There’s no “right time” to get into the horror genre. Whether you dipped your toes in young, or didn’t dive into the world of the spooky until much later in life, horror is for you. That being said, there’s a certain level of nostalgia that comes into play when you dip your toes in at a younger age. The old Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark anthology was that for so many people across several generations. With the film now playing in theaters, we wanted to take a look across several different mediums to get a “where do I go from here” kind of list for those who found themselves intrigued by the world of children’s horror.
The Fear Street books from R.L. Stine
Though the Fear Street entries didn’t hit the same level of popularity as Goosebumps, R.L. Stine’s solution for teenage readers was just as exceptional. While my personal favorite was the Fear Street Cheerleaders trilogy, there’s actually quite a few Fear Street books. Whether you’re looking for murder, ghosts, or monsters, there’s a series in here for you.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
If you’re a millennial that digs horror, you probably grew up watching the ’90s series, Are You Afraid of the Dark. We followed the Midnight Society through a series of anthology episodes for six years, followed by a brief revival in ’99. Since then, Are You Afraid of the Dark has kept its status as a cult favorite. That continued popularity has resulted in the show’s return in October of this year.
You prefer books over film? Film over books? Love reading the book before you check out the adaptation? The Witches has you covered! Both the film and the book by Roald Dahl are appropriately spooky and a great follow up step into the foray of scary stuff for kiddos! The tale follows a young boy as he finds himself tangled up in the affairs of a coven.
Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara
Everyone likes to assume that witches don’t have any ghosty struggles. Ghosts in the House illustrates that that isn’t always the case! Kazuno Kohara’s spooky story for kids caters to a younger reader, but sometimes we need baby steps when we’re starting to get involved in a new genre! Kazuno’s story is charmingly illustrated and features a wonderfully adorable protagonist.
The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia C. McKissack
An exceptional and original combination of African American history and folklore, The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural talks about the special half hour of twilight, and what goes bump during it. Packed full of relevant history and messages for today, this is the perfect set of stories to pick up immediately after leaving Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Johnny The Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez
Johnny The Homicidal Maniac is a little darker, and a touch more mature than the other offerings in this list. With that acknowledged, it’s a fun, funny, and often creepy comic series that’s worth checking out if you’re ready for some extra swearing and some comic book gore. The story’s spinoff, Squee is a little less mature, but equally dark if you’re looking for a baby step.
Tales from the Crypt
We’re talking about children’s horror, and Tales from the Crypt was aired on HBO. But my whole generation watched it when we were kids, and look at how great Millenials turned out! Jokes aside, there is a little extra profanity, violence, and a little nudity in this one. Basically, if you’re a teen you’ve probably seen and heard everything that makes the show HBO worthy. The young youngins might want to give it a couple years.
This is just a snippet of the whole world of children’s horror that exists out there. From the warm and friendly to the deeply spooky, there’s a starting place for everyone who’s interested in the world of horror. If the entries above seem a little too scary, there’s also things like the aforementioned Goosebumps, or a whole host of films like Gremlins, The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and Coraline. There’s no wrong place to start, and no incorrect path to head down. Stay spooky!
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