Halloween is upon us. It’s time to break out the costumes and watch some scary movies. Have you noticed a difference of what scares you now and what scared you as a kid? There were certain things that scared the pants off me when I was small. In honor of Halloween, I decided to put together a series on scary nostalgia. These were shows and stories that really made me shiver as a kid. Today, I will start with a show that was great and scary. I couldn’t miss it as a kid. Give a round of screams for the Nickelodeon’s Are you Afraid of the Dark?
For those uninitiated into the Midnight Society, the show first aired October 31, 1991 in the USA. It became a feature program on SNICK. The series ran for seven seasons. This show combined everyday life with scary stories. I think that is what really scared me as a kid. It wasn’t the Crypt Keeper that was making you afraid to go to sleep at night. It wasn’t showing adults in frightening situations. It was showing kids and teenagers like me or you. Most of the situations the characters were in started out as normal. It made it more real to me. I also had the curse, or blessing, like many kids of an overactive imagination. There were some episodes that really got to me.
Take “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner”. I remember not being able to sleep the first time I saw that episode. The jester outfit and the oozing mouth horrified me. The story was just about a kid who wanted to draw comic books until he got ahold of the wrong one. I used to thumb through my father’s comics. I couldn’t pick up one for a few weeks after watching that. I was very impressionable as a kid. I had dreams about that grinning face. Years later, after time had cured the fear of that oozing face, I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was the episode with The Gentlemen — a.k.a. creepy grinning men that gave me nightmares again. I watched Ghastly Grinner again for research purposes. I am thankful to say I had no bad dreams because of it.
Another episode that made me scared as a kid was “The Tale of the Dream Machine”. The story wasn’t that scary from a horror standpoint. It’s about a boy who finds an old typewriter. Anything he writes on the typewriter comes to life. It was a cool storyline, but for a kid who was already scribbling stories, it was terrifying. I was convinced that if I wrote anything scary it would come to life. I really didn’t want to sleep in a dark room after watching it. Thankfully, I am able to watch it now without a shiver.
After perusing a few episodes for this article, many of them are downright silly. Also, who can forget those ‘90s hairstyles and clothes? As a kid, I can understand why they would scare me. Now I am able to laugh at how silly they were. I also mourn the fact there is no show for kids like it on television. So did you watch AYAOTD? as a kid? What was your favorite/scariest episode?
Stay tuned for Scary Nostalgia Part 2.