Squishmallows: how the new stuffed animal craze has infiltrated the halls of FHC

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A family of Squishmallows holding a gathering of sorts.

Walking into her local Walgreens around this time last year, freshman Madi Evans was bombarded with Valentine’s Day decorations. 

From the candy surrounding the register to the end caps that lined each aisle, there was no escaping the lovely theme bordering the holiday. Yet, Madi soon found refuge in the toy section when she miraculously bumped into what would be her first in a battalion of Squishmallows

“I didn’t [collect] any more until my friend got me one from my birthday this year in November,” Madi said. “I’ve been getting one a week since then.”

It’s no wonder that Madi’s love for Squishmallows grew so rapidly, either. For anyone who has managed to avoid these cushiony cuddle buddies since their drastic rise in popularity, Squishmallows are stuffed animals packed with personality. From Stacy the Squid—a bookworm with social anxiety—to Sebastian the Spring Bunny—a basketball player who enjoys cooking with his mom—Squishmallows each hold an individual backstory that people like Madi resonate with.

Furthermore, Madi feels drawn to her comforting companions as a result of the cuteness they provide.

“[Squishmallows] are cute, and they’re also really soft,” said Madi, who has amassed a collection ranging into the double digits. “I use them as pillows because they’re more comfortable than regular pillows.”

However, whether it be comfort or cuteness, Madi’s love for these stuffed animals has extended to road trips to Lansing in search of certain characters. And she is not alone. People across the internet are absolutely losing it for Squishmallows, a craze that shows no sign of stopping soon. 

With questions about this ascent into stardom, Madi would pin the spearhead on one application alone: TikTok.

Well, it first started off as just wanting to do something cute and fun with Veronica, and then it kind of turned into a family deal”

— Jackson Waclawski

“Some [creators] put them on [TikTok] and then [other] people were like, ‘Oh, those are cute,’” Madi said. “Then they get five [Squishmallows] and tell their friends about them, and then their friends get them.”

Nevertheless, Madi still swears that Squishmallows will stick around for a while, mostly due to their bold and distinct character traits. 

While freshman Sophia Erbentraut does not hold onto the tags that contain her Squishmallows’ personalities, she still feels a sort of adoration for the brand. Coming up with her own names and stories for them has helped her in collecting 11, including unicorns, cows, and a mini Santa Claus.

And similar to Madi, she is drawn to Squishmallows for their cuteness factor, absolutely adoring their friendly faces and overall individuality. 

“I just think they’re really cute,” said Sophia, who has been collecting Squishmallows for about half a year now. “They’re fun, and they’re really comfy [to cuddle].”

While Sophia and Madi have attained a family to look over alone, sophomore Jackson Waclawski and his girlfriend Veronica have started their own Squishmallow legacy together. Though they only began cultivating their collection this year, they have managed to collect a substantial troupe of cuddly friends. 

Yet—after obtaining 16 squishies since winter break—Jackson’s love for Squishmallows has slowly morphed into an addiction.

“Well, it first started off as just wanting to do something cute and fun with Veronica, and then it kind of turned into a family deal,” Jackson said. “Then it kind of became a comfort thing; it’s just really fun to collect them because they all have their own personalities.” 

And though he has never had any luck finding discount Squishmallows in the bins at 5-Below, Jackson has some tips on the best spots around town to pick up new members for his family. Walgreens and Hallmark have some great options, exhibiting a variety of the originals as well as the new spring characters that just recently rolled out. 

However, most of all, it is the character depth behind these squishy friends that draw people like Jackson and so many others towards Squishmallows.

“I like how they all have different personalities because it just gives them all unique characters,” said Jackson, holding up Heidi the Huskie. “ I remember this one, Heidi, loves to eat pizza, and she doesn’t share.”