What to do when a baby toy is haunted? The answer will surprise you. (Jennifer Bardsley)

What to do when a baby toy is haunted? The answer will surprise you. (Jennifer Bardsley)

New parents? Protect yourself against possessed baby toys

A battery-operated ball for babies talks — unprompted — like it should be in the movie “Ghostbusters.”

One of the great joys of being fully vaccinated is that I can now babysit my infant nephew. In my quest to be a fun aunt, I picked up a small selection of toys to have on hand. Unfortunately, I accidentally brought home a toy that could have played a staring roll in “Ghostbusters.” That’s right, I’m talking about a toy that’s haunted.

All of the toys I bought are innocuous except for one. The stacking cups? Totally fine. The rattle ball? Completely normal. The fabric book? It squeaks when it’s supposed to squeak. But then there’s the battery-operated ball, and that thing is scary.

I should have known not to buy it when it came to life, unprompted, at the store. It started barking at me as I walked to the register. “What the heck?” I double-checked the box.

“Can you press the dog?” it asked.

I didn’t press the dog, but I did read the instructions, which said that it was for ages 6-36 months. “Perfect,” I thought. Plus, the price was right since it was on sale. “I can handle some barking,” I thought to myself. I placed the ball on the counter.

“Keep your eyes on us,” it said. “You’ll never know where we’ll roll.”

“Let’s turn this off,” said the store clerk, reaching for it quickly. She rang up my purchase and sent me away in a hurry.

I came home and washed all of the toys. “Meow meow,” said the ball. “I’m a red cat.”

“Did I accidentally hit the button?” I asked.

“Catch me, catch me if you can,” it answered.

“I better turn this off.” I put down the rag. But by then it was quiet again, so I didn’t bother.

A few moments later, music played and lights flashed. “Here I go, watch me roll,” it announced, followed by maniacal clown laughter.

“Off! Off! Off!” This time I didn’t mess around and made sure I clicked the button. But still, I looked at it warily. Sometimes with possessed toys, the off button doesn’t work.

I learned that lesson 16 years ago from my sister-in-law when she gave my son a hand-me-down fire engine from his cousin. “I need to warn you,” she had told me. “This toy is possessed.”

“I’m sure it will be fine,” I had said, showing my naivety as a new parent. Boy, was I wrong.

The fire engine would come alive in the middle of the night when everyone was sound asleep. Sirens, lights, fire fighters blaring instructions — that thing had a mind of its own.

“How’s the fire engine working out for you?” my sister-in-law asked, the next time she saw me.

“Great,” I told her. “I gave it to Grandma and Grandpa to keep at their house.”

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

The Gothard Sisters will perform at the Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater on Sept. 19 in Snohomish. From left, Greta, Solana and Willow Gothard. (Ruth Vanden Bos)
Edmonds’ Gothard Sisters return to stage with new original music

The trio’s songs include one inspired by an Old West legend. You can hear them Sept. 19 in Snohomish.

Quinn Fitzgerald
New hosts take the reins at Everett’s weekly comedy showcase

Adam Tiller and Quinn “Lil’ Q” Fitzgerald now host the Monday-night stand-up sessions at Tony V’s in Everett.

Andy Bronson / The Herald
The Tokyo Classic burger is the most popular menu item at Katsu Burger, because it’s the most like an American burger, business owner Hannah Ha says.
Now you can make Katsu Burger’s best-selling burger at home

Chef-owner Hannah Ha of the Lake Stevens store says the Tokyo Classic is the most popular menu item.

A tray of grilled delights; clockwise from top right, Cheeseburgers, Mustard-Lime Steak, Tandoori Chicken, and Grilled Asparagus With Olive Oil and Parmesan, on Wednesday, August 11, 2021. (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
Make it count: We have one last weekend of summertime grilling

There’s still time for you to grill asparagus, cheeseburgers, tandoori chicken and mustard lime steaks.

Chicken thighs braised in hard cider with Brussels sprouts and apples makes an easy one-pan fall dinner. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Eat This: Cider-braised chicken with apples and Brussels sprouts

Braising the chicken in hard cider — the alcohol cooks off — amplifies its seasonal flavor and adds a subtle sweetness.

Cathy Richardson is lead vocalist of Jefferson Starship, which is scheduled to perform Sept. 17 at the Historic Everett Theatre. (Associated Press)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Sir Mix-a-Lot, ZZ Top and Bands, Brews and Bowling at Evergreen Lanes in Everett.

Ian Terry / The Herald

Christa and Richard Porter, of The Porters, play a set at the Black Lab Gallery during the Fisherman's Village Music Festival in Everett on Friday, March 31, 2017.

Photo taken on 03312017
Where to hear live music in Snohomish County nightclubs

The listings include Engel’s Pub, Mirkwood Public House and Port Gardner Bay Winery shows.

The 2022 Kia Carnival has front-wheel drive, three rows, and placing for seven or eight passengers, depending on seat configuration. (Kia) 20210913
Kia replaces Sedona minivan with all-new 2022 Carnival MPV

Do similarities to the brand’s current boxy SUVs justify the new nomenclature? Kia says yes.

This delicious--and labor intensive--strawberry salad with Dungeness crab was worth the drive to The Loft, in Poulsbo. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Are you vaccinated and ready to dine out? Not so fast

Here are six things to consider — all due to labor shortages — before you visit your favorite restaurant.

Most Read