Everyone on the internet agrees: October is Halloween. Once the leaves start changing colors and a chill permeates the air, you know it's time to carve pumpkins, throw on a scarf, and break out some horror movie classics. You're not afraid to reacquaint yourself with Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, provided you have a warm blanket and a pumpkin spice latte to curl up with. You're all grown up now. No onscreen monster can scare you!
What about all the television shows that used to scare you half to death when you were younger? The ones that forced your parents or older siblings to meticulously check inside your closet and under your bed for monsters? Be honest with yourself: when is the last time you faced your deepest (televised) childhood fears? Because there's no time like the present, especially with shows like...
1. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
While this classic Hanna-Barbera show originally aired in the sixties and seventies, its syndication and availability on VHS tapes meant that it was widely available for the "millennial" generation. Each episode followed a formula: Mystery, Inc. gets lost, finds a monster, splits up, sets a trap, and reveals the monster as a fake to the oft quoted, "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
Despite the predictability and egregiously reused backgrounds, Scooby-Doo produced some undoubtedly eerie monsters with its muted color palate and creepy music (something that was lost in later incarnations of the series). And besides that, who can forget this theme song?
Never gets old.
2. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
So, Scooby's adventures aren't scary enough for you? Why don't you hang out with the Midnight Society as they share spooky tales around the campfire. This Canadian show aired on Halloween in 1990, and became a hit in the U.S. when it got picked up by Nickelodeon. Each episode revolved around a different kid telling a different story, encompassing everything from ghosts, aliens, and everyone's favorite, evil clowns.
While the show was arranged in an anthology style, the story-within-a-story framework meant that there were some recurring themes (Sar-DO!). And despite the twisted nature of some of the tales, they almost always had happy endings (key word being "almost"...we're looking at you, "Tale of the Pinball Wizard").
Oh, the glorious nineties...
If you say you've never heard of the Goosebumps books, you're either lying or repressing some dark memories. Who doesn't remember browsing the children's section in Barnes & Noble or Walden Books, drawn in by the garish green and grotesque covers of R.L. Stine's plethora of horror?
The Goosebumps TV series ran from 1995 to 1998, and most of the anthology's episodes were based on plots of the books. Unlike previous entries on this list, Goosebumps didn't shy away from unsettling endings. However, one of the most popular and unsettling episodes, "The Haunted Mask," did have a sort-of happy ending... It's worth reviewing this show before the eponymous film, staring Jack Black, comes out on October 16.
4. So Weird
Barring some excellently creepy Disney Channel Original Movies, this might be the scariest thing to ever air on the normally bright and bubbly Disney Channel. Running from 1999 to 2001, So Weird followed Fiona "Fi" Phillips (try saying that five times fast) in her hunt to understand all things supernatural, strange, and you guessed it, weird. The show lost some of its creepy tone after Fi's actress left the show at the beginning of Season 3, but not before leaving quite an impression.
Sometimes referred to as "The X-Files for kids," So Weird delved not only into ghosts, time travel, and aliens, but into more ignored mythological figures as well: banshees, will-o'-the-wisps, and changelings.
5. Courage the Cowardly Dog
From 1999 to 2002, Cartoon Network ran this surreal and often genuinely terrifying series about a quivering pink beagle who faces off against a gauntlet of bizarre villains. Courage, who rarely lives up to his name, lives with sweet Muriel and grumpy farmer Eustace in the middle of Nowhere. No, really -- that's where they live.
A definite degree of isolation and nihilism permeate this supposed children's cartoon. The imagery and plots are enough to give even adults nightmares, and Courage's fear tends to leak through the television screen. Watch with caution, you brave souls.
No thank you!
So there you have it: five spooky and nostalgic shows to get you in the mood for the Halloween season. Are you brave enough to start conquering your childhood fears? You'd better get started!