As for predicting which toys will be the must-haves of the season, it's a much safer bet for toymakers to bet on properties that have been successful in the past, Byrne said. That, in part, is what's behind this year's resurgence in the "Peanuts," "Star Wars" and "Jurassic World" properties.
"From a business standpoint, very often these companies are a little bit nervous about taking a chance on a new property," he said. "Getting something that has done well in the past and they think will do well again is a way of hedging their bets."
That's particularly true with the "Star Wars" franchise, which has appealed to a new generation of kids, all the while sparking a pang of nostalgia with parents and grandparents. A Toys R Us commercial plays into this thesis perfectly, showing a father who is desperate to make his daughter love "Star Wars."
After years of her crying and resisting, the ad ends with daughter swinging a light saber in one of the store's aisles, to which he responds, "I am your father."
But that doesn't always mean it will be a slam dunk. Byrne pointed to disappointing comebacks by Holly Hobbie and Strawberry Shortcake, saying kids did not connect with the brands in the same way as their predecessors.
While she's remained a constant on shelves, Barbie has also struggled to gain traction with today's kids, leading to a 15 percent sales decline during the first nine months of the year.
For his part, Byrne does not foresee Snoopy having trouble connecting with consumers, saying the doll should be able to ride momentum from the just-released "Peanuts" movie.
What's more, "Star Wars" is universally expected to be the biggest franchise of the year, with experts predicting the toys could ring up more than $1 billion in sales. Byrne predicts that the BB-8, the Millenium Falcon and high-end light sabers will sell out.
But with everyone trying to get in on the trend, there will also be "Star Wars" toys left on the shelves once all the gifts are opened, he said.
All in, NPD Group is predicting sales in the toy industry will rise 6.2 percent — or more than $1 billion — for the full year. If achieved, that would represent its best performance in more than a decade.
Through the third week of October, Lennett said the category's sales were up 7 percent. Roughly two-thirds of toy sales typically occur in the second half of the year.
"What's really interesting to me this year is that there isn't one or two really nice-selling properties," Lennett said. "[That's] probably why the industry's up 7 percent."
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Universal Studios and CNBC.