Hatchimals, Fingerlings, nerf guns - what's on childrens' Santa list this year?
Halloween may just be over but Santa's letterbox is already crammed with mail from local children asking for this year's must-have toys.
Hatchimals, Fingerlings, Paw Patrol and JoJo Bows were among the top Christmas gifts being poured over at Belfast's CastleCourt shopping centre yesterday as eager youngsters put potential presents to the test.
Many already knew what they were hoping to find under their Christmas trees thanks to festive advertising campaigns which seem to begin earlier each year.
Hatchlings, an interactive cuddly toy that hatches out of an egg after some coaxing from owners, was the firm festive favourite last year, and judging by yesterday's reviews will be in high demand again.
A new surprise edition, with twin Hatchimals that interact with each other, is retailing at £74.99, although prices may vary from shop to shop.
Already sold out in two toy stores in Belfast yesterday was new craze Fingerlings, plastic monkeys that clasp on to the finger and blink and respond to light and sound. Prices range from around £10 to £40 depending on the model.
Having just posted her letter to Santa, super organised Lily Jones (6) from Belfast was well prepared.
"I'm liking the Fingerlings and the Hatchimals," she said.
"I've already made my list at home. My dad has already picked things out he wants, like a new toolbox and some new tools.
"I think this year I'd like two Hatchimals, as well as a new purple bike and a Nerf gun."
She added: "I open everything on Christmas morning and test it all out, then I have another five minutes with my favourite stuff."
Mum Lorraine said: "Hatchimal has been the big hit today, Lily absolutely loves it. She also loves the Zoomer Enchanted Unicorn (a robotic unicorn with flashing lights, retailing at around £90) as well - they're big this year."
Dad Tony joked: "They're the organised ones... I just get sent the bill at the end." Brothers Yasir (7) and Stephen Larkin (5) from Cookstown were far more interested yesterday in Slime, a gungy toy substance that can be squished into any shape.
"Slime is really fun and you can make stuff with it. I didn't write to Santa for it, though. I'd much prefer to get the film Cars 3," said Stephen.
Yasir added: "Slime is great but I also wanted lots of other toys today like a Star Wars one and a teddy bear."
Ciaran McDonnell (5), also from Cookstown, was playing with figures from his favourite cartoon Paw Patrol.
"I saw a really nice fire engine too, but I'd really like a few of the Paw Patrol for Christmas," he said.
At the next table Niamh McGerr (11), also from the Co Tyrone town, said the Zoomer Unicorn was her top choice, along with JoJo Bows, a DIY fashion kit to make hair accessories.
Sisters Crea and Caolinn Scullion, aged four and seven, had already completed their own JoJo Bows.
"I really like the JoJo Bows and love all the gems you can stick on them," said Caolinn. Their mum Camilla said there was no shortage of ideas.
"We've seen such a wide range," she explained. "The boys are loving the Nerf guns. Star Wars and Paw Patrol has also been a huge hit.
"The girls seem to love this unicorn, and the Hatchimals again are very popular.
"If I was turning back the clock, I would have loved to play with the JoJo Bows, they're fabulous and still really popular. It's really nice that kids want to make their own presents like that."
Roisin McGovern from Saintfield was attending with her daughter Eabha (6).
"The Hatchimals are the favourite today for sure," she said.
"Eabha's coming to that age now where she's growing out of Barbies, so it's good for parents to know what she's into and what's going to be looked at for more than five minutes."
Eabha said: "I actually liked the Hatchimal and a camera today. I saw a Hatchimal on YouTube and I liked how it has feelings when it's moving.
"I wrote to Santa to say I'd like a Hatchimal and a silver camera, because pink and silver are my favourite colours."
Assisting with the task of sending letters to Santa yesterday was toy tester Maria Doherty from ACA Models.
"The Fingerling toys are the most popular today, definitely," she said.
"They were already sold out yesterday. They have sensors in their head so they can do all sorts of things like go to sleep - everyone's looking for them and they can't get their hands on them.
"The Hatchimals were big last year but are still very popular.
"The JoJo Bows are a big win with the girls.
"They're so creative and it gets them interacting."