TikTok's horror content space, popularly known as Horror Tok, has been brimming with videos featuring a new ominous mascot — Huggy Wuggy. The character's misleadingly innocent name may fool people into dismissing it as harmless, but its true nature certainly warrants parental concern.
This isn't the first time spooky phenomena have swept the internet. The Momo Challenge went viral in 2019, while the creepy wandering clowns took the crown in 2020. Huggy Wuggy is staking its claim as the 2022 mascot on TikTok and YouTube.
Where is TikTok's viral Huggy Wuggy from?
The lanky blue-haired bear is the sinister villain in MOB Games' Poppy Playtime, released in 2021. Poppy Playtime is a horror survival game where the objective is for players to survive the night in a bloody, abandoned toy factory without being hunted by the eerie antagonist.
Huggy Wuggy is characterized by an unsettlingly large mouth lined with vicious razor-sharp teeth and dangling long arms to hug players with.
The character inspired a slew of fan-made content on YouTube before it moved to TikTok, where the #huggywuggy has amassed over 2.9 billion views. A YouTuber, TryHardNinja, even created a theme song for the intimidating blue plush named Free Hugs, with ominous lyrics like:
“Running round in a darkened room/ Make a friend, I will be there soon/ Sink my teeth in and you’re consumed”
This unofficial theme propelled Huggy Wuggy into TikTok fame, with users creating TikToks around the existing jumpscares from the video game. Other users showcased their talent by doing makeup transformations, cosplays, claymation, or artwork of Huggy Wuggy.
Some of the most popular videos on the hashtag, by TikToker Jake Fellman, have garnered nearly 85 million views and 6.8 million likes. It's been almost half a year since Poppy Playtime's launch, but Huggy Wuggy videos continue to dominate the short-video platform.
Police issue warnings against children being exposed to this trend
Given the trend's immense virality, it's no surprise that Huggy Wuggy has become a big name amongst children, especially via YouTube rather than TikTok.
However, that exposure has prompted unforeseen repercussions, with schools in the UK expressing distress over “seeing children recreating a game on the playground with hugging and whispering nasty things in the recipient’s ear.”
The police have finally taken note of these concerns and issued an official warning to parents to keep their children away from content revolving around the menacing figure.
Chris Conroy, Cyber Protection Officer for Dorset Police, told The Sun:
“There are videos people have made, songs people have made, and it’s popping up all over YouTube and Tik Tok using this quite graphic imagery of this bear-like character with razor-sharp teeth."
“It’s based around jump scares and things you certainly wouldn’t want children exposed to.”
Rhea Fern, who has a five-year-old son, told Derbyshire Times:
"I believe it's accessible onYouTube and it's really frightening that this Huggy Wuggy has snuck in under my radar as a parent and infiltrated my child's mind without me even being aware."
Another parent said:
"It's extremely concerning because this character is really sinister and frankly terrifying. It's almost becoming the online version of that Killer Clown craze."
Huggy Wuggy's deceptive name has fooled a number of parents into being oblivious about the high levels of violence their children are being exposed to.
School heads and cyber police have advised parents to be vigilant about the kind of content their children are watching.
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