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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone looking to add some croaking toads to their swamp scene? Wanted to give a heads up that this little outdoor lawn and garden prop is making a reappearance this year in stores. Basically 7 x 5 inches. Made of resin and croaking is triggered by either motion or sound & motion (depending on toad purchased).

A few years ago I found the Toad Hollow "Cromwell the Croaking Toad" at KMART after seeing a fellow haunter mention it in their post. Bought one at the end of summer and really liked it. Periodically have looked for it at KMart to no avail and ebay was more than I wanted to pay. I see now that Cromwell has sort of made a reappearance at Kmart again. Cromwell was all green. This new 2014 version is green with a yellow/cream chest. I think it's the same one though and also a Toad Hollow product. I just ordered two from KMart online (they have two combinable 10% off specials on him now--one discount expiring at end of today; plus I used a Retail Me Not coupon offer, CSO5TFLG, for $5 off $25 to bring down the cost even more....$12.07 ea. The toad is available for store pickp if you live near a Kmart). I'll post a photo when they arrive next week. The Kmart "Cromwell" and this year's Kmart version is only Motion Sensored-- so figure someone walking past and breaking a beam of light.

This year BIG LOTS! is carrying a very similar toad, a Wilson & Fisher "Croaking Garden Frog", register SKU 810134085, that is similar in coloring to this year's Kmart one but also has orange and pink coloring on it (I might do a little repainting as it is the version with the least realistic coloring--pink dots on its back). It is Motion and Sound Activated. Retailing for $15. I picked up two of these guys as my BL was just starting to put out garden items for Spring so they might not be in all BL's locations yet.

In addition to the coloring and triggering of the toads, the battery requirements are slightly different and the actual item varies very slightly in design and size. Plus the activation is slightly different--Cromwell is On/Off only; BL's is On/Off/Demo (with Try Me wire and button). I'll come back and post a photo of Cromwell and the BL croakers tomorrow (and the NuKmart one next week). I'll also try to get a video of them all in action next week to show how they can play off one and other if placed within ear shot of each other, giving you a rather realistic swampy croaking toad background sound without setting up an mp3 and speaker system. Kind of nice to have both triggering versions. The speakers on both are located on the bottom and each toad has small "feet" to raise the toad off the surface slightly so the sound isn't muffled.


Batteries: Cromwell -- 2 AAs (incl)
2014 Kmart version -- 2 AAs (incl)
Big Lots 2014 version -- 3 AAs (incl)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here are comparison photos of Kmart's Toad Hollow's "Cromwell the Croaking Toad" from a few years back (Left) and the BIG LOTS! 2014 "Croaking Garden Frog" (Right). When my order for the Kmart 2014 version toad arrives, I'll post that photo as well (see info and link to it in Post #1 above).





I don't know about you guys but I really think the BL's version needs a paint job....pink blotches?!? Still some of it's features make it attractive and maybe worth the extra effort in the event you repaint. Shouldn't be hard to cover the pink spots. Old Cromwell can still be found in the resell market, prices I've seen vary quite a bit. I think the new 2014 Kmart toad version will be a nice addition to the line up and probably less expensive than what some people will be listing Old Cromwell for so keep that in mind. Cromwell looks like he was painted a dark green and dry brushed a lighter olive green for contrast.

I've seen some people say that they've also seen croaking frogs at either Lowes or Home Depot. Maybe Menards will get one in too? If you see one, please post a photo here and note the price for us as well as it's features and specs. It would be nice to give haunters a range of places to pick one up.

Forgot to mention that the triggering sensor is in the toad's mouth, and not obvious from any of my photos.

Check back mid-week next week for the Nu Cromwell photo and a video of all the swamp toads in song.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not below water I guess :eek:!

When I do my pirates theme I'll be able use the toads, but then my theme is going to be mostly a land-based theme. I have plans for a pirate shipwreck along the coast (at my far right fenceline), a pirates raft headed for shore (have one of those water effects dj lights for the illusion of water and will set up infront of my garage), and to the far left, a swampy shoreline with gators, toads, dragonflies and a bridge (from Big Lots) to cross over the sidewalk and head for the swamp witch shack (and candy of course).
 

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those are two awesome toads. and yes, the pink spots have to go. but I like how he is painted otherwise. thanks for posting. I can't wait to see your other frog. love your pirate ideas everyone
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Haven't shot the little swamp video yet but my KMART order arrived yesterday and here's a photo of the toad they are selling this year. It's Cromwell with a different paint job. Same features as the original (so same battery config and on/off switch). It does have spots on it that are a muted mauvy tone, either black added to the paint or washed with a black paint....so now I can see where the pink comes from on the BIG LOTS version this year. Most likely manufactured by the same outfit but different stores got slight modifications in the product.

I could see using the KMART nuCromwell without toning down or changing the paint job on him. I kind of like the lighter colored chest on him too. It will make him show up in the swamp at night better than the all green version, and the coloring shows off his eyes nicely.

Here's Kmart's Nu Cromwell, front and backside:



I'll try to get the video posted later today or tomorrow. Have some errands to run in the meantime.


.....Running into a busy week here. Should have it uploaded by next week.
 

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I rarely go into the garden section of any store. So glad you posted this, had to get 3 of them to put in our kiddie pumpkin patch this year :) They are awesome! My Mom has a garden toad--probably twice the size of these guys-- that she calls Antonio Todio that sits on a pedistal ouside of her studio and I thought last year how cool he would look in our setup, but she like her stuff exacly where it is and we dont move it. Needless to say I was thrilled when I saw your post :) One of these little guys is already on "duty" outside my front door making my daughter crazy (one of life little perks ;) I know the kids will ove these on Halloween! Thanks again for the post !
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This weekend might be the best time in the near term to pick up a swampful of croaking BIG LOTS! toads. This weekend is their 20% off Entire Purchase Friends and Family event. See the Coupons/Discounts area for specifics, Rewards Card or Coupon needed.

There probably will be another Summer mdse sale opportunity at maybe 20% or less. After summer when BIG LOTS runs their Summer clearance sale there might be better prices (typically 33% and then 50%) but what is left in the stores then will be picked over and a hit or miss in left over inventory.
 

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Thank you for the pointers on these frogs! I'm taking one apart to add Red LED Demon eyes. Also going to discover if I can get some different Black Light paints to over lay the Smiley Frog with Demon frog under Black Light. Visualizing Lights on Happy frog fading down to black while the Black Light rises to full power ... and Demon Frog appears!
 

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Just found this in a catalog from a company called Bits and Pieces. What caught my attention was the EYES GLOW ! But I am not sure about the size.It seems to be much smaller than the others. Here us the picture and description let me know what you guys think :
When anything crosses its path, this frog with intricate leaf detailing will scare pests away with motion activated ribbits and eyes that really light up in flashing bright yellow. Made of weather resistant, hand-painted polyresin. Measures 1 -3/4” X 8-1/2”. Requires 2 “AA” batteries, not included.
BITS AND PIECES FROG.jpg
 

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FYI discovered it's easy to remove the electronics from the BigLots frogs. Also, they are made of a translucent resin that allow interior light to show through and cause the body to glow... I'm going down this road and will have additional info soon.
 
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