By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Officials with a school in Riverton are warning parents about videos featuring a violent furry blue character from a video game accompanied by music about hugging people to death.
Aspen Early Learning Center, a kindergarten and preschool in Riverton, posted a warning to the school’s social media page warning parents to keep their children away from videos featuring the character “Huggy Wuggy.”
“This is Huggy Wuggy,” reads the post, noting that children may be exposed to the character if they have access to YouTube. “His happy upbeat child-like nursery rhyme melody/theme song interests our kids.”
But, the post continues, Huggy Wuggy has “razor-sharp teeth” and “sings songs about hugging and killing. Please be aware.”
“Huggy Wuggy” is a deadly character in the game “Poppy Playtime,” which is described as a “horror/puzzle adventure.”
According to descriptions, Huggy Wuggy does not sing in the game, but excerpts from the game have been set to music by some fans and posted on YouTube and TikTok. Other fans have animated their own versions of Huggy Wuggy.
In one video featuring Huggy Wuggy — a large blue animated plush toy with jagged teeth — the character is seen constantly pacing through a hall ending in a dark void. Children’s faces and colorful handprints cover the walls.
Huggy Wuggy sings that he is your “fuzzy buddy” and that he is offering “free hugs.”
“I could just hug you here forever, ‘til you breathe your last breath,” sings the character. In another line he sings “my teeth sharp and ready, yeah my grasps, yeah they’re deadly.”
“Plastic eyes but they’re watching you,” the song continues. “I will be there soon – sink my teeth in and you’re consumed.”
Other Huggy Wuggy songs feature additional, murder-themed content.
Aspen Park principal Sheryl Esposito was not available for comment early Thursday morning, according to school staff.
“My two little ones do not like this character and it pops up all over YouTube,” wrote one commenter below the school’s post. Other commenters pegged the video as “freaky,” “creepy,” and “pure evil.”
Police across the country have issued warnings about Huggy Wuggy, telling parents the character’s innocent name may lead young children to view frightening videos
Not the First
Huggy Wuggy is not the first video to trouble local schools, according to Wes Barry, public information officer at Riverton Police Department
“A few years ago there was a character called Momo, that was online, really easy for kids to find,” said Barry. “It looked like a kids’ video. Once they got into it, Momo would pop up and say something crazy, like ‘burn your house down,’ or ‘kill somebody.’”
“Huggy Wuggy is along those same lines,” he added.
Barry said parents can take a vital role in protecting children’s innocence by using content-blocking software, monitoring phone and computer usage, and putting streaming devices in a general household area, rather than in a child’s room.
“You could have (the device) in a kitchen, or living room, where it’s under the supervision of a parent,” said Barry.
No Crime Epidemic Linked
Direct juvenile crime or mental-health ramifications from sinister videos like Huggy Wuggy are not yet evident, said Barry.
“(There are) none that we’re tracking right now,” he said. “It’s not like there’s a (crime) epidemic” linked to the videos.
Still, he added, “it’s important for parents to be aware of what their kids are looking at online – to be involved in that process and always be supervising.”