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culture

Vintage Toronto Ads: Trick or Treat or EXTERMINATE!

Travelling back through time for a children's costume idea.

Source: the Telegram, September 22, 1971.

Hey, parents: are you looking for a last-minute costume for your toddler that doesn’t involve dressing him or her up as a member of the plant or animal kingdoms? If you have access to a time machine, set your coordinates for 1971 and the closest Towers discount department store. While thrifty shoppers of the day saw a “‘Baby Gir’ unimolded walker” as a cheap aid for speeding their child’s shift from four limbs to two legs, you will recognize its untapped potential as a kid-friendly Dalek costume.

Once you’ve zipped back to 2012, carefully peel off the nursery decals and spray-paint the walker grey. Paste on more circular objects if time permits. Glue a plunger on, or let your child your hold on to it like a rattle. The kid will love rolling around indoors or out, yelling “EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!” in the cutest robotic voice ever.

It’s unlikely Torontonians would have conceived of a costume like this back in 1971, because Doctor Who hadn’t had much exposure in Canada then. CBC ran William Hartnell’s first five serials, including the Daleks’ debut, in early 1965. In September 1966, the first of two movies starring Peter Cushing as a human doctor (alongside multicoloured Daleks), hit local theatres. Not until TVOntario picked up the series in 1976 did Who air for an extended period of time in Toronto.

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