Creepy doll challenge…phase 1. (UPDATED WITH PHASE 3)

A couple of weeks ago I challenged my friend (and fellow collector of creepy dolls) Bonnie to see who could rework this doll into the creepiest thing possible and now I’m ready to share my first variation.

In fairness, with the right lighting and filter it was already a little creepy:

But I thought I could go further.  So I added a few things.  Like a claw made of old erasers, a hand made of bark, another doll I repainted for her to hold, and a cat skeleton.  And some ruffles.

Work in progress…
Not a real cat skeleton. Thought I should clarify since I’m me.
Antiqued it a bit.  The end.

Then Victor and Hailey were like, “Not really creepy enough.  You didn’t do anything to her face” but I think that’s the creepy part.  They disagreed so I decided to make a stop-motion video to convince them.

They still don’t think it’s creepy enough because I think maybe I’ve immunized them with repeated exposure to weirdness so I’ll keep working on it and keep you posted.

PS.  I’ve seen other people talking about doing their own so if you decide to make a creepy doll post it in the comments because I totally want to see it.

UPDATE:  Consensus is that the face isn’t creepy enough so I’ve tried again:

View this post on Instagram

#creepydollchallenge Details on the blog.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

What do you think?  Better?


Several of you noted that her hair was too “perky” to be scary so now one of my other dolls is bald so this could happen:


Also, several of you have pointed out that she might always look a little too lovable to some of us because (as a misfit toy) she fits in our community very well and the more broken I make her, the more relatable she becomes, turning her into more of a mascot than a massacre.  Others would like me to stop posting creepy doll pictures so that they can start sleeping again.  Fair enough on both counts.


And now…time for the weekly wrap-up!



Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):


This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Story Worth, which is a pretty awesome idea  I’m going to try myself.  From them:”This year, give Mom a StoryWorth Book to preserve her stories. Each week, we’ll email her a question about her life – asking her to recount her favorite memory of her grandparents, or whether she’s ever pulled any great pranks. All she has to do is reply with a story, which is forwarded to you and any other family members you invite. At the end of the year, her stories are bound in a beautiful keepsake book your family will cherish!”  Check it out here.

143 thoughts on “Creepy doll challenge…phase 1. (UPDATED WITH PHASE 3)

Read comments below or add one.

  1. That doll-cat is WEIRD!! I love it! Definitely creepy. I don’t have the skills to make my own, but I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

  2. I think she’s kind of sweet. Does that suggest something bad about me?

  3. Much as I hate to disagree with you, I gotta go with Victor and Hailey on this. I find that face too pretty to be creepy.

  4. So… a claw made of old erasers was just something you happened to have on hand?
    – pause –
    On hand!
    Get it?
    You guys?

  5. Maybe some stitch lines or joker smile would creep up her face a bit.

  6. Even being a weird mash-up of crazy ish, I still think she’s adorable. Her face is so pretty. I’m not sure you could make her scary 🙂

  7. I cannot believe I am going to say this, but…..I agree with Victor.

  8. I find the doll in the background trying to break free from the glass creepier! But I love the cat-skeleton body and the eraser hand!

  9. My five year old daughter loves this doll Jenny and wants one. Only I don’t do crafts creepy or otherwise. So rhanmks for that. Thank god you didn’t do spider legs. The cat is better.

  10. she looks less creepy in her after pictures than she does in the before picture..

  11. I actually happen to own the China Girl doll, and I think she’s lovely, and not very creepy at all…but that may be because I also own these two lovely ladies, Mildred and Estelle, and thus the creepy doll threshold in our home is pretty high. Yes, Estelle is missing her eyes, the top of her head and a forearm, and she has the tiniest, pointiest teeth, but I love her nonetheless.

  12. Member that time your husband fell asleep on the couch and woke up with a babydoll wearing a donut sombrero?

  13. You want to see creepy? Look at the “heads” cosmetology students cut (and the faces they decorate)! We lived in a townhouse that was up for sale by the owner. Although our cosmetologist had moved on to greater things, she’d left these as a reminder of the fun and games at school. The realtor opened the closet to have a look inside and stepped back. She promptly asked if they could be boxed up, out of sight, as they were quite startling. I wish I had some photos….

    Maybe a cosmetologist with examples can post a photo….?

  14. I think the sweet face would be creepier if she were holding a bloody knife… sweet faces are creepier when evidence of violence is apparent… 🙂 But I do think, like Victor and Hailey, most of us have been exposed too much to your delightful weirdness to be creeped out by a doll/cat skeleton hybrid…. and instead we find it endearing… Maybe you have too many fucked up followers and friends to truly appreciate normal levels of creepy…. Personally, I think that’s a good thing!

  15. Sorry, but this doll is really cute and not creepy at all, she’s like the good dead cat fairy.

  16. Oh my gosh. Whenever, I hear or read the words creepy doll, I think of Annabelle from the Conjuring 2. Totally creepy and I believe that movie is based on a true story. It could’ve been the first Conjuring movie. I don’t remember.

  17. I love what you do with your days… I’m inspired to make a creepy doll – thinking of a face eating Timmy with freaky crawly hands… Those things have been haunting me since I read your Instagram and have since become a puddle of my former self.

  18. Stephanie (#11) just scared the shit out of me! You doll? Not so much. Perhaps I’ve also been around you too long. 😉

    Her face and head could use more creepifying, imo.

  19. Re: Remake the stop motion film and have the doll in the glass case make subtle escape/screaming motions.

  20. Little creepy. Her face just seems very matter of fact “Why,yes, I will scalp you with my claw hand, and then I need to bake muffins. “

  21. Holy-moley shitizzles! I’m not one who loves dolls, or even liked them much when I was age-apropos, but I f#cking love this one!

  22. Gotta say, that is super creepy. The cat skeleton bothers me. I love cats more than people. A snake skeleton would be awesome!

  23. …and, of course, I forgot to add one thing: your creation is a creepy kitty-centaur! Need just 99 more to make a dollartaur! 🙂

  24. Painting the eyes black and then doing a crackle paint on the skin would make it oodles more creepy.

  25. I make creepy art dolls, and I do find that some desensitisation is inevitable. Other people are far more creeped out by them than I am! lol

  26. I have a doll that is so naturally creepy that my husband will not let her in our bedroom. She was from my great-grandmother’s house, and by the time I inherited her, the open/close eyes had gone all moldy, so she looked like she was staring sightlessly.

    I give your doll a 6/10 on the creep scale so far. Like you, I am growing immune. I can’t wait to see what your friend did with it. And the fact that you have a cat skeleton just laying around means that I have found my tribe.

  27. I think you just need to change her eyes up. If done right, that’s all you’ll need to do to her face.

  28. Nope. Nope. And more nope. Anything that elicits a paralyzing uncanny valley response is a big fat nope from me. Creepy dolls will be the one apocalypse that I will be wholly unprepared for.

  29. Sorry, not creepy. I feel sorry for her, and think she’s kind of brave, trying to maintain a cheerful demeanor despite being made the product of a mad scientist’s experiment.

  30. Hi Jenny, I am remembering your post about trying TMS today because I am looking to try a different thing for PTSD/depression. I’ve been reading about Ketamine all day today and I am wondering if you’ve tried it or anyone else here has tried it? It sounds promising. This isn’t an endorsement of the site but a lot of the research is linked here:

    If anyone has feedback on this I’d like to know!

    I thought the doll was totally creepy to begin with…

  31. I kind of want to pet her, the way you would pet a skinny, underfed cat to make it feel happier. I’m suspecting that’s not a normal reaction, but I think I’m going to have to come to terms with the fact that I’m not a normal person at some point in my life.

  32. She’s great! I love it! Although I would replace her little Lalaloopsy with a Pose Skeleton by Rement. (They’re 3 inch high articulated skeletons)

  33. Yeah, I found her creepiest before the changes. That perfected, glassy eyed smile with the petite body – that creeped me out. What was going on behind those eyes?

    Now, she looks like she fits in with the rest of us and I’d be perfectly happy to hang out with her – and I find her more maternal looking too, probably because of the little doll (and in no way a reflection on the mother who raised me.)

  34. Ick. I look at that doll’s face and I think “Eva Braun…”

  35. I used to know some people who worked at LAIKA and they will see this and they will clasp you to their bosoms as a long lost colleague and soul sister.
    The figure in the background!

  36. Will this story play out as the illustrations to a new book?
    You can tell us the story is fiction and we’ll pretend that that’s the truth…

  37. Also, I’d leave the face alone. Once you make a traditional creepy face, the rest is going to lose out — it just can’t be viewed the same. Unless very subtle – one single drop of blood by her mouth? One barely noticeable altered eyebrow? A tiny white streak of hair?

  38. Douglas County Library flat out RULES. Librarians are the coolest people! Edward Snowden says so, too in his Twitter feed.

    I’m reminded of the success of the Post Secret books. People have left money and their own notes in bookstore and library books.

  39. First pic looks like her weapon was left lying around like I leave my keys…. creepy.

  40. If you turned her around and had her interacting with the doll imprisoned in glass, I think the creepiness would increase dramatically. However, she’s a fabulous creation.

  41. The creepy ass Victorian baby with the demon hand was way creepier. And yes, you may have immunised us from some of this. Because that doll should be creepy. But that baby makes me shudder. 😳

  42. The fact that this “creepy” doll was created by you, i am a little disappointed. I know you have a darker side than that😀. I wish had the human cat skeleton to begin with so i could make my own creation. I am not very creative but my brain is very dark and sadly misunderstood by most. Only those posting on this blog could relate!

  43. I always think of JoCo’s song Creepy Doll. The creepiest dolls for me have one missing eye with complete blackness behind it. Also working doll mouths creep me the hell out.

  44. The blankness of the china doll face is what makes it so creepy.

  45. Jenny—–I loved the “library vandalism” story at the Douglas county Library. What utter fabulousness!
    But it also made me a little sad. Because I requested that the library where I live order “You Are Here”, and they refused to do so “because it has perforated pages”.
    So no library patrons here will get to see it. 🙁

  46. I have to agree that she’s not creepy enough. Possibly because her sweet face is forward? Any way to have it face her hind quarters? That might be enough!

  47. I have to agree with Hailey and Victor – I think she’s less creepy now, more… endearingly eclectic. Dolls already have such a predisposition to creepy, I think it’s hard to add to it without accidentally making them less uncanny.

    (Also, the Douglas County Library story made me so, so happy.)

  48. Aww she’s so pretty! I don’t see the creep factor at all, sorry. It’s like she’s a pretty, upbeat little thing who is just trying to make the most of life with her disability (cat skeleton body and weird claw hands). Such an inspiration! Not creepy though. Too cute!

  49. Ok that is AWESOME. Way, way creepy. I would love to play, but seriously…who could top a cat skeleton? Do you have the matching skull kicking around? If so I would love to see you gussy it up and do the matching hybrid with the doll’s bottom half. A cat skull with little skinny legs and some mary janes would be damn impressively creepy too. Or send it to me and I’ll do it. Im seeing glass doll’s sleepy eyes with the little lashes and a bonnet….

  50. Don’t take the eyeballs out. Just paint them jet black.  Far creepier.

    On Sun, 7 May 2017 18:03:36 +0000

  51. To be honest, your doll doesn’t freak me out. Which I thank you for. But the Francis Glessner Lee story? A woman who devoted her life to creating bloody dollhouse scenes? Now that one is making it hard to sleep . . .

  52. I like your idea of somehow leaving the face unmodified for contrast, but what about the back of the head? Maybe cut a hole in the back of the head, hollow it out, and fill it with a combination of loose dolls eyes and red and black wax drippings?

  53. Dolls creep me the fuck out! Yours looks like a centaur doll. I’m not as creeped out by this. Faces with weird eyes and creepy faces give me nightmares. I’m going to have to take an ambien now just thinking about it.

  54. I don’t think she’s creepy. I think she’s pretty. Although your alterations make her look pretty cool.

  55. I totally agree with you that her face is pretty creepy just like that. And you know why it’s so creepy, it’s because her face is just so perfect. Even though the rest of her is messed up, it’s the perfect parts of dolls that are the most creepy and that usually ends up being their faces. Though in general I fancy dolls! 🙂

  56. Good Gawd!! It’s like June Cleaver channelling Pet Sematary and Edward Scissorhands. I like to show The Viking your posts so he can be thankful. I dropped a bottle of pop this evening. It blew up like a volcano and when I tried to put my hand over the bottle top it squirted out between my fingers and sprayed the entire kitchen including my daughter’s sneakers and every piece of clothing on my body and one of the cats. The Viking said “What the FUCK are you DOING?!” So I showed him your post and while he was looking at it I whispered that we have to burn the house down now because it will be too hard to clean up. So…..keep up the good work. And thank you. :o)

  57. I think the shears next to her add to it. Because STABBITY SHEARS NEXT TO HER.

  58. I vote Creepy but only because her face has a Stepford Wives (the original) quality about it, and that movie is the epitome of creepy to me.

  59. You should really check out an artist from south bend, Indiana called gears on acid. You can find het on Facebook and Instagram too.
    If someone can tell me how to include a picture from my phone i could post a few pics…

  60. I’m just really glad you clarified the cat skeleton thing. Because, as you said, you are you, and I totally thought it was real.

  61. Sorry, I have to agree – the before pic with the filter is creepier than the finished product. Maybe if you could paint the head to get that ghostly filter effect?

  62. I also have that cat skeleton! Only mine has a cat skull for a head.
    But…yeah, ditto so many of the other commenters. I think she’s adorable with her hand and her skeletal cattaur body (that’s quite the thigh gap she’s sporting)
    Sid Phillips taught us all how to have compassion for repurposed dolls. I suspect the more she’s creeped-up, the more loveable she’ll become, especially if she slowly emerges from the sand in a sandbox.

  63. Not creepy enough; you can do better than that! Add cat hair to just the tip of the tail. Make one of the legs a wooden leg and paint/add patent leather shoes to the other three. The dress is in too nice of a condition…. add a jagged rip.
    I agree, though, the face doesn’t need to be touched. She’s like one of the twins in The Shining.

  64. She looked creepier in the top pre-adjusted picture. I think she is still to sunshiny and bright for true creep factor.

  65. I’m with Victor and Haley, not creepy enough. It might be the surroundings… she might need creepier surroundings. Like weird doll out in a sunshiny lawn… nothing scary there… weird doll in old abandoned attic waiting for its next victim… totally creepy.

  66. So, normally dolls creep me right out. However, I think she’s really adorable, especially with the crazy zombie mouth-button-eye. There aren’t enough cattaurs out there (Cat + Centaur = Cattaur). I’d adopt her in a heartbeat.

  67. This is kind of what I picture when I read Christopher Moore’s “A Dirty Job.”

  68. Totally creepy. I don’t think you could make it creepier if you strapped a sloth with a chastity belt to her left boob. Or put a Shriner’s hat with an eyeball tassel on her head. Or stuck a meat cleaver out of her back with ‘I’ve got your back’ etched on the blade. :o)

  69. I have to say that I think the doll was way creepier before the facial makeover. With that sweet doll face and torso backed by the cat skeleton, she was the stuff nightmares are made of!

  70. I make creepy dolls but I don’t know how to post pictures here!

  71. My 5 year old Granddaughter altrred some barbies into zombies. Pretty scary for a 5 yr old. Lol
    We started out making dia de los muertos barbies but hers ended up as zombies. If i knew how to attach a pic i would but sadly im phone and computer illiterate

  72. I think if you subtly make her eyebrows more menacing .\ /. It may do the trick of making her seem like a calculating, patient, but determined force of ill will to the doll community at large. Give it a try. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

  73. This is the look I was going for:
    .\ /.
    Kinda like evil that’s a lurker.
    It’s late and it’s been a long weird day.
    Thanks for helping me with your weirdness. It helps me know I’m not alone in this struggle we call “life in the real world.”

  74. MUCH better — now I won’t be able to sleep for a week. shudder-twitch

  75. P.S. I just read the dollhouse article. I think that there may be a new hobby in your future. I can totally see you creating forensic scenes like those. (And that’s why I love you! 🙂 )

  76. I actually think she was creepier with the untouched, blankly angellic face.

  77. Dennis Harris at 106, that was fantastic! Jenny, now you’re talking, that’s more what I expected from you.

  78. Cool creepy dolls…I’m with you…sometimes the doll face is creepy enough on its own…in your dark bedroom…with moonlight flickering over their faces (my mom had a doll collection that lived in my room…actually I liked them but they can spooky). Thank you Jenny for sharing StoryWorth!! So excited to purchase for my mom and dad in their 80s who don’t need more stuff. I’m been sharing with friends… Thank you for being you. 🙂

  79. Definitely better now! The first time, the doll stuck in the lantern in the background creeped me out more. But now it is quite creepy 😀

  80. I would LOVE a follow up to You Are Here with color pages of weird Misfit dolls! We could each choose our own personal mascot and the whole lot could be our dolly cheer squad

  81. Awesome! I have been trying to think what I will do to mine when she arrives. I hope she doesn’t take revenge on me while I sleep!
    – E

  82. Didn’t read all the comments before posting comment-that Pre-change is Stepford Wife-ish, which was a totally creepy movie for me. Post changes she looks like a Misfit Toy from Santa’s Island of Misfit Toys. In other words, sorta creepy but cute at the same time.

  83. Aww, I love her new hair! It makes her look like she’s taking her creepiness seriously. It makes me adore her even more. She is a delight.
    When will Bonnie be done with hers?
    And is the bald doll, the one who sacrificed her raven locks, creepy now?

  84. And you thought the Canadian house full of clowns was disturbing…

  85. Jenny I thank you for creepy shit to distract me from the other creepy shit in my life. 😁 She is fantabulous. Now I can’t get the song We’re on the island of misfit toys from Rudolph out of my head.

  86. Saw this on Instagram…. my husband was sitting next to me. He saw it over my shoulder and said “um. no.” to which I said “it’s a creepy doll contest” he said “winning.”


  87. I think she’s getting less creepy with each phase.

    Is something wrong with me?

  88. The pleading eye in the last picture – the whispered “please help”. Perfect.

  89. I totally see a TV series based differently on the dollhouse lady. This one would just be about a person solving murders by recreating the scene with dolls. Even better: a child savant who solves crimes by acting them out with her dolls. Like at first she reads about one in the news, acts it out with teddy bears, and punishes the bad one. Then people realize she has a gift….

  90. Wait. Wait. In the first two photos the markings on her face are on different sides. Does this mean one of them was a creepy doll selfie? shudder

  91. Just wondering if the button eye is homage to Neil Gaiman and Coraline?

    (Always. ~ Jenny)

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