Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Changes

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Changes

The classic, terrifying images that we loved as kids are being replaced with more “child friendly” alternatives.

Have you seen this horrifying news? The classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that we read as children has become so terrifying, so grotesque and scary and monstrous, that I am scared to buy them for my own daughter, as I had planned on doing in a couple of years. No, they’re not gorier. They’re not grislier, or scarier stories, or even more subtly chilling. Instead, they have new watered-down art that will render them unreadable.

Gone are the bone-chilling illustrations that we knew as children, with the screaming skeletons and blood-dripping creatures and other nightmare-inducing artwork; in their place are these round, Disney-fied joke characters who wouldn’t inspire nuns to have nightmares. Seriously? This is horror?

Schwartz’s masterpiece was an enormous chunk from my childhood—something that inspired not just nightmares and even daytime fears, but my own scary writing. It was a pioneer piece of horror that got all of the kids talking and whispering in hushed, scared voices—much like Harry Potter after it—and it wasn’t just the stories that did it.

Flipping through books was key in checking them out at that age, and once you flipped through Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, you couldn’t very well put it down. How would you know what happened to the skeletal bride that way? The art was absolutely gripping, something that wouldn’t let you turn away.

And now it’s being cartoon-ified.

You know what? If you want to focus on cleaning up children’s media to make it less scary, let’s start with the Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 and other shows that actually depict torture, death, and other scariness. These violent sequences are much worse than the artwork being edited out of our beloved stories—and these stories aren’t even aimed at the young audiences that these films cater to! They are available in the fifth and sixth grade libraries (at least, in my own experience) and can easily be monitored by parents. They’re also not live action, which has to give them less impact.

I would like to vehemently oppose the changing of these excellent books and that future generations not be gifted with watered down versions of Scary Stories. It’s a useless action when you can, as a parent, simply ask that the stories be read at a later age (not to mention that the stories themselves are just as scary; are they not being edited, too?). There are worse boogeymen in your children’s lives, believe me.