Warm greetings from Welcome Home; Horror project takes internet by storm

Lily Corcoran, Copy Editor

Fun drawings, cute characters, and…a creepy Sesame Street-esque puppet that watches your every move? This is the gist of Welcome Home, a psychological horror art project that has become very popular on TikTok and Instagram over the past month.

      The official website for Welcome Home simulates a restoration project for a fictional children’s show of the same name that has been “lost to obscurity.” The site “is a horror project that focuses on unraveling the mystery surrounding a beloved 1970s children’s television show,” according to the project’s creator, ClownIllustrations.

      They continue, “You are to accompany a colorful cavalcade of puppets as their beloved neighborhood begins to skew and distort into a nightmarish memory that they can barely recall. Through illustrated books, recordings, and an array of old merchandise, you will find what dwells within this colorful home! Beneath its beautiful carpets, behind its gorgeous wallpaper, and deep within its breathing crevices! Fortunately, you have someone to keep you company and hold your hand as you walk down a path now long forgotten.”

      The website has many features, including a news page, a Q&A with the creators of the project (the Welcome Home Restoration Project, or WHRP), concept art, and a guestbook where visitors can leave real responses (and maybe, just maybe, they can be answered). Visitors can also take a look at the original cast of characters, including the puppet Wally Darling, who is the main character of the franchise.

      Although ClownIllustrations’ official website states that they began the project in 2018, Welcome Home did not start gaining much popularity until the beginning of April 2023. Junior Tristan Armiger found out about the project when they “kept seeing posts about these cute characters, but every now and then there’d be really creepy drawings of the characters thrown in the mix, so I was kind of like, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ so I checked it out.”

     Armiger continues, “Maybe it’s just because I’ve always loved cute things that can also be creepy, but I love it so much. I can’t wait until we get more [of a] story from it.” They also add, “I really want to know what’s going on. Like, why is Wally seemingly self-aware? What happened to make the show lost media?”

     Likewise, sophomore Sage Thompson found out about the project through social media. “I thought it was super cool because…these people I follow were making drawings of what I learned were puppets. Then, they started to get more creepy, and me, liking weird and creepy things, was even more interested.”

     Thompson continues, “I like the way it has puppets [that] you would see in kids’ shows and whatnot, and made it have a horror aspect so that it’s interesting to older kids and teens, too,” they said. 

     As of now, no updates have been made, as ClownIllustrations has been on a mental health hiatus ever since the project started gaining popularity. However, this has not stopped people from discovering and falling in love with the characters and the franchise itself.