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By Eli Panken and Corky Siemaszko

For one hapless Alabama teenager, the Barney song could have been rewritten like this: I love you, you love me, get this dinosaur head off me!

In fact, it took firefighters half an hour to pry the purple costume noggin off of 15-year-old Darby Risner.

Afterward, Darby said she just had to laugh.

"I was so happy," Darby told NBC News Tuesday. "I was really worried for a while there that they wouldn't be able to get it off of me."

Darby Shannon with head in Barney costume.Courtesy of Audrey Shannon

Darby's ordeal began on Sunday evening while she was at a sleepover and she found the purple costume head in the basement.

"I want to scare my friends, so I put it on and waited for them to come downstairs," she said. "It didn't scare them."

Darby said she didn't immediately try to take the head off because everybody was laughing and having fun.

"When it started to get hot, I tried to push it off," she said. "That's when I realized it was stuck."

The teenager said she didn't panic at first.

But "the head's big and slipped down over the my shoulders and my arms were pinned," she said. "That made me nervous."

So her friends and a parent rubbed Vaseline on her arms "and tried to push it off," Darby said. "But it kept slipping down."

It was at that point that Darby got panicky.

"The worst moment was when I had to throw up," she said. "All my friends were like, 'No! No! No!' It would have had to sit in there with me, so I fought it back."

Darby said after her friends tried and failed several more times to get the head off, she was marched upstairs and out of the house and driven to the Trussville Fire Department. She said she could not see anything but she could hear the firefighters laughing when she was led inside the station.

"They found it hilarious," she said.

But even the firefighters couldn't get the head off.

"She's so little that when they lifted the head, it lifted her off the ground so they had to hold down her feet," Trussville Fire Lt. Vince Bruno told "And with the Vaseline on her arms, they said it was like trying to wrestle a greased pig."

Eventually, Darby said, the firefighters brought out a tool of some kind "and started cutting these slits."

"Then they pulled really hard and it popped off," she said. "It was a big relief."

Darby said that when she was younger she was a fan of the purple dinosaur and his "I Love You" song.


"Not really, anymore," Darby said, laughing. "All of this was really nerve-wracking."