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Elf on the Shelf Balloon at Macy's Parade Terrorizes Viewers

NBC | Live Science
By Laura Kelly

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a time-honored American holiday tradition. With it's Broadway performance previews, elaborate floats, and of course, the massive balloons, the parade is a great way to kick-off the holiday season. It's all fun, laughter, and songs until you see something that inspires true horror and fear among viewers. Something that just doesn't look right at all. As far as social media goes, that honor goes to the Elf on the Shelf Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.

What is Elf on the Shelf?

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elf_on_the_Shelf_poses_01.JPG

The balloon was inspired by the traditional Elf on the Shelf that debuted in the early 2000s. It's an elf doll that's popular with families, mainly those with small children. The elf is supposed to be Santa's "helper" (a.k.a., tattletale) who watches the children of the household during the holiday season and then reports back to Santa at the end of the day. The unfortunate parent stuck doing this has to move the elf to a new location every day leading up until Christmas Eve. Elf on the Shelf is one of those holiday traditions that people either love or they hate.

The Balloon Inspires Terror Among Parade Viewers

Giphy | The 93rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Given what a phenomenon Elf on the Shelf has become over the years, Macy's probably thought this would be a fun balloon to feature in the parade and that it would no doubt be a delight for children in the audience. It can't be estimated the overall reaction from children to the balloon, but there was plenty of feedback on social media from the adults watching the parade. The majority who took to Twitter appeared decidedly horrified and disturbed by the balloon.

What Exactly Upset People So Much?

Gettyimages | Gary Hershorn

So, what exactly disturbed people so much about the Elf on the Shelf balloon? The reasons seemed to vary. Many seemed to just find Elf on the Shelf creepy in general and found the balloon itself to be even worse: https://twitter.com/jessieopie/status/933752422912200706 https://twitter.com/theericschuman/status/1200089449641762817

Others were weirded out by the balloon elf's strange, squatting position: https://twitter.com/wtbates/status/1065644488029294592 https://twitter.com/panicstweets/status/1200089217445052417

Most likely the reason behind the terror of the Elf on the Shelf balloon comes from the overall loathing the toy inspires among many. As much as many families and small children seem to like it, many people find it to be a creepy tradition where a dead-eyed elf sneaks around the house in the middle of the night and spies on children. And as far as the kids know, if they slip up, that elf is heading back to the North Pole to rat them out to the man himself.

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