Arguably one of the most terrifying toys created to date, Furby, the furry talking robot, was originally released by Tiger Electronics in 1998. It followed a rapid period of growth over the next three years. At the peak of their popularity, Tiger Electronics sold over 40 million Furbies in the first three years, with a staggering 1.8 million sold in 1998 alone.
Furbies were originally marketed as the first domestic robot with speaking capacities and represented what it's like to learn a different language. They started out speaking a gibberish language, called Furbish, and they were programmed to learn English overtime from their owners, from listening to their owners. Other languages were added so that not even non-English speakers were safe. As if the Furby couldn't get any creepier, Howchoo's very own Zach Levine combined the listening capabilities of Alexa and the terrifying form of Furby, creating: Furlexa. Enjoy.
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Known for their oblong plastic heads and pliable cloth bodies, Cabbage Patch Kid dolls have been a staple of the toy industry since they were first released in 1982 by Coleco Industries. It wasn't until over a decade later that the beloved dolls took a creepy turn with the release of the Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kid doll, which was designed to eat plastic snacks.
The dolls were outfitted with a one-way rolling mechanism in their mouths that were meant to pull food into the doll. The food would then fall into a stomach cavity before being expelled, magically, into a pack on the doll's backs. Unfortunately, the dolls couldn't tell the difference between plastic food and children's hair and fingers. After many injuries, during which children lost chunks of hair and got their fingers stuck in the doll's mouths, the dolls were discontinued.
It's no secret that the children's toy industry has maximized the use of bodily fluids and functions, and Gooey Louie is no exception to this trend. A grotesquely plastic head with a bulging nose and eyes to match, Gooey Louie is a game that has children reach up into the nose and extract little green gel boogers from the nostril cavity. If a tiny fingertip reaches too far into the nose, a green brain pops from Louie's head, signaling the loser.
First created and distributed by Goliath Games, Gooey Louie was released in 1995 like a more nasally version of operation but with more boogers. Along with the plastic brain popping out from the top of the head, Louie's eyes bulge out in quite the display. Gross.
Attached to the marketing line "mini-trampolines for your feet," Moon Shoes by Nickelodeon are shoes that are fitted with trampoline-like springs that are meant to propel the galavanting child upward. Moon Shoes come with adjustable straps that can be fitted to a child's shoes, allowing them to start conditioning themselves for sports in later life, according to Nickelodeon marketing.
Modern Moon Shoes were based on an original Moon Shoe design from the 1950s that were, perplexingly, made of metal. These metal encasings were to clamp onto shoes like roller skates. Thankfully, the modern version is made from plastic, but what makes this a creepy and questionable toy were the hordes of children seen bouncing around their neighborhoods.
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Birth is a complicated subject to teach a child, but that certainly doesn't stop toy companies from trying, which is exactly what happened when Hasbro decided to develop Puppy Surprise Plush Mandy. A small dog doll with a hollow stomach, Puppy Surprise comes with anywhere from three to five puppies in her stomach, which can be birthed from a small opening in her stomach, making it a surprise to the new owner.
As previously mentioned, the plushies come with either three or five tiny puppy dolls. The most common of these dolls are the ones carrying three puppies, making the more fertile versions rarer. While the toy itself is, admittedly, cute, the concept of birthing puppies is a little off-putting.
Arguably one of the most well-known toys globally, thanks to the beloved crotchety character from Disney Pixar's * Toy Story, Mr. Potato Head is far from a creepy child's toy. Until that is, you consider the classic Mr. Potato Head from the 1950s. The toy, first distributed in 1952, featured plastic features on pegs. The pegs were meant to be stuck into actual* potatoes instead of the plastic potato stand-in that was featured in later models.
Mr. Potato Head allowed children to experiment with where they wanted to place the facial features; the pair of lips could be placed at the top of the head while the eyes could be placed on the chin. What made the original version creepy, however, was when the potato itself began rotting around the plastic facial features. Yikes.
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Straight from the internet horror depths that is Creepypasta, this Siren Head Plush Toy was created following the creation of Trevor Henderson's eerie drawing. The drawing featured a large anthropomorphic creature that has two large sirens atop it. It inspired a short indie horror game that gave life to the drawing by giving the in-game Siren Head the ability to emit some horrifying sounds like distorted voices and a myriad of siren sounds heard throughout history.
According to the Creepypasta lore, Siren Head is a predator who lures its victims close by using frightening sounds. The plushie does a good job of bringing the creature to life by adding blood-red highlights to the ribcage and two gaping mouths in the siren's heads. Thankfully, this Siren Head Plush Toy doesn't make the siren sounds of the video game version, but this toy is still creepy nonetheless.
Our third toy from the old age of toys, the Swing Wing comes at us from the 1960s from Transogram Games. Swing Wing was originally marketed as being the hula hoop for the head and was a weighted ball attached to ribbons. The ribbons were then attached to a cap that would fit over the head of a child and were held in place by a strap around the chin. Children would then swing their heads back and forth, making the weighted ball fly around their head in circles.
Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, Swing Wing was pulled from the market following a series of spinal injuries and deaths of children who were Swing Winging too hard. They weren't pulled before a perplexing commercial was released showing children doing swinging their heads back and forth while doing a series of childhood pleasantries like walking, rowing boats, and even climbing trees.
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The 1960s were a strange time for toys, and few things make this more obvious than the mysterious Sixfinger toy by Topper. Plastic and finger-shaped, Sixfinger was meant to be held between the thumb and index finger thus creating the illusion of an extra finger with the weapon capabilities of a small dart gun, depending on what end you had installed in your Sixfinger.
Whether a young child wanted to draw using the ballpoint pen tip or shoot a secrete message missile at a teammate or attack an enemy with a dart gun fingertip. Unfortunately, the dart gun ending led to a few injuries that sent rambunctious children to the hospital which brought the Sixfinger toy to an end.
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A doll known for being controversial, The Breast Milk Baby is the baby doll that allows young girls to experience what it's like to breastfeed a baby. These babies are lifelike, with little faces that mimic the experience of breastfeeding. Children are meant to wear a bib that hangs onto the front of their torso. Sensors inside the bib mimicked the sound of breastfeeding whenever the baby was held against the fabric.
The toy was heavily contested, with many parents expressing discomfort with the idea of their children mimicking such a mature action. Some protesters even proposed that the toy would increase the risk of pregnancy. While we're not here to debate whether or not this toy should or shouldn't exist, the Breast Milk Baby Doll is creepy, simply because it mimics a real baby all too well.
Moxie Girls was an established line of toys manufactured and distributed by MGA Entertainment Inc. before the installment of the Poopsy Pets line created in 2013, and the line is as weird as it sounds. For starters, Moxie Girlz were reminiscent of Bratz with their feet that can pop off, their long hair, and bulging eyes, and they were originally meant to take over for Bratz dolls for MGA Entertainment. These Bratz lookalikes aren't the reason these dolls are creepy, however.
As mentioned, Poopsy Pets were a line of Moxie Girlz dolls that were released in 2013. They featured the dolls themselves and their pets, a koala, a bunny, and a unicorn. Perplexingly, the pets poop strange things. The koala eats and poops rubies, the bunny eats glitter, and the unicorn eats rainbows. It will be a good day when toys no longer poop.
When it comes to macabre, few manufacturers do it better than the Meanies series by Topkat LLC. Meanies were created in 1997 and lasted until 2000, and featured a 12-animal release that was meant to mirror Beanie Babies. Instead of relying on the cute factor that most Beanie Babies relied on, Meanies relied on the darkly humorous, providing toys called Splat the Road Kill Cat and Bart: The Flatulent Elephant.
Meanies, like Beanie Babies, reached moments where Topkat LLC would cease producing them, making them either exterminated or retired as the Beanie Babies were. In 1998, 7-Eleven produced key chain versions of the toys, which were moderately popular until the company retired Meanie production altogether. You can still find these slightly disturbing toys scattered throughout the internet.
Another curiously macabre toy, this Ebola Virus plush toy, produced by Drew Oliver's Giant Microbes, is a plush that resembles the microbe responsible for Ebola if that microbe were magnified a million times. This plushie is strangely adorable if you overlook that Ebola is a wildly deadly and rare disease that is still responsible for several deaths each year (the little plastic eyes have something to do with it).
Drew Oliver's Giant Microbes were developed with the intention of not only educating people on the nature of these microbes but to be humorous, collectible gifts. They also partner with many charities! Regardless, the Ebola plush toy is creepy, especially when you consider how much damage the virus has done.
A toy that immediately sparked outrage, the Caylee Sunshine doll, produced by Showbiz Promotions, was originally produced with the intention of honoring Caylee Anthony, the young child who was supposedly murdered by her mother Casey Anthony, in 2008. The court case was heavily publicized in 2011, sparking outrage from many when Casey's sentence was eventually shortened.
Showbiz Promotions released the Caylee Sunshine doll as part of a special promotion that was intended to raise awareness and help stop similar crimes from occurring. The doll featured blonde hair, a smiling face, a shirt that read Caylee Sunshine and played You Are My Sunshine when prompted. Despite the kind intentions, the doll was seen as tone-deaf, and the promotion was canceled.
The original stretchy muscle man, Stretch Armstrong was first produced in 1976 by Kenner. Stretch was an action figure, but not your average action figure! Featuring a body that was made of latex rubber that was then filled with gelled corn syrup, this atypical action figure could be stretched from 15 inches to an impressive four and a half feet! The gelled corn syrup would then slowly return to its original shape, meaning this toy could be manipulated again and again before tears formed.
What makes this doll so creepy is its original appearance: a blonde wrestler with black trunks. With his surprisingly stumpy original arms and strangely empty facial expression, Stretch could be pulled, twisted, and coaxed into a bunch of weird positions. Imagine finding a pile of twisted limbs in a kid's room. Creepy, right?
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Nothing says love the way a straightjacket does. Right? At least that's what Vermont Teddy Bear Company must've been thinking when they developed and released the Crazy for You Teddy Bear. The bear was released just in time for Valentine's Day in 2005 and featured a teddy bear wearing a white straightjacket with a small red heart embroidered above the tied-up arms.
Unsurprisingly, the toy was met with derision once it was released as advocates for the mentally ill protested the insincerity of the toy. Vermont Teddy Bear Company quickly discontinued the toy, halting its production in the same year. Not only is this toy tone-deaf to the plights of the mentally ill, but it's far from romantic, making it creepy.
One of the many realistic dolls on this list, Hasbro's Baby Alive combines the horrors of a moveable mouth with the ability to wet itself. Originally introduced in 1973 by Kenner, Baby Alive was a realistic-looking baby doll that had the ability to eat, drink, and wet itself. The original model was fed food packets that were mixed with water. Once the food was mixed and placed into the accompanying spoon, the doll would then ingest the food and pass it into the diaper. Sometimes, it would even throw up.
As if a doll that had the capacity to get sick and the soil itself wasn't bad enough, a talking Baby Alive doll was introduced in 1992. Sensors within the doll made it announce when it was ready to use the bathroom. These dolls weren't well-received because, horrifyingly, the dolls' vocal box would easily malfunction, causing them to have a deep adult voice. Imagine hearing "I have to go potty" in a deep adult voice. No, thank you.
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Troll Dolls are one of history's most iconic and well-known toys. Spanning back to the late 1950s, when Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam first created the first troll known as the Good Luck Troll, Troll Dolls became wildly popular in the United States during the 1960s. They were known for their cute, albeit creepy, little faces and wild hair that could be combed into gravity-defying hairstyles.
Since their humble beginning, Troll Dolls had experienced varying degrees of popularity, becoming popular at least once a decade until the early 2000s when the brand name became modernized with the updated name Trollz. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation released a movie based on the dolls called Trolls and a sequel was recently released in 2020. Regardless of how far their cinematic career takes them, Troll Dolls themselves, while beloved, are creepy.
Nothing says creepy like a 38-inch Barbie Doll, which brings us to our next toy: My Size Barbie. Measuring at the average height of a toddler, My Size Barbie was well over three times as large as an average Barbie Doll, which measures exactly 11.8-inches for reference. While larger, the doll didn't sacrifice the normal Barbie fashion focal points and included 3 fabulous outfits, jewelry, and makeup for children to match their dolls.
One of the main selling points for My Size Barbie was the tagline placed on the exterior of the box that read: Now you can wear Barbie doll's clothes too! Not creepy enough for you? While the doll itself might not be the creepiest on this list, you can find frightening My Size Barbie tales being moved and left in different places by children. Imagine seeing the silhouette of My Size Barbie at night, in a completely different place than you saw it last.
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Another tone-deaf toy released by a manufacturer following a tragic event, Playmobil's Security Check Point Play Set features an airport security checkpoint. The set comes with three action figures, two guards, one traveler, and children can maneuver the figures through a metal detector while their suitcase can pass through an x-ray machine. One guard wields a metal detector while the other monitors the x-ray machine.
This toy was released following the events of 9/11, when the subject of airport security was more widely discussed. Playmobil is a company known for making toys that allow children to explore real-life situations and occupations. Still, the addition of the airport security set following 9/11 was a questionable and creepy decision on the company's part.
American Girl is a doll manufacturing company that is known for creating dolls with heavily developed backstories. The backstories, often delivered in their packaging and books produced by the company, are meant to "help build girls of strong character" and "inspire your imagination," according to their website. This was the goal of the company when they released the doll Gwen Thompson in 2009.
Gwen Thompson was released as a companion doll to Chrissa Maxwell and was the company's first homeless character. Considering American Girls cost anywhere from 30$ to well over a 100$, the idea of having a doll whose background is dependent on her and her mother falling upon hard times comes off as tone-deaf, and it was met with much derision from critics.
Many people believe that children should be taught the value of saving money, and what better way to accomplish that than by slapping a horrifying face on an electronic piggy bank? At least that's what Blingbin Store on Amazon must've thought when they created the Coin Eating Face Bank. The bank is wrapped in a rubber material that features a face completed with eyes, a nose, and a smiling, gaping mouth that children are meant to feed their coins through.
Motion sensors in the Face Bank's mouth will detect when a coin is placed there, and a mechanism will pull the coin into the inner bank. The rubber mouth is extremely pliable, and half of the toy's claim to fun is in the various expressions that it will make as it consumes the coin. Thankfully, the coins saved can be put to therapy later when it's realized that the Face Bank has long-term creepy side effects.
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Unicorns are often seen and portrayed as fantastical creatures who hang out with rainbows. Rarely are they seen as being murderous, that is until Accoutrements developed the Avenging Unicorn Playset. The playset featured four action figures; a man, a woman, a mime, and a unicorn, and the unicorn came with four interchangeable horns that could be attached to the creature's head. The horns could then be inserted into the action figures, effectively impaling them.
What's really perplexing about this playset is that the people action figures are designed to resemble a new-age woman, a businessman, and a mime. This left many people wondering, what new-age woman, businessman, or mime hurt the person who designed this toy set? Why did they feel the need to immortalize their demise in the form of unicorn impalement? Regardless, you know what they say: avenge is a dish best served by a unicorn.
Our second unicorn on this list, Poopsie Surprise Unicorn - Rainbow Brightstar not only fulfills the brand's promise of pooping magical slime but this particular version includes a link to a Poopsie Surprise Unicorn music video on YouTube. Rainbow Brightstar comes with long rainbow hair and a collection of mix-it-yourself slime that, when pooped from the unicorn, can be transformed with glitter and other colors.
Worried about where the slime goes? Don't worry. Rainbow Brightstar, like other unicorns in the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn line produced by MGA Entertainment, relieves herself in a plastic glitter potty. Much like our early toy Gooey Louie, this Poopsie Surprise Unicorn is creepy, if not for the colorful slime poop, for the large, staring eyes.
Easily the creepiest and chill-inducing toy on this list, the Little Miss Muffet action figure by McFarlane's Monsters combines the horror that is a giant, man-eating spider with a nursery rhyme. The nursery rhyme can be traced back to 1805 and details the story of Little Miss Muffet, who was frightened away from her curds and whey by a large spider. The rhyme itself wasn't creepy until McFarlane Toys saw the classic story as an opportunity to create something truly horrifying.
Whereas the rhyme showed Muffet fleeing the spider, the action figure features the spider attacking and overcoming Miss Muffet. The spider in the action figure is far from an average house spider, too, and greatly resembles a wolf spider or something more sinister. This toy is creepy as it is, but if you have arachnophobia, this is downright terrifying.
Immortalized in the Disney classic Toy Story 3, Musical Jolly Chimp is a classic toy with a history that stretches back to the 1950s when the Japanese company Daishin C.K. The monkey is depicted as wearing striped pants and a yellow vest with red buttons. Clasped in its hands are cymbals, and when the monkey is turned on, it bangs the cymbals together. That's not all it does, though!
In addition to loud cymbal banging, the head bobs, it chatters and screeches, it bares its teeth, and its eyes pop out. This final action was featured heavily in Toy Story 3 when Jolly Chimp was used to monitor the security system of the place the toys were trying to escape from. What's more, the original toy was sold by peddlers on the streets of NYC in the 1970s. Can you imagine hearing that as you're exploring the city? Creepy.
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Toys that resemble insects are creepy in themselves, but when you add the mechanic of movement, the toys become ten times creepier. This is especially true with mechanical cockroaches and the NiGHT LiONS TECH Remote Control Cockroach emphasizes this point. With the ability to move back and forth in a lifelike roach manner, this lightweight toy is a katsaridaphobia's nightmare.
Measuring in at 15" in length, this toy is painted and designed to resemble a realistic roach with painted wing details that become lighter in color at the very end, six legs, and two large antennae. Since it's a remote-controlled toy, in the wrong hands, this roach is dangerous. Thank you, NiGHT LiONS TECH, for the terrifying addition to the toy landscape.
When you think of symptoms like dry skin, headaches, hot flashes, and even depression, you probably don't think about tiny action figures that reflect them. You probably didn't until seeing Flapjack Toy's Symptoms vinyl action figures. The figures are currently difficult to come by as many people sought to snatch them from the market to gift them at gag-gifts. If you can find one, however, their packaging is almost as distinct as the toys themselves.
Each of the symptoms comes encased in their own little pill bottle that not only details how one might go about curing the symptom but also details the different toys in the series. Upon opening the pill bottle, you won't find medication, but you will find a creepy little action figure with bulging eyes and, in the case of the Symptom Itchy Scalp, a large bug biting the Symptom's forehead. Creepy indeed.
Another game with a tragic story and background, Lawn Darts is a game that is a blend of darts and horseshoes. Created during the 1960s, Lawn Darts were originally very heavy with metal tips that were sharpened to the point of being able to insert themselves into the ground once thrown. This was all fun and games until, after a series of injuries, the FDA requested the lawn darts change their advertising only to be marketed to adults. By December 1970, a large warning label was posted to the box asking the user to keep them from out of the reach of children.
Still, despite these attempts, Lawn Darts continued to injure, and, sadly, a child was killed after a Lawn Dart was thrown by one of her brothers. This led to the toy being redesigned with lighter, plastic darts called Jarts. In 2020, the toy received its most recent update, which saw the tip softened even further. No matter how blunt the Jarts become, it does little to lighten their dark and creepy past.
A toy that is more notorious than popular, Sesame Street's Tickle Me Elmo has a reputation that proceeds it. Covered in soft fabric, Elmo features large protruding eyes on top of his head, a smiling face, and arms that are stretched out as though waiting for a hug. Children are meant to hug the toy, causing it to laugh and cycle through a collection of phrases such as That tickles! and Oh boy! Innocent enough, right?
Wrong. The sensors in Tickle Me Elmo are powerful, which means it takes very little pressure to make it active the vocal mechanisms of the toy. Sometimes Elmo would speak without being touched, which caused the internet to be flooded with horrifying stories of parents hearing Oh boy! and That tickles! from other rooms that were empty of people. This alone and the fact that there are so many stories that describe this make Tickle Me Elmo the final and perhaps creepiest toy on this list.
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My best friend and I took a trip down memory lane recently. It was her daughter's 13th birthday, so we grabbed iced coffees and went shopping.