Yellies — a perfect gift or a holiday curse?

  • Yellies are a new line of fuzzy, spider-like toys that are 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.
  • However, the toys are flying off shelves in the US, with Target selling out and Amazon resellers raising prices due to increased demand.

A controversial new toy is grabbing shoppers' attention in the US this holiday season.

This year, Hasbro rolled out a new line of toys called "Yellies." The arachnid-esque "Spooders" are fuzzy, motorised creatures that are 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 and peaceful Christmas.

"Who on earth thought inventing this toy would be a good idea?!" Karen Alpert, the writer behind parenting blog Baby Sideburns, posted 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 mother described another problem created by Yellies. After opening the Yellies toy, Hilary Hard said the spider began terrorising her son.

"I yelled at it. The spider ran for it," 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.

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

Despite concerns about terrorised children and parents, most reviews of the Yellies are actually positive. Even Hard came around to the toys, despite her son's initial terror, posting a Facebook update with her son holding some "cuddlier" options.

"Great little toy that follows kiddos voices!" reads one five-star review on Amazon. "Keeps everyone entertained!"

"So much fun for the whole family. Even the cat. I'm laughing so hard my stomach hurts," another satisfied Amazon 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!" reads another.

However, 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. Amazon resellers have increased prices recently, with most variations selling for more than $20 on the website, compared to $14.99 at Target or Walmart.

Here's the Yellies in action:

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