The Squishmallow sensation sweeping the nation

Five years ago, Squishmallows were a random toy at the store that no one had heard of — today, it’s nearly impossible to find them in stock. 


The plush toy was originally marketed for young children but has quickly turned into a favorite of young adults over the past year. Squishmallows come in a variety of shapes, sizes and genders; each Squishmallow has a unique name and bio, even including non-binary Squishmallows like Juniper the Donkey. 


Squishmallow sales grew exponentially during the pandemic with help from social media, particularly from TikTokers posting their new Squishmallows on “SquishTok.” Kellytoy, the company that created Squishmallows, said it has sold over 73 million Squishmallows to date, with sales growing exponentially over the past year. 


Stores typically restock Squishmallows as needed, but the general rule for Squishmallow hunting is the earlier in the day you go, the better the chance of finding a Squishmallow. The stuffed animals are usually located near the seasonal aisle, and it might take a few stores before you can find a Squishmallow, so try not to be discouraged if you strike out at your first store.


Costco typically has Squishmallows in stock, whereas Kroger and Five Below restock as needed and without a schedule. However, Kroger does have a mobile app to let shoppers check what is in stock, which is a resource Squishmallow hunters sometimes use. 


Due to the pandemic, anxiety and depression rates have drastically risen in young adults. Studies have shown that stuffed animals lessen feelings of depression and loneliness, resulting in Squishmallows becoming a cheap form of therapy for many. The actual act of hunting for Squishmallows has given individuals a COVID-friendly activity to do during the pandemic and created a sense of community online among collectors, particularly high school and college students.


Anna’s Collection

“My first Squishmallow was the purple monster in the front, and I got it during Halloween time last year,” senior Anna Hilst said. “I couldn’t pass it up, and ever since I bought that one, I’ve been collecting them.”


Hilst is one of many that has hopped on the Squishmallow craze with a total collection of 14 Squishmallows. 


“My favorite Squishmallow is the duck that’s in the middle because it’s super rare, and my mom surprised me with it,” Hilst said. “It’s so hard to find that she had a friend in another state help her find it.”


Avery and Delaney’s Collection

“I got my first Squishmallow in 2018 when they weren’t popular yet,” senior Delaney Dyer said. “My favorite Squishmallow is a bunny named Rito. I got it as a gift, and I keep it by me when I do schoolwork at home during the day. Somehow it helps me stay productive.”


Delaney and her sister look for Squishmallows together and even drive to various cities to search for rare ones.


“My first Squishmallow [was] a giant unicorn, and I got it in February,” freshman Avery Dyer said. “My favorite [Squishmallow] is tied between Avery the Duck and a cow that I named Humphrey.” 


Similar to other collectible items, Squishmallows can be very hard to find, but collectors believe that the search pays off with their adorable nature, especially during these stressful times. If you haven’t jumped on the craze yet, try saving $10 for some quick retail therapy and a new friend.