Hungry Hungry Hippos (1978)
As kids raced to help four colorful hippos stuff their faces, parents were treated to the ear-splitting sound of marbles hitting plastic. Said marbles also had a knack for popping off the game board and onto the floor, where they turned into slippery booby traps.
Tickle Me Elmo (1996)
Kids begged for this squeezable version of Sesame Street’s little red monster. But moms and dads who managed to get their hands on one were rewarded with round after round of Elmo’s creepy, riotous laughter.
This keychain-sized digital hatchling required nonstop attention (food! play! sleep!) and would beep angrily if its needs went unmet. Just like any other family pet, Tamagotchi’s care and feeding often fell to irritated parents.
Parents who invited this owl-like, animatronic creature into their home were disappointed to discover that cute-looking Furby was actually an insufferable chatterbox. Even worse: It had no volume control – or off-switch.
“The Elf on the Shelf” (2005)
Kids adore Santa’s lurking little envoy, even though he’s supposedly spying on them. But annoyed parents don’t like having to move him around every morning – nor do they appreciate the widespread expectation that the Elf delivers pre-Christmas treats.