Secret Spells Barbie, WTF?!
October 31st, Samhain (pronounced SAW-win or SAW-vane), commonly called Halloween, is associated with many customs, some of them mysterious, some light-hearted, some of them downright odd. Why do we bob for apples, carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and tell ghost stories on this night? Why do children go door-to-door asking for candy, dressed in fantastical costumes? How is Halloween connected to All Soul's Day, celebrated by some Christian denominations on November 1st? And what is the significance of this holiday for modern-day Witches?
I have little to no clue on any of the above, but what I can tell you is that toy companies love this holiday. Almost every toy that can have a seasonal market campaign will be pushing out toys to catch the eyes of children everywhere this Halloween. Today however I would like to draw your attention to a line of toys that is going for the Halloween market while at the same time trying to cash in on the new "lets all play witch" craze that has taken the youth of America by storm.
Now, before anyone starts flaming and bashing this article, I ask you all to keep two things in mind. One, I am a second generation pagan friendly who is married to a practitioner of Wicca, or what you all may call a witch. Two, Ever since the film The Craft came out I have seen a rise in money making ideas that are based on the idea of the "Teen witch", with that said I shall go on.
While waltzing through the toy section of a local shopping center I happened to spot a new line of Barbie dolls called Secret Spells Barbie. Now being the Pagan friendly (P.F.) that I am, I was curious as to what was up with these dolls. The dolls themselves are not too shabby looking. The redhead is down right HOT for a Barbie doll. The outfits are a bit on the cheese side with high collared, long tailed jackets that look like rejects from the wardrobe of Maleficent the Disney villianess from Sleeping Beauty.
I picked up one of the boxes to see what crafty language was used to "charm" little girls into buying these creative creations. It reads:
"Watch as Barbie's friend, Christie, rapidly changes from ordinary schoolgirl into a Charm Girl. She puts on her magic Charm Girl jacket and is able to mix up potions that you can really drink. She even has a book that doubles as a secret box."
and in slightly smaller text:
"Christie also comes with a dragonfly, mixing pot, stand, spoon, stirrer, mixing potion (sugar-based mixes you mix with water), costume and book."
Well, that was so well marketed that I could not help but have my head filled with ideas of the top rated W.B. show Charmed. Heck, with these dolls I too, could live out the fun of being one of the charmed ones and saving the world from Evil or, maybe I could just buy all three dolls and play sick twisted toy guy and recreated many of the dreams for sexual conquest that watching that show has put in my, and I am sure, many other men's heads as well.
With a funny look from my wife and the guy at the register I purchased my Barbie and headed home to see exactly what truth there was to the "potions" I could mix. Magick? No, not quite. The only feeling of power this mix will give you is the funny snapping that is much like pop rocks and a sugar buzz that would keep a Vampire up all day.
Now a little about the dolls themselves. Each doll measures approximately 11.5 inches tall. And comes with all sorts of neat lil junk. They all have a funny plastic dragonfly, a bright colored cauldron (mixing pot), a stand, a spoon, a wand shaped stirrer, dry mixing potion (sugar-based mixes you mix with water that looks like pop rocks and Kool-Aid®), school outfit and witchy costume along with the "Spell book" book.
The book is kind cool and I could see some more industrious girls, who need a place to stash the weed or acid they scored from the skeezy chick in the bathroom at school, getting alot of use out of it. But the truly innocent ones may find it a neat place to hide the love letter they will never give to the dreamy boy "Billy" in history class.
After all is said and done they are not bad toys but they have been marketed in a bad way. Mostly the T.V. spots for these dolls are to blame. With the tag line about making charms for love, "Yes, even love". I bet these spots would rot the sweet tooth out of the most saccharin Barbie collector (unless they tried the potion mix first).
In closing, Pagan life in modern America is odd enough with movies Like The Craft, T.V. shows like Charmed and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch putting the idea of Wicca as a cute and cuddly way of life into the brains of the youth of today. What, do we need Miss Wholesome America herself, Barbie adding to the mix with her sugar based charms and her quest for love through magick. Listen up Barbie. You own 5 cars 2 houses, a pony, have had every job in the world and more friends than will fit on one shelf. Please leave the magick to professionals.
Article © 2003 MillionairePlayboy.com, all images © Mattel