The Origin Of The Red Light Green Light Doll In Squid Game

If you’ve already binged Netflix’s Squid Game along with the rest of the world, then odds are you were thoroughly creeped out by a certain giant robotic doll that made a memorable appearance in the show’s first episode. As the players begin to play the first in a series of children’s games, they quickly realize that the games are not as straightforward as they originally believed. (Warning: spoilers for the first episode of Squid Game lie ahead.)

Like the characters in the show, many of us played “Red Light, Green Light” as kids. In this iteration, however, the game is led by a creepy doll whose head spins around when she says “red light,” and if her camera-sensor eyes catch you moving, you’re “eliminated” ⏤ AKA shot dead on the spot. Talk about a new twist on a classic.

As if this isn’t horrifying enough, it turns out that the doll belongs to a real horse carriage village and museum in Chungcheongbok-do, South Korea. The doll stands near the entrance of the village, called Macha Land, which lies a few hours outside of Seoul. After borrowing the doll to use in the show’s first episode, the production team returned it to the village, where fans can now take a picture with it even though it is now mysteriously missing one of its hands.

It gets creepier. When four members of the Squid Game cast appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week, they revealed that the doll was based on a character who appears in Korean school textbooks. Jung Ho-yeon, who plays pickpocket Kang Sae-byeok on the show, had this to say about the doll:

“When we were at the school, there were like, characters. One is a boy and one is the girl. The boy’s name was Chulsoo, and the girl’s name was Younghee. And she’s the one [on the show].”

You can see the full interview below:

If the doll’s presence in the first episode wasn’t enough to hint at Squid Game’s terrifying premise, the bloodshed that followed surely made it clear. What might be even more unsettling is how much the doll has blown up on Twitter and TikTok since the show’s premiere.

Featuring a stellar cast, an addictive storyline, and a smorgasbord of gory images you’ll never be able to un-see, Squid Game is well worth an immediate watch and is on track to become Netflix’s biggest show of all time. It’s currently available to stream on the platform in Korean as well as with English dubbing.