Even though we all remember playing with those Creepy Crawler machines when we were kids, they were at one point considered an incredibly dangerous toy!
The toy was around long before many of us were born. It was actually released back in 1964 under the name Creepy Crawlers' Thingmaker.
It came with a little oven that you would use to cook up your chemicals, but the super hot temperature of the oven was only half the problem.
While giving your kid an oven that reached 350 degrees is dangerous, it was nothing compared to the chemicals they were breathing in. The gel you used to make the bugs was called "PlastiGoop" and it was super dangerous.
Plastigoop came in a bunch of different colors and would harden into the plastic-like texture we all remember. The problem was that while the chemicals were being cooked in the super hot oven, it would give off noxious fumes that could make kids sick.
The goop formula needed to be changed, but that wasn't the only problem...
While kids were burning themselves on the hot oven and breathing the noxious fumes, they were also scalding themselves on the metal trays that were the molds for the bugs.
The entire process was kind of a nightmare. From start to finish you were really just playing with a danger-box that was built to test your ability to survive.
The Creepy Crawlers' Thingmaker was still popular even though it was likely to injure kids. They had a bunch of different versions of the Thingmakers, including one that made actual edible pieces called "Incredible Edibles". It used a different plastic called "Gobble De-goop" which was apparently safe to eat but cooked the same as the regular Plastigoop.
They also had a Hot Wheels Factory so you could build your own Hot Wheels cars, a DollyMaker that would let you make little dolls and clothes, and several other molds that would work in the same oven system.
The toy was taken off the shelves and then a few changes were made. First of all, they changed the Plastigoop's formula so that it wouldn't be toxic for kids to breathe. They also switched out the metal molds with plastic ones so that it wouldn't burn kids as easily.
The toys were re-released in the late 70s but for some reason kids didn't like them as much as the dangerous versions! They went out of production for years.
In 1992, Creepy Crawlers came back. They brought back the metal molds, but changed the oven to a light bulb heater. They also made it so that it would lock the door until the mold had cooled enough to handle.
The re-release went so well that it actually led to a television show based on the toy to be released! It was called Creepy Crawlers and lasted two seasons.