Huggy Wuggy and the Public’s Fascination with Ugly Plush

The creature pictured above is one ugly and scary piece of plush. You have to ask yourself, “why would any child want one, and why would their parents let them have one?”

Yet, Huggy Wuggy (the creature’s name) is extremely popular with children and adults. In fact, according to a New York Times article by Magdalene J. Taylor entitled “The Terrifying Plushie Taking Over Gift Shops Everywhere,” Huggy Wuggy is famous worldwide.

His name is Huggy Wuggy, and he has joined the ranks of unavoidable knockoff toys and trinkets marketed to toddlers, teens and Hot Topic adults all over the world: Bosnia, Spain, Laos, South Korea or anywhere else you might find a tourist-trap souvenir shop or market of bootleg goods.

The Terrifying Plushie Taking Over Gift Shops Everywhere, Magdalen J. Taylor, The New York Times, February 17, 2023

As I read the article, I began to recall ugly plush creatures from past decades. Here is the list I came up with (let me know what I missed):

Trolls – 1963

ET – 1982,

Cabbage Patch Dolls – 1983

Gremlins – 1984

Ugly Doll – 2001

Monsters Inc. – 2001

And then it hit me. The parents and grandparents of today’s children are not put off by Huggy Wuggy. They grew up playing with the ugly and the scary. And, Because they grew up to be “normal” people (we hope), they do not see any harm in their children sharing their passion.

One thing is for sure; we are not done with these types of plush toys. God, can you imagine what the next ugly thing will look like?

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