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

(Scary Stories #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  45,390 ratings  ·  1,945 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 chimne
Paperback, 112 pages
Published October 1st 1989 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published October 14th 1981)
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Lilli This book is more of a scary volume for kids, or easily scared teens. Being read in the dark adds a scary factor, too.
Air It is in most libraries, online libraries, and book stores now. If you take the ISBN from the Goodreads page, you can find it on Amazon, too.

Community Reviews

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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  45,390 ratings  ·  1,945 reviews

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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
Justin Tate
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In anticipation of the new movie, I dusted this off and made the foolish decision of reading in an empty house, well past the twilight hour. About halfway I got too creeped out to continue. Had to finish the rest this morning.

These stories are SCARY. Something about the nonchalant way horror happens makes it even more real. In this world, there's nothing unusual about ghosts and murderers and zombies. Why should there be? They are so common. There could be a murderer in your attic right now. And
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
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
May 29, 2007 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.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is featured on Halloween Reads for Children @

This is a great collection of short scary stories for kids to enjoy. It’s a book that I enjoyed as a child and can now share with my own kids. Some of the stories are pretty scary and best for older readers, but a few of them can be read to younger readers as well. There are plenty of traditional ghost stories, retellings and folklore to enjoy. The black and white illustrations add even more eeriness!
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.
Johann (jobis89)
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In the dark and the gloom, it is easy for someone listening to imagine all sorts of strange and scary things."

A collection of stories based on American folklore written with the intention of giving you the creeps or making you jump with fright. The stories are accompanied by delightfully disturbing illustrations provided by Stephen Gammell.

Anytime I post these books on instagram, people lose their shit. It seems that everyone overseas (and by overseas I mean America or Canada) can attribute all
Amalia Gavea
This is a wonderful little collection of stories that are chilling and, at times, rather funny. A blend of urban legends and folk tales of ghosts and other creatures of the night and a series of sketches that are as ''scary'' as the stories they accompany create a result that is perfect for Halloween, for a cold winter's night or a stormy summer evening.
Candace Robinson
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ah yes, the one book back in third grade that kept me entertained!
Josu Grilli
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 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
Emm - Stories for Ghouls
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: casual cannibals, wandering witches and ghoulish gravekeepers
This review and other monstrosities on Blood Red Velvet.

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 we
Jun 05, 2013 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
My oldest son had a favorite three book set as a child. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The tales were spooky and the artwork was amazing. In fact, the bizarre art really made the book. Flash forward a few years and my son was getting ready to join the Navy. I hit that oh-my-god-one-of-my-kids-is-really-leaving mom moment and the oh-my-god-my-son-is-engaged-to-be-married event as well.....ahhhhhhhhhh! But, before he left to start his journey to being a grown man, he brought me a set of three ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
This book is aimed for children
A gateway to horror and scary stories
Easy read
Jul 12, 2013 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)
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved all the traditional horror stories in this book, but it was also the illustrations that accented each story, they're really creepy and incredibly detailed!
Oct 11, 2011 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
Nathaniel Brehmer
Mar 20, 2009 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
Yes, YES! It looks like the movie is based on the original illustrations! And it sounds like the premise is: Reading the book will make the stories come for you. I feel that's a true representation of my feelings when I read this book in childhood. And, yeah, that's kinda the plot of the Goosebumps movie but they probably got that idea from these books in the first place. It's all so meta.

First, I got all fired up about these stories after reading Monster Chefs, which was the complete opposite o
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Hafsa Sabira
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
The stories are not exactly how I thought they will be. But they are exactly like the title refers to. These are stories that one can tell in the dark and can scream,moan,jump- basically can do whatever he wants to scare his friends. And I actually succeeded in scaring my next door neighbour kid :p

But still,the stories are too small and not scary at all unless you act your part in the ending. Did I like the book? No. Will I read the next book in this series? No. So,there goes my 2 stars.
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.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing

5 stars for pure nostalgia and the gorgeous, terrifying, nightmare-inducing illustrations. As far as the collection of stories? Eh, they're actually quite tame (after all, this is a child's book). Many of the tales are actually very silly, some intentionally so. As an adult, none of them are frightening, but then there goes my sense of childhood wonder I suppose. I am so happy to gradually be collecting the old Scary Stories anthologies, as (as far as my knowledge goes) the older editions wit
Oct 12, 2016 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.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 21, 2007 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.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book what is another fast paced book and I really enjoyed it.
Dec 03, 2012 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 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Short & Shivery: Thirty Chilling Tales
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Bony-Legs
  • Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares: Tales to Make You Scream
  • Beware!: R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories
  • More Bones
  • Halloween ABC
  • Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep
  • Scary Stories
  • Bites: Scary Stories to Sink Your Teeth Into
  • The Tailypo: A Ghost Story
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.

Other books in the series

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