooked them up with every licensed property known to man, including Sesame Street. These Sesame Muppet sunglasses are one of those products you didn’t know you needed, but as soon as you see it you want it:

I want Ernie’s face on my face!

Aren’t those fun? I don’t know if they’ve secured any celebrity endorsements for these, but they probably should. So I paid a graphic designer $800 to show me what it would look like if Taylor Swift wore the Cookie Monster Sun-Staches:

Roll Play makes some sweet rides for kids, including this snazzy Elmo car:


The Roll Play rep told us about the car’s clever design: The wheels you see on the outside don’t touch the ground. The “real” wheels are hidden under the chassis, and can spin all the way around, which gives the kid more control and prevents the car from getting stuck in corners. Elmo is leading the way in automotive innovation for very small drivers!

From the category of “That’s so cool, but how would anyone ever come up with such a thing?” Pillow Pets had their versions of these three Sesame Street friends, each of which projects a sparkly light show to help kids transition into sleepy mode:

I reckon they would also be good for a rave.

I don’t completely understand this next toy, but it makes me feel like we’re living in the future. It’s WowWee’s Elmoji, which is described as CODING ROBOT for kids! Can you imagine such a thing? You get the app, your kid inputs some code, and Elmo responds. WowWee indeed!

Someday, the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs will tell a reporter, “Well, I started out coding an Elmo robot…”

Comic Images proved true to their name by showing up with these smile-inducing Sesame plushies:

There’s just something about Cookie Monster’s design that makes him look great with a big head and a tiny body.

And speaking of plush toys, Gund had a ton of great Sesame Street stuff at Toy Fair. There were these cute little guys:

See what I mean about Cookie Monster? Meanwhile, Elmo looks surprisingly good as a head with no body.

And some new Julia plushes, which the Gund people said have been in demand since the character’s debut on the show. Julia’s simple design really lends itself to cute toys:

Pictured: Julia (left) and Julia (right)

I can think of a few folks who fall into the middle of the Sesame Street fan/superhero fan Venn diagram who would like these guys:

With the proportional strength of a chocolate chip!

And when you get tired of playing Hide & Seek with that toy I mentioned earlier, you can switch to Peek-a-Boo with this fellow:

Finally, we took a trip to the Hasbro showroom, which included a treasure trove of delightful Sesame toys:

Elmo, Elmo, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Elmo, the Count, Big Bird, Elmo, and Elmo!

Among the highlights were this follow-up to last year’s new Tickle-Me Elmo (which is still selling like hotcakes), Let’s Dance Elmo. He sings! He dances! He teaches colors! And he wears fashionable headphones that can also be used as a carrying handle!

I assume those headphones are Beats by Mr. Noodle.


And some little plushes, including Julia. The Hasbro people confirmed that there are a lot of folks out there who want a Julia:

These are educational. They teach kids that people wear shoes, but fairies and monsters do not.

And this singing piano. Yes, a singing piano! When you press each key, it sings the note in the voice of that character:

I would be so happy if somebody writes a song to be played on this instrument.

And this guy, which I predict will do quite well for them. With the success of the new Tickle-Me Elmo, it’s time for the world to meet… Feed Me Cookie Monster! He talks, he laughs, and he gets super-excited when you put that cookie in his mouth.

A cookie is an ALL-THE-TIME FOOD when you have this toy!


And there you have it. Toy Fair 2018! Now everyone play!

Thanks to Staci Rosen for reporting and photography!  Click here to project a sparkly light show on the Tough Pigs forum!

by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com

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