I’ve always loved spooky things, ever since I was a little kid. My parents were relatively young when they had me, so I probably watched a lot of stuff as a child that wasn’t appropriate for my age group (Beavis & Butthead was a regular thing for evening entertainment with my dad, lol) – so horror movies and me go way, way back.
I remember watching a late night showing of The Shining on cable as a little kid and being completely amazed that something so scary was allowed to be on TV, available for anyone to watch. I loved it! However, my parents didn’t like the nightmares that came with it, so they sort of tried discouraging it as best as they could.
Around this same time, I started watching Nickelodeon’s SNICK, and I was completely hooked on Are You Afraid of the Dark? Scary things, aimed at people just a little older than I was? I was obsessed and eagerly devoured episode after episode at 5 PM on the dot – I’d rush to the TV and force my family to leave me alone, not even caring if the episode was a rerun or not. 😂
In honor of little girl me’s obsession with the macabre, I decided to make a list of my Top 10 fav episodes. I could honestly make a top 20 – there are so many good ones! But these are the 10 that have really stood out to me over the years, and the ones that impacted me so much as a kid that they might have given me complexes that have lasted me into adulthood (dollhouses creep me the heck out!).
My Top 10 Favorite Episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
The Tale of the Prom Queen – Season 1, Episode 12
You’ll notice that a lot of my favorite episodes (and things in general) end up being ones that are sad, so this is the first of many on this list that follow that format. A group of teens meet a girl in a cemetery, and urge her to join them that night to try catching a glimpse of an urban legend / ghost – apparently years ago, a girl died while waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up for the prom. I won’t spoil the ending, but ugh! As a kid, the twist endings like this really blew my mind and I loved them!
The Tale of the Frozen Ghost – Season 2, Episode 7
I love that so many actors and actresses have been featured on AYAOTD? at some point. Melissa Joan Hart stars in this one as the babysitter of a spoiled little kid who ends up being haunted by a ghostly little boy that haunts people by way of repeating, “I’M COLD” at them menacingly. I’ll never unhear the way he says it, and since watching this as a kid, I’ve often referenced the line because it stands out so much to me.
The Tale of the Shiny Red Bicycle – Season 2, Episode 11
Remember that thing I have about liking sad stuff? This episode is about a boy who is haunted by the ghost of his best friend, who he couldn’t save. It’s so sad and made me cry when I was little – and there’s something so scary about the thought of living with survivor’s guilt coupled with being haunted by the person who died.
The Tale of Apartment 214 – Season 3, Episode 2
A girl moves into a new apartment with her mom, and befriends the old lady down the hall. After spending lots of time together, the girl comes to realize that the apartment has actually been uninhabited and things aren’t all they seem. This is another sad one, ugh! This poor old lady broke my heart when I was a little girl, and I wished I could be her friend.
The Tale of the Dollmaker – Season 3, Episode 5
This is my absolute favorite episode of this show, and it gave me nightmares as a kid. As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I’m still extremely freaked out by dollhouses, and if this episode is ever on, I stop whatever I’m doing to watch it! Melissa visits her family only to find out that the little girl next door disappeared and isn’t there to play with anymore. After noticing some weird happenings in the now-vacant neighbor’s house, Melissa investigates and discovers a dollhouse that looks identical to her friend’s house. She ends up inside of it, and finds out her friend has been trapped and is slowly turning into a doll!
I think this one scared me so badly because of the fact that, if not for Melissa, this little girl would’ve been trapped forever. Her parents couldn’t stand being in the home where she disappeared, so they moved away – leaving the dollhouse, and their daughter, behind. How sad and awful! 😥
The Tale of the Curious Camera – Season 3, Episode 9
Another special actor appearance here! Eddie Kaye Thomas is a boy who ends up with a camera that seems to have mysterious powers. Everything he takes a picture of has dramatic consequences for the subject, and the little creepy goblin mark on all the photos is so vividly ingrained in my mind from this episode that I would recognize it anywhere, even as an adult!
The Tale of the Dream Girl – Season 3, Episode 10
A lot of the AYAOTD? episodes focus heavily on sibling bonds and friendships. I love that about them since I often watched the episodes with my also-too-young-for-horror little brother. This is one of those episodes! An older brother and his sister work after school at a bowling alley when the brother, Johnny, starts having weird dreams and visions of a girl he’s never met. Convinced she’s his soul mate, he tries to find her – only to discover that she died years ago. But that’s not the only twist! I won’t spoil this one either, but I’d highly recommend it if you can find it on Youtube or something. It’s so touching and makes me sad and happy at the same time!
The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner – Season 4, Episode 9
I loved this one because it featured an extremely talented little kid that was obsessed with comic books. He’s an awesome artist – so awesome, in fact, that he accidentally releases a real life version of one of his scarier creations, with dire consequences! The artwork and transitions between scenes in this episode are super cool, which put this one firmly on my top 10 list forever!
The Tale of the Vacant Lot – Season 5, Episode 10
While I do have some issues with this episode in today’s social/political climate, overall I think it sends a really important message – one that little Cassie definitely benefited from as a child. A girl finds a mysterious woman in the middle of a previously vacant lot that offers her everything she wants – at seemingly no cost. Things are great for awhile, until the price of the trades come back to haunt her. The ultimate message here is to be appreciative of what you have, and not to let your envy or jealousy over what other people have get in the way of that. Luckily, Catherine from the episode learns her lesson before it’s too late!
The Tale of the Night Shift – Season 5, Episode 12
For some reason I always remember this as being longer than a normal episode, like a double episode or a movie? I don’t know! It’s about a hospital and the people who work/volunteer in it, and what happens when they get invaded by… VAMPIRES! What better place for a vampire than somewhere with unlimited blood bags and patients to feed from, right? This is one of the first things I ever remember watching with vampires and I was obsessed, they were so creepy!!
Did I include your favorite episode(s)? What did I leave out that you think should be in a Top 10? I have the first couple of seasons on DVD but wish they still made this show!
Luckily, I recently watched something on Netflix called “Creeped Out” that is sort of like this mixed with a children’s version of Black Mirror – which I also love! I’d definitely recommend it if you have it available to you. 🙂
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