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by Minhaj Hassan

Joseph McMahon’s two young children came home one day wanting the same toy so many of their friends had.

Fortunately, it wasn’t some expensive gadget, like a video game or an iPod.

Rather, it was a packet of colorful rubber bands shaped to look like dinosaurs, sea creatures, crowns, cowboy hats, a wide variety of animals and many other shapes.

Known as Silly Bandz, Zany Bandz, Crazy Bandz and other names depending on the maker, the bracelets are all the rage among the elementary school set. Kids wear them on their wrists, where they can look like regular, albeit thin, bracelets, but they revert back to the their original shape when they take them off.

The kids’ excitement for Silly Bandz amazed McMahon, a Rockaway Township resident.

“To them, they were like bags of gold,” he said.

Silly Bandz come in packs of 12 and 24, and cost about $3 and $5, respectively. Sales of the bands really took off in January.

Rob Knott, owner of the Toy Box kiosk at the Rockaway Townsquare mall, said Silly Bandz and similar bracelets are the hottest toys since Beanie Babies and Pokemon cards in the late 1990s. He generally orders about 1,000 packets a week for his kiosks at the Rockaway mall and the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne.

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