Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories, #1)” as Want to Read:
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  38,646 Ratings  ·  1,444 Reviews
This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz's popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.

There is a story here for everyone -- skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chi
Paperback, 112 pages
Published October 1st 1989 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published October 14th 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

I'm not giving any stars here, only a warning: beware which edition of this collection you choose, for if you choose unwisely, you will be sorely ripped off in more ways than one.

I chose unwisely. My edition is the 2010 "updated" version published by Harper Collins with new illustrations by Brett Helquist. To say that it's been sanitized for safe consumption is an understatement. The reason the original 1981 edition became an instant classic and a frequently challenged book in schools and libra
May 29, 2007 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The illustrations were the really scary part of these books. I remember being afraid to turn the page and look at the next one when I was a kid, peeling the next page over gradually like a Band-Aid. One pictured effed me up so badly I had to tape a piece of construction paper over it so I could flip through the book without having a heart attack.
Khanh (the Grinch)
Jul 12, 2013 Khanh (the Grinch) rated it really liked it
Warning: SCARY PICTURES. Do not click on this review if you don't want to be plagued by nightmares. I don't care how old you are. Fear transcends all age barriers.

I'm a supporter of childhood literacy, but I beg you. Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not make the mistake of giving this book to your children. They will never forgive you. Think of all the therapy costs.

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the dark. I couldn't sleep without my rituals. All blankets had to be tuck
J. Kent Messum
Confession time: I was a scared kid growing up. And I mean fucking terrified. My imagination was fertile, and it tended to grow dark twisted things with thorns that were poisonous to my thoughts, vines of blackened fish-hooks that would creep over me like ivy and ensnare my mind, body, and soul.

My early encounters with anything of the 'horror' variety would take on a life of it's own, finding a nest in my kid brain where it could grow into something much more monstrous. Thinking back to my chil
As scary stories go, they are only slightly. Sometimes they are funny, or just weird, or sad. Except the one about Harold the Scarecrow. God, that one is terrifying. Oh and the spiders hatching from your face.

But the illustrations... The illustrations in this book are good old-fashioned nightmare fuel. I really don't know what they were thinking.

I mean, what were they thinking?

Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 8: Book that scares you.
Moraes the Bookworm
Growing up, my parents were always really liberal concerning watching horror movies, reading scary tales. Actually, I remember they would tell me horror stories themselves, before bad, if I asked them to. So I'm definitely not one that gets scared easily. To be honest, nowadays very few movies or books make me tingle with fear. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, surprisingly, did. I was not expecting to be frightened by such an old book aimed for children.

A huge part of such effect doesn't come
Jan 16, 2017 Josu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-1-enero
No sabía qué esperarme de este libro y me ha sorprendido para bien.

Historias de miedo para contar en la oscuridad es un libro que une muchos relatos basados o adaptados del folclore de distintas partes de Estados Unidos, Reino Unido, etc. Hay dos partes diferenciadas: la de las historias en sí -la más larga tiene 4 páginas- y la de la explicación de las historias.

Creo que la más interesante es sin duda en la que el autor explica todo lo que hay detrás de esos cuentos. De dónde han salido, cuándo
Oct 25, 2012 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Scary Stories!!


I have always loved reading banned books because even though I am usually curious about the reasons why they were banned in the first place, it just makes me really want to read the books even more! Well, I just picked up this spooky book for children called “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz along with illustrations by Stephen Gammell and it basically has several horror folktales collected over the years. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is definitely
Jun 05, 2013 April rated it really liked it
Is everybody having an especially lovely day? Tucking in for a blissful night's sleep? Good, I have something to show you.

I read this on my kindle late at night under the covers with nothing but the illumination of my phone screen to light the words. Can you imagine my shock at the following appearing out of nowhere after the flick of the side-button?

I don't have much to say about this collection other than I might be a little bit in love with Schwartz for putting together such a horrificall
Oct 11, 2011 Sesana rated it it was amazing
Reading All Hallow's Eve made me nostalgic for my introduction to horror. My second grade teacher read us this book through the month of October, one story a day. And I've been trying to scare myself ever since.

So, how does the original hold up, read after more time has passed than I'm willing to admit, and more horror books and movies than I can count? Amazingly well. These are basically campfire stories, of course, but campfire stories need to be scary to work. They are, in many respects, prim
Emm S.
Mar 13, 2016 Emm S. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: older kids (10 yrs+) and anyone who likes creepy horror
Room for one more? In the most twisted children's series to be splattered on paper? Oh, always.
I mean, how much can you really trust a kids book whose very first story is about cannibalism?
A boy finds a human toe in the garden, brings it to his mother, and what does she say?
"It looks nice and plump. I'll put it in the soup, and we'll have it for supper."

Brilliant. Needless to say, the undead corpse is more than disturbed that his big toe went to such use. But that's what kind of book this is - t
Nathaniel Brehmer
Mar 20, 2009 Nathaniel Brehmer rated it really liked it
Timeless stories adapted in an ageless manner, mixed with some of the most phenomenally horrific illustrations ever. These elements make Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark (and its sequels) the best horror stories ever catered to children. All the stories were well researched and no more watered down than they had to be to find their audience. All the grotesque and grossly horrific tales that once I read as a child, I never forgot. Whether they generated an eerie chill or an uneasy laugh, they ar ...more
Jul 12, 2013 Navessa rated it really liked it
This is the book of nightmares. I will never re-read it as it both scared and scarred me even when I was a child with no sense of my own mortality. If I even attempted it now...


Speaking of nightmares. Here, have some.

(view spoiler)
First, I got all fired up about these stories after reading Monster Chefs, which was the complete opposite of Scary Stories, and then, I got all snarky on some poor guy I don't even know's review and that's when I realized, "Man, I am so glad I own two of these books and now I must scour used book stores for the third!" and THEN I thought, "Wait-oh! I'll bet I can find this being read online somewhere! Because we, the library, read books for kids all the time and post said readings online so it ...more
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
This book scared the shit out of me as a kid. I haven't even been able to muster up the courage necessary to read it again because I have such terrifying memories of the artwork.
Dec 03, 2012 Kruti rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoy a dose of fear now and again
Warning: Proceed with caution!!

Oh bejesus, what was I thinking reading this at night?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is not for the faint of heart. As the name suggests, you’ll find a collection of scary stories here that are perfect to tell around campfires, or at slumber parties, or if you’re like me, they’re perfect reading material at night with the lights turned off. If you do opt for the third option, I’d suggest you prepare for a rather sleepless night!

In terms of the stories themsel
Jennifer Svogar
Apr 18, 2008 Jennifer Svogar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking to recapture their childhood
My father was a huge fan of all things "scary" when I was a child. My brothers and I grew up reading this and other collections, not to mention the classics of Frankenstein, Dracula, and other horrors. It was surprising to me when my younger brother mentioned missing this book, because I had been feeling the same way! Nostalgia takes over sometimes....

I found another copy recently, and got to read it once more. It took a little while for me to recapture that same fear I felt when I read the book
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 21, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids going to a sleepover
The best collection of stories to tell at a slumber party, ever! A great mix of scary tales and funny ones. Kids especially love the creepy illustrations by Stephen Gammell. Love them, and are freaked out by them, too.

Interesting fact: This book is frequently stolen from libraries.
Dec 05, 2008 Ben rated it liked it
I have a feeling that I'm not the only one that added this to my goodreads many years after having read the book. Should we be doing that? Do we really remember how we felt, and even the essentials of what happeend, from books we read in our childhood? I'm guilty of making the attempt here, and while I recall enjoying these stories, and even becoming slightly frightened by a few of them, I never thought of this as a favorite book, or became particuarly excited when the second set of Scary Storie ...more
Oct 13, 2014 Tally rated it it was amazing
This series was legit back in the day!

These aren't mere scary stories; they're enhanced with cultural folklore and beautifully creepy illustrations.

These books were probably what initially sparked my interest in the horror genre. As a little elementary schooler, I would check out these books from the school library and run to the bus so I could get home and read them, eyes wide with curiosity (and probably a bit of terror). Some of these stories have stuck with me and I still remember them eve
Patricia Bejarano
Creo que si este libro hubiera estado en mis manos cuando era pequeña, lo hubiera dado un uso increíble. Ahora mismo ha sido entretenido, me ha gustado en su mayoría, pero no me ha encantado. Es un pequeño libro con bastantes relatos cortos de miedo, que escandalizarán a los más pequeños. Me quedo sin duda La canción del coche fúnebre, que ha sido mi favorita, con las espeluznantes ilustraciones y con la explicación de la procedencia y cosas curiosas sobre las historias del final.
Stefan Yates
Feb 01, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awol, kids-room
I purchased this book as one that I fondly remembered from childhood. I don't know for certain how many times my brother and I checked this out from the public library, but it was a lot. The stories in it are fun and the artwork is fantastic. As a matter of fact, even though I remember most of the stories from reading them before, it's the artwork that lodged this book into my head so firmly. Although all black and white, the images are spooky and gruesome. Exactly what an impressionable pre-tee ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I got a chill just remembering how much these books managed to frighten me as a child. It was largely (I'd say 90%-95%) about the illustrations. Even some of the stories that weren't scary to me in themselves at all left extremely eerie, surreal, terrifying imaginings crawling 'round my mind through the strong influence of the accompanying images. I read all three of these books a lot as a child. Loved to be terrified I guess. Terror really is the wrong word. Basking in strangeness...eeriness... ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Since I read just about every scary book in the children's section at my library growing up, I'm going to guess I read this but I don't remember. I guess I'll have to do a reread. I hope I find it this month for October Scare Fest.
Sarah Marie
5 stars for nostalgia, but 3 stars for overall stories after rereading. 4 stars total! Review to come!


This was one of the books that paved the foundation of books I enjoyed growing up. I don't know what possessed my fourth grade teacher to make us read this for reading group, but it was my favorite thing I read in fourth grade. While the idea of a movie this seems scary, I'm using it as an excuse to re-read!
Erin Patton
Oct 12, 2016 Erin Patton rated it really liked it
When I was a 5th grader this book anthology was one of my favorites. While not all the stories are great as an adult read some are still pretty good. My picks are The Guests, Room For One More, The White Satin Evening Gown, & Wait Till Martin Comes. I still love this book & suggest you guys give it a reread.
Oct 30, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-mg
I listened to this on youtube today, and remembered almost all of the stories! Brought me right back to childhood. Here's the link if you want to listen to it too (perhaps while carving pumpkins):
Carolina GO
Jan 24, 2017 Carolina GO rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Las historias comienzan con relatos ligeros; pueden llegar a ser espeluznantes. Mientras avanzamos descubrimos historias más retorcidas y otras divertidas. Un libro cortito pero que cumple con su prometido: ponerte los pelos de punta y entretener.
Perhaps the reason I've an affinity for dark & twisted art lies with a trio of books I read as a child. Alvin Schwartz is most known for his collection of folktales marketed towards children. His most famous books--Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones--were some of my most favorite reads as a lad, and when I recently happened upon my personal copy of SS3, I couldn't help but dive in. I went to the libra ...more
Anita Vela
Reseña completa con fotos:

Esta pequeña joyita de apenas 150 páginas, está más enfocada para los niños (+12) y también para que puedan interactuar con sus amigos en una fiesta pijama, una excursión o algo similar. Por lo tanto, las historias que hay en este primer libro son bastante suaves, al menos a los para los que nos gustan las historias de miedo, aunque reconozco que hay un par con la que se me ha erizado la piel. 

Como ya os he dicho las historias me
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Kind of book but I like it 15 70 Jan 26, 2017 08:40PM  
Highland West Jun...: HWJH Book Club 1 2 Sep 20, 2016 10:50AM  
The Midnight Book...: May Book: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 4 11 May 13, 2016 02:24PM  
  • Short & Shivery: Thirty Chilling Tales
  • More Bones
  • Bony-Legs
  • Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares: Tales to Make You Scream
  • Beware!: R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories
  • Christina's Ghost
  • Behind the Attic Wall
  • Bites: Scary Stories to Sink Your Teeth Into
  • Nighty-Nightmare (Bunnicula, #4)
  • Scary Stories
Alvin Schwartz was the author of more than fifty books dedicated to and dealing with topics such as folklore and word play, many of which were intended for young readers. He is often confused with another Alvin Schwartz, who wrote Superman and Batman daily comics strips and a novel titled The Blowtop.
More about Alvin Schwartz...

Other Books in the Series

Scary Stories (3 books)
  • More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories, #2)
  • Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (Scary Stories, #3)

Share This Book