On any given day, members of the Minnesota Toy Posse are buying, selling, and trading the latest Marvel Legends figures, Hocus Pocus Funko Pops, and used handheld gaming devices on their Facebook group, which boasts an impressive 2,200 members. But on October 20, the posse will come together IRL for a spooky Halloween toy swap.
The group has exploded in size since it started a little over three years ago.
“It’s a really active group,” says Mark Seekamp, Minnesota Toy Posse founder. “People are always looking for different things and sharing what they find in the group, or offering to sell or trade stuff that maybe they aren’t interested in anymore.”
After watching the community grow online, Seekamp says he decided to bring his fellow toy enthusiasts together for a garage sale and swap.
“There were maybe 12 sellers for the first one. Eventually it got way too big to do in a garage, so we had to start looking for places we could rent out.”
The swap this weekend will include 70 sellers, and Seekamp says he expects anywhere from 300 to 500 toy lovers to come through during the event.
“We get people who sell vintage stuff like diecast metal cars, old G.I. Joes, and Masters of the Universe figures, then we have people who are into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hellboy, Power Rangers. Pretty much anything you can think of,” he says.
The swaps have also expanded to include artists who do custom toy work and create accessories for cosplayers.
“There’s one woman who takes My Little Ponies and turns them into zombies,” Seekamp says. “People think it’s so cool. That’s what’s really great, there is something for everybody.”
Aside from helping each other track down their favorite toys, Seekamp says that the group has helped to create friendships and make people feel more comfortable in their fandom.
“We can be kind of nerdy and have trouble meeting new people, but thanks to the group it’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone in public in like a toy aisle or something,” he says.
The group isn’t just for toy talk, however.
“We become friends and talk about our lives,” he says. “People will post pictures when they have a baby, or we’ll just use it to meet up and go see a movie. It’s about creating relationships beyond just looking for toys.”
As for his own toy obsession, Seekamp says that his journey has come full circle.
“I went from being into toys, then comics, then girls, then work and life, then back to comics, and then back to toys,” he laughs.
This weekend’s event will include a costume contest with a $100 grand prize, but Seekamp says the real draw is the toys.
“We get toy dealers from outside of the state who see we have 2,200 members and they want to come and have tables,” he says. “But the coolest part is being able to see someone who is going to be really excited about a toy that you have that you’re ready to part with. I never liked doing eBay. I like being able to meet people and know that a toy I’m selling is going to a good home.”
IF YOU GO:
MN Toy Posse Halloween Bash 3
Bloomington Knights of Columbus
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20