I'm the editor of Smart, a magazine for women in southcentral Pennsylvania. I said "I do" to my wonderful husband in 2002. We have two adorable children who have taught me much about life and love. With the birth of my second child, I bid farewell to my dreams of having a clean house, folded laundry and family dinners on weeknights.

More from this author »

Silly Bandz craze hits York County

bandz exchange

Riley Lawton, 9, of Dover tries to entice Corinne Brown with a Silly Bandz hamburger in exchange for a baby duck. (For SmartMamaPA.com -- KATE PENN)

For SmartMamaPA.com

Corinne Brown of Dover told her children Sam, 12, and Georgia, 9, that she’d spend only one week tracking down Silly Bandz.

Brown’s kids are among the hundreds in York County who want the colorful creations — used for wearing, collecting and trading. Kids, tweens, teens and parents have bombarded area stores, not knowing
when they might get shipments of the silicone bands.

Unlike many shoppers, Brown got lucky and found the trendy bracelets easily.

“When I did hit the jackpot, I was not looking,” she said.

Brown bought some at Toys R Us about three weeks ago while shopping for a car seat part and more
at Walgreens. She heard Five Below got shipments on Wednesdays and snagged more 40 minutes
before the store ran out.

Madison Holt, 11, Jennifer Baughman, 13, and Jessica Baughman, 14, weren’t as fortunate when they were out hunting for bands about a month ago.

They just missed a 300-pack shipment at Cardtique at the West Manchester Mall that sold out in two days. The trio moved on to Walgreens and a dollar store, which they heard had some.


Silly Bandz are the latest kid trend to hit York County. Here, the silicone bands are laid out in preparation for trading Friday at Corinne Brown s home in Dover. (For SmartMamaPA.com -- KATE PENN)

Stocking up

Cardtique manager Linda Miller said the store gets between 15 and 20 calls a day from people looking for the bands.

Miller said the franchise’s Lancaster locations have been selling out for more than a month, but that the fad
hit the county a few weeks ago.

Vickie Kelley, owner of a Kid to Kid franchise in York, got a tip a couple of months ago from a franchise owner in Nashville, Tenn.

Kelley said bands were already popular there, but it wasn’t until two months ago that she first saw two girls trading at her church.

“I immediately got on the phone and said, ‘Send me some Silly Bandz. It’s here,’” she said. “I might have been a little ahead of myself.”

Why they’re cool

Georgia, a home-schooler, learned about the trend while shopping with a friend at Giant, where she bought her first pack.

She has about 90 now and said that’s enough. Her favorites are turtles and princesses. They used to cover Georgia’s forearms, but she said she cut back for comfort.

“I pick out a few to wear every day,” Georgia said. “I just pick out the ones that catch my eye.”

Madison got her first band — a duck — from a friend at North Salem Elementary School. She wanted more so she could trade with others.

She said the exchange process is pretty simple.

“You just look at each other’s bracelets and say, ‘I like this one, I like that one, let’s trade,’” Madison said.

Georgia looks for the rare pieces before she makes a deal. She keeps an eye out for sparkles, chicks and two-headed dragons.

“If someone really wants something of yours and you really want something of theirs, it’s really fun to get what you want,” Georgia said.

Will it last?

Miller said Cardtique has seen other fleeting trends such as Webkinz and Zhu Zhu Pets, but there’s no telling how long Silly Bandz will be in demand.

Kelley said she heard they were popular in Nashville for about three months before tapering off.
“We’re hoping it continues for a long time,” Miller said.

What are Silly Bandz?

Silly Bandz are colorful silicone bands molded into shapes and sold in themed packs such as pets, zoo, sea, dinosaurs, baseball, western, alphabet, princess, rockband and rainforest. They can be worn, traded and collected. They look like bracelets or hair ties when worn, but pop back into shape when taken off. A 24-pack costs $4.95 at sillybandz.com.

Some other brands include:

· Zanybandz, www.zanybandz.com

· Crazy Bands, www.crazybands.com

· Rubba Bandz, amazon.com

· Logo Bandz, amazon.com

Popular shapes

· T-Rex

· Turtle

· Cowboy boot

· Sun

· Phoenix

· Princess crown

· Mermaid

· Guitar

· Penguin

· Baseball bat

Past trends

Zhu Zhu Pets: 2009

Webkinz: 2005

Livestrong wristbands: 2004

Tamagotchis and virtual pets: mid-’90s

Pogs: ’90s

Slap bracelets: late-’80s, early-’90s

Pet rocks: ’70s

Troll dolls: ’60s