8 Vintage Ads Ripped Directly from Your Nightmares

#4. Dead-Eyed Children Are Coming for You


Once upon a time, the shirt makers at Carter's made a loose connection between "smart" and "black framed glasses." Which is fine -- sitcom writers and hipsters have made the same mistake for decades. Unfortunately, Carter's forgot the other tropes we need to recognize that we're looking at smart kids, specifically pocket protectors, high-waisted pants, and Asian. Instead, Carter's selected five dead-eyed androids and stuck some glasses and shirts on them and hoped for the best. Bad move. Because instead of selling shirts, they end up selling the nagging suspicion that there's a secret nation of soulless kids in ugly clothes roaming among us -- and that's the last thing we need to worry about.

The one in yellow is looking past you to the unseen dickie-clad cyborg coming up behind you. The girl in blue is so scary that her glasses are clamoring to get off her face. Grandma's Blue Wallpaper Shirt is clearly the ringleader, since he's the only one with a hint of emotion on his face, albeit that of simmering rage. And that's the thing about these children. They may be dangerous, but at least there's a spark of life behind their eyes. I can't say the same for the child pictured below.

The Society Pages

According to Trix, breakfast is "ghastly" and 5-year-olds are women who have to be tricked into eating with brightly colored sparkle-balls. This method of feeding is called "applied psychology," not "trickery" or "set up for major food issues in the future." The real question is: Why worry about nourishing this empty husk of a human at all? Knock knock. Who's there? No one. She's empty on the inside.

#3. Wranglers Are Hot

The Jumping Frog

Poor woman on the fence. She brought a rope to a red hot branding iron fight. She doesn't even know there's going to be a fight, thus the look of happiness on her face. Faceless Pancake Butt has a blazing hot brand behind his back and there's not a calf in sight. Good job of making us assume a little lady is about to get mutilated, Wrangler.

#2. Devil Redheads


It is a truth universally acknowledged that every redhead is either super cute or super uncute. There is no middle ground when it comes to red hair. And for a brief window, American advertisers deliberately sought out the ugliest, creepiest redheaded children they could find to sell their products. It was a really weird time, because all of the models had some very specific traits in common:

  • There's a maniacal gleam in their eyes

  • They're lit with the light from the fires of hell itself

  • Teeth ... off ... somehow

The teeth thing was ominous. Either the child was sporting an unending row of uniform, spaceless, gleaming white tombstones ...

Vintage Ad Browser

... or there were so many gaps, you could drive a double-wide trailer right into their mouths. No one was even trying to get it right.


Even when the illustrator wasn't taking liberties with how human faces should look, the real-life models add a touch of WTF to pictures. Such as this kid, who is doing this "come hither" thing, but with his tongue.

Vintage Advertisements

You know how chimps and dogs and '70s game show hosts bare their teeth as a sign of aggression? This is like a whole generation of redheaded children who were bred to do the same, but they also have a touch of fever in their eyes. The perfect combo to sell orange juice and Mace.

#1. More Like "HORRORDAY Inn"

Vandelay Design

At first glance, everything looks fine. Here's a family arriving at their vacation destination, the Holiday Inn. There's the welcoming attendant at the front desk. Everyone's laughing, having a great time. There's the little boy holding up his ... WHAT IS THAT?

Is that the head of a lemon yellow lemur stitched onto a baby doll??? Are we looking at its butt crack? Look at its eyes ... they're facing us but GLARING up at the chest of the man welcoming them to his hotel. Oh, dear, sweet, unknowing, innocent man. You will not live through the night, for you have been chosen by the pantsless lemur human gremlin. The child's family is only laughing in relief that they'll survive another day. You, Mr. Holiday Inn, you're No. 1.

Kristi Harrison is No. 1 on Tumblr and No. 5,876 on Twitter. You can read more from her there.

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