Ouch! Majority of ‘Hot’ Holiday Toys Cost $50 or More

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We may still have over a month until it’s Halloween, and another couple of months must pass before it’s Christmas, but Toys R Us just released its Holiday Hot Toy List. Perhaps more surprising than how early the list is being circulated is how much the toys cost: Of the “Fabulous 15″ hottest of the hot items, just five are under $50—and seven run $100 or more. The majority of the gifts named to Walmart’s top toy list are at least $50 as well.

Hot toys—at least those deemed “hot” by major retailers at this early stage of the game—will come at a pretty penny this holiday season.

As the Associated Press and others have reported, Toys R Us released its annual top 50 hot holiday toys list on Wednesday. This year’s list is different for at least a couple of reasons. For one thing, all featured toys are eligible for the retailer’s new “Hot Toy Reservation” system, in which customers must put 20% down in order by October 31 to ensure they’ll get their hands on item, with full payment and pickup required by December 16. For another, this year’s crop of hot toys seems to a lot pricier than lists in the past.

(MORE: 6 Ways to Stay Out of Debt This Holiday Season)

Toys and other holiday gifts always seem to grow more expensive with each passing year, so this shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But how much pricier are the hot toys this year?

Here’s one indication: Last year, TheStreet did the math on Toys R Us’s 2011 top 15 hot toy list, and calculated that the average price was $62, ranging from $6 to $270. For this year’s top 15 from Toys R Us, the average is up to $83, ranging from $10 to $300. (For our math, the 2012 average doesn’t include the Skylanders Giants Starter Pack, an action figures/video game combo, which hasn’t officially been priced yet, but seems like it’ll retail for $75). As mentioned, among the Toys R Us hottest top 15 toys, five cost under $50, and seven are $100 or more. Among the total list of 50 hot toys, only 20 are under $50. (All numbers in this post are rounded up, with none of that .99 garbage; $49.99 counts as $50; $99.99 is $100.)

For more sake of comparison, in a CNBC gallery of hot toys for the 2011 holidays, 9 of the top 15 were under $50; the vast majority (16 of 19) of hot holiday toys in a CNN gallery from 2011 were under $50 as well.

(MORE: Does It Make Any Sense to Reserve ‘Hot’ Holiday Toys?)

As for Walmart‘s top 20 toy list, 9 retail for under $50, and two items—an electric scooter for girls, and a ride-on dune racer for boys—are priced at $249 each. As for the cheapest “hot” toy as decreed by Walmart and Toys R Us, it’s the Angry Birds Apptivity – King Pig (($9.99 at Toys R Us). To play with the toy, though, you (or your kid) must have an iPad.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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Jill Louis
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Talendria
Talendria

This is a total perversion of Christmas.

KJak
KJak

Last year, I succumbed to the Hot Toy list. Those toys cost me dearly... not only a small fortune to be paid, but also a great deal of time searching for them, and stress in general while going from store to store trying to find the right one. I will not fall for it this year.