Horton Hears a Worm


Branden Hoegen, “worm connoisseur,” is shown holding worms Cornhusk, Ronald Reagan, Bartholomew, and Horton

Regina Cerasuolo, Author , Editor

Ah, Squirmles. You’ve heard of them! They’re like silly bandz, but even better. You can play with them, hang them onto your wall, or use them as a cat toy… if you don’t have a cat, use it as a fish toy! Truly, you can use them for whatever your little heart desires.

These novelty toys were introduced into the world in 1977 by Nowstalgic Toys. These bad boys consist of a fuzzy five inch body with some googly eyes slapped onto ‘em and a clear string attached to the tip of the nose of the worm. This made it so that fisherfolk could attach the worms to their fishing hooks and use them as a lure for fishing.

Squirmles have evolved into much more than fishing lures. Since more and more people are discovering Squirmles, the fuzzy dudes have made it into the novelty section of the toy market. Novelty toys are toys in which they do not have a practical function, or toys that are brand new and only labeled as a novelty for exposure. Yet some are commonly used, such as the Frisbee or Hula Hoop. Although Squirmles are listed as novelty toys, many people continue to play with them.

“I think worms really represent our social climate at the moment with them weaving in and out,” says Branden Hoegen of Oakmont Regional High School. Fuzzy worms have recently surfaced on social media during these recent months. Many Instagram users have created social accounts for their own worms, pretending that they are the worm doing everyday activities… much like people do for their animals! For example: @HortonsWormyDays could be an account about a worm named Horton!

“The worm is on a higher level, it can’t just bring joy. The worm is not even a product, it’s more of a concept. The worm is an idea.” Branden says. “They’re just a fat pipe cleaner, and that’s what makes them perfect,” he continues. Squirmles are indeed fat, unshaven pipe-cleaners without the pointy metal pipe within them.

As the internet has established, Squirmles are novelty toys, but Branden thinks otherwise. “One does not play with the Squirmle, if anything the Squirmle plays with you.”