That’s Just Creepy!

Who does this?

If you were a kid in the 1960s, you surely knew about Creepy Crawlers. Either you had a “Thingmaker” set or you knew someone who did.

Here is what the box looked like. That’s my cousin picking out some Creepy Crawlers from my family’s collection, for the nostalgia of it all. For some reason, we were missing the actual heating device that came with it, but my dad had rigged up a handy alternative. I seem to remember it was some kind of a hot plate we laid over the top of the heating element from an old popcorn maker.

I got this photo from Pinterest. It shows what the original set included, but there were also extra molds and different colors of “Plastigoop” that you could get, if I’m not mistaken. Later, they came out with “Incredible Edibles”, which were like Creepy Crawlers but you could eat them. I don’t remember ever having those. There is quite a bit on Pinterest about the “dangerous” toys of the 60s. I’ll let you look that up yourselves, but suffice it to say, stuff like this would never make it to the toy store shelves these days.

This weekend I took it upon myself to organize the Creepy Crawlers, which I had found while clearing out my childhood home. Now you may be starting to understand the question at the top of this post. “Who does this?” Who actually spends time sitting on the floor organizing Creepy Crawlers that have to be at least 50 years old by now? Well, me, I guess.

Naturally I got sidetracked from the beginning. It seems we were much more creative than I had remembered. A lot of them had smiling faces and even clothes drawn on them. (Come to think of it, this kind of goes along with “Under the Bridge”, where you can read about our troll dolls and the clothes we made for them.)

Apparently we tried making Creepy Crawler jewelry, too.

An octopus with glasses and a pin in the form of a bug.

Sometimes we used more than one color in order to create a desired effect.

In keeping with the times, you could also make flowers!

By now you know how much I like random close ups, right?

I thought it was a bit odd that we seemed to have such a limited color “palette”. All I can figure is we must have been running low on Plastigoop at the time these were made.

Another thing that surprised me was that many of them didn’t “turn out”, but we saved them anyway. Unfortunately, since I was organizing for a reason, some of the ones you see here have met their demise, a fate I think was long overdue.

The red dragon isn’t an actual Creepy Crawler, but it was in the coffee can with them, so it made it into the photo. One thing I remember was that the centipedes were really hard to pull out of the molds because their legs would get stuck and break off.

It wasn’t long before I was separating them into categories, like “Frogs and Lizards and Toads”. Oh, my!

The worm, centipede, and snake category, with a few lizards and a bat thrown in for good measure.

I didn’t pay attention to how long I spent doing all this, but I suppose I could go back and figure it out by looking on my phone for the times of the first and last photo I took. Sounds like too much trouble.

Or maybe I really don’t want to know. . .

6 thoughts on “That’s Just Creepy!

  1. Anonymous

    We had something similar I am sure, growing up in the 80s and 90s. I remember my brothers having some gooey looking bugs they liked to throw around and make me scream. I can’t believe you to the time to sort them! But, I get it. When in the groove and your mind is focused on something it’s hard to just leave it. Interesting bit of nostalgia though. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lyra Bengtson

    I loved my Thingmaker! I don’t remember making many bugs, however, mainly flowers. They seemed to affix pretty easily to glass, because my bedroom mirror had a frame made exclusively of flowers I had made in that machine. And I had glow-in-the-dark Plastigoop, that was my favorite.
    Bruce still has his machine, but I don’t know about the molds.

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