When A Toy Turns On By Itself, RUN

A week ago, I post on Facebook: What’s creepier than your kids’ toys turning on by themselves? Nothing, that’s what.


Here’s how the rest of the story goes:

I hear the mysterious sound drifting out of a bedroom. I look around, confused and concerned, because I am home alone. I creep towards the music: DOODOOODOONTDONTDONT

Yes, that’s exactly what music sounds like when I’m alternating between worrying this music castle with a dancing cinderella and prince would kill me and thinking a psychopathic killer had set off the toy to lure me into the guest room to kill me.

I slide into the bedroom and am greeted by a glowing castle with Cinderella singing and dancing by the giant bay window as though it’s normal to turn on without any human aid.  I make it to the toy and hit the off button without a maiming or death, and I’m psyched. Also, jumpy for the rest of the day.

The next morning, it happens again. The music, the creeping, the nonchalant toy although this time I think less psycho-killer and more the clock part of this creepy castle is set to FREAK ALEX OUT.

The morning musical number repeats for a week.  Every 9 a.m.-ish, I get a little more comfortable with the toy going off inexplicably. I try the off button, the reset button, the mash-all-the-buttons button. I even send my children up to turn it off since they’re smarter than me. Yet, the castle always sings and dances again with perhaps a little more mocking each day.

Finally, my logically side decides to take drastic measures. When the castle lights go on and the music and dancing begin this morning, the quiet, rational voice in my head reasons: Go on, Alex. Unplug the toy. It’s the ultimate reset button. Unplugging will solve all your problems.

I ignore my own advice to never unplugging anything creepy because confirmed terror is worse than imagined terror, which can only be explained by a slow wearing down of my paranoia by 7 days of castle song into an unusual state of reasonableness.

I pull the plug.

Holy crap, it's still playing.
And dancing. And flashing. And giving me nightmares.

Confirmed terror is much, much worse. I now know the only reason this thing hasn’t impaled me is that IT DOESN’T HAVE LEGS.

PS. Don’t tell me to look for batteries rational voices in my head. I saw Child’s Play. That’s when everything went from bad to worse. Next, my brain will be telling me to wander into my backyard after watching the news update on the local serial killer or take a vacation to Transylvania.

PPS. If anyone saw Child’s Play 3, please let me know how to defeat the castle. I was too traumatized after the first one to continue the series. The irony is not lost on me as I am now in the fight for my life against Cinderella’s castle clock death ticker. I am the true story the movie was based on. Also, time travel.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

19 thoughts on “When A Toy Turns On By Itself, RUN

  1. My brother had a steam engine alarm clock for a while that would go off at random hours of the night a day. While dreaming peacefully in bed on the other side of the house, my head would suddenly fill with a creepy whooshing noise. The whooshing turned to chugging. Chugga chug chugging. And just as my previously happy dream turned macabre, the whistle would blow an ear-piercing scream that reverberated through the house, and six people would all wake screaming in sheer terror.

    It’s a wonder I’m emotionally stable enough to ride a train to work every day.

  2. For his first birthday, my son got a Fisher Price puppy that sings and talks. We hadn’t even removed it from the packaging when it started singing in the middle of the night. First it was some creepy “I love you, come play with me” song. But when it switched to simply saying, in its sing song voice…”peek a boo…I seeeeeeee youuuuuu”… That’s when the puppy went back to the store.

    1. This is happening to me to! And it’s on a table no vibrations it goes. I’m thinking of letting Fisher price know, perhaps all the sing and play dogs have a malfunction!

  3. I totally have the heebie jeebies and would like to convince you now to DESTROY THE CLOCK.


    I’m guessing you weren’t a Toy Story fan, huh? LOL

  4. Justifiable terror Alex! YIKES! I cannot stand dolls, especially the porcelain/china fancy dolls. I tried to collect them but got too freaked out to continue. That crazy Christmas house everyone flocks too? They have a huge room filled with animated dolls like that with candles moving back and forth…FREAKS ME OUT! Riley has a baby had one of those plush dogs that sings and does numbers and colors and it started going on talking to itself. I threw it away in the trash can outside after the second time. Hasta la vista castle.

  5. I had a Furby in middle school (oh yeah, I was SO cool). I remember when its batteries were dying it would get stuck in the middle of a sentence: “Feed me-e-e-e-e-e…” and, inexplicably, it would start saying things at random times when I was nowhere near it. I took to putting it in the closet at night, but sometimes it would awaken and say things in the middle of the night. SO CREEPY. Please, check for batteries. If there are none? Get that thing out of the house!

  6. K, as a toddler, had an Elmo alphabet toy that would go off inexplicably in the middle of the night. I would go and shut it off. It would happen again. I would take out the batteries. It would happen again, and this time it was spelling a NAME. I took it out in the garage and smashed it to pieces with a hammer. At three in the morning. The following week, the coffee grinder (unplugged, and in the cabinet) started going off in the middle of the night.

    So we moved. Seriously. We moved the next damn month.

  7. Sounds like someone learned how to set the alarm. Now if you figure how to undo that, and the darn thing still goes off, then I would be looking for a trash incinerator on the other side of town!

  8. My son had a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll that would giggle at random times. Nothing like waking up at 3 am to a “oooh, that tickles.”

    1. This tickle me elmo toy that my mom got me for Christmas when I was 10 keeps going off at random times and it’s creeping me out ad I’m home alone at the moment and only 17 with no license or car

  9. we had a dog that had it’s battery die. It would randomly say, “helllllooooo.” and “I LOVE You.” but in a really creepy death rattle voice.

    We no longer own that dog.


  10. That is c r e e p y!!! You should just get rid of it, bring it to the thrift store or something (I don’t know if I would, I think I’d be afraid that it would stand outside my front door the next morning).

  11. I just had this happen to me with one of my daughters guitar toys. It keeps randomly playing music. Its really unsetteling. By the way I loved your post. You’re hilarious. :)

  12. Hi there
    I have the exact same clock and the same thing happened to us.
    I am sure there is a backup battery. Everything is okay 😉

  13. My son has a transporter truck for driving his cars around that randomly reves its engine. Anytime it goes off I go check to see if the button on the side is against the floor responding to footsteps but it never is. A bit nervous but if it escalates to other toys with voices like his cookie monster ill probably cry.

  14. My son received a battery operated number puzzle for his 4th birthday. It would announce, “1 apple!” or “2 balls!” when touched or when a puzzle piece is put into place. I fell asleep in front of the tv and woke up to it talking on its own, and a creepy vibe in the room. My sister came to visit and she went to turn off the light in the room and when she did, it turned on and scared her too. We decided to throw it out. I went into the room to get it and it was silent as I picked it up. As I walked down the stairs and outside to throw it in the trash it started going off like crazy. I now am clearing my house to get rid of the negative entity.

  15. I collect singing bears from holidays like Christmas and valentines day. It was one of my restless nights so I finally drifted asleep about 2 am. Well about 2:30 am I wake up to this loud,obnoxious buzzing. At first I thought I left my electric razor on and then I remembered that I hadn’t use that thing in months. Well then I thought “Okay, be rational. Maybe you left your xbox remote on or maybe it’s your neighbors in the other apts being annoying frat boys again.” Well I head over to the dresser I keep them on and the penguin I got from my previous Christmas was on,but wasn’t singing and the candycane that spun when it was turned on was spinning almost 10x’s what it usually spins at. I stare at if for a minute, not sure if I wanted to pick up or not, and the thing tips,and rolls off from the middle of my dresser onto the floor. I am now sleeping in my living room….

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