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Trick or Tater

Mr. Potato Head
by yo go re

Hasbro has really been diversifying their Mr. Potato Head toys recently. Beyond the branded offerings, like Darth Tater and Optimash Prime, they've also been doing sports teams and holiday-themed offerings, like Santa Spud and the Easter Bunny. For Halloween, they have "Trick or Tater."

Trick or Tater has been available for a few years now, as a seasonal item - the stores trot him out for their Halloween displays, stashed right there with the jack o'lantern candy buckets and the "spooky" sound effects CDs. The first Halloween Potato Head came out in 2002, and the idea was brought back in 2006. The version sold since 2007 is available on a simple blister card that takes up a minimum of shelf space, which is why the stores like it.

The base body is the same used for every Mr. Potato Head - a brown plastic bulb that you should darn well be familiar with by now. If you're not, I hope you're enjoying your rumspringa. Unlike many of the specialized Potato Heads, Trick or Tater's pieces are the usual MPH offerings: thin arms with gloved hands, a rounded nose, and shoes with sculpted laces. Honestly, other than the vaguely "Halloweeny" colores (the nose is orange and the shoes are black) these could just belong to any off-the-shelf tuber.

While the '02 Halloween Potato Head was unquestionably a vampire, this one is arguably a more generic monster. He still gets the sharp fangs, and pointed green ears (with a worm crawling out of the left one), but without the inclusion of the slicked-back Bela Lugosi hair, MPH is less definitively a vampire. Pointy ears and sharp teeth? Might as well be a werewolf. One minor change is that the eyes are now a glow-in-the-dark pieces. Green and eerie!

Living up to the "trick or treat" theme, the set includes an orange pumpkin basket for carrying candy. In theory. In practice, it's hollow, but it's also only the front half of a basket, designed more for cost than for looks. In place of the Dracula hair, Trick or Tater gets a black derby, which may sound like he's trading down, but it actually works really, really well with the final surprise accessory: a ghost sheet costume!

Yes, it's just a big circle of white cloth, with a few small holes stamped in it, but it's still an awesome thing to include. It's a toy with a functioning Halloween costume! When was the last time you saw that? The holes allow you to throw the drape over the potato, then still have the eyes and hat plug in place from the outside, thereby holding it in place. It's up to you whether you want to use the other accoutrements under the sheet or not: it's not like you can see them, and he looks just as cute with arms poking from beneath his costume as without.

Trick or Tater is a fun little figure, and surprisingly cheap - especially if you wait until right after the holiday to pick one up. The generic monster look is only so-so, but the ghost sheet is just awesome. In terms of fun Halloween decorations, this is a great attention-getter, and will win people over a lot better than just pulling out the Movie Maniacs. Go to the Halloween section of your favorite store and pick this potato. For an added bonus, get a bag of fun-size candy and store them in the hollow interior, and you'll have the coolest display around.

-- 10/04/09


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