People are freaking out about a toy that chases kids faster the louder they yell and 'feeds off of screams of terror'

HasbroYellies: a perfect gift, or a holiday curse?
  • Yellies are a new line of fuzzy, spider-like toys activated by people yelling.
  • The louder kids yell, the faster the Yellies scoot – a function that many see as an end to any hope of holiday peace and quiet.
  • One mother said in a viral Facebook post that a Yellies toy terrorised her son, chasing him faster as he screamed in fear.
  • But the toys are flying off shelves, with Target selling out of certain varieties and some sellers on Amazon raising prices because of increased demand.

A controversial new toy is grabbing shoppers’ attention this holiday season.

This year, Hasbro rolled out a new line of toys called Yellies. The arachnid-esque “Spooders” are fuzzy, motorised creatures activated by people yelling. The louder kids yell, the faster the Yellies scoot.

If this description gives you pause, you aren’t alone. Giving a child a toy that requires yelling – specifically, yelling at increasingly aggressive volumes – seems like a declaration of war against anyone trying to enjoy a quiet, peaceful Christmas.

“Who on earth thought inventing this toy would be a good idea?!” Karen Alpert, the writer behind the parenting blog Baby Sideburns, said on Facebook.

Others are similarly baffled by why someone would give Yellies as a gift, except as an act of revenge.

In a viral Facebook post, one woman described another problem created by Yellies, saying the toy spider began terrorizing her son.

“I yelled at it. The spider ran for it,” Hilary Hard wrote. “Leo starts screaming… the louder he screams, the faster the spider pursued him.”

Things escalated from there, with the toy backing her son into the corner as he shrieked in terror, Hard said.

“So, in short, maybe a little electronic spider thats power source feeds off of screams of terror… is not the best Christmas gift for your small child,” Hard said, adding that “10 years from now we’ll be discussing this in therapy.”

Despite concerns about terrorised children and parents, many reviews of the Yellies are positive. Even Hard said she came around to the toys, posting a Facebook update with her son holding some “cuddlier” options.

“Great little toy that follows kiddos voices!” one five-star review on Amazon said. “Keeps everyone entertained!”

“So much fun for the whole family. Even the cat. I’m laughing so hard my stomach hurts,” another customer posted.

Of course, at least some of the five-star reviews on Amazon are tongue-in-cheek.

“Buy this if you hate someone with kids,” reads one.

“If you have arachnophobia and point it towards yourself, you’ll have a heart attack for about fourteen bucks as it will run towards your horrified screams!” another says.

But when you look at the cold, hard facts, the popularity of Yellies is clear. The toys are flying off the shelves, with Target selling out of certain varieties as of Thursday morning. Some sellers on Amazon have increased prices recently, with most variations selling for more than $US20 on the website, compared with about $US15 at Target or Walmart.

Here are the Yellies in action:

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